Lentil Wellington

The holidays are rich with opportunities to gather and make lasting memories with the people we love. And while light laughter and jovial spirits certainly linger in our hearts long after gatherings are over, the food we share with one another compliments the moment.

Serving quality food matters. Whether you’re cooking a formal dinner for family or hosting a casual potluck with friends, every gathering deserves a tasteful spread on the table.

You may feel a bit anxious about hosting. However, before you stress yourself into a case of the humbugs, remember that you have allies right here in your community. Let your local Market of Choice be your resource for holiday inspiration.

Follow MoC Artisan Chef Greg’s six expert tips for stress-less holiday meal planning:

The Host is the Most Important Person at the Gathering

As the host, your attitude sets the tone. If you’re tense or not having fun, chances are the guests are going to feel that, too. So, make self-care number one on your holiday to-do list. This means being realistic about how much of the cooking you can handle yourself and delegating some of the kitchen chores to someone else. Don’t be shy about asking guests for help. Most people enjoy contributing to a get-together, especially if they can bring their favorite dish. Be sure to give them a few weeks to prepare. Taking care of yourself helps you relax so you can focus on creating a warm and inviting ambiance for your guests.

PRO TIP: Pass on the most time-consuming dinner chore, the turkey. Our culinary team is thrilled to offer All Natural Whole Roasted Turkeys for reservation this holiday season.

Save the Experiment for another Time

We’ve all been there. You’re watching your favorite cooking show, and their seemingly effortless skill inspires you to experiment in the kitchen, too. We fully support your passion. However, unless you have time to practice and perfect the recipe beforehand, it’s best to put that passion on the back burner for now. Stick to whipping up the classic recipes you know. Then, you can make a new year’s resolution to practice a new recipe for next year’s holiday gathering.

PRO TIP: Chef Greg and his team spend all year gathering quality ingredients, planning new recipes, and testing them out so they can showcase their best work during the holidays. Offer your guests a classic dish with a new twist from our holiday menu.

Prepare for Guests with Special Diets

When some of your guests have special diets or food preferences, planning a dinner can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. The key is to focus on variety. If your centerpiece dish is a traditional meat, such as turkey or a pork crown roast, be sure you have a few hearty, plant-based options on the table as well. Your guests will appreciate having gluten-free friendly and vegan options available to them whether they asked for them or not. So, make the specialty recipes count. Offer entrées and sides that are flavorful and fit for the season so everyone can share the magic of a holiday dinner, regardless of food preferences.

PRO TIP: MoC also has many amazing plant-based dishes available for reservation. Some of Chef Greg’s favorite creations are wholly plant-based. We highly recommend our Vegan Sausage Stuffin-Muffins, our ever-popular, Lentil Wellington and our gluten-free friendly Wild Rice Stuffing. Try them at your gatherings this season.

“We know how to work with the ingredients to make amazing plant-based dishes that stand on their own – not as meat substitutes, but as hardy and delicious centerpiece dishes with great depth and flavor,” Chef Greg says.

Don’t Skip the Appetizers

Presenting guests with appetizers makes them feel welcome and sets the expectation for an enjoyable gathering. These little indulgences are also great for keeping guests entertained while you set the table or put the finishing touches on the meal. When planning the appetizer menu think outside the box and surprise your guests with something unique. From a beautifully designed charcuterie to a culturally themed spread, the creative possibilities are endless.

One of our favorite appetizer ideas is the Mezze platter: a unique assortment of zesty, Mediterranean nibbles, like Baba Ganoush and warm pita bread, Marinated Feta Cheese, Beef & Fennel Meatballs and Tabbouleh Salad, to name a few. Best of all, it’s an easy appetizer for a party. Everything you need to make a beautiful Mezze platter of your own can be found in the Market Kitchen.

Know Your Resources

Sometimes, all you need is a simple tip for keeping the gravy smooth, or the proper way to cook meat. Our culinary team is here to help, from answering simple questions to cooking your entire meal. Stop by your local Market Kitchen and let our friendly culinary team meet your needs.

PRO TIP: Remember, our holiday magazine is another helpful resource we gladly provide to members of our community. You can pick up a copy of “Gather” at any Market of Choice entrance. Or explore the contents online.

Know your options for last-minute selections

Despite your best efforts, mishaps will happen. A detail gets overlooked, a sauce is forgotten or a casserole burns. In these situations, know your options for last-minute selections. Fortunately, our Gourmet Takeaway case is stocked with delicious sides and salads you can proudly serve your guests. This convenience has saved many holiday dinners from ruin. And, unless you tell them, your guests won’t know that you didn’t make them yourself!

Published On: November 11th, 2022

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