Food & Drink
Recipe tin eat

Recipe tin eat

Imaginative menus: How to choose one

I’ve always loved the challenge of creating the “perfect” meal for gatherings. I was a poor uni student who loved food but could not afford to go out for dinner.

Instead, I learned to cook myself and hosted dinner parties. I got a secret thrill from creating a “perfect” gathering menu. #NerdAlert I still love it!

The Perfect Menu for Special Occasions means:

Impressive, delicious (of course), and attractive. This is not a joke; the ego plays a major role.

Reduce the time you spend in the kitchen on the day of the event

Make-ahead and maximum prepare-ahead ingredients that reheat perfectly

Yes, I will, but not in this blog post. Next week, I’ll post a list of reader favorites and my favorite recipes for making Christmas meals. Starters, mains, sides, and desserts! You will find some new dishes on this list.

The day before, prepare your glazed Ham

For years, I have been making my glazed Ham the day before the event and then simply reheating it the next day. The Ham comes out perfectly. It’s as fresh as if it were made just yesterday. The Ham doesn’t even dry out, thanks to the salt curing, which locks in all of its juices.

The day before you want to make your glazed Ham, prepare and refrigerate it.

The next day, it reheats perfectly.

The steps I wrote to share my tips became too long for this post. So, the day before, I made a separate post on how to make Glazed Ham. Summary:

Make your glazed Ham. You can choose from my favorite Maple-Glazed Ham or the classic brown sugar-glazed Ham.

The roasting pan should be cooled and refrigerated overnight.

Reheat the dish in a moderately hot oven. Voila! It’s like a freshly baked, shiny, glazed masterpiece!


Every menu requires starch. A basket of bread from the store is an easy option. But creamy hot mash makes a great holiday spread!

However, it is much easier to say than do to serve up a large bowl of hot, creamy mashed potatoes on demand. You can microwave it tomorrow if you can’t make it today. It becomes sticky! Who wants to handle huge mounds of hot steaming potato on a day when everyone else is sipping bubbly and chatting? NOBODY!

What is the solution? Mashed Potato Casserole. This is a delicious and practical way to prepare mashed potatoes the night before. Assemble today, and bake tomorrow.

It’s a dream for carb-loving cheese-lovers like me to add bacon and cheese to mash. )


Imagine making a dessert with fresh cream for 30 guests, and you only need to grab a piping bag filled with whipped creme that you made a day earlier. No more dreams. Welcome to the world of make-ahead whip cream!

The secret to mascarpone is MASCARPONE

Stabilized whipped cream is whipped cream that won’t melt or deflate overnight. There are many ways to make it, but the easiest and tastiest is by using Mascarpone. This is the Italian cream that’s used in Tiramisu. It fluffs like whipping cream but firmens like cream cheese in the refrigerator.

How it’s made – The Mascarpone to cream ratio is 3:1. Beat it with cream, sugar, vanilla, and any other flavors your recipe requires, and you will have stabilized whipped creme. The full recipe instructions are available in my recipe for Whipped Cream!


You can find detailed instructions on how to use, and store stabilized whipped cream in my Whipped Creme recipe.

You can pipe/spread it on cake or cupcakes ahead of time, and the crushed form will still hold.

You can also store it in whipped form, ready to distribute, or dollop it on cakes the day before.

PRO TIP: Whether piping swirls with a piping tip, spreading, or dolloping, I recommend using a piping bag. It’s so much quicker to use a piping bag than a spoon!

Get the Stabilized Cream Recipe!

Prepare ahead salad components

Prepare all ingredients ahead of time. Cut, measure, peel, grate, shave, and prepare them. Then you can toss salads as needed!

Get ahead and make your salads show-stoppers!

Refrigerate dressings made ahead of time.

Make ahead candied nuts.

To make serving more straightforward, I recommend preparing salad components in advance. In the culinary world, this practice is called mise-en-place. This French phrase translates as “put in place.” It is a technique that chefs use to quickly and easily assemble meals.

JB made me feel like a pro. Who knew I was practicing mise en place all this time? You’ll notice that I can still not pronounce it. I do it!


Shake the dressing in a glass jar, and store it in the refrigerator.

Measure, prepare, and store in containers salad toppings such as grated parmesan ( rainbow-quinoa salad ), nuts (raw or roasted), croutons ( wasabi peas ), and crushed wasabi beans ( rainbow-quinoa salad ). Toppings like croutons, creamed wasabi peas (a href=””>rainbow quinoa salad/a>), and crispy fried shallots are some of my favorites!

Choose whole herbs, such as coriander/cilantro, parsley, and dill sprigs. Please keep it in a container lined with paper towels in the refrigerator. The best time to chop herbs is the same day.

Leafy greens should be washed, dried, and chopped before being stored in freezer bags. Fill the bags with air and tie them to keep your leafy greens crisp.

Pomegranate Seeds – smash them and store them in a jar.

Regulars know that I love feta in salads! Crumble the feta and store it in a container.

Pickles are easy to make, like the red onion I love. The vinegar will last several weeks if you store it in the container.

Measuring and weighing vegetables and other ingredients to be chopped fresh the day of is essential. Keep in containers inside the refrigerator.

You can cook starches like quinoa or pearl couscous. The dressing will cause bloating and absorbent dressing.

This apple salad with candied nuts is one of my favorite salads for Christmas because all the ingredients except the apples are easily prepared the day before.

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