5 Do-Ahead Tips to Make Preparing Holiday Dinner a Breeze

  • by Paul Haskell
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A houseful of holiday guests is a blessing, but it can also be a struggle – how do you get dinner ready without getting stuck in the kitchen? Proper preparation will allow you to create a delightful meal without missing out on making holiday memories with friends and family. Here’s a handy list to help you host a little happier this season:

Make a List

The first thing I do when preparing for an event is make a list. It actually includes several lists in one: shopping, prep that can be done the night before, prep that can be done the morning of, equipment needed, and a list of cooking tasks that need to be done in chronological order. This prevents any mishaps that may result in loss of time such as having to run to the store last minute to pick up something you forgot or forgetting to start an item that needs to be done earlier on in the day.

Vegetable Prep

Nearly all vegetable cutting can be done the night before and stored in the fridge until needed. You don’t need to be tearing up peeling onions or hunched over a cutting board slicing carrots on the big day. Storing most cut vegetables in a sealed container with a moist paper towel will keep them as fresh as can be.

Mise En Place

This means “everything in its place”. Set your kitchen up the way you know it will be most efficient for the tasks you have at hand. Have all of your produce and pantry items ready to go. Take out pots, pans, and other equipment that you may need. Always keep your kitchen as organized and clean as possible before and during the cooking process. A more organized kitchen is a more efficient one.

Ready to Cook Dishes

The holidays are typically full of dishes such as casseroles that can be prepared the night before and only need to be placed in the oven. If you really want to make it easy on yourself, plan your menu with several of these items so that there are fewer dishes to worry about preparing on the day of.

Place Settings

Depending on how detailed you want to get with your place settings and tablescape, this can be a very time consuming task. What is great about it is that it can be done days before. Not only will it be good to go right when the meal is hot and ready, but it can be a very attractive addition the your holiday décor.

The Main Event

For a holiday dinner featuring Omaha Steaks Private Reserve Boneless Rib Roast as the main event, I used these tips. I made a list, all my vegetables were prepped, my kitchen was organized, and I had a wonderful cheesy gratin that was ready to throw in the oven. It truly did make it a breeze. The roast came out beautifully tender and moist thanks to the fantastic marbling and slow roasting. Check out the recipe!

Slow Roasted Herbed Rib Roast

Author Jillian Schnaebele

Ingredients

  • 1 4 lb. Omaha Steaks boneless rib roast
  • 3 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 qt. beef Stock

Instructions

  1. The night or morning before cooking your roast, sprinkle and rub it generously with about 3 T kosher salt and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

  2. You want the roast to be in the fridge like this for at least 5 and up to 12 hours as it dry brines the meat.

  3. Finely chop all the herbs and mix with the black pepper and olive oil.

  4. When ready to cook the roast pre-heat the oven to 225°.

  5. Place the onions, carrots, celery, and stock in the bottom of a roasting pan fitted with a rack.

  6. Place the roast in the middle of the rack, pour the herb mixture over and evenly coat.

  7. Insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the roast and place in the oven. Remove the roast when the temperature reaches 130° (approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours)