A lot of restaurants capitalize on the need for good home cooking, especially around the holidays. Many even offer special takeout menus with healthy seasonal dishes. And who's to say you can't create a fun theme for your holiday bash? You can heat things up with a Mexican fiesta or take out food from a local Mexican restaurant. Not into Mexican, but love Thai? Throw a beach-themed bash and order in various curries.
Another place that's ready to help you plan a great party in a pinch is your local grocery store. From freshly roasted chicken to sides like couscous and potatoes, their on-the-go counters have everything you need to whip up a delicious meal in seconds. All you need to do is bring the already cooked meals home and place them in your fancy dishware.
Make it easy on yourself and make your holiday event a potluck affair. Everyone can bring a specific dish (appetizer, main, side, dessert) and, to personalize things, your guests can explain why they brought what they did once everyone is seated.
Cocktail parties are easier to throw than sit-down dinners. They're also casual and let you host more people than you otherwise could (which also can cut down on the amount of party planning you have to do). So grab some fresh fruit and veggies, cheese and hors d'oeuvres, and whip together a simple signature drink (for example, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur on the rocks); it's all you need to throw a cocktail bash on the fly.
This is no time to try cooking a new dish (unless, of course, you have spare time). Cook something you already know how to make. You'll be less stressed because you won't be worrying about how the dish will turn out. On top of that, your guests, no matter who they are, are sure to appreciate any effort you put into making them a meal.
If all else fails, remember: A holiday or Christmas menu is only as good as the details of the party, so light a few candles, set a nice table, put on some great music and serve a nice bottle of wine; everything else will fall into place.
While it's thoughtful to bake a cake or pie especially for your holiday fête, it can be time consuming. Instead, why not create a self-serve sweets table? Load it with fresh fruit and decadent chocolate bars or gourmet truffles. You can even serve party attendees a sweet cocktail (hot chocolate with chocolate liqueur anyone?). It's an easy and sinfully sweet way to cap off your holiday party menu.
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