Start every day with something delicious.
Bring excitement back to your lunchbox.
Delicious dinners don’t have to be complicated.
Kick off your next party with crowd-pleasing, smile-inspiring appetizers.
End every meal on a high note with Hatfield.
It was a big year for you. You’re closing 2016 settled in your new dream home, which your family members have pointed out (on more than one occasion) has a really, really beautiful kitchen. A dining-room table conveniently sized to seat all your loved ones. That guestroom, which has yet to be appreciated by an out-of-towner.
Ready or not, your home has been zoned for the holiday hosting experience. We have some simple steps that just might earn you Rookie of the Year status.
MAKE AS MANY DISHES IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE
In our eyes, you’ve basically reached super-hero status for hosting, but that doesn’t mean pulling it all off can be done day-of. This might be the first entry where we suggest getting an early jump on your day-of to-dos, but spoiler alert: It won’t be the last.
Good preparation is key to a successful holiday dinner. Lift some weight off those shoulders of yours in the days before and prep some dishes ahead of time. Take a look at your menu. Is there anything that will keep well in the fridge overnight? Being able to heat already prepped dishes like our Simple Spinach and Sausage Casserole the day of will save you a lot of time. Plus, less cooking prep stations to cleanup on the big day!
TRY A FEW NEW THINGS
Everyone knows grandma’s mashed potatoes can’t be beat. There are some family classics that just shouldn’t be touched. But this year’s menu is under your creative freedom. It’s time to establish your legendary dish that will become a staple at holiday dinners to come.
Use those prep days to try out any new recipes you’ll be premiering at your table, so you know in advance what it takes to make it a success. Maybe it’s as simple as a twist on a holiday classic, or maybe it’s something your family has never tried before that could become the standout. We won’t mind if you borrow some of ours!
ONE THING AT A TIME
Do you have a mirror nearby? Go take a look in it quick. We’ll wait. Are you back? How many of you did you see in the mirror? Just one? That’s what we thought. There is one of you. You can’t do it all – at least not all at the same time.
One of the quickest ways to derail your holiday hosting is to go into crisis mode. Pace yourself. Focus on one task at a time. It will help to mock up a schedule for the day to make sure your cooking times are organized appropriately. Cross off tasks until it’s serving time!
SET THE TABLE IN ADVANCE
One of the easiest and most practical* things you can do to save stress on hosting duties is to set the table the night before. Finesse fork placement, dust off those serving dishes and fine-tune those centerpieces ahead of time so you can stay focused in the kitchen. Seeing the table set will serve as your visual finish line for the journey ahead of you.
*Unless of course you have a cat that can’t keep their paws off the plates. If so, save setting glasses for the day of and drape a clean sheet or extra table cloth over everything to keep things clean!
PRE-MEAL CROWD CONTROL
As a host, the kitchen is your domain. Know exactly how you want to run it. Decide ahead of time how much foot traffic you’re OK allowing pass through and whether or not you’re comfortable delegating to anyone who asks if they can help. It’s OK to decline help if you feel comfortable running the show, but those not as comfortable in the kitchen should feel no shame in bringing in some extra hands.
Everyone has their preferred cooking environments. You set the rules! On that note...
LET OTHER PEOPLE HELP WITH THE CLEAN-UP
The meal is coming to an end. Everyone helped themselves to seconds…and thirds. You’re looking forward to spending the rest of the evening with your family. But first, the table has to be cleared.
No matter how big or small your holiday party is, there’s bound to be someone who will offer to help with the dishes. As the humble host you are, the knee-jerk reaction is to say “no.” But have no shame in letting someone help you load up the dishwasher. Start a little assembly line from table to kitchen. The sooner it’s clean, the sooner you can sit back, relax and give yourself a giant pat on the back.
We know you’ll be busy, but if you snap any photos from the feast, share them with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (@HatfieldMeats) using the hashtag #SimplyHatfield.