The holidays are here! While festivities this year may be slightly different from the year's past, that doesn't mean they have to be boring. The holidays are about celebrating with family. With large gatherings may be a no-go this year, you may now be wondering how to modify your menu to the new normal. While nothing is foolproof, the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure your dinner is as safe and tasty as ever. Keep scrolling to discover a few ways you can upgrade your menu to accommodate a smaller dinner party.
Adjust the Menu
If you're thinking of sticking to the same traditional menu you served up last year, think again. This year you're likely expecting fewer guests, which means you won't need the same amount of food that you usually cook. Instead of letting food go to waste, reevaluate how many people you'll serve this season, and adjust your recipes to match. Scale back on your favorite comfort food recipes or incorporate new dishes that are better suited for the occasion.
That being said, no matter how much you scale back, there will undoubtedly be some leftovers. Be sure to choose dishes that can be reheated and combined with other foods to make sure nothing goes to waste.
Choose Dishes That You Can Make Ahead
Holiday cooking can be stressful, and with everything else going on around us this year, just thinking about an extravagant holiday menu may be overwhelming. To better balance the holiday season's stress, when crafting your holiday menu, lean on make-ahead dinners. Aside from easier preparation, making a few of the main courses ahead of time can minimize the time guests spend waiting for food.
Rethink Grocery Shopping
When planning a Covid-friendly holiday gathering, grocery shopping may seem like one of the most challenging tasks. Heading to the grocery store to grab green beans for your famous casserole can put your time spent quarantining at risk. To plan and prepare your holiday meals safely, we suggest checking off your grocery list virtually.
First, plan out your menu and determine which ingredients you need to make dinner a success. Next, have the items delivered or plan for curbside pick up. Avoiding grocery stores all together is the best safety precaution. Plus, it may even save you a bit of time.
If you don't have any stores near you that offer delivery or curbside pickup, we encourage you to minimize your time spent in the grocery store. Plan meals based on items you already have in your pantry, organize your shopping list by food sections so that you only have to visit each area once and lastly, choose a store that's not too crowded, even if it means you have to drive a little further than you're used to.
Prepare To-Go Boxes
No matter how many people show up to your gathering this year, there's an easy way to include everyone: to-go boxes! A fun way to include guests who may not be attending this year is to send them the meal you'll be enjoying. This works exceptionally well for older guests, who may not want to cook for themselves. Include extra guests in your count and then pack their portions into to-go boxes to deliver to their home before the dinner. Just make sure the food you pack can withstand a car ride or two!
For an extra touch, include a hand sanitizer wipe or spray for them to wipe the box off with before diving into their meal. Whether guests eat their meals in their own time or join you for a family dinner video call, you'll feel great knowing that your loved ones are included in the holiday festivities.
Skip the Buffet
While buffets may be the easy go-to setup for holiday meetups, try serving meals directly from the pan to plate for this year’s festivities. By skipping the buffet, you can minimize the number of people handling the food and serving utensils and prevent the spread of bacteria. Instead of a self-serve method, designate one person to serve the meal and manage the plates, and be sure they use a lot of hand sanitizer when doing so! Another way to skip the buffet is by making a one-pot dinner that requires less handling than most meals.
We hope these micro holiday dinner tips have helped you better prepare for a virus-free holiday gathering. From adjusting the menu to preparing to-go boxes, there are plenty of ways you can keep the holiday spirits alive, even in times of uncertainty. Have a micro dinner tip of your own? We'd love to hear about it. Let us know how you're staying safe during this year's holiday season in the comments below. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, Happy holidays!