In a blink of an eye, Christmas is upon all of us again – a time to gather with family, friends and all who are near and dear. We all know that the best way to bond is always through food – a feast, to be exact. And when it comes to family gatherings, often times, no feast is as heartwarming as a homemade spread.
But before you baulk at the idea of needing to do post-dinner cleanup and complicated sauces to prepare, consider that whipping up a feast doesn't always have to be a lot of work – you just have to do it smart. Here's how you can make that elegant – but simple – Christmas feast happen. After all, 'tis the season to be merry for everyone, including the cook!
The Meat of the Matter
When you think of Christmas feasts, people often automatically reach for the turkey because it's tradition, period. But why not try other, easier to cook meats instead? Turkeys can be too big to handle, and cooking them takes time and much effort. We suggest roast chicken. Chicken is not only often more flavorful than turkey meat, it also absorbs marinades better and is far easier to cook. You can also decide portions based on how big your family is – a spring chicken for a smaller family, a larger one if you're having more guests.
To add some festive flair and as an extra treat, this sure-win recipe for bacon roasted chicken and potatoes includes Jack Daniel's Honey – a blend of Jack Daniels Whiskey and warm, mellow honey liqueur for that extra oomph. The bacon slices draped over the roasted chicken add a smoky deliciousness and crunchy coating while ensuring tender, soft, well-marinated chicken within and a hot favorite at Christmas parties to come.
With such a heavy and hearty main dish of roasted chicken and potatoes, we'd recommend that you go light on the sides so your guests will have room for desserts. Too many Christmas parties end up with overeating and food comas that won't do justice to your dishes! This recipe for a cheesy cauliflower side is so savoury and delicious your guests won't even realize they are having vegetables, trust us! The best thing is, these cauliflower mash pots can go into the oven while you prepare other food – minimal washing up required.
If you're feeling adventurous or you have guests who have a taste for stronger cheeses, you may want to substitute the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses for other cheeses such as brie, camembert, cheddar, or gruyere – there is so much room for you to adjust this side dish to your personal preferences.
Don't Stress Over Desserts
Have you realized that the word "desserts" is also "stressed" spelled backwards? Now if that isn't a sign that a good dessert should not only relieve your stress and not cause you any headache in the first place, we don't know what it is! Christmas desserts are usually best when they evoke a sense of togetherness, tradition and cheer. So skip the complicated jellies and rich French desserts and try something that combines the best of both worlds.
This Chocolate Orange Cointreau Butter Cake does just that. With a dense but fluffy butter cake base that harks back to childhood memories, made more elegant with the addition of Cointreau liquor and then a sharp note of orange zest that cuts through the richness, this dessert is made for a Christmas party.
If you want to add extra flair, a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream adds an icy creaminess to the cake that we are sure the children will love. Bake it in a fancy Bundt pan to impress your friends if you like – the two pretty layers of chocolate and orange add brownie points for presentation and style.
Best served with hot coffee and tea as well as lots of good company while everyone sits together and joins in some Christmas carols. Now we can't think of a better way to end the year!