While Giada De Laurentiis makes cooking and entertaining look easy, she has a secret: lots of planning. “The approach I take during the holidays is to really plan my menu,” the cookbook author, TV chef and restauranteur tells us.”Making dishes ahead of time is a big part of a successful, fun, stress-free meal. You should have one thing that you’re finishing, and all the rest of the dishes should be already made or just warming up.”
Then she selects each dish carefully, not only based on whether or not it can be made in advance, but also how it plays into the overall experience. “I always say that cooking and picking recipes is sort of like getting up in the morning and figuring out what you want to wear. How are you feeling, how much time do you have, and who’s coming over? It’s key that you think of colors and textures—that’s how I plan a menu. I want things that pop, and I think of freshness and bold flavors, but also something a little light. It’s a combo of all those things.”
Take a look at Giada’s 2015 holiday menu.
Both the crostini and the cheese mixture used in Giada’s recipe for Goat Cheese Toasts can be made up to 2 days ahead—a huge help for busy hosts.
To minimize time and effort making her Pomegranate Brussels Sprout Salad, Giada recommends buying seeded pomegranates and freezing the Gorgonzola dolce two hours before shaving.
This Rosemary Garlic-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine-Rosemary Butter is a centerpiece that’s sure to stand out. What sets this beef stunner apart are the slices of red wine-rosemary compound butter that melt on each piece of beef.
“Fennel is criminally underappreciated in this country,” Giada says. Her favorite way to serve it during a holiday meal is roasted until fork-tender with salty grated Parmesan.
The best part about these Mini Twice-Baked Potatoes is that they’re equally delicious served warm or at room temperature.
Guests will never guess that this chocolate sabayon-topped Chocolate Cake Tiramisu starts with store-bought cake mix.