Mar 21, 2018
Getting together with family and friends on a holiday is a treat. Many families like to plan a special meal, or a big feast.
Planning a special meal can be overwhelming but with our prep tips, you can get all your ducks in a row, and pull off a big cook flawlessly.
Prepping for Easter - One Week Before:
Start by making a meal plan. Get paper and pen, or use a note keeping app on your smart phone to make a menu plan. Decide what you'd like to serve as your main protein, sketch out a few side dishes, choose a desert, and give some thought to a couple of appetizers you can serve to keep hunger at bay for your guests.
Once you have a general idea of what you'd like to serve at Easter dinner, get some recipe inspiration. Flip through cookbooks, cooking magazines, or surf the internet for unique and interesting recipe ideas.
Now that you’ve decided on exactly what you'll be making, now is the time to prep your grocery list. Use the recipes you've selected and start writing down all the ingredients you'll need on your paper list or in your preferred note keeping app. It’s a good idea to do this at home when you have a few minutes, so you can check to see if you already have some of the needed ingredients in your fridge or cupboard.
Prepping for Easter - 3-4 Days in Advance:
Depending on the desert you've selected, you may be able to prepare at least part of it in advance. With certain cakes for example, you can bake the cake itself, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and a Ziplock bag, and keep it in the freezer until the day of the meal. Icings also freeze quite well, so it’s easy to whip those up in advance and stash them in the deep freeze too.
If your chosen desert can indeed be made in advance, you'll want to do this about 3 to 4 days before the meal.
Prepping for Easter - Creative Table Decor
Three or four days before the meal is also a nice time to give some thought to your table.
Do you have a clean tablecloth? Will you have enough forks or utensils for everyone who's coming? Should you get some flowers? Or perhaps you want to go big and pull off a full tablescape with Easter colours and springtime motifs.
Now's a great time to surf the web for inspiration on your Easter table. Sometimes creating a beautiful setting is as simple as going to the dollar store and getting some candles, coloured glassware, or festive napkins. A party supply store is sure to have some great ideas and inspiration for your tablescape too.
Prepping for Easter - 2 Days Before:
Head to your neighborhood Calgary Co-op grocery store about two days before your meal. Doing your grocery shopping a little early gives you some wiggle room in case there's something you can't find. Pick up all the ingredients on your grocery list and you'll be prepped and ready for meal day.
If you've chosen to make appetizers that can be prepared in advance now’s the time to get them ready. Our picks are for things like Rumaki (bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and chicken livers), savory biscuits like Jalapeño-Cheddar, or Gruyère Gougères (a light and delicate choux pastry puff). Getting these made up in advance and freezing them will also save you time and stress in the kitchen on the day of your big meal.
Prepping for Easter - 1 Day Before:
The night before your big event, remove anything you've preprepared from the freezer. Now is also a good time to chop or trim any vegetables for your side dishes (sealing them in Ziplock bags until cooking time), peel potatoes (keep them covered in a pot of lightly salted water until show time) and to trim or rub your roast or meat, if required.
The uber-prepared among us may also wish to set the table the night before, so it's one less thing to worry about on a busy entertaining day.
Prepping for Easter - A Few Hours Before:
With all this pre-preparation taken care of, there’s no need to rush or panic. Get the roast in the oven, then warm your appetizers, start your veggies, and chill the wine.
When guests start to arrive, you’ll be relaxed and ready to entertain.
Prepping for Easter - Let Co-op Do the Work!
Of course, if all this still seems a little overwhelming, let Co-op help with some of the heavy lifting.
Co-op’s butchers can direct you to a prepared Pork Crown Roast that takes the guesswork out of a fancy cut. Choose from a Boned and Rolled Prime Rib Roast where the Co-op butcher cuts the bones from the prime rib roast, rolls the meat and then ties the bones back in. The advantage to this is that it’s easier to slice once cooked, the bones are still able to add tonnes of flavour, and those who love to gnaw crispy bits off the succulent bones still have that option.
Or, with a halo of bones creating the crown effect and rich savoury stuffing in the centre, a Pork Crown Roast is an eye catching dish. Since the in-store butchers have done all the prep work, all you’ll need to do it pop it in the oven.
Plus, you can visit the deli department for pre-made charcuterie trays, while the in-store bakery has cakes and other tasty desserts, including Co-op’s wildly popular Black Forest Cake, made with real cream and real Kirsch.
Don’t stress this Easter. Make a plan, have some fun, or let Co-op do the work for you.
Written by Chef Liana
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