The Schwan's Scoop

The Official Blog of Schwan's Home Service

Holiday Planner & Inspiration

By Schwan's Home Service, December 15, 2016

Holiday Planning with Schwan's

Planning your holiday celebration is half the fun of hosting. Anticipating the warm glow on friends and family’s faces as they tuck in to a delicious meal, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the season.

Our recommendation is to keep your prep and menu simple, so you can focus on what’s important: quality time with those you love. Schwan’s Home Service makes it easy to serve a delicious home-cooked meal with minimal fuss. Here are three menu ideas, along with tips for planning a perfect feast.

Holiday Ham Menu

Perfect for a family gathering of up to 12 people. Our juicy, spiral-sliced, bone-in ham is the centerpiece to this meal, served with tart and spicy Cherry Chutney – adding a splash of jewel-red to the plate. Our roasted baby bakers cook up easy, and are lightly seasoned and pre-cooked, so all you have to do is warm and serve. Grade A vegetables shine in this Roasted Vegetable Medley recipe. Finish your meal with a rich, velvety slice of Chocolate Crème Pie.

Serving Tips

For a family-style holiday meal, create centerpieces that are low, so guests don’t have to play peek-a-boo around towers of flowers.

Centerpieces can be simple and elegant: Choose favorite seasonal bowls and fill them with fresh pine or fir boughs, then nestle shiny ornaments among the branches.

Pre-scoop ice cream and freeze to make serving a’ la mode a breeze.

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Surf ‘n’ Turf Special

For an intimate gathering of up to four guests, the classic Surf ‘n’ Turf approach is a winner. Let these high-quality ingredients shine with simple prep and serving. Filet Mignon is grilled perfection, while stunning crab legs and claws can be steamed in minutes. Better yet, the crab is pre-scored, so getting at the tender, succulent meat is easier. Serve with butter and lemon wedges. Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Thyme Butter are easy to make – the fresh herbs and lemon are perfect complements to your main dishes. Warm a crusty baguette just before serving. Serve Cheesecake with Triple Berry Orange Sauce with hot tea or coffee to finish this perfect meal.

Serving Tips

Basic table setting rules are: forks and napkins on the left, knife (with blades inward) and spoon on the right. Dessert spoons and forks can be placed above the plate.  Utensils are always placed in the order they will be used, working from the outside to the center. For this meal, include a steak knife. Since our crab legs are pre-scored, you won’t need crackers.

Candlelit dinners offer maximum ambiance, but make sure to choose unscented candles, which can clash or overwhelm the wonderful aromas of your dinner.

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Ristorante Style

Italian cooking features warm flavors and comforting recipes that translate well to a holiday meal. Lasagna Roll Ups – single serve lasagna noodles rolled around real Pecorino and Mozzarella Cheese, and smothered in sauce – paired with perfectly seasoned Shrimp Scampi will please your guests with full flavors and delight them with their presentation. Asparagus spears are the ideal complement – giving your plate a seasonal – and Italian – red, white and green theme. Just before sitting down to eat, set out your Mini Cheesecake and Brownie Bites to thaw at room temperature for thirty minutes.

Serving Tips

Music is essential to set the mood. Loud music if you want a busy, active, noisy gathering or soft if you are looking for comfortable, relaxed conversation.

Set your table the night before to make your home a stress-free zone.

Timeline is key. Set your time to eat, and then determine the dish that cooks the longest to set your start time. This meal is great because it should take less than an hour from start to finish.

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