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How to Cook for Special Occasions-Tips for Success

Updated on January 31, 2011

We all know how anxious we can get when it is time to prepare for a special occasion. If you are not an expert chef or are just getting started, you may wonder how to cook for special occasions without making a mess of the menu. It is best to pick simple recipes, practice a little on your own family before the big event and try to be relaxed. This means putting on some music, not letting your mind create disastrous scenarios for you and just concentrate on putting a little love into what you are doing.

There are numerous quick and easy dishes that you can prepare that are both sinfully rich and melt in your mouth delicious. With a little bit of searching, shopping to make sure you have all the ingredients and planning out your time, you should have no problems with the execution of a great meal.

Don't Overlook Family Favorites

The trick to serving a great meal is to prepare a simple meat dish surrounded by decadent side dishes. You can more often find incredibly rich side dishes that are easy to prepare than meat dishes and you will not have to worry so much about whether you have the culinary skills to pull it off.

You need to first consider who you will be serving. If you are going to be having a number of children, you may want to go with a family favorite. Chances are that if your own children like it, so will others. This can take some of the pressure off you or avoid hearing groans and grunts of disgust that could leave you feeling down and discouraged.

Prepare What You Can In Advance

Another great idea when thinking how to cook for special occasions is to prepare as much of the meal ahead of time in order to allow more time for you to enjoy the event without feeling overwhelmed or under too much pressure. The more time you can give yourself for the big day, the better your frame of mind will be.

For example, if you plan to make something such as a lasagna, you could prepare it days or weeks in advance and just take it out of the freezer on the day of the event so it is ready to pop in the oven when needed. There are many types of appetizers, entrees, and desserts that wil be perfect for this type of occasion. Depending on the time you have, you can search for these recipes either online, or through some of the old cookbooks you may have stashed away in the cupboard. The main thing is to have a good time at this special occasion and not be stressing over making sure you pull off the "perfect" meal.

Plan and Then Relax

The main tips to remember when learning how to cook for special occasions is to allow yourself ample time, recruit some help from other family members or a best friend if you are worried you will not be able to handle it all yourself, and don't be ready to throw in the towel if something goes wrong. If you have ever watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen, you will know that mishaps happen in the kitchen all the time. But the key to being a good chef is the ability to just shrug it off, start again and make the best out of the situation.

While you may want to have special dishes prepared, this is not the time to try out making something such as a flambe or chicken cordon bleu or other recipes that take years to learn how to get it right. Your visitors want something that taste good, is easy to eat and looks appealing. There are many simple meals that will fit the bill.

Special occasions are a time meant to be cherished by family and friends. Plan ahead for a simple yet tasty menu and stop fretting about the cooking details. Instead, keep that positive energy and concentrate on just having a good time and making new happy memories.

Visit my site My Cute Little Chef for easy recipe ideas and ways you can save time and have fun in the kitchen(by using the helping hands of your children!)


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    • loves2cook profile image

      loves2cook 6 years ago from Portland, OR

      Prepping in advance has been my most valuable time-saver as well. If I have way too much to do beforehand, I'll make good use of my food processor and chop up everything I need the day before. Then when I'm ready to cook, I don't have to do any prep. So easy! I'll admit I don't bake-ahead as much as I probably should, like the lasagna. Might have something to do with my lack of freezer space :). But that's a trick my friends use, and it works really well for them.

    • profile image

      Bridget 6 years ago

      I create special occasion meals for my family quite often and that gives you comfortable people to practice on, also keep your menu small and simple

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Great cooking tips. I enjoyed this hub:)