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Cook and Serve in Aluminum Foil for an Easy Holiday Buffet
—by Jean Fisher
Aluminum foil can help make your next holiday dinner fun, delicious and easy.
Holiday entertaining can be easy when you bake and serve in aluminum foil. Start with a little bit of planning add some holiday decorations, an array of baskets and the strength and flexibility of aluminum foil to create a fuss-free holiday buffet.
Plan the Menu
The first step for any gathering that involves food is to plan the menu. Select a main dish, two or more vegetable or fruit side dishes and a bread accompaniment. For our holiday Easter buffet, we selected ham slices topped with pineapple rings, candied sweet potatoes, asparagus tips and soft breadsticks.
Time the Cooking
The true artisty of meal preparation lies in the timing. The cook who can present all the dishes of a meal done to prefection, hot and ready but not overcooked is a star in the kitchen.
Looking at our menu, we can recognize that the sweet potatoes will take the longest to cook (about an hour), the ham slices and asparagus tips will take about the same amount of time (1/2 hour approximately) and the bread can be warmed up at the very last minute. Therefore, the potatoes will go into the oven first and cook for about 1/2 an hour before the meat and vegetables are popped into the oven.
Baking in Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is great for baking because of its strength, flexibility and heat conducting properties. read more about aluminum Uses of aluminum But because of the flexibility property, it can be difficult to use with certain foods. For that reason, I like to put the foil in a baking dish before adding the food and seasonings.
Tear off a large piece of foil that fits into your baking dish with several inches to spare around the edges. Place the food onto the foil, add the sauce and/or seasonings Our recipe for Candied Sweet Potatoes and use another piece of foil to seal. The second piece of foil should be about the same size or a bit smaller than the first. Tuck the edges of the second piece of foil inside the edges of the bottom layer of foil. Roll the edges of the bottom layer of foil over the top layer, pinching and crimping the edges to seal the two pieces together. The baking dish will still be clean when the foil-wrapped food is transferred to a serving basket.
Make it Festive
Decorate your buffet table with colorful holiday decorations. Line the serving baskets with colorful tissue paper. Roll back the foil to help yourself to the delicious food, and roll it back in place to keep the dish hot for the next person. At the end of the festivities, clean up is so easy as leftovers can be wrapped in their original foil. Send some home with your guests!
Our editor, Jean Fisher, is a former elementary teacher. She offers "What's For Dinner?" as a free service for busy families. One delicious meal is suggested for each day of the week, plus an organized grocery shopping list that can be customized to include all your shopping needs. You will also find two stimulating table topics and one educational after-dinner activity for each day.
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