One of the biggest problems cooks face during the holiday season is keeping foods hot. After all, it’s almost impossible to get everything done at the exact same time. Either the turkey is getting cold or the side dishes are. Thankfully, there are a number of tricks you can use to keep your holiday foods hot while the rest of your meal finishes cooking. Best of all, some of these methods can be used on a buffet as well.
Aluminum foil is a great way to keep casseroles and meats hot during the holiday season. For casseroles, all you have to do is use oven mitts to securely wrap aluminum foil around the top of the dish. This prevents the steam from escaping and keeps the food hot. The only time this isn’t a good idea is if the casserole has a crunchy topping. The steam can end up making the topping soggy. As for meats, you will end up ruining the pretty presentation in order to the keep the meat hot for your guests. Of course, what’s more important, looks or hot food? To keep the meats hot, you will need to slice the meat from the bone and place the slices on a large serving platter. Cover the platter tightly with aluminum foil until ready to serve. This keeps the meat nice and hot without overcooking it.
Whether you’re keeping mashed potatoes or green beans hot, the slow cooker is the perfect option. Many slow cookers have a warm setting that is ideal for keeping foods at the perfect temperature for long periods of time. Slow cookers can even be used in a buffet setting. Just remember to keep the lid on as much as possible or some dishes may dry out. Also don’t forget the importance of the small slow cookers. These little guys are perfect for keeping gravies and sauces nice and hot throughout the meal.
Electric Buffet Server
If you’re serving a large group of guests, an electric buffet server is a good investment. Buffet servers can be purchased with one or several compartments. The multiple compartment buffet server is the best option for holidays, but if you can find one that offers both options (the single and multiple compartments) this can also come in handy during football parties when you’re serving chili. During the holidays though, a three compartment or more buffet server is ideal. You can slice your turkey and place it in one compartment along with green beans and cornbread dressing in the other two. These servers are designed to keep food hot without continuing to cook the food or dry it out. If you’re worried about your turkey though, you can always add gravy to keep the turkey slices moist.
Last, but not least, an age old remedy to keep foods hot is the chafing dish. Chafing dishes do work, but they can also be a lot of trouble. Instead of simply plugging them into the wall, you need to keep a gel fuel canister lit under the dish. This can be annoying to keep lit during your meal. Many canisters last two to two half hours. If you’re serving multiple guests throughout the day, this can be a problem. For the most part though, this is a nice option to have, especially if you’re making a huge meal and need several options to keep foods hot.