I've always looked forward to a grand family get together so that we could all share a traditional meal. What is that, you ask? Turkey at Thanksgiving, prime rib at Christmas, ham at Easter. Mind you, none of these meals were traditional holiday meals where I grew up.
This is what we ate at Easter: a slow cooked stuffed rabbit or stuffed leg of lamb. The rabbit was easier to cook because of its size. Mother could easily stuff it in her big sauce pan and set it on a slow fire in a savory tomato stew that perfumed the house for hours.
Nowadays, if I do get a crowd for a holiday, or any occasion, I try to prepare food that can be cooked in advance:
1. Eggplant parmigiana
2. Mushrooms and spinach strudel
3. Roasted leg of lamb
4. Roasted root vegetables
The timeline is easy: Cook the lamb and the root vegetables ahead, even a day ahead. Prepare the strudel and the eggplant ahead of time as well, but bake it the day of the meal. Before your guests arrive, an hour ahead, slip the eggplant and the strudel in the oven and cook as recommended. Make a gravy for your lamb and slip the sliced lamb and root vegetables back in the oven for fifteen minutes or so after you pull out the eggplant and strudel. Turn the oven off and let the food rest and wait for the time when you are all hungry.
All of these dishes can be prepared and cooked ahead. You can serve them cold if you want, or slightly warmed. Add a salad of mixed greens, and a dessert, and your celebration dinner is ready. Notice that you have lots of veggies, enough for a vegetarian to feel full.
p.s. search for recipes on the sidebar or use your own recipes