Great Ideas for Creating a Gourmet Holiday Meal

December 14, 2015 – Chris Nease from Celebrations at Home here. Today I’m sharing ideas for serving up a gourmet holiday meal using some Special Buys from ALDI. Honestly, this is one of the easiest dinner party plans I’ve put together. It only LOOKS lavish!

Seafood is very popular to serve during the Christmas season, and it always suggests luxury. I put together a seafood dinner highlighting Specially Selected Jumbo Scallops and Ahi Tuna, all part of ALDI’s Premium Special Buys for the holiday. You guys, this meal was SO easy to prepare and it would certainly be an impressive menu to serve guests.

The menu consists of ahi tuna appetizers, jumbo scallops appetizers, mashed potatoes, and steamed green beans. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? The secret to this gourmet meal is in the presentation and high quality products.

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  • Take your cue from upscale restaurants and add flourishes and garnishes that will complement the dish.
  • Use white dishes so the food pops against the background.
  • Plate sparingly. Allow blank space on the dish for a modern, sleek look.
  • For the Specially Selected Jumbo Scallops* ($9.99), I served them individually in seashells. These were literally collected by us on the beach. I gave them a good scrubbing and boiled them for 10 minutes just to make sure they were totally clean.
  • After partially cooking the scallops in the oven {baked at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes}, I transferred them on to the shells, added a little melted butter, a small sprinkling of shredded Asiago cheese, and breadcrumb topping {the same topping from the lobster mac n’ cheese}, and baked for another 5-7 minutes.
  • I plated them on a bed of rock salt and sprinkled with finely chopped parsley. That’s it! So easy and delicious. Guests can pick up a shell and eat the scallop with a tiny cocktail fork.

The sweetness of the scallops really comes through and is complemented by the saltiness of the cheese and bread crumbs.

  • I served the Specially Selected Seared Ahi Tuna* ($6.99) on a crispy base of fried wontons for a beautiful looking appetizer. For these, I just thawed the tuna according to the package and fried some wonton wrappers in vegetable oil for about 10-15 seconds each side – just until golden. Remove the wontons to drain oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  • After the wontons are cool, layer on a couple slices of the tuna. Top with a bit of mango salsa and very lightly drizzle wasabi sauce over the top. You could also use Fusia Sriracha Sauce as an alternative topping. Garnish with chive strips.
  • These are so good and really look impressive. Make sure you go with a light hand on the wasabi sauce or it will overwhelm the palate. Add a little extra dabble on to the plate just to help dress it up.

TIP: Use small squeeze bottles from the baking section of the craft store to control your sauce garnishes. The small opening in the bottle top lets you draw lines and dots easily.

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Finally, to finish off the meal in style, plate up a flight of cheesecake bites for each guest. These mini cheesecakes are part of ALDI’s winter seasonal
products found in the freezer section.

  • Decorate the plate using chocolate, and caramel dessert toppings. Put the plates in the freezer and the sauces will firm up until ready to serve. Just add the thawed cheesecakes and enjoy.

Wasn’t that easy? For a luxurious gourmet meal, you don’t have to be a trained chef. Just follow these simple steps and I guarantee this will be a successful dinner for you and your guests.

*Available while quantities last. All products may not be available in all stores. Prices subject to change.

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