Easy Gourmet Holiday Meal

gourmet holiday meal doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a ton of time. I’m sharing some tips and tricks of the trade, here.

Great ideas for creating a gourmet holiday meal

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, Ahi Tuna, and Sockeye Salmon, 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 dinner party menu to serve guests.

How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.
How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.
How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.

A Gourmet Holiday Meal plan:

The menu consists of ahi tuna appetizers, jumbo scallops appetizers, and a main course of sockeye salmon with roasted red pepper coulis, 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.

  • 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.
How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.
  • For the Specially Selected Jumbo Scallops* {$9.99}, I served them individually in seashells. These were literally collected by us on the beach and 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 macaroni 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.

How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.
  • 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 of 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.

How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.
How to create a gourmet holiday meal without spending a fortune or ton of time.

A plated dinner isn’t always practical. Most of the time we serve family style or buffet style, but this gourmet holiday meal begs for a pre-plated presentation. Sockeye salmon is one of our favorite meals and it’s super easy to cook making it perfect for entertaining. In fact, this salmon with red pepper coulis is our go-to dish when we want to make a good impression. We’ve been making it for about a decade. You can find Specially Selected Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Portions* at ALDI for just $9.99.

  • You can find the red pepper coulis recipe here; you will add a foundation of it on to the plate and lay the cooked salmon on top.
  • Next, transfer prepared mashed potatoes into a piping bag and pipe it onto the salmon. Top it off with a fried sage leaf.
  • Fried sage leaves are all the rage. They’re light, crunchy, and delicious! Just drop individual leaves into hot oil for about 30 seconds and then remove to drain. Sprinkle sea salt on top while it’s still wet with the oil.
  • With so much flavor from the main dish, steamed green beans are the perfect complement. Other good choices would be roasted asparagus, a green salad, or steamed broccoli.
Great ideas for creating a gourmet holiday meal - dessert. cheesecake tasting flight

Finally, to finish off the gourmet holiday 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 holiday 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.

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