By Nellene Teubner Plouffe, eHow Contributor
•When hosting Christmas dinner, there are many benefits to setting up a buffet. It saves time, allows guests to serve themselves, and is a more relaxed and practical way to feed your guests. Prepare a buffet that is founded on a balanced meal plan that includes protein, some vegetable or fruit portions, and a starch. Don’t forget a Christmas dessert based on the main dish you’re serving.
•Pick a full prime rib, traditionally called a standing rib roast, for the Christmas buffet centerpiece. It has seven ribs and weighs about 15 lbs., enough to serve 10 people with leftovers. You can choose a five-rib roast that will serve just 10. Accompany the roast with gravy, fingerling or mashed potatoes, winter roasted vegetables and a salad. You will need 15 medium-sized red potatoes for mashing, or two to three fingerlings per person. Vegetables that roast well together and hold up in a buffet include cauliflower, onions, Brussels sprouts and any variety of winter squash. Prepare about 3 lbs. of vegetables, a little more than ¼ lb. per person. Make a salad ahead of time, choosing seasonal greens, fruit, nuts and family favorites. Try a pear, nut and cranberry salad for color. Plan about ¾ cup of salad per person.
•Prepare steamed crab, grilled shrimp and smoked fish for a the Christmas buffet. Serve the bisque while the shrimp are grilling. Plan on ¾ cup per person. Plan to cook about 30 live, hard-shelled blue crabs. That gives each guest a taste of three. The second main dish can be marinated grilled shrimp. Plan on about 1/3 lb. per person. Buy good quality smoked fish from the deli or butcher. Plan on a serving size less than ¼ lb. per person. Set out coleslaw, red and white sauces, and a variety of fresh rolls or artisan breads.
Mexican Themed Buffet
•Prepare an informal Mexican Christmas buffet. Make appetizers of tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. These can be set on the buffet when you’re ready to serve. Start with a Caesar salad,. Plan one cup per person. Offer 20 chicken tacquitos, 20 minicheese and bean burritos, and 3 lbs. each of chicken and beef asada . Make a black bean or refried bean dish with melted cheese on top. Serve with corn or flour tortillas and sides of shredded cheese, sour cream, and the salsa and guacamole. Guests can make their own burritos if they choose, or eat the meat without the tortillas.