AW’s Secret Tips

Like most women who work,  my days are full and I don’t always have time to cook, but we do love to entertain family and friends, particularly on special holidays. Fortunately, I’ve found an easy solution to my time challenge.  It’s called Costco’s.  Or Sam’s.  Or occasionally HEB Central Market, our local grocer.

Costco, particularly, specializes in dishes that need no preparation.  Just pop them in the microwave or oven and, in a few minutes, they are ready to go!  Last night we served a “to-die-for” Chateaubriand, that couldn’t be topped by most fine restaurants.  We sauteed some little red potato quarters sprinkled with fresh Rosemary, and our neighbor brought asparagus with morrels, a delicious type of mushroom.  She also brought herbed bread and a Napa Cabernet.

Another trick is to think “assemble”, don’t cook.  We assembled appetizers by slicing a wonderful cantelope into chunks and wrapping the pieces with prosciutto, held in place with a pretty crystal toothpick.  We added a brie from Costco and a wonderful white  herb and pineapple cheese ball from HEB.  ( Remember these people are paid to be chefs so their food is often remarkable.)

Half the battle, I think, to serving a memorable meal,  is to make it attractive.  If you don’t already have a few really great looking pieces of silver or crystal you may want to think about haunting estate sales where you can find a couple of real bargains that will dress up your table and add that special sparkle to  your meal presentation.  I have a couple of very expensive and very beautiful plates… just one each, that I use to serve appetizers on.   One may not be able to afford a complete set but one of almost any pattern is certainly within reach and adds a lot of flair to your table.

Try to be in keeping with the season, both with food and decor.  Below are a couple of photos taken at my home during various holidays.

Around Easter: appetizers on the deck.

I thought this was a very pretty cake I snapped up at Sam’s around Christmas.

This is a Ralph Lauren tablecloth for Thanksgiving.

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