Written by our holiday season chef collaborator, Camille Arcese 

My favourite piece of advice to share whenever friends ask what to serve when they’re hosting is this: make a couple of things from scratch and buy the rest.

In my opinion, hosting is all about making people feel super welcome and cared for. And although having an abundance of food on the table is always priority number one, there’s no need to be a homemade hero. Making an entire meal and dessert from scratch for a group can be a lot of work – even stressful at times! And let’s be honest, a stressed-out host is never a fun one.

Farm Boy’s variety of delicious pre-made foods makes it easy to fill your table without preparing every single thing yourself.

To demonstrate, I’ve put together a complete meal you can prepare for family or guests that’s been simplified – and flavourized – using some great options from Farm Boy.

Starter: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

To start your meal, simply simmer some of Farm Boy’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and serve topped with a drizzle of sour cream, microgreens, and their Pumpkin Hemp Cereal. Their fresh soups have that homemade flavour which you can then customize or dress up with some unique garnish.

Main: Reverse-Sear Beef Roast & Seasonal Salad

For your main, I made the most delicious and SIMPLE reverse-sear sirloin tip roast. On the side is a beautiful and seasonal green salad dressed with golden beets, fresh gala apples, and Farm Boy’s Honey Dijon Dressing. You could also choose from and of their selection of ready-made salads if you’re into something with less prep. To complement the meal, I’d recommend throwing in a basket of full-flavoured bread, like Farm Boy™ Asiago Cheese Bread, or fresh Yorkshire puddings.

At my house growing up, Sunday family dinners often meant a beef roast which, while well-intended, I distinctly remember being as dry as a leather belt (sorry Mom!). The thing is, when you’re serving a roast, the whole idea is that it’s the star of the show, the centrepiece of the feast table. And so, we need to give it the star treatment in terms of how it’s cooked.

The old way of cooking a roast was to sear it on the stove to develop the crust (while making a mess of your stove) and then finish cooking in the oven. With this technique, the combination of the high heat used to sear the meat followed by too long or hot of a baking time makes it easy to end up with a dry roast.

It’s a good method, but I’ve got a better one that’s nearly impossible to mess up – the reverse-sear. Not only does it virtually guarantee that your roast is cooked to the perfect doneness all the way through, but it also renders the main dish of your feast make-ahead-friendly – oh yes, you certainly can prepare a roast the day before! Why does it work? Because it’s essentially like cooking sous vide without needing a water bath, a vacuum sealer, and one of those fancy temperature control thingys. 

The reverse sear method is perfect for newbie and veteran cooks alike. It allows you to cook a roast to your preferred level of doneness, and then create the crust in minutes right before serving. And reverse-searing allows meat to cook in a gentle, controlled way to yield the most tender results, every time. It works the same on any cut of beef really, even thicker steaks. So you can splurge on a prime rib premium oven roast or opt for a more affordable cut like the sirloin tip I used in this recipe. There are lots of fresh cuts of meat to choose from at your local Farm Boy!

This is just the kind of back-pocket cooking technique that I love to share – I hope you enjoy it!

Dessert

Last and certainly not least is dessert. And for that, I’m serving up my Sticky Ginger Cakes with Cranberry and Salted Caramel Sauce. This recipe needs no glowing introduction – the proof is literally in the sticky toffee pudding. It’s decadent, beautifully spiced, dense and moist. The fresh cranberries give the most perfect flavour contrast to the sticky-sweetness of the cakes and will have everyone who tries this raising an eyebrow with delight. This is not a dessert to sleep on…

One of the best parts of this meal is that the homemade components – the roast and the dessert – can be made the day before. All you need to do the day of your soirée is high-heat sear the roast in the oven and reheat the cakes. *mic drop*

You’re welcome!

Giving this meal a try? Share your finished product with us and Camille on social by tagging @officialfarmboy and @camicooks.

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