Take a page from the queen of entertaining and ring in 2017 with a celebratory dinner chock-full of simple, yet indulgent dishes. Here’s how to throw the perfect New Year’s Eve party Ina Garten-style.

Keep it intimate and informal

Don’t feel pressured to create a fancy feast just because you’re hosting the last ‘hurrah’ of the holidays.  Keep your menu easy and let the ambiance do the work. Dress up your kitchen table with your finest china, cutlery and of course, candles. Ina tends to keep her dinner parties small and intimate. Try to pare down to a maximum of 8 guests — it will make the occasion feel extra special.

Make ahead as much as possible

No host likes to be hunched over the stove as guests arrive. Good thing Ina has some time-saving tricks, including easy make-ahead dishes. The key to stress-free holiday hosting is all about the planning. Once you know your menu, you’ll be surprised to find how many dishes can be made a day or two in advance and reheated just before guests arrive.

The Menu

Keep it seasonal and stress-free with warming, comfort food dishes that are also easy to make.

Ham and Cheese Board

1. Cheese Board

A cheese board is an easy appetizer that you can assemble in a flash. A good plate should have a few different flavours and textures, include a hard cheese, a semi-firm cheese, a soft cheese and a nice blue for some added bite. Balance out your board with some sweet grapes, fig jam, sliced baguette, nuts and crispy crackers. If you are looking to beef up your board, add some thick-sliced ham and good quality grainy mustard.

Shrimp Bisque

2. Shrimp Bisque

This elegant bisque soup makes an appetizing first course, just enough to tease the palate. Make a pot ahead of time and reheat as guests arrive.

cider-pork-tenderloin-fresh-herbs

3. Cider-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Marinating this succulent pork overnight makes a luxurious and speedy New Year’s Eve dinner. Cider, maple syrup and fresh herbs like rosemary and ginger make for a fresh and subtly sweet main that is warm, comforting and elegant.

Bread Pudding

4. Ina Garten’s Panettone Bread Pudding

No meal is complete without a little something sweet — and that’s especially true for New Year’s Eve! This scrumptious bread pudding, full of nuts and candied fruit, can be made earlier in the day and served at room temperature.

Champagne Cocktails

5. Champagne Cocktails

Just before the big countdown, surprise guests with Ina’s Champagne Cocktail. Happy New Year!