9 last-minute cooking tips to ensure you're ready when holiday guests arrive

December 2015
By: Karren Gibbs, Today.com

You try your best to host the perfect family Christmas dinner, so why are you frazzled and way too busy when your guests arrive? My friend, it's because of mistakes you don't even know you're making. We asked nationally acclaimed chefs John Besh and Alon Shaya for advice on the subject and learned that the source of many cooking goofs is POOR PLANNING. Considering these top chefs turn out hundreds of delectable meals a day, their recipe for success is worth following.

Tips for cooking roasts

5. If a recipe says to cook a roast on a rack, but you plan on making a gravy—stop. "In that case, don't use a roasting rack," advises John Besh, New Orleans-based chef, restaurateur and author. "It keeps the roast elevated but, the problem is, those luscious drippings burn on the bottom of the pan. To avoid that, I cut a mirepox of onions, celery, and carrots to place the roast on. (Mirepox is a mixture of chopped veggies and sometimes herbs and meat.) This elevates the roast from the bottom of the pan. I also add water to the pan. This keeps the drippings from burning and creates the perfect pan sauce—all at the same time."

6. Don't want to cook a sixteen-pound turkey for three people? Innovate! Instead of roasting a whole bird, brine and roast just one or two parts. A breast and a drumstick may be all you need, especially if you don't want leftovers.