On Saturday night, I assembled the lasagna and put it in the refrigerator. I boiled the potatoes and then roasted them for 30 minutes out of the 45 that the recipes calls for. I kept them on a sheet pan and let them cool. Then, I covered them with foil (loosely) and kept them at room temperature over night.
My guests were arriving around noon, and I knew they wanted to eat by 1 or 1:30 at the latest, so I planned accordingly. At around 9:30 or 10, I cut and washed the green beans and broccoli. I boiled the beans, blanched them, put them back in the pot and added salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. I covered the pot and left them there on the cold stove top. I put the broccoli in a pan and added water to the pan, and covered that and let it sit as well. I cut up some lemons and limes for cocktails, and I sliced the bread and wrapped it in foil for the oven because my husband’s family likes it warmed. All of the mess was made and cleaned up before my guests arrived. My goal is to have the pans on the stove with a completely clean cook top and as few things as possible on the counter.
Does that sound too Pollyanna? I don’t mean for it to be. I do it this way because no matter how under control the meal is, you still get frazzled when company comes. A mess will only serve to drive you over the edge. Make the mess in advance and get it cleaned up. It will do wonders for you, psychologically. I promise. The more you do up front, the more you can enjoy your guests.
I put the lasagna in the oven at 10:30 and my husband seared the meat on the grill. When the meat was fully seared, I put it in the oven with the lasagna which cooked for a little over an hour. I pulled it out at 11:45 and covered it with foil. I took the sauce out of the fridge, put it in a saucepan, covered it, and left it on the stove.
My company arrived at around 12:15. The lasagna was resting (you need to let it set before you cut it) on the counter, and the pots were on the stove, sitting. I managed to get everyone out of the kitchen and into the living room and I sat with them for about 20 minutes and then took the meat out of the oven, covered it with foil and let it rest. At that point, I turned the oven up to 400 degrees and put the tomatoes in. I turned on the burner with the sauce on it, and went back into the living room for cocktails and conversation. After 20 minutes, the timer went off, and I returned to the kitchen to put the potatoes in the oven for the last 20 minutes. At this point, I cut up the lasagna and put a piece on each plate with piping hot sauce. It was still warm, but the really hot sauce made it seem as though it had just come from the oven.
As we cleared the starter plates, I took the tomatoes and potatoes out of the oven. Started boiling the broccoli and heating up the beans in the olive oil. Potatoes in bowl with serving spoon. Tomatoes in bowl with serving spoon. Give the bean pan a shake. Slice meat. Shake the bean pan. Put the meat on a serving platter. Turn beans off and put in serving dish. Turn broccoli off and put in serving bowl. Get sister to help bring stuff to the table.
Everything is piping hot, lamb is medium and moist. Wine is poured. Everyone is happy.