Safe entertaining tips and recipes during COVID-19

A Canadian chef reveals delicious food ideas and safety guidelines to delight seniors and social distancing guests

Make-ahead raspberry crisp breakfast parfaits in mason jars

Physically distanced backyard or outdoor entertaining can be a great way to connect with friends and family during COVID-19 if you follow a few safety guidelines. Gary McBlain, a Red Seal Chef and Amica’s National Director of Culinary Services, recently shared his COVID-19 entertaining at home tips and recipe suggestions in a live video event — one of many Amica webinars that empower seniors and their families with information about healthy aging. Watch the video to see Gary demonstrate how to make crab cakes and individual, no-bake strawberry cheesecakes, and read on for his strategies on safe gatherings during the time of coronavirus.

Safe food prep starts with good hygiene

Chef McBlain always recommends washing hands with warm water and soap before handling food. Likewise, Health Canada COVID-19 and food safety guidelines advise disinfecting all surfaces and cooking foods to safe internal temperatures. The good news is that normal cooking temperatures kill coronaviruses.

Single servings in creative containers

Try serving mini Cobb or caprese salads in mason jars, barbecue lamb kebabs as appetizers or mains, and zesty desserts in baby jars — just a few fun food ideas that are safe because there’s no communal serving. Place these or other pre-plated foods with disposable cutlery and chic napkins on separate trays for each distanced individual or couple at your gathering. (Avoid buffets, shared serving utensils and shared condiments when trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19.)

For the safety of residents and team members, Amica residences have been observing strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Dining rooms recently reopened with masked staff and a limit of two people per table, for example. Amica residents may also choose to dine in their room, if preferred.

Splurge on the best ingredients

Now that we’re all entertaining less often, make an impression with restaurant-style dishes made with the tastiest brand-name ingredients. McBlain swears by Liberté Greek Yogourt and fancy Dijon mustards. Made with Greek yogurt, the lemon-dill sauce for his crab cakes is a tart, light and healthier alternative to heavy mayonnaise sauces.

Every Amica residence takes the same approach to creating exceptional cuisine featuring fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables and lean proteins prepared daily by in-house Red Seal chefs. “Every day we have two different entrees for lunch and two different entrees for dinner, plus a minimum of five a-la-carte choices for lunch, dinner and dessert, so there’s a lot of variety on the menu,” says McBlain. Vegetarian and specialty-diet options are also available.

Go for wow factor

We could all use a pick-me-up right now, so choose dinner party, lunch, brunch or dessert recipes that make a statement. With graham-cracker crumbs, cream-cheese filling and a tart, local-strawberry puree served in a mini jar, Chef McBlain’s single-serving cheesecakes are a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.

For more recipes and at-home entertaining how-tos, watch Chef McBlain in action in this webinar, which starts with refreshing cocktail tips from an expert mixologist. Plus, follow Amica Senior Lifestyles on Facebook to learn more about other upcoming webinars for seniors with nationally recognized experts. From entertaining to sleep psychology to decorating tips, Amica aims to lead the conversation on keeping seniors informed, engaged, comfortable and safe.

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