We're switching it up a little today! We have a special guest! Liz over at Goedeker's is sharing with us How to Survive Holiday Cooking! Head over and check out the great tips that she shares on her blog! While you're there, take the "What Holiday Dish Are You?" quiz and tell me what your results were! I got the main course!
The songs say this is the most wonderful time of the year, and for most of us, it probably is! Yet this wonderful time can also be one of the most stressful, especially if you're hosting a holiday dinner. With kids running through the kitchen and family members inputting their opinions on how certain dishes should be made, holiday cooking can become a total nightmare. But don't throw up your hands just yet!
The whole reason we gather together for holidays is to spend time with family and friends, not be stuck in a kitchen. This year, try using these tips to survive the craziness of cooking the holiday meal.
Preparation is Key
When cooking a massive holiday dinner, you have to be organized. It helps to plan your menu in advance. Find out how many people are attending so you can buy everything you need in the right proportions before you begin cooking. Are you cooking the whole dinner by yourself, or are people bringing different side dishes? Having everyone chip in will save time and money, and asking in advance will make the shopping simpler.
If you're planning on setting up a beautiful centerpiece and dinnerware, try having it ready a couple of days in advance and putting a tablecloth over it to protect from dust. That way there's no rushing around the morning of when you're trying to prepare food.
You can also fix some food the day before the dinner. Desserts are the easiest because they keep well overnight. If you're making pies or cookies, go ahead and whip them up, and if you're lucky enough to have a freezerless refrigerator, you can store all kinds of goodies away for the next day. Chop up any vegetables, fruits, herbs, or spices you are using the day before. That will cut your prep time in half.
You might want to enlist the help of others as well. I tend to be a control freak in the kitchen, but sometimes, you just cannot do it all. Having a second pair of hands can ensure everything is ready on time.
With a set of helping hands and prepping food the day before, you can rest easy knowing the worst is over and that the day after will be less stressful.
Dealing with the Aftermath
After it's all said and done, you'll probably want to lay down and go to sleep, but you'll feel a lot better knowing the mess is cleaned up. Before cleaning up, you'll want to deal with the leftovers. Where are you going to put the extras? While you may be able to send them home with some people, you could still end up with oodles of leftover food. Make sure you have prepared a place to store it all. Several leftover pieces of pie can share one plate. Mashed potatoes and gravy can also be stored together. Try to stack Tupperware and dishes high to save room.
If there are kids available to recruit, have them help with the clean-up! From washing pots and pans to loading the dishwasher, they have plenty of energy to help out the adults. With all the extra help, it shouldn't take long for the kitchen to be in ship-shape condition.
Once you feel the area is presentable, take the time to relax and relish in the togetherness. That's what the holidays are all about.