For many people, cooking for the holidays can be frustrating and stressful. This year, though, instead of rushing around in a frenzy, try out these festive holiday cooking tips.
Instead of rushing around the day of your holiday dinner, plan ahead. Since most of the stores in your area will be closed on the holiday, make sure you have everything you need a few days in advance. This can include spices, vegetables, condiments and beverages.
Making a few dishes ahead of time can also save you the hassle of preparing them on the holiday. Baked dishes, like pies and rolls, for example, can usually be made a day or two before your holiday meal and stored in airtight containers. Dishes like mashed potatoes can also be made up to three days before your meal and stored in a refrigerator or freezer.
Keep it Simple
Remember that the most important thing about the holidays is family and friends. While a huge, fancy, extravagant holiday dinner is nice sometimes, ask yourself if it’s really worth the stress. Prepare the traditional turkey or ham, but keep the side dishes simple. If your dinner guests will be arriving early, a simple vegetable or cold cut tray can also be put out as an appetizer.
Also, don’t think you have to go it alone. If one of your guests offers to bring a dish or help out, by all means, accept the help.
It’s the holidays, so have fun. No one ever said that cooking a holiday meal had to be boring. Put on some festive holiday music and rock out! If your kitchen is big enough, try to get your family to join you. Not only will you get some free helpers, but you’ll also have a blast.
Count Your Dishes and Cutlery
This may seem like an odd festive cooking tip, but don’t dismiss it. Always make sure that you will have enough plates, bowls, platters and cutlery for your holiday dinner. Running out of clean silverware or not having an adequate number of plates for your guests can be very frustrating.
Stash Extra Chairs and Tables
Even if you’re expecting only six people at your holiday table, always plan for more. Any number of things could happen and there is always a possibility of unexpected guests showing up. To accommodate them, borrow or buy some inexpensive folding tables and chairs and keep them stored until they are needed.
Make Serving Easy
Forgo passing the dishes around the table this year and opt for a buffet-style holiday dinner instead. Set up a long table with plates at one end and the food spread out in a line along the table. Doing this allows your guests to choose their own food in an orderly fashion and it keeps messy dishes off your table. Most food can be kept warm with the help of slow cookers, electric roasters and electric skillets. If you are hosting a very large holiday dinner and do so frequently, you may want to consider purchasing or renting some catering equipment, such as chafing dishes and serving platters.