The Holiday season will soon be upon us! This year make the commitment to slow down, relax and enjoy it! We become extremely stressed by trying to make everything perfect that we miss the true joy and beauty of the Holiday Season. The most important thing about the Holiday Season is spending time with family and friends, not fretting over a huge “To Do List”.
Even the calmest person can become frantic, cooking, baking and planning what to make for Holiday parties, Christmas dinner, breakfast and brunches. A bit of early planning can take the stress and chaos out of the Holidays!
Here are some great ideas of how to “Stress Less in the Kitchen” during the hectic Holiday Seasons.
- Get a holiday planner (a simple notebook will do). I have a beautiful recipe binder that contains all my favourite holiday recipes. These are tried and true recipes I use year after year. This binder can be used every year and save you valuable time planning as well!
- Choose your favourite recipes that have been made many times to avoid the stress of an unfavorable outcome. Want to try something new, test it a few times beforehand. What may have looked delicious on Pinterest could be a recipe disaster Christmas Day.
- Make what ever you can ahead of time and freeze it. Most casseroles freeze very well.
- Most baking freezes very well, so start early with your holiday baking and freeze it. I usually bake a large batch of gingerbread and sugar cookies, freeze them, and then decorate a dozen or so at a time. It’s great to have cookies ready to decorate with the kids.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself! Have every guest bring a side dish, salad or dessert. Plan what everyone will bring so you don’t wind up with 3 green bean casseroles.
- Getting ready for the holidays should be a family affair so ask for help, give everyone a job to do. The old saying “many hands make light work” is so true.
- Pull out the slow cooker. It’s great when oven space is at a premium. Super for cooking in as well as keeping things warm.
- Pre-wash and cut up all your fruits and vegetables the day before. You can even have all recipe ingredients measured, packaged and labeled in containers or plastic zip bags.
- Plan the table setting and set it the night before. Make sure you have clean napkins and tablecloths.
- Have a plan of which serving dishes and utensils you will use for each dish and label them. This will be very helpful for any of your kitchen helpers.
- Set up your bar and drink area, preferably away from the busy kitchen space. Delegate someone to be responsible for replenishing supplies. (Glasses, ice, mix etc.)
- Clean out refrigerator to make room for holiday dinner ingredients and leftovers.
- Have your dishwasher empty, then wash as you cook so your kitchen doesn’t become a stack of pots and pans.
What to put in your planner.
- A menu plan for dinner, breakfast or brunch, appetizers, drinks, and leftover recipes.
- Recipe cards with different sections for baking, breakfast, brunch/lunch, dinner, appetizers, desserts and drinks.
- Make a list of when to put food in the oven, their cooking times and oven temperatures.
- Ingredient list –what you have on hand and what you need to buy.
- Wine/refreshments to serve with dinner.
- Table setting and serving dishes.
- Detailed preparation schedule
With a little planning, the Holiday Season need not be a stressful time. Take the time to enjoy this special occasion with family and friends. Grab a hot chocolate and spend an evening driving around looking at festive lights and displays. Get some friends together and enjoy an evening of wine, holiday music and cookie decorating.
Plan an afternoon of baking with the kids. So many fond memories are made doing holiday baking with children.
Keep some simple ingredients on hand for making last minute appetizers. Tre Stelle has some fantastic appetizer recipes that can be made quickly and easily. Check out this recipe for Strawberry and Tre Stelle® Feta Bruschetta.