It’s our final post from our Holiday Prep Series. So, we’ve made our lists, finalized decorations, prepped our gift wrap stations and made our gift list. Now, it’s time to get our meal planning on! Are you sticking with the family traditional meal, or setting new traditions with new dishes? Whatever it may be, it’s never too early to start prepping. Here are a few tips to get you ahead of the grocery game and leave no room for rushing when it comes down to cooking.
1. Stock the pantry with essentials. Consider what dishes you will be making or desserts you will be baking and pick up the non perishable items in advance. Flour, sugars, baking powder/soda, spices, canned foods and frozen goods, etc. No one likes standing in long in mile long checkout lines during the holidays for a mere bag of flour! Here’s a list of pantry essentials to help you remember the must-haves.
2. Once you’ve finalized your meals, take inventory of your pots, pans and serving dishes. Make sure you have one for each dish on the menu, otherwise now might be a good time to borrow or buy! Like that set of Le Creuset collection you’ve had on your wishlist.
3. Cook ahead, for last minute holiday guests or a pre-made meal that isn’t takeout when you want to focus on gift wrapping or family game night. Need some ideas, or 150 ideas? Taste of Home has some great suggestions.
4. Schedule a baking day. Years ago I started a tradition of taking a work day off for a full baking day with a girlfriend. Kids are in school, husband is at work, turn up the Christmas music and bake away! So much more fun with a good friend. And, we each plan ahead with a few favorite recipes, bring all the ingredients and not only bake together but share our baked goods at the end of our day! It’s a fun day we spend together.
5. Calendar time block – block out the time on your calendar on which days you will accomplish these tasks. The tricky part…sticking to it! I know I struggle with this. But honor yourself and stick to your schedule and you’ll be much happier when you are on track with the prep and stress free! Or at least stress reduced, we’ll aim for that!
6. Then create a cooking schedule for the day. Make an hour by hour list of what needs to be cooked and in what order it needs to be cooked. When to prep veggies, what time to put the turkey in the oven, how long will it take bake your sides, etc. This is also a great way to delegate tasks to your kitchen helpers.
7. A final, and very important piece of advice – don’t hesitate to go with a pre-made dish or two. Whole Foods has some delicious options. Not baking from scratch will make you no less of a wonderful host or hostess!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our series? Happy prepping and happy upcoming holidays!