Perhaps the easiest way to avoid Holiday dinner preparation is is to not do it at all. However, if you don’t have any choice or perhaps you do enjoy cooking but not the stressing, then there are many things you can do to avoid this. Here are some ideas to help you avoid that dinner preparation stress.
Use Only Tested Recipes
Sure, it’s nice to try out new things, but if you’re trying to avoid getting stressed out, you may want to cook things you’ve only cooked (and cooked well) previously. If you really want to try that complicated chocolate soufflé, then why not do a test run a few weeks before? You can try to master the recipe, work out the kinks or at least you’ll have an idea of the steps and you won’t be glancing at the recipe book every 10 seconds.
Shop Ahead of Time
On the days before Christmas or New Year’s, you’ll probably find that the supermarket is getting more crowded with other harried last-minute shoppers, and less and less items on the shelves. To avoid the rush of that last minute grocery shopping trip, do your shopping a few weeks before. There are many non-perishables you can buy ahead of time, like dried herbs, flour, bread crumbs, canned sauces and vegetables. You can even save yourself a trip by ordering them online as well.
Cook Ahead of Time
There may some recipes or preparations you can do the day or even week before the big dinner. You can make some cold salads (like pasta or rice salad) the night before the dinner. Soups and stews always taste better after it’s been simmering for a few hours, so why not toss in your ingredients into a slow cooker and all you have to do it set the time and temperature. Desserts like jams, cookies, and even pies and tarts can be made up to 2 weeks in advanced.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help – so why not ask a close friend or relative to come early and help you cook or ask a few people to contribute to your dinner? As host, you should take care of the main dish, but why not ask people to add some sides or dessert? This also makes sense in these economic times, as you can split the costs as well, and each of you can spend more on your dishes to make it more special.
Do It Semi-Homemade
It’s not cheating if you have a little help from pre-made stuff or a restaurant. Besides, it’s the holidays, not an exam! There are some pre-made things you can use to help cooking easier on you. You can get store-bought stuffing and add a few ingredients to make it a little different. Why not get a cake or cupcakes from the bakery and frost and decorate them yourself? Just make some cream frosting and sprinkle them with red and green sprinkles.
Minimize Your Menu
There’s really no need to put on an elaborate spread with all the trimmings to impress your guests, especially if you don’t really have the time. As long as you have enough food for all your guests, just prepare one main dish (like a turkey, ham or roast), one starter, one side and one dessert. You’ll be able to give more attention to each of your dishes instead of spreading yourself thin trying to create 10 dishes.
With these holiday dinner tips, you’re sure to have a stress-free holiday, so you can enjoy your time with your loved ones.