Create Your Own Stress Free Holiday Cooking Experience
Picture this scenario. Itís Thanksgiving, and the turkey is only half done; you realize you donít have all the ingredients for mashed potatoes, the cranberry sauce looks more like cranberry juice, and you have a mountain of green beans to prepare. Sound familiar?
If youíve agreed to cook for friends and family during the holidays, this may be a familiar situation for you. Big meals take lots of effort, and it can get rather stressful in the kitchen. There are, however, a few things you can do to relieve most of the tension involved. Taking extra time to prepare, starting early, and planning ahead are just some of the tips youíll learn in the following paragraphs.
Take time for yourself
The day of the event is a time when a whirlwind of commotion, conversations and hungry people could be a part of your day. Make it easier to handle by spending some time alone a few days prior to the event, taking in a little quiet time in your current surroundings.
The more people you add to the situation, the more stress may come with it. Take some time to breathe deeply and prepare yourself for the day ahead. This way, when the time comes youíll be better prepared to keep those stress levels in check.
Start a few days early
Itís always a good idea to begin prepping a few days early. Many of the most time-consuming tasks can be done in advance, and you can store items in the refrigerator until youíre ready to use them. This makes the actual cooking time more manageable. The time you save will give you the opportunity to be more social while waiting for dinner to come out of the oven.
Another tip is to clean out your refrigerator ahead of time, since you know there will be leftovers to store there soon. If thereís nowhere to put them, it only adds to holiday tension. Make room in advance, and you wonít have to try to give things away or eat lots of leftovers yourself before they begin to spoil.
Plan your menu
Knowing what youíre cooking and how much to prepare is a good plan to work out well ahead of time. Do you have enough ingredients to create a meal for thirty people? If not, now is the time to list the items you need and buy them, so you donít have to run out while food is cooking.
You wouldnít want to burn your turkey because you had to run for cranberry sauce or something as simple as more butter. Create a shopping you can review a few times before leaving home and double check before you leave the store.
Schedule cooking time and arrival of people
Scheduling your cooking time is important, too. Count back from the time people will arrive and youíll know when itís time to start cooking. You donít need the added stress of trying to keep the turkey warm while the rest of your meal finishes cooking.
A plan like this keeps you aware of when certain times will finish cooking and when you should start preparing them. Have a schedule in your mind you can stick to, and the food will all be ready around the same time.
Holiday meals take planning, and theyíre not something to take lightly. Preparing lots of food takes lots of effort. Following these simple tips, however, increases your level of success, making you the life of the party on your big day. Being able to socialize with your friends and family and looking like a professional are the rewards of careful planning. Youíll put your mind at ease knowing youíve managed a kitchen feat with less stress and more pleasure.