14 Ways to Make Your Holiday Meals Easy December 11, 2018 – Posted in: Holidays, How to, Lifestyle – Tags: ,

You already know that when it comes to the big holiday meal, it’s better to make a list and check it twice—to plan ahead by prepping and cooking what you can in advance. With so many dishes and pressure to make them perfect, a well-organized list doesn’t always take the edge off. Try out a few of these stress-reducing kitchen tips and relax.

 

Go easy on the apps

Don’t outdo yourself with baked hors d’oeuvres or multiple appetizers. Make a simple charcuterie board or a cold dip that doesn’t take up coveted oven space or your precious time.

 

Do dessert first

Always make dessert the day before. Find a recipe that can be made the day before and eaten at room temperature. No one has time to worry about checking on the sweet stuff when they’re deep into a savory dinner.

 

Find room temp recipes

Find at least one or two recipes for dishes that can be served at room temperature, like a savory quiche or honey-glazed ham.

 

Only bake one dish

Don’t go trying to fit four different dishes in the oven that all require different bake times, unless you have two ovens. You’ll end up with cold food, undercooked meat, or mushy vegetables. Choose one dish that just has to go in the oven and dig up a few stovetop recipes.

 

Toss a hearty salad

Make a salad with hearty veggies that can be tossed the morning of or even the night before. A kale caesar, cabbage slaw, or a mixture of celery, cucumbers, and carrots will hold up to an overnight oil and vinegar marinade.

 

Focus on one star

Instead of trying to make every dish a culinary masterpiece, focus on making one elaborate dish and simplify the rest.

 

Make a one-pot dish ahead of time

Spend the day before simmering a flavor-packed one-pot dish. Then heat it back up the next day right before your friends and family arrive. Think braises and slow-cooked meats.

 

Serve soup

Make the best soup you’ve got. Toss a salad. Heat up a big loaf of crusty bread. Serve the soup with fun toppings like toasted nuts or creme fraiche that your guests can add themselves. Sometimes simple is better for everyone.

 

Buy, don’t mix

Instead of mixing up a fancy holiday cocktail, go easy on yourself and buy the booze and mixers, and slice up an assortment of citrus. Let the people play bartender and mix their own drinks.

 

Fire up the grill

Leave some room in the oven and use the grill to cook the meat, veggies, or toast the bread. You may even get a few people out of the kitchen.

 

Buy chafing dishes

Keep everything warm and toasty with chafing dishes. Take that dish straight from the oven and stop worrying about timing and keeping it all hot. It does the work for you and also looks gorgeous on the buffet table.

 

Don’t decorate the table.

Go family style with big servingware and let the food be the star.

 

Ask for help

When all else fails, ask for help. Make it a potluck or ask people to come over early and put the finishing touches on dinner. Don’t try and be a hero.

 

Remember it won’t be perfect.

This isn’t a televised cooking challenge. It won’t be perfect—it just has to be good.