Helpful tips for holiday survival
1. The first step in holiday survival is to decide that you are willing to give up perfection. Instead of trying to make your gathering look like the cover of a magazine, put the focus on friends and family instead.
- Plan the menu. Write down all of the ingredients and make two lists of the items you will need to purchase. One list should be nonperishable items that you can purchase several days to a couple of weeks ahead of time, and the other should be the perishable items you must purchase within two or three days of the event. Consider using some good quality convenience foods that will save you time.
- When planning the menu, take into consideration the equipment that is available for cooking. For example, if you are roasting a turkey, don’t plan for several other items that must be prepared in the oven unless you can make them ahead of time and then reheat just before the meal. Look at how you might make use of your range, microwave, toaster oven, crock pot, etc.
- Check linens or paper goods. Make sure you have adequate serving dishes and utensils. Consider using heavy paper goods or disposable plastic dishware in place of china. If using silver, check it ahead of time and clean if necessary.
3. Make a cooking “schedule” like they do in most restaurants. Write down the times that items must be started so that you and any helpers can just run down the list and get the job done. The following schedule is just an example:
- Stuff Turkey, start time 9:45 am
- Get turkey in oven by 10:00 am
- Peel the potatoes (cover with water) at 12:30 pm
- Start cooking potatoes at 12:40 pm
- Cut broccoli at 12:45 pm
- Mash potatoes (keep hot in a greased crock pot for hours) 1:05 pm
- Take turkey out of oven at 1:15 pm
4. Prepare items ahead. If you are using linen napkins and tablecloths, iron them ahead of time so that they are ready to go. Cut the vegetables for the stuffing and cube the bread. Do not mix until just before you are ready to stuff the “bird.” You can also clean, peel, and cut your vegetables the day ahead, and some vegetable dishes can be cooked ahead and then reheated just before serving time. Take advantage of the 20 minute “rest time” that turkey needs between roasting and carving to warm items for serving.
5. Email or call Susan Lednicky, nutritionist, to receive a free Talking about Turkey booklet at 702-222-3130.