Preparing a festive meal to enjoy with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season can be somewhat overwhelming and stressful. However, these five tips will help take the hassle out of this year’s culinary duties.
1. Solidify Your Strategy
Begin planning your feast about two weeks in advance by estimating how many guests will be attending the gathering. Determine how much food is needed and outline a menu before starting a shopping list. Don’t forget to include decorations for those special touches.
2. Start Shopping Early
It’s inevitable that local grocers will run low or completely out of certain popular holiday ingredients. Instead of waiting until the last minute, go ahead and start picking up those that will last a while like cream cheese, canned goods, spices and dry goods. About two to three days ahead of the party, pick up meats, breads and produce.
3. Prep Dishes Ahead of Time
There are quite a few aspects of the holiday meal that can be prepped in advance such as cutting veggies, making salads, cooking soups, etc. Dishes such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, desserts and casseroles can be put together one or two days in advance as well.
4. Dessert Cheats
If you’re having a dish like mousse, pudding or a cobbler, it’s okay to go ahead and make those a day or two in advance. The same goes for pies and cakes, which can be prepared and frozen several days in advance. Bake cakes and wrap them tightly to freeze. Thaw them on the big day before adding icing and decorations. Pies can be prepped and wrapped in foil. Cook the pie from frozen at the normal temperature, adding 10–15 minutes to the cook time.
5. Do a Partial Potluck
The easiest way to alleviate some stress in the kitchen is to invite guests to share one of their favorite side dishes or desserts, potluck style. This ensures that the chef can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the company of friends and family.
If you’re looking for modern, cozy apartments in Arlington, VA to call home and host holiday gatherings, contact our team at The Citizen at Shirlington Village to schedule a tour of our property.