Whole Story

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Kitchen Planning for the Holidays

By Megan Myers, November 3, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Megan Myers

Peeking at your calendar once October is over can be a little frightening. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and holiday parties seem to creep sooner and sooner each year. But don’t fret! With a little planning and prep work you can smoothly sail into the entertaining season.

Pantry Prowess

Take stock of your pantry, fridge, and freezer to clear out any expired ingredients. Check your supply of favorite holiday ingredients, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Dried and ground herbs and spices lose their potency after six months to a year, so if you haven’t refreshed your supply since last holiday season, now’s the time!

If you love giving baked goods for the holidays, be sure to stock up on the basics. Flours, sugars, and butter all get plenty of use during the season, and canned pumpkin and dried fruits are holiday favorites that keep well.

Menu Master

Basic Brine Recipe

Start planning your menus now so you can space out prep work. Making piecrusts, sauces, and more ahead of time can be a sanity saver on the big day.

Now’s the time to do recipe run-throughs if you’re tackling a new-to-you creation. You don’t want to be stuck with a subpar side dish or bland pie when you’re entertaining, so try recipes ahead of time. Space them out through the month so you don’t get seasonal recipe fatigue!

Once you’ve got the menu planned you’ll be ready to go grocery shopping. Buy pantry and freezer items now, plus produce that keeps well, like hard winter squashes. With these items in hand, the week-of shopping will be a breeze!

Not sure where to begin? Check out our Thanksgiving Menus for inspiration from classic to creative.

Harvest Vegetable Shepherd's PieGreat Guests

Putting together a guest list early will help you set the menu (Cousin Mary doesn’t like Brussels sprouts!) and determine the size of your party. Be sure to note everyone’s special diets – even if you’re eating vegan, gluten-free, or have a nut allergy, the holidays are still important to celebrate! Having dishes that are accessible to all your guests is the mark of a great host.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Just writing down your tasks can reduce holiday stress. Divide them based on the occasion or go week-to-week. Don’t forget simple items like “vacuum” and “get out the nice dishes”.  With everything written down, you’ll be able to see what can be taken care of quickly, what needs more time, and what can be delegated to other family members.

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be stressful. Use these tips to help you succeed all season long, and more importantly enjoy your celebrations.

What do you do to help you get ready for the holidays?

From carving with confidence to pouring with pride, our online Holiday Cheat Sheet means more of your best for less stress. Order holiday meals online too; we'll do the work, you'll take the credit.

Category: Holidays

 

4 Comments

Comments

lauraalioto says ...
Can't wait to order my turkey and get all the trimmings at my Whole Foods!
11/03/2013 11:19:10 AM CST
Lorraine Sousa says ...
Thanks for all the assortment of fabulous recipes, I know where I will be coming for my recipes this year!
11/03/2013 3:27:00 PM CST
Debbie McKinnell says ...
Our son for the last year only eats "humanely raised" meats. We want everyone to be included in our Thanksgiving Dinner, so would like to have a "humanely raised" turkey to put on the table!
11/04/2013 10:24:57 PM CST
Power My Life says ...
Thanks for sharing this helpful holiday planning post! Early planning for holiday get-togethers will definitely reduce stress in the kitchen. We also love that you provided us with Thanksgiving menus to find new, delicious recipes! We will be tweeting your tips to our followers from our Twitter account, @OncorPML!
11/11/2013 9:55:26 AM CST