"Cooking with Christina" submitted by Springfield Moms Advisory Board member Christina Race.
1. Plan your menu now. Check that you have enough cooking and serving pieces. You don’t want to have to hunt down extra pans or forks at the last minute. Consider renting china, serving pieces, glasses, or linen from a local party rental company. Best advantage – no dishes or laundry to clean afterwards!
2. Always keep the supplies on hand for one appetizer and one baked good. This will come in handy with last minute visitors, class parties or work events.
3. Share the responsibility (and excitement) of serving your Holiday meal. If you are planning the menu and cooking, let your husband and /or children clean the house and decorate.
4. Enjoy every step of the process. Take time to leisurely look through food magazines or cookbooks for new recipes. Record and watch Holiday cooking shows for inspiration.
5. Make a list of all of the dishes you really want to prepare personally (family favorites or new ideas) and put the rest of the items on a separate list so you always have an idea handy when guests ask what they can bring. Remind them to bring items ready to serve or in a slow cooker in case your oven is too crowded to warm any additional dishes.
6. Don’t feel obligated to make several different types of cookies for your cookie tray. Make an extra large batch of your favorites and arrange a Holiday coffee with your friends to “trade” cookies. You get an excuse for some “friend time” during this busy season AND a variety of cookies for your event without all of the extra work. Also, be sure to check out our Springfield Moms "Cookie Walk" listing.
7. Make as many dishes in the days ahead as possible. Most casseroles are easily made a day or two in advance and reheated.
8. Take a night off! Order takeout or delivery (see our guide) the night before your big dinner. You are going to cook enough the next day. Let the restaurant do the work for you so you can relax.
9. Plan out your oven time and utilize your slow cooker. Not everything will fit in your oven at the same time. Plan when you’ll cook what dishes and what recipes will work just as well in your slow cooker.
10. Sit down and enjoy the meal with your guests. You pulled off another amazing holiday meal and deserve to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables, and turkey, and pies) of your labor!
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