In less than 48 hours I will be hosting 12 hungry adults for Christmas dinner! I have some simple tricks up my sleeve to save myself time and energy so I can enjoy the evening and stay in a positive attitude vs resenting the "work" so many people come to groan about when it comes to preparing holiday meals. When it comes to cooking, don't get overwhelmed with needing everything prepared from scratch. Choose small time saving corners to cut..... spending quality time enjoying your family is more important!
Here's just a few things to do to make it easier on yourself! Not cooking this year? Spread the love and forward this to your friends and family that are!
Time saving hack:
1) Buy jarred gravy. Unless you have a wonderful family recipe, I find its one of those add ons to the dinner that people overlook or that gets lost in the crowd of serving dishes. So save yourself some time and go jarred. If it makes you feel better, spice it up by whisking in some of your birds drippings, veggie stock, or simmering in some herbs.
2) Cook and freeze! I baked some awesome cupcakes earlier in the week to save me time in the days leading up to Christmas. They thaw on the counter at room temp effortlessly in less than 30 minutes. I'd imagine the same works for most cookies.
3) i) Prep your choppables. Clean, de-stem, chop, etc all of your fresh veggies as much as possible the night before your meal. Sounds simple but it makes such a difference the day of. I used to walk circles in my kitchen every time I would unwrap something, have a scrap to toss, etc
ii) Also I grabbed a bag of chopped frozen onions instead of going fresh. Since they are getting cooked down and lost in the stuffing, I find frozen convenience out weighs the novelty of having fresh.
) i) Crockpots are king in my home! Most hams are precooked and really only need to be heated. Choose a ham that will fit your size crock pot ( most average ones will accommodate a 6-8lb in its whole form). Bone in, spiral cut, whatever kind, it doesn't matter. Trim any obvious fat.
ii) Carve it FIRST before placing it in the crock pot! This will save you time and mess later. It's no fun trying to wrangle a piping hot pig while everyone is hovering around the kitchen waiting for it to be served. Cover with the lid, cook for 4-6 hours, with just an inch or two of water. Glazing it or using some kind of canned pineapple is fine too, but here's a health hack:
iii) Prepare a glaze or traditional pineapple concoction on the SIDE. It's just like the trick of ordering your salad dressing on the side. This way you can still enjoy the flavor but control how much you actually consume.
iv) Place crockpot on low or warm until ready to serve! No additional steps needed. Unless you have a fancy plate, I'm happy to serve it right out of the crock and save a dish from needing washed.
Making a turkey instead of ham?
While I can't cook a turkey in a regular sized crock pot, I do cook it traditionally, carve it, and place the meet and some of the drippings into the crock pot! Lets be realistic here, who actually take a beautifully browned bird and sits it on the dining table to present it during prayers? All the sides would get cold by the time its actually carved. So as long as you don't care that you don't have that picturesque presentation, do the crock pot trick! Its a great way to clean up all the mess before guests even arrive.
Again, remember that the goal here is to have some compromises to make the evening more enjoyable.
Have any other ideas to save time? Email me at SarahAdamsCoaching@gmail.com
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!
Health and Blessing,