The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year and as the end of the year approaches all of the tasks, activities, parties, and shopping that needs to be squeezed in can make even the strongest among us weak at the knees. A bit of meal planning in advance of the holiday season can help us carve out some peace of mind and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Decide On What Dishes You Need to Make
Determining what you want to serve during the holidays is a good place to start. You probably have a few key dinners or get togethers that you want to host and planning theses meals on paper will make sure that you have the necessary ingredients and supplies to make each event a success. If you are hosting a sit- down dinner at the table or a buffet style dinner you may also have other people bringing dishes that they have made.
The web is a great place to find new recipes if you want to add to the favourites that you already make. Deciding upon the main dish and side dishes along with breads/rolls, cheeses, pickled items, beverages, etc. will allow you then to create your shopping list of ingredients. Don't forget to take allergies into account when making new dishes and don't forget to check your inventory of spices that you will need along with staples such as flour, white sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, vinegars, olive oil, etc.. Some of the spices may be stale dated or you may have run out altogether of a spice that you absolutely need. There is nothing more frustrating than starting to make a recipe when you find that you have run out of the spice called for. Equally frustrating is going to the store late in the season for fresh Thyme/Rosemary/Basil/Oregano and finding that the store is sold out. So make sure to stock up early on the fresh spices you will need as well.
Consider also the accessories that you may want to include with the meal such as festive napkins, party favours, candles, etc.. Then add some batteries to the list. You can never have enough batteries around the holiday season !. There may also be seasonal items that you need to add to the list, such as Egg Nog.
Check Existing Inventory and Create Master List
List in hand approach your pantry and go through it to see what you already have and what you will need to purchase to make your recipes. This may be a good time to clean out your pantry and the deep freeze if you will need to make room for those dishes that you make/bake in advance. Once you have done this and have your master list, you are ready to go shopping.
Some dishes you have to make the same day that you host an event, but some of the dishes that you make for a meal you can easily make the day before. Others you might be able to make in advance and put them in deep freeze until needed. If you are able to stagger making some of the dishes in this fashion without compromising the quality/taste it can relieve some of the pressure of having to make everything on the same day.
Getting Others Involved
Where possible giving other family members the responsibility of making/bringing certain dishes can add to the joy of the season and lessen your workload.
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