Cooking tricks to follow for the preparation of Christmas meals
So, you are planning to host your first Christmas dinner at your new home. If you suddenly realize that you have no idea what to do or how to get started, don’t worry. This checklist should restore your confidence and re-plan a memorable holiday meal:
One of the first things to do is plan your meal. What main dish are you going to cook? A turkey? Steak? BBQ? Are you going to add garnishes to your meal? If so, what are they? Write them down so you don’t forget them. Include dessert, cheeses, salsa, drinks, bread, and other dishes.
Once you see the list, double check if some items don’t fit. Will your mashed potatoes go with your meat and mushroom dish? Once you have finalized your list, do the following:
- Buy all the ingredients. This is a priority if you plan to cook specialty dishes or international cuisine such as Indian food and will be looking for spices or other ingredients that are not easily found in grocery stores.
- Buy everything you can store in your pantry about 2 to 3 weeks in advance.
- Buy vegetables and other foods that are easier to spoil the day before or early on Christmas morning (if you’re cooking for dinner).
- Prepare all your tools.
If you plan to bake your first turkey, make sure the turkey you buy will fit in your oven. Or if you don’t have one yet, check out the prices and kitchen appliance reviews and ovens so you can get one before the holidays start.
If you’re barbecuing, do you have charcoal ready? For those who love meat, is your wood chips ready?
- Be prepared physically and mentally.
Every time you cook a full menu, it can be physically exhausting. You need to be mentally prepared for this too! Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Relax, if you can. And start preparing dishes only when you feel like it. You’d be surprised how easy cooking becomes if you’re happy to do it.
Find pre-made recipes.
Start early. If you are baking a MASSIVE turkey, keep in mind that you can thaw your turkey in the refrigerator for several days before the actual Christmas meal. When defrosting, allot 1 day for every four pounds of poultry.
Aside from turkey, many people start preparing food the day before their Christmas meal. Find out what dishes you can cook or prepare ahead of time. For instance:
- Desserts and cakes that can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Side dishes you can cook ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat the next day.
- Ingredients that you can peel, slice or chop the day before.
- Prepare the dough for the bread and rolls and then freeze them for tomorrow.
Will solve it depending on your menu.
Prioritize what is baked first.
Baking a turkey for Christmas lunch or dinner? Obviously, the largest and longest plate to cook should always come first.
There’s a reason the scene where the turkeys aren’t cooked in time for Christmas meals is a favorite scene from comedy shows and movies. Because it is very common (many people would surely relate to it).
Don’t make the first time you cook a turkey something memorable for your family because they couldn’t taste it! Better to cook it early and reheat it at dinner time, than to cook late and ask your guests to eat late.
Make food preparation and cooking a family tradition.
You don’t have to carry all the food preparation (unless you want to and that makes you happy). If you have children, siblings, friends, and other family members who are lounging around waiting for food, get them to help you.
- Assign vegetable peelers to children. If the children in your household are old enough to handle peelers, ask them to help you. You will be surprised how much fun they make this activity.
- Teach your teen the perfect way to make salsa. Everyone should know how to make homemade sauce. If your teens don’t know yet, maybe it’s time to share the family’s secret sauce recipe. Make it a learning moment and a memory your teen will cherish when he grows up.
- Bread station. If you’re making homemade garlic bread, show someone how to defrost your dough, shape it to your desired shape and size, bake, slice, and garnish with buttered garlic and herbs.
Don’t panic … Fix it!
Organizing holiday meals can be intense. Many people get very stressed with planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking.
Know that when cooking and baking, mistakes are likely to occur. The good news is that a quick Google search can help you with your dilemma.
- Does the top of your turkey brown quickly?
- Sauce not thick?
- Did the mashed potatoes turn green?
Use technology to your advantage if you have trouble with your dishes. Do not panic; almost everything can be fixed these days.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism