The holidays can be a stressful time of the year and if you are hosting your own get together it can get even more stressful. Our Institute of Home Science expert Chef Ann Nolan has put together the top 10 holiday cooking mistakes so you can take the stress out of holiday cooking.
10. Trying out a new recipe –
This is not the time to try something for the first time. Once you finalize your menu, give it a test run. Broadway ALWAYS does a dress rehearsal before opening night and so should you!
9. Not planning ahead –
Planning a large gathering can be stressful, especially if you haven’t prepared well in advance. Write down your plan of action and the timing of each dish. This should include food prep, cooking time, tableware, serving dishes and utensils, stemware and glassware.
8. Waiting until the last minute to prep your oven –
Check your oven ahead of time to make sure everything is in working order. Will that large roast or turkey even fit in your oven? Finally, don’t wait until the day before to run a “self clean” cycle for the first time.
7. Not knowing your serving sizes –
How big of a roast or turkey do you need? Plan on 1 pound per person, there is nothing worse than not having enough of your main course. If you love leftovers, try going slightly larger or cook two smaller roasts/turkeys.
6. Waiting to cook everything at once –
When you make your plan, take a look at dishes that can easily be cooked ahead of time. Most side dishes and desserts can easily be prepped or cooked a day or two before hand. It’s also nice to say yes to your guests who would like to bring a dish to pass! This will free up cooking time and allow you more time with your guests.
5. Last minute cooking –
The roast is done and yet you still need to prepare the potatoes. One trick to conquer this last minute task is to prepare mashed potatoes early in the day and keep them in a large crockpot. Keep the potatoes on low and stir them throughout the day from time to time. When it’s time to serve just transfer them into your serving dish and they are ready to go.
4. The food is cold –
Try warming your serving dishes before putting the hot food inside. Timing is everything so practice and planning are very important. Once the turkey or roast is out of the oven, turn the oven off and place the covered side dishes in the oven to keep warm until they are ready to serve.
3. Appetizer overload –
The last thing you want is everyone full so they won’t be interested in the main event. Enough said.
2. Leaving the food out after the dinner –
Bacteria can begin to grow on food that hasn’t been refrigerated in a timely manner. Play it safe for you and your guests, wrap them up and chill it down. Besides who doesn’t love to take home leftovers?
1. Not taking time to enjoy the holidays –
The food is important, but so is the company. Planning, prepping and cooking ahead of time should help free up some of your time to spend with your guests. If a guest asks to help, let them. Make it a team effort and it will give you some great time together. At the end of the day, it is just a meal. Don’t stress, just enjoy the moments!