Whether you have the holidays planned out as to what you will cook and when you’ll entertain or if you’ve just decided to host this years’ family gathering, now is the perfect time to know which shortcuts to implement that will save you time in the kitchen without sacrificing quality or tradition.
Kitchen Tip #1 – Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time
Plan you menu or the dishes that you plan on fixing as far in advance as possible. By planning your menu now you can take advantage of sales the weeks prior to the holidays. Many vegetables are still in season and it’s an added bonus to get them on sale. Washing vegetables before putting them away will also save a little extra time.
If recipes that you will be cooking call for chopped vegetables such as onions, peppers, and celery, watch for those on sale. Once you get them home, go ahead and cut, chop or dice, place in a sealed freezer bag and store in the freezer until time to use. This saves time, money and the extra mess when you need it the least.
Kitchen Tip #2 – Consider Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables require less cooking time and you don’t have to search the stores to get the best in fresh produce. Some frozen vegetables such as green peas, are the only alternative to fresh when it comes to taste and texture.
Kitchen Tip #3 – Instant Mashed Potatoes
Instant mashed potatoes are economical, quick and easy to prepare. If you balk at using instant mashed potatoes because they don’t taste like fresh potatoes, all you have to do is prepare according to the package for eight servings, add a stick of butter, some milk, salt to taste, and a spoonful of mayonnaise.
Still afraid to use instant mashed potatoes? Many grocers carry real mashed potatoes in the cooler aisle of the store or simply peel and cut potatoes the day before, cover with cold water and keep in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Don’t spend time making bread crumbs, use Instant mashed potatoes instead. Simply mix the seasonings of your choice with the potato flakes to use on fish and poultry.
If your gravy or sauce needs thickening, sprinkle a few instant mashed potatoes until the desired consistency is reached and you never have to worry about an overwhelming ‘floury’ taste.
Kitchen Tip #4 – Chicken Shortcut
When making chicken pie, casserole, or dumplings, cut time in half by purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If you feel you’ll miss the broth, buy a couple of cans when you pick up the chicken. Now, chicken broth, beef broth and vegetable broth can be purchased in resealable containers so unused portions can be conveniently stored in the refrigerator.
Kitchen Tip #5 – Deviled Eggs with Less Mess
Deviled eggs are part of every holiday meal. When making deviled eggs, spoon the filling into a sealable plastic bag, snip the bottom corner off and fill the eggs evenly and quickly. When you’re finished, toss in the trash. The same process can be used when icing cakes.
Sources: Bon Appetit, Delish.com