I adore Thanksgiving and Christmas. At my Granny Vega’s house these meals were a really big deal. I can remember staying up until the wee hours helping (mostly watching) my mom baked dozen of cookies and what seems like millions of those sausage and biscuit balls. I remember flour on the floor and flour in my momma’s raven black hair. I remember one minute she would be singing at the top of her lungs in joy and the next minute being as cranky as the day is long. Big holiday dinners can be fun and also can be a huge grudge.
Heck even small family gatherings can be a big undertaking, especially if you are on team, make it from scratch, which is how I like to do things for many family style dinners. I especially love Christmas Eve! I plan and prep-cook for two months and most of the time I love every minute of it. The key phrase is – Plan Ahead, Shop Ahead, Make Ahead. The six words can really save your sanity!
Today plan a rough draft of you big holiday meals or any meal you will be pot-locking or contributing to for the next three months.
10 Easy Steps to Wonderful Family Meals
- Grab a pad of paper and a sharpened pencil and jot down your dream dishes and your must haves.
- For large dinners make sure you plan for enough servings of each dish and then add a bit extra, say 4 to 6 more servings.
- Order any meats, deserts, veggie trays or appetizers that need to be ordered as soon as possible, then make on the calendar to call and check on your order. ( I had a really bad year with one certain major gourmet grocer last year, was astounded that every single order was not ready)
- If you are having a potluck assign dishes as soon as possible and verify two days prior to the event.
- Gather every single recipe you need to create every single dish, even the marshmallows for company cocoa, I mean every singe thing
- If you double a recipe or triple, mark it with bright colors or a post it note as reminder for the grocery list.
- Write down your lists taking time to jot down which store to shop at and if the item can be safely and correctly purchased by your helper elf (significant, roommate, BFF) this means you will spend less time shopping and more time cooking, decorating and shining for the dinner party.
- Keep all recipes and receipts in a binder.
- Write down a detailed guest list, not any dangerous allergies like peanut or berries, remember you love these people, make sure they feel welcome and suggest they bring a safe dish to enjoy and have something on hand they can enjoy from your table as well.
- Next, with list in hand, zip around the kitchen and mark off the items you already have. Kind of like grocery shopping in your home and then grab your coupon stash and find the ones that match items you need.
TADA! You have just planned your holiday meal.
Tip: Now is a great time to check for table linens and center pieces, but not totally necessary.
Have a rocking day!