The holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family and friends. If you are hosting a meal this holiday season, follow these simple tips to enjoy a stress free holiday dinner party!
1. Plan your holiday menu in advance.
Advance planning goes a long way when throwing a large dinner party. As you plan your holiday menu, list which items can be frozen, which items can be prepared in advance and which items will require preparation on the day of the party to ensure you do not run out of time on the big day. If you are stumped for menu ideas, try this Thanksgiving Menu Planner tool from Epicurious which takes into account the size of your dinner party, your experience as a cook, and the amount of time you have to devote to the meal.
2. Purchase your ingredients in advance.
Start purchasing the nonperishable ingredients for your holiday dinner as soon as you have your menu planned. Purchasing ingredients in advance will save you valuable time the week of your dinner party and it also helps you spread the expense of throwing a large dinner party out over a few months. These free downloadable holiday meal planning sheets from The Project Girl will help you plan your menu and all of the ingredients needed to prepare each dish. Be sure to list the staple items you keep in your pantry such as flour, sugar and seasonings as a reminder to check and make sure you have enough. Cross ingredients off of your list as you acquire them, and make your last trip to the grocery store the day before your dinner party to pick up produce and other perishable items.
3. Deep clean your house two weeks before your party.
Avoid the stress of trying to cook and clean at the same time by deep cleaning your house well in advance of your party. Once your house is clean, maintain it by keeping up on your routine chores until your dinner party. Maintaining a clean house in advance of your party will leave you more time to prepare the food and enjoy your guests! If you don’t have a system in place for routine chores, try the Motivated Moms chore planner!
4. Prepare as much in advance as possible.
Prepare any appetizers, side dishes and desserts that you can freeze a week or two before your dinner party to give you ample time to prepare dishes the day of your party. Prepare any items that will keep well in the refrigerator the day before your dinner party. Finally, cut down prep time on on the day of your dinner party by chopping vegetables, measuring dry ingredients, and having your recipes ready to be put together at a moments notice! Martha Stewart has some excellent make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes and each recipe states how far in advance you can prepare it and how it should be stored.