Have you been daydreaming of carving the turkey or putting your face in a pumpkin pie? If you weren’t, I bet you are now. Food is a staple of the holiday season. From Christmas cookies to gingerbread houses, there is so much food and so little time! I love getting together with my family for the holidays, but this also means a lot of food is about to be eaten! Today, I’m going to share with you my secrets to getting your food organized so you can be prepared for unexpected holiday guests and those big family meals!
Make more than you think you need
Who doesn’t love a good plate of leftovers? I know I do! During the holiday season, travel gets crazy and people have a tendency to get together more than during the regular year. This could mean pop up get-togethers with little notice. When making your meals, make more than you think you and your family can reasonably eat. It never hurts to have leftovers if you’ve made too much, and if you end up having one more guest you’ll be covered!
Make a meal plan
In addition to making abundant meals, you need to make a meal plan! Things get crazy during the holiday season, and you could go from feeding just four people to feeding ten overnight! Making a meal plan will help ensure you are never caught off guard with dinner plans, and keep you from trying to throw something together at the last minute.
If you’ve never done any amount of meal planning before, it’s really simple. First start by downloading the meal planner at the bottom of the post. Then print it off to help you start putting together your meal plan. Look at your calendar or planner and find out which days are going to be busy if you know them. Start planning those meals first. Keep an eye on days when you’ll likely have company, and plan for bigger meals those days such as lasagna or meals where you are guaranteed to have leftovers.
Put together your grocery list
This is the holy grail of your meal plan and the piece that will make everything come together. When making your grocery list, have your meal plan handy. Go through each of your recipes and find out what you are missing and add it to the list. Keep this list as well as your meal plan handy when you hit the stores. During the holidays, stores tend to get crowded and you may need to adjust your meal plan if they are out of certain staples in your dish.
Start cooking early
Once you have your meal plan and all your groceries at home, start by making as much as you can ahead of time. If meat can be cooked, cook it. If veggies can be chopped, chop them. This will cut down the amount of time in the kitchen and make those big meals less challenging to overcome.
Cooking for a large crowd is no easy task. In fact, I would argue that it is one of the most difficult parts of the holiday season. Sticking to your meal plan and staying organized can make a big difference not only in the kitchen, but on the dinner table as well.