5 Tips to Help You Survive Holiday Cooking

Multiple plastic food containers full of various chopped vegetables

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

When you’re getting ready to cook a big holiday dinner for your family, food blogger Julia Mueller of TheRoastedRoot.net has an easy Guide to Surviving Holiday Cooking that will give you confidence to spare in the kitchen. Here are her tips for serving an absolutely delicious dinner.

1. Plan Recipes in Advance

Print out recipes from your favorite blogs and put them in a folder, or start a Pinterest board and pin the recipes that catch your eye.

Be sure to choose a variety of dishes and consider whether your guests eat gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free or have other dietary restrictions. Stick with healthful sides and mains, as well as lightened-up desserts, so there will be room for the entire meal.

2. Make Lists

As simple as it sounds, keep a grocery list taped to your refrigerator and add to it as new items or ideas come up, so you can keep track of what you need for one organized trip to the store. If your menu requires specialty ingredients, you can have separate lists for the different stores you'll need to visit.

Also be sure that your list isn’t limited to food – you’ll also need food storage items such as Ziploc bags and containers.

Before you head to the grocery store, do a once-over through your pantry to make sure the items you think you own are still actually there – and to cross off items on your list that you have plenty of, and don’t need to buy. That being said, it’s always smart to double up on nonperishable items in case you need to re-make or double a recipe.

3. Chop Vegetables in Advance

Chop hearty vegetables such as butternut squash, sweet potato, onion and beets one to two days before cooking and seal them in Ziploc storage bags. Use a marker to write the contents on the bag, including the measurements. You can also write the date you chopped the vegetables to keep track of freshness.

4. Prepare Full Dishes in Advance

Because many holiday dishes incorporate whole grains, hearty vegetables and sauces, they tend to save very well. Many dishes, particularly pastas, casseroles, stews, soups, breads and pies are even better a day or two after they’re made, so make these in advance.

5. Relax!

Take your time throughout your meal prep process so you don't overlook details that will become problematic and time-consuming later. But also be sure to take some time to pamper yourself with a yoga class, a run or even a lightly scented candle. You can always ask your friends and family to lend a helping hand if you have an onion to chop!