Advance preparation help things run smoothly. Below are the tasks I like to do in advance, to clear my kitchen, and my head, for the large amount of work ahead.
- Make room in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Categorize as follows:
- Foods you can use for easy, everyday meals while you focus on the holiday planning.
- Foods you will continue to store. Consolidate and rearrange.
- Spoiled food to be throw out.
- Ingredients to include in your holiday cooking.
- Items to add to your shopping list.
If you get to the bottom of a shelf, wipe it down with a damp rag.
- Assess cooking, storage and serving utensils. Borrow or buy what you need, or change the menu accordingly.
- Make a schedule, working around errands and appointments. Try and include small children when you can. Enlist help from family members. Always allow time for fun, rest, cleanup, and emergencies.
- When you write menus and shopping lists, include everything. Don’t forget non-food items like detergent and toilet paper.
- Think about scouting out stores before finalizing the menu to see what’s on sale, or enlist help from friends who have done their shopping. Plan to be flexible. Vegetables in season are healthier and cheaper.
- Clear off your work-space.
- Lower your refrigerator and freezer to the lowest temperature a few hours before adding large quantities of bought or cooked foods. Reset them an hour or two later. Also see: How to Cool Food Quickly for Storage
For more menu-planning help see: