We are sharing holiday tips, meal planning ideas, and recipes. Along with these ideas for the holidays, we are sharing cooking must haves, and a few recipes that have step by step directions. We hope all these ideas will help you make your holiday planning, and cooking easier, quicker, and stress free.
We are covering a lot. Just in case it’s your first holiday gathering. We are starting with basic cooking tools to make things easier. Then talking about prepping your kitchen and pantry. Cleaning your home for guests, and the holiday season. Time saving kitchen tools, meal planning, and recipes for your menu. Tutorials, and how to recipes are indicated, to help those new to cooking for the holidays.
Later in the post is where you’ll find some of our favorite recipes for Thanksgiving, and the holidays. We hope these will help you in the kitchen over the holiday season, when hosting parties, and beyond. You can also see our entertaining, and holiday Pinterest boards created to help you too. By planning ahead you’ll be able to make your holidays less stressful.
When creating your own holiday party plans, be focused, plan ahead, and make it fabulous.
- Stock your kitchen with basic supplies, and kitchen tools
- Organize your space
- Make your meal plan
- How much food to make for your guests? We like this Thanksgiving meal plan guide for how much to serve.
- Let family help or hire help
- If your guests ask, let them bring something
- For pot lucks use (above) meal plan guide, and make a check list of who is bringing what dishes
- Don’t wait to the last minute to do it all
- Holiday recipes, and holiday ideas at the end of post
Holiday Tips for the kitchen
Let’s get started getting you ready to rock the holidays like a boss!
The best food storage ideas
Cooking for the holidays means having food storage. It goes without saying. I have to admit, I am over saran wrap, plastics, and trying to reduce my use of them. For left overs I have a this eco friendly storage set Pyrex storage set with lids. What I love about them is that they have snap lids, are food safe and, 100% Airtight. Leak-proof, Dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. Perfect for storing, and heating left overs.
For smaller foods, there is always that half of onion, or lime….when I’m cooking. I purchased a set of Food Huggers. Have you ever heard of them? This just might be one of the best kitchen buys, in a long time. They are eco friendly food storage cover, 100% BPA, and Phthalate-Free. Bonus, they are dishwasher safe, and come with a lifetime warranty.
Not only can you use these for covering your onions, lemons, apples, or other fruits, and veggies. Like half eaten bananas the kids always manage to leave around. Tell me I’m not the only mom-grandma with this happening? If your like us, and cook a lot of Mexican dishes they also have food covers for avocados. This is next on my list to grab for myself.
You can use them to reseal opened cans or jars too. See all the uses, and find out more about Food Huggers.
Start your holidays out by being prepared
Setting up your kitchen for cooking, baking, entertaining, and the holidays is important. The clock is ticking. Dive in and do it! You want your kitchen (and home) to be clean, and organized it will just help you be more productive, have more function, and efficiency. Bonus, more time for being with your guests.
My biggest challenge is not having enough space in the kitchen. I always try to clean out my kitchen cupboards, counter, and pantry space several times of year. It’s not uncommon week’s before guests are coming that I reorganize my pantry, and give my house a deep clean. Right now is the perfect time.
If you missed it you can grab my fall home cleaning checklist here. Packed with tools, and tricks for getting your home in shape for the holidays. As the holiday gets closer only surface cleaning will need to be done, if you keep up with daily cleaning.
- 10 Food / Pantry Organization Must Haves +tips
- Why Kitchen Sheers Can Be a Cooks Best Friend
- Hot Cooking Trends and Tools
The best peeler!
If your like me peeling potatoes or sweet potatoes for a crowd you need a good peeler! I’ve had several, and a few that lasted a long time. But, this peeler is hands down my favorite. It’s super sharp, and works in half the time of my old peeler. What a time saver! You can see how sharp they are, and how thinly the peeler can cut apples, where I used it in this Hand Pies Recipe post. Sorry, I have peeled potatoes but, have to edit the photo. I’ll be adding it in later.
Basic cook ware you need for cooking a holiday dinner
Hand mixer vs Stand mixer
Last year I invested in a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. For years, I didn’t think I needed one. I had made no space for one, and honestly thought I was doing fine with my hand mixer (although it is an awesome 9 speed hand mixer). I was wrong. The stand mixer is definitely worth cleaning the counter for, and investing in. You can get different sizes, from 4.5 up and even refurbished. Pricing for every budget.
Why do I love my stand mixer? I truly love my stand mixer, and after a year I can tell you I’ve used it to whip up many desserts, frostings, make cakes, cookies, pie dough, and sweet breads…. It’s quick, strong, and efficient.
This year I want to get an add on Pasta Rolling Set. Yea, that is the Italian in me is talking. I’d love to make homemade pasta, and lasagna noodles. Do you have a stand mixer?
Lasagna recipes for a crowd
If you pressed for time, but want to make lasagna, you might like to try our easy homemade lasagna recipe to cut down the time. (view post for finished lasagna image) For this recipe you don’t have to make the sauce entirely from scratch. But, you’d never know it.
Do have time to make the sauce from scratch? You might like to try this homemade lasagna recipe. We usually make lasagna for the holidays. Lasagna is an awesome dish to serve as the main course or as a side dish when feeding a big crowd. Some holidays I cook two.
Another prep ahead recipe that’s an easy side dish, and crowd pleaser is our homemade baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Excuse the images I haven’t updated it from way back, but it’s a super yummy recipe. (more recipes later in post)
Time saving kitchen tools
Another most used kitchen tool is my 7 cup food processor. Whether I’m mixing up a graham crust for a cheese cake or chopping veggies for dips, or stuffing. During the holidays I use it a lot. If you cook often for big crowds you might like to invest in a bigger 14 cup food processor. When I don’t need my food processor, it’s stored under my counter.
For smaller chopping jobs I use my Vidalia Chop Wizard, which is great for making veggie soups, or other recipes. The trick with this tool is not over stuffing it, when closing to chop. Yes, you do have to cut the veggies smaller to fit into it but, it cuts down on the chop time, and everything is the same size. There are two sized sharp insert cut plates, and is dishwasher safe. I have found it to be a handy tool. See the veggies in this Turkey Meatball Soup Recipe.
You need sharp knives! There are more accidents with a dull knife vs a sharp knife. I know they are expensive, so if you only have money for a couple invest in a chef knife, and paring knife. This 3 piece knife set is a great starter set, under $30! It includes both previously mentioned plus a utility knife.
- Stuff happens, don’t forget to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. At a minimum grab First Alert aerosol fire extinguisher to always have on hand in your home – kitchen.
Meal Planning Help
If you are constantly trying new recipes, adapting recipes and keeping track of them on paper. You might like what I bought. This recipe planner extension. This helps keep my recipe ideas, loose recipes, and printed recipes with alterations organized.
I have been using my new colorful dual tip markers (shown in images above) when adapting recipes, writing menus, or foodie to do lists. They come in two set options; Bold Brights or Pastels. My all time favorite pens, with erasers are my journaling pens. I use these sometimes when I’m adapting recipes too.
Free Printables Meal Planners
- Weekly Meal Planner
- Grab our holiday planners, and free holiday printables here
- New here? Sign up, and you get a Free Printable Recipe Binder. Print the pages, and organize your favorite recipes into a binder. See how here. I use this one for all of Sammie’s favorite recipes. When she goes off to college I’m giving her the binder filled with her favorites.
You might like these articles, and books for the holidays
- Need more help prepping your kitchen for the holidays? Find tips here: prep your kitchen for the holidays.
- Kitchen tips from the experts for holiday cooking.
- 23 Helpful Charts for Thanksgiving Planning
- I have a new recipe cookbook called Sunday Suppers and party planning book called InStyle Parties I have been flipping through. I can’t wait to share a few recipes I try. And entertaining tips or tricks I learn. Both have drool worth photos. You can preview either books on Amazon.
Must try recipes for the holidays
We tried these recipes
- We share our tips for getting a perfectly roasted turkey in this step by step Roast Turkey Sage recipe.
Holiday Meal Plan Ideas
Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday recipes perfect for adding to your meal plans. To see the full lists of holiday recipes visit our Pinterest boards here: http://www.pinterest.com/theresahuse/ and visit our site: https://www.dearcreatives.com/
Follow Our Holiday Pinterest Boards
- Holiday Centerpieces
- Holiday Cookies, Candies, and Treats
- See all our favorite pins packed with ideas for the holidays.
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