I'm planning to do a series of posts about getting organized for Christmas. So for Kitchen Tip Tuesday I'd like to give some reminders and tips about planning ahead in the kitchen. These ideas could be used for other holidays or functions. These tips are from an old book I have called "76 Ways to Get Organized For Christmas". Its a little bitty paperback book, but it has inspired me at Christmas time for years now.
1. In your mind review last Christmas's baking and cooking. Did you do too much or too little. What was a hit with your family and friends and what just wasn't worth the effort? Ask your family what they would love to have at Christmas. My husband misses the icebox fruit cake his mother used to make, so I acquired the recipe from his sister and made this for him every year for a few years. It turned out that he would just as soon have an endless supply of chocolate chip cookies and they are much easier and cheaper to make. Each member of my family has a favorite. One always asks for banana pudding and one always asks for cheesecake.
Here is the chocolate chip cookie recipe I use.
Now is the time to eliminate those foods you don't have time for and concentrate of the items you really want to make.
2. Make a list of the foods you plan to make for your family's use and/or for gifts this year. Note the food, the quantity you plan to make, its purpose and where the recipe can be found. Also the time period that you plan to make the item is helpful because some things can be made ahead and frozen. But, some things need to be made the day they are eaten. Cookie dough can be made way ahead and frozen. Some fruitcakes are better if they are aged. But, banana pudding needs to be made right before its eaten.
3. Make a shopping list of the items you'll need for Christmas baking and for your Christmas meal (or meals). Inventory your pantry to see what you already have on hand. Its a little late, but you can spread out your grocery shopping budget over a period of time to avoid that one huge shopping trip.
4. It would be really nice to have some extra meals in the freezer for those days during the Christmas season that get so hectic.
5. If you are entertaining, make a time schedule, plan the menu ahead, and post it so you don't forget to prepare or purchase any of the necessary items. Make a time line of each thing you need to do... from laundering the table cloth to putting the turkey in the oven.
6. Now is the time to get your kitchen straightened out. The best tip I know is to declutter our kitchen counters. The less we have on there the nicer it looks. Store any item you don't use everyday out of sight, until at least after the holidays.
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