The month of December can be really stressful for people, especially for those hosting family and friends. This week’s tip is a life saver when it comes to cooking for a lot of people! Once again, it isn’t anything revolutionary, but I know I’m not the only one who needs a good reminder more often than I like to admit. When hosting any amount of people, prep work is my best friend. I always try to get as much as I possibly can done the day or two before so I’m not worrying if I will finish dinner on time. I know some people will try to cook a whole feast in one day, and I can’t even imagine how stressful that would be.
First of all, I make food that is very forgiving. In other words, I will make things that I can prepare a day or so in advance that reheats well or can be easily added to. For example, cookies, cakes, or pies can be made a day or two ahead of time if I know I’ll be very busy the day of the gathering. I can also cut, wash, and mix together all of my vegetables and keep them in airtight containers until I am ready to use them. Things like mashed potatoes can be made ahead and reheated with a bit on non-dairy milk to smooth them out. Casseroles can be assembled ahead of time and baked just before dinner. If I am making a salad with some type of grain, I will cook the grain and make the dressing whenever I find time, up to a week in advance.
I also make checklists if I have a lot to do. I make a list of every little detail for the day before and the day of the dinner. I include things like washing and preparing vegetables as well as oven temperatures and baking times to ensure I don’t forget anything at the end of the day. Having everything on paper helps me in so many ways. It helps me visualize everything I have to do, it gives me a good idea of how long each task will take, and it makes me feel incredibly accomplished when I get everything checked off that list!
Prepping has saved the day almost every single time I have guests over. There isn’t any way I would be capable of completing as much as I do if I didn’t take the time to prep at least a day in advance. It has made for many successful meals and much less stress in my life. For those who haven’t been doing this already, I highly encourage everyone to take a little time the days leading up to a big dinner to utilize this tip!