Here we are... The holiday season is finally upon us! The only problem is, so is the need for moving quick in the kitchen.
Which is why I wrote this list of 21 ways you can use to speed up your holiday baking. As part of this list, I've also included some time saving cleaning tips as well.
That said, here's the first tip...
Don't be afraid to use some canned goods.
In the effort to save time, as well as cut down costs, I would suggest you consider using some canned items in your meal. You can spruce up canned foods in a variety of ways.
For example... You might consider adding some orange juice to your cranberry sauce to add an extra pop of flavor. Or adding some vanilla extract and cinnamon to your pancake mix. Their is a whole variety of things you can add! Don't be afraid to ask me if you need any ideas as well!
Also, you might consider doing a combination for your holiday meal. Make some great home baked/or cooked items, but also replace some things with canned to save time.
Grab an extra helping hand to help you in kitchen.
Invite someone in your family to join you in making the holiday meal. Not only is this a great family bonding opportunity, but this is also a great way to speed up the process! I love to cook in the kitchen with my mom and sisters over the holidays.
Make space in your pantry and refrigerator before the holiday.
Avoid the search for both space & ingredients, by cleaning your fridge and pantry out ahead of time.
Say when you are looking for that one ingredient you just know you bought, but can't seem to find anywhere... :)
Clean out your drawers and organize them before the holiday.
Before the holiday, pull out any kitchen gadget you haven't used in a while and don't plan to use. Also make sure to organize the ones you still need to use. This will help you skip the search for that one kitchen gadget you know you have, but can't seem to find.
Measure out the ingredients you can in advance.
Before the holiday measure out any ingredients you are able to measure in advance. I would for sure suggest measuring out your dry ingredients into a plastic storage bag ahead of time. Each recipe can have its own bag.
Wash your fruits and veggies ahead of time.
I would suggest you wash your fruits and veggies the day before the big holiday. This will cut down a decent amount of time.
Cut your fruits and veggies ahead of time.
This will save you a considerable amount of time, and is certainly worth doing! When you reach the holiday, all you have to do is grab your ingredients and go straight to cooking. No prep, no mess.
Organize your recipes in advance.
Ahead of time, I recommend you print out all your recipes out rather than rely on using a tablet or your phone.
Why? They will be easy to read, protected from any messes, and easier to organize.
Here's how you go about this... The first step is to place each recipe into a plastic sheet protector. Once you do that, you can arrange each recipe in order in a binder, by when you need it first for the holiday...
For example... Place all your breakfast recipes in the front of the binder first, and then your dinner recipes can go towards the back.
Read your recipes ahead of time.
This is probably one of the most important ones... It's just a given I've come to discover, that most of the time when you are trying out a new recipe it takes extra time.
Which is why I recommend you read through your recipes ahead of time. Reading through your recipes ahead of time will give you a general idea of what steps will be required to make your recipe.
As a result, this will help you move a bit quicker through the process.
Plan a rough time-frame ahead of time.
Ahead of the holiday, come up with a rough schedule of when you plan to make and do various activities.
This doesn't mean you need to follow it strictly. It just gives you a rough idea of when to go about certain things. As result, this will help you avoid finding yourself with cold food on the table later.
While these aren't exactly time saving tips below, they sort of are. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to move quickly...
Don't push yourself too hard!
Don't worry if it doesn't go exactly to plan. The point is to enjoy the holidays, and cherish the bonding time with family. You are creating memories to cherish a lifetime.
Forget the worry about your pie being spot on, or everything going right to the dot on the schedule. It's just not worth the added stress.
Remember to take breaks.
Remember to take breaks if you expect to be in the kitchen for say the whole day. If you don't, you will lose energy and not feel as motivated.
Remember to hydrate yourself!
This one would have to be the most vital one to remember. If you don't hydrate yourself, you will leave yourself feeling tired and fatigued.
Use dish soap to clean off greasy counters.
Dish soaps like Dawn are really good at cutting through grease. That's why I recommend you use a drop on a warm damp wash cloth to clean off your counters when they are really messy.
Just a disclaimer, I don't have any affiliation with Dawn, I just find they have a good product.
Remember the quicker you clean dishes, splatters, and spills, the easier they are to clean.
Don't forget to wipe up any splatters or spill, and to rinse any dishes that you expect will dry on quickly.
Remember to soak your dishes.
If you have something that won't come off very easily, soak it. Soaking your dishes makes a dramatic difference later down the road. By soaking them, you will require less scrubbing later.
Use baking soda to help you scrub hard to clean pots and pans.
I don't tend to need to use baking soda very often. However, on the very rare occasion, I may use it to help scrub hard to clean pans.
All you need to do is, without running the water, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto your pan, then start scrubbing.
If it is a really hard to clean pan and baking soda doesn't seem to cut it, I would fill it with water and heat the pan up though. You can use something like a metal spatula (being gentle not to scratch the pan), to loosen any stuck on bits of food.
Use a lemon to clean your cutting boards.
Do your cutting boards have a scent that just won't seem to go away? Try using a lemon on it.
All you need to do is take a lemon, cut it in half, and use it like a sponge on your cutting board. After you finish with that, you can just wash and rinse as per normal.
Use disposable dishes.
Rather than avoid the added number of dishes, I would recommend using disposable baking pans for any of your cooking. I would also suggest using disposable paper plates and utensils outside of the main meal. Say sneaking in the refrigerator for more food later! :)
Clean things as you go.
Don't have anything to do while your ham is roasting? I would suggest you work on cleaning up your counter, or better yet, the dishes! This tip is especially important come the holiday season.
Why? Let's be honest... the last thing you want to be doing is cleaning dishes after a large meal. That time is better spent for relaxing! :)
Use a garbage bowl.
Stop walking back and forth to the trash can. Instead, use a bowl on your counter to throw food scraps like veggie scraps in. You can throw out that stuff later. Better yet though, if you have any leftover veggie scraps, you can make a broth of that.