GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Well Thanksgiving Day is past. Whether it was your first time hosting or you’re a seasoned pro, planning and cooking a holiday feast can be stressful. If your special day didn’t go as planned, these 10 tips will help keep the Christmas Day smooth, your sanity intact and your kitchen a little cleaner. Just don’t forget to take the giblet packet out of the turkey.
1. Clear the counters
The best place to start for a clean mind and clear kitchen is to clear the counters. Fill the dishwasher, put away stray remnants of Thanksgiving and file all the bills away. Now you’ll have a clear space to sit down and plan your menu.
2. Finalize and post your menu and shopping list
Check your favorite cookbooks, Pinterest and don’t forget Grandma’s heirloom recipes. With all in front of you, make a list of everything you’ll need and post it on the fridge or your handy message board. Let the list inspire you.
3. Clean oven/stove top and all surfaces
Next up, clean the oven and stove top. For a non-toxic approach, remove all of the racks and any loose grime from the bottom and walls of the oven. Then, make a paste of baking soda and water and spread it on any dirty areas. Let sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with warm water and rinse clean.
4. Clean out the fridge/freezer
As your fridge and freezer will soon become packed with ingredients, leftovers and of course a giant turkey, cleaning them NOW will save aggravation later. That proverbial box of baking soda with the lid open will keep things fresh.
5. Declutter drawers and cabinets
Space is at a premium so getting rid of expired food, stale chips and cereal boxes will make a huge difference. Decluttering drawers is also a good idea so you can easily reach or direct guests to butter knives or candles when you need them.
6. Take inventory of your ingredients
Ok now you have a clean slate, it’s time to take stock of all the staples you’ll need such as flour, salt, pepper, butter and olive oil. If you already have five cans of green beans, you don’t need to get any more. Cross items off your shopping list. Just make sure you don’t use them in the meantime
7. Stock the pantry
Now it’s time to refill the pantry. Don’t forget quick-grab snacks for guests and plenty of coffee. You might also want to have one or two quick meals on hand for when everyone gets tired of leftovers.
8. Grab containers for leftovers and food wrapping
There are always plenty of leftovers so make sure you stock up on disposable containers and food wrap. They’ll be indispensable. If your guests aren’t traveling far, they’ll appreciate a take-home container that they don’t need to return. And around this time of year, these disposable containers are pretty decorative too
9. Prep your serving platters, silver, etc.
We’re getting closer to dinner time. Your menu is ready and now it’s time to make sure your serving dishes, platters and utensils are clean and shiny. If necessary, use sticky notes to remind yourself what goes on each platter. That way you’ll make sure you won’t forget anything.
10. Plan and gather your table decorations
Now the pretty, fun stuff takes center stage. Make sure your tablescape is pretty and inviting by collecting your decorations ahead of time and keep them ready. In many cases, you can set the table the night before. Place cards, centerpieces, candles, napkin holders and cloth napkins will make the meal memorable. These things are often forgotten in the last minute rush of the day.
If you follow these tips, your holiday dinner will be a breeze and you’ll be the “Hostess with the Mostest”.
Remember – have fun because this is 4 you and your guests. Share your tips and tablescapes on our Facebook page.