Holidays Cooking Tips


Are you anticipating holiday cooking stress already? I fully understand, because even as a professional chef who has prepared food for thousands, I still feel the anxiety of cooking for family in my own home.

Planning, shopping, preparing, cooking, serving, wrapping leftovers, not to mention straightening your house are worthy of your worry when you don’t have a good plan. While I can’t help you with house cleaning, I can help turn holidays cooking stress into holidays cooking success this year with a few simple tips.

First, have a written plan for your menu, grocery shopping, and preparation. Don’t just “eye-ball” it at the grocery store, checking to see if that “looks” like enough potatoes. You’ll wind up at the end of the meal forcing people to eat more for fear of it “going to waste”. If it’s not consumed, then you’ve got more time in wrapping leftovers, only to discard them a few days later anyway. If you start with a calculator and multiply a standard portion of 5 ounces of protein, 4 ounces of starch, 3 ounces of vegetables, by the number of people you’re serving, your shopping and cooking will be more cost effective, efficient, and less wasteful. Use any number for your portion estimates, but adhere to your plan when you start shopping.

Next, have a plan for your oven space, refrigerator space, and serving vessels and utensils. You’ll have more food stored, prepared, cooked, and served than you do the rest of the year, so proper prior planning will again save last minute indecision, wasting time and increasing your stress. “Potatoes in Grandma’s china flower dish”, “green beans in glass casserole with serving tongs” are notes you can make next to your menu plan. Estimate what can be purchased, prepared or cooked before other items. You can buy things like onions or potatoes well in advance of salad greens. Buy them and cook them ahead of time for simple re-heating. You may also want to keep an iced-down large drink cooler in your garage for the overflow that your refrigerator may not handle. Certainly, bottles and cans can go in the cooler. Ziplock or vacuum bags of mashed potatoes or butternut squash soup can be kept on ice to save fridge space for the turkey.

Lastly, consider doing “plate-up” this year. Instead of a large buffet where people’s eyes are much larger than their plates, present everyone’s first plate to them, like a restaurant. This way, you can control the initial portion, eliminating much waste, and keeping to your original portion plan. You can still have a buffet set for those that want second portions, but preparing the first plate will save time, food, and money.

There are many more methods I’ve developed to turn holidays cooking stress into holidays cooking success with you, but proper prior planning is the most valuable of them all for a stress-free holiday dinner.   My Holiday Cooking Success Course will give you all these valuable tips and techniques.

Turn Holiday Cooking Stress into Holiday Cooking Success this year.

About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.

3 Comments

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  • Jeanie Keller
    Jeanie Keller
    8:48 AM - 16 November, 2009

    Ya know one can get so caught up in the moment that some simple enlightenments are needed to come back down to earth. Thanks.

  • sheetal
    sheetal
    1:48 PM - 6 November, 2009

    chef you one of those rare gems that one comes across in a lifetime.
    i have benefited from yr baking videos sometimes,you are very inspiring
    and yr details very scientific.thanks for all yr knowledge about cooking.

  • sheetal
    sheetal
    1:41 PM - 6 November, 2009

    chef i am one of your admirers,you are so genuine, so witty so much know-
    ledge,a personwith so much piassion for cooking,inspiring and teaching,i
    just wish i have so much passion,but you inspire so much with all your
    minute details,that i am compelled to cook yr recipes,with 2 teenaged children you can imagine how hectic life can be,but i want to thank u genuinely for all those baking recipes,i am a good cook,but yr recipes are
    better.thanks for all your kindness and support from my husband and my
    children,you are one of the best.
    be,i am an indian from dubai,i enjoyed some of yr baking videos

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