Take Stress Out of Holiday Meal Preparation

Putting a holiday meal on the table can be a daunting experience for first-timers and seasoned pros, alike. But with a little planning, everything will come together flawlessly. Avoid a last-minute scramble by making portions of your meal ahead of time.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Vegetables. Wash, trim and cut fresh veggies the day before. Wrap in damp paper towels and place in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator. Prepare appetizer dips for your veggie tray, too. They improve in flavor as they’re held in the fridge.
  2. Potatoes. Whether sweet, herb or garlic, mashed potatoes are great for making a few days ahead of time. Simply prepare them as you normally would, place them in a covered dish and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, up to 3 days. When ready, be sure they’re in a microwave-safe dish and microwave them on HIGH power, stirring every 30 seconds until hot. If your potatoes seem dry, add a little more milk, cream, sour cream or melted butter during the reheating process.
  3. Pie. Many pies require that a crust be “par-baked.” The best way to par-bake a crust is to place the dough into the pie pan, then place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment on top of the dough and up the inner walls of the pan. Fill the foil/parchment with dried beans, then bake until the crust is almost set. The weight of the beans keeps the pie crust from bubbling up and allows it to bake evenly. This step can be done ahead of time, even the night before. Then, when ready to prepare, simply add your filling and bake until the filling is hot.

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