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Organize Your Holiday Cooking ... Really?

Organized cooking starts with organized shopping.

1. Your shopping trip should be specifically for your holiday menu.

2. List the ingredients for each dish. I like to shop that way so that I don't skip anything.

3. Shop according to category. After all your menu ingredients are listed, organize the total ingredients according to amount and type: (12 onions, 2 bags of carrots, 2 cans of consommé, etc).

The point is to shop the aisles without having to circle back 10 times because you forgot something. (Unless you are counting steps. Wow! Can you accumulate a lot if you are not organized).

4. Pack your grocery bags according to where the items belong. If you don't have lots of time to unpack, you save time by putting the canned goods in the same bag(s) and putting the bag in front of the pantry for later, rather than running back and forth.

Marilyn advises doing prep work

Organized prep time helps you enjoy cooking more. Thanks, Mom.

1. If you have a small space for cooking just bring out the ingredients for that dish. My mom only had 18" of counter space in her kitchen so if 2 dishes required onions, she only had out the number of onions needed for the specific dish underway.

2. Prepare your ingredients in advance so you get to the actual cooking more easily. Mom was known for her soups, especially vegetable and chicken. Both soups are labor intensive and can leave you tired with all the prep, clean up from the prep, the cooking and then more cleanup... especially if you are making many quarts of soup at one time

I learned from her to prepare the vegetables the day before. (And spread a plastic bag in the sink so the peels go right in there and clean up is easier). Then when you are ready to cook, the ingredients are there for you to start.

3. Cook ahead and freeze the food to avoid being exhausted at the dinner. Soups are easily frozen. I marinate my brisket overnight, cook it, chill it to remove the fat and slice it. Then I freeze it sliced in the juices. Reheats and it is delicious.

4. Clean up as you go along, especially if you are cooking alone. That way, when you are done, you're done and not overwhelmed with a huge mess.

Organized cooking makes happy eaters.

This post is in memory of my mom, Pearl, who sits on my shoulder as I cook and reminds me of the lessons she taught me.

Contact me and I will happily work with you to make your next event a success.

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