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A FRESH Point of View: Holiday Meal Planning

We all know how challenging it can be to keep all of the details of the holidays in our heads.  And while a great number of us are no good at making lists and keeping up with them, it really is important during this time of year to stay organized.  There are a few lists that you really need to help make your holiday parties and dinners a success.

Start with your guest list(s).  Write down names, dietary restrictions, and any notes for seating arrangements.  Be sure that you take an accurate count so that you can plan your dishes and appropriately double or triple recipes as needed.

Now move on to your menu.  Write down all of the dishes that will be served, including those that will be brought by guests, so that you have a full account of the structure of the meal.  This is crucial when you get last minute calls from your friend (who failed to make a list) asking what dish he or she signed up for!  Be sure to include beverages and make sure the bar is fully stocked.  It is important to also offer nonalcoholic drinks, like sparkling apple cider, which can be served in a wine glass or champagne flute and is perfect for toasting.  Healthy options are also a must on your menu.  Try a crudité platter before the meal and include a nice big green salad or fruit salad.  We all know enough butter is enough sometimes and it is a nice gesture to offer up something to make your guests feel like they are indulging, but not over-indulging!

When you start to make your shopping list, get your recipes out and do your best to put the items in order by area of the grocery store.  Create a produce list, a meat market list, etc. That way you can check off the items a section at a time and limit your risk of running back and forth across the store for things you overlooked on the list.  Be sure to check your spice rack and be sure that your holiday must-haves (nutmeg, sage, thyme, etc.) are plentiful and fresh.  If not, run over to FRESH and get just the right amount from our bulk section.

Make a cooking list, which is really a plan.  Figure out the tasks that can be done in advance like baking cornbread or chopping veggies.  Be sure to allow time to thaw and brine your turkey.  Consider purchasing a few dishes to complement your menu as well.  It is also perfectly acceptable to even purchase the entire meal so you can focus on enjoying time with family and friends rather than stressing out in the kitchen. Remember: this is your holiday too!  FRESH definitely has you covered in this area!

Finally, be sure you have an overall “to do” list that includes other important items such as purchasing a floral centerpiece, cleaning your house, polishing sliver, etc.

While list-making may feel like a daunting task, it will save you loads of stress when you want to focus on relaxing with your friends and family.  Take my advice and get out that pen and paper and get to work!