Don’t think of a holiday meal as a one-day cooking project that will only take a few hours to cook. Be prepared and start in advance. Our advise to you is to Prep, Prep, Prep!
Start a couple of days ahead of time. Plan what you are going to make way in advance, make your grocery list a week before the event, and start getting some of your items ready just a few days before the big holiday feast. Here are some helpful tips of things that you can do with your appliances to make it easier for you on those big important holiday meals.
About a week in advance, clean out your refrigerator. The best time to do this is right before you go grocery shopping. This will make it easier for you because all of the things that you do have will be fresh in your mind.
Make sure to start unthawing your turkey about 4-5 days before the feast. That big turkey will take a lot of room in your refrigerator, so utilize your refrigerator's special features like the extra shelves, airtight crisper drawers, herb storage, or the adjustable fridge freezer compartment. If you still find yourself not having enough storage space, utilize a second refrigerator stored in the garage or basement.
A few days in advance, you can start cutting your produce and store them in air tight containers in your refrigerator.
You can organize your refrigerator by putting the ingredients that take the longest to cook in the front of your refrigerator. The things that take the least amount of time to cook can be stored in the back of your fridge.
Preheating your oven can sometimes be a struggle. A great tip for preheating your turkey is to have the temperature at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit while it's preheating and then lower it back to the cooking temperature at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit when you put your turkey in. Because the turkey is so big and cold, it sometimes can shock your oven and make the temperature decrease even as low as 90 degrees Fahrenheit making cooking times even longer. So to avoid longer cooking times, make sure your oven is at the right temperature at the beginning.
On the day of cooking, more burners can be a blessing on a busy day in the kitchen. If you can, consider adding an induction cook top to your Kitchen. What I like about induction cooking is there’s no flame, so you’re keeping the surface area cool making it safer making sure none of the kids or guests get hurt. It’s going to be more efficient than gas, and it can be as precise. If you want to melt chocolate, it can set it at 78-79 degrees. It’s more about the precision temperature than anything else. Of course, if you use induction cooking, you’ll need cookware made from cast iron or another magnetic material.
Some ranges have a fifth burner in the middle and/ or a griddle on gas burners. The griddle is nice because you can just place some of your food directly on the surface without using pans. As an extra bonus your meat and veggies can have those nice grill marks on them to make them look like you grilled them outside.
At the bottom of most ranges is a warming drawer. Utilize this space for big meals by placing bread in there to rise the dough before you cook it and keep it warm after they are done.
A week before your event, make sure to clean inside and outside of your microwave. This appliance is sometimes the thing that we forget about during the holidays. None of your guests want to open up a dirty microwave.
A microwave oven is made for a Thanksgiving feast! Microwave ovens use the precision of convection cooking with an element and fan the distribute the heat better. This speeds up cooking times three times faster than conventional microwave cooking.
About a week before your holiday feast, clean your dishwasher. Use an Affresh dishwasher cleaner tablet and have your dishwasher run a cycle with no dishes in it. This cleaning product will take out any mineral build-up and will clean inside of the machine making it work more effectively.
Make sure that your dishwasher is completely empty at the beginning of the day of your feast. That way it is ready for new dishes.
On the day of, pre-wash your dishes while you are cooking by filling half of your sink with hot soapy water. Once they have soaked for a little bit, place them in your dishwasher.
If you have a quiet dishwasher (a sound rating of about 46 dba or lower) will make your life so much easier on event day. Once everyone is done eating and you load up your dishwasher, you can run it while mingling with your guests. It is so quiet, no one will even know that it's running.
With these tips, you will be ready to tackle the challenge of cooking for 10 plus people. You can always have helpers in the kitchen and remember to have fun!