Let’s be honest – setting the Christmas table is a nightmare. Every one of us probably felt like crap after an exhausting day of cooking and all you got is a glass of wine and a lazy “thank you.”
While setting your Christmas table there is literary no time for a mistake (in fact, there is no time for anything) and if you don’t know how to plan your steps accordingly, well…you’re f*cked (sorry!).
I have planned, and successfully made a lot of Christmas family dinners throughout my career, and I must tell you, that smart planning is crucial! Right now I’m about to tell you some obvious and not really think that you must keep in mind while prepping for this most beautiful time of the year.
It is essential that you manage your time and follow the steps. After a few really messed up dinners, I realized that it takes about a week of planning and prepping, and 3-4 evening of part-time work to make it happen.
7 days before The Big Dinner
1. Clean up your fridge
A week before the big cookout, do yourself a favor and clean up the fridge. Take a sponge, a dishwashing liquid and scrub every single corner. Take all the thing out and check the dates, the smell, and the look. Typically, during such cleaning routines, you may find a few things that had gone bad. Throw away spoiled food and keep in mind that you may use some of the ingredients from your fridge to prepare Christmas dishes.
2. Consolidate ingredients
When you go shopping for Christmas dinner, you don’t really think about the size of the fridge. So before you buy anything, get some plastic or glass containers from Amazon and consolidate stuff that’s sitting at the bottom of the old container. It will really free up some space in your fridge.
3. Get organized
To move faster and know where the ingredients are during the Christmas dinner prep, reorganize the shelves of your fridge. Keep dairy on the bottom shelf, meats at the top and greens in the drawer. Make notes and put stickers on the shelves, so you know exactly where everything is.
5 Days before The Big Dinner
4. Make a menu
Menu and one of the most important things, it is your guide to Christmas table. Search for some foolproof recipes on the internet, ask your grandma and remember things that you make the best. Keep in mind your guest’s food allergies, likes, and dislikes. Make a detailed list of stuff that you will make as appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts.
5. Make your grocery list
Estimate the portion size for each guest and the number of ingredients needed for each course. For example, if making the fish and herbs, write down the exact amount of fish and herbs necessary to buy.
6. Evaluate your possibilities
One of the most common mistakes that everyone makes during Christmas dinner prep is making too complicated dishes that one have never tried before. Try to stay away from the recipes that look inconsistent and stuff that seems too complicated. If you have never made a game in wine sauce, think twice if it is worth a try.
3-4 days before The Big Dinner
7. Get groceries
I would suggest doing the groceries 3-4 days before you cook. Don’t worry, most of the ingredients will be fine. Unless its oysters or lobsters. If shopping in different locations do it in two days. Follow your grocery list and try to stick to it as much as possible.
8. Store your produce correctly
It is not necessary to keep potatoes in the fridge unless they are cooked. Most of the time, veggies, fruit and condiments shelved at the supermarket at the room temperature do not need a refrigerator. Ge a clean box and put room temperature stuff there. Don’t worry, the box will disappear after holidays are over. If you are still skeptical, put it closer to the window and a balcony door.
Things like berries, greens, fish, meat, and dairy need the fridge though.
1-2 days before The Big Dinner
9. Start Prepping.
Trust me, you will thank yourself for that on cookout day. Peel potatoes and keep them in water in the fridge, chop and cut veggies and fruit. Cut the greens and keep them in a separate container under a wet towel. Cook some vegetables that take a long time to cook.
10. Write down your steps
Take a piece of paper and start writing down your moves around the kitchen step-by-step. Star with the ingredients that take the longest. For example, beets take 1-2 hours to cook, so put them on the stove, and while they cook, you can make the dough or roast something in the oven.