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Holiday Dinner, Without the Fuss

By: Marla Bautista 

As families grow, seemingly, so does our holiday budget. It’s not enough to cook a regular meal during the holidays. We need an entire Holiday spread, to include (but not limited to), pre meal snacks (for the cook), appetizers, dinner, desserts, and specialty beverages. There are levels to the Holiday meal madness that we often inflict upon ourselves.  The effort that goes into making holiday meals shouldn’t cause you anxiety and exhaust your bank account. Want to prepare a Holiday meal that is not only amazing, but also stress free? In this article, you will learn how to do just that! 

Make a Plan 

Start your holiday meal planning with lists, Yes, Lists with an S. You will need a list of guests. This will help you know exactly how many people you’re expecting for the holiday. Make a list of proposed food items for your menu.  This may be tricky if you are planning on sharing dish obligations with other guests.  Have you heard of Sign Up Genius? This is a great place to create sign ups for any event.   You can also create a sign-up for Holiday Dishes and share it with your guests, so they too can sign up to make a dish! Best part about it, it’s free! 

Find Deals  

There are a lot of grocery stores offering coupons and other discounts on your holiday meal ingredients. If you have a grocery rewards card, you could score some awesome deals! Some stores honor the use of manufacture coupons and store coupons simultaneously. Check out your stores coupon policy to find out the best way to acquire a great deal. During the Holiday Season some stores offer discounts on side dish items when you purchase a turkey or vice versa.  If you don’t eat meat. Check out the local farmers markets and family farms.  Because it’s late in the season, many farms are trying to get rid of produce that may not survive during the winter months. There, you are sure to find deeply discounted veggies. 

Think Outside the Box

You don’t always have to make traditional dishes for the holiday.  Try making a few non traditional, items that will compliment the dishes you already make. Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, try making a loaded mashed potato casserole or baked potatoes. Instead of making a Traditional Macaroni and Cheese, try another pasta dish filled with cranberries and other sweet and savory holiday flavors. Kid friendly dishes are always a hit when you have picky eaters. Check out www.recipes.com for a few simple, kid friendly holiday dishes.

Don’t Stress

Holiday meal planning is all fun and full of grandeur ideas until you have to shop, prep, and cook 10 dishes with one oven.  Give yourself some time. If there are items you can prep days ahead, do it! Chop your onions, celery, sweet potatoes, and anything else that can be refrigerated, a few days prior to the holiday. Relax, if you’re a planner, make a plan of action for your Holiday cooking times.  If you’re cooking a turkey, that’ll probably take the longest. Prep and cook it early on so that you can have oven space for your other items later in the day.  If you fry your turkey, even better! Less cook time and more oven space. Take breaks. If you have an item that requires a lengthy cooking time, use that time to catch up on your favorite TV show or book. If time allows, take a power nap.

No matter what your holiday plans, you can do it with ease by incorporating few of these tips. Make a plan for your holiday meal, find the best deals and discounts, and don’t sweat the small stuff. The season should be spent making positive memories with your loved ones. Don’t stress, everything will turn out fine, even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. Be flexible and have fun! Best Wishes!


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