I love having a big holiday meal and sharing it with friends and family. However, each year I have a tradition of drastically underestimating the amount of time it will take to pull the gigantic traditional meal together for a zillion people. Well, maybe a zillion is an exaggeration, but are you with me on how much work it is preparing for the holidays? What if you could streamline things just a little, prepare some things ahead of time, and be able to relax (at least a little) on the big day? Lake Effect Kitchen (LEK) in Grand Haven has a few tips to help us keep our sanity this holiday season as well as connect with family and friends in meaningful ways.
- Prepare as much as you can in advance. Breads and desserts can be baked a day or two ahead and warmed right before serving, if necessary. Ingredients for stuffing and casseroles can be peeled/chopped and kept in the refrigerator to be mixed and cooked on the holiday.
- Go potluck. People like to help. Assign some jobs and dishes to your guests so that you can have more time to enjoy spending time together.
- If you have guests with food allergies, there are some easy substitutions: thicken sauces with cornstarch instead of wheat flour, and substitute coconut oil for butter in baked goods.
- Stick to what you know. Don’t ruin your holiday by trying dishes that are too fancy. Your guests are looking forward to your company more than some complicated new dish.
- Use disposable foil pans to save on cleanup. If you've prepped some things in advance, you can also have those dishes cleaned up the day before your holiday event!
If you want to make things even easier, you can outsource the whole meal — Lake Effect Kitchen prepares Thanksgiving dinners that are simply heat-and-serve! This can save you lots of time and effort for the holiday, or ensure you have “leftovers” to enjoy if you are eating your holiday meal at someone else’s house. You can check out their monthly menu for a variety of delicious options in sizes to fit any family.
Want to spread holiday cheer to the community? You can also holiday meals for a family in need from LEK! If you don’t have a family in mind, we have a list and can find a family who can benefit from your order. Contact LEK for more details. What a great way to pay it forward this holiday season!
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