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Host a Stress-Free Holiday Dinner

Last Minute Holiday Dinner Tips

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Regardless of what holiday it is, a special dinner with family and friends should be a wonderful time for sharing, fun, and building memories. Don't let kitchen preparations for the dinner cause you early burn-out. You want to enjoy this dinner as much as everyone else.

Planning Early?

Go to My Holiday Readiness Tips

Your kitchenware can help reduce the stress associated with oven - to table last minute preparations. Put these kitchen tools to the task and reduce congestion in the kitchen. Here are a few tips to help you with this special dinner:


Day Before Check List:
  • Spices & ingredients required for meal items & drinks
  • Fill salt & pepper shakers
  • Table accents like candles or centerpiece
  • Camera film & batteries
  • Ice for drinks or to place in cooler with cans of drinks
  • Napkins & table linen ready
  • Storage bags or containers for left-overs or 'take-home' goodies.
  • Disposable glasses
  • Do you have enough cutlery?
  • Do you have all condiments? Cranberries? Dessert topping?
  • Have sufficient hot pads and pot holders ready early.
  • Chill beverages
  • Sharpen knives
  • Defrost turkey or other large meats and entrees
Event Day Tips:
  • Need a refresher on setting the table?
  • Buffet style serving is great for large groups, and some items like butter, buns, and condiments, can be prepared early in the day, covered and ready.
  • Use your crockpot to keep the mashed potatoes, perogies, or vegetables warm. Hint: Spray or grease the inside liner with a little olive oil.
  • An electric fondue pot can keep the gravy hot on the buffet table. Just add a ladle.

  • A vegetable steamer on a side counter or buffet table, can reduce congestion at the stove.
  • A roaster oven that has a buffet tray can be used for keeping vegetables warm.
  • An electric skillet or wok on a low setting can keep sliced ham or turkey warm.
  • An electric knife is terrific for carving. Or ensure you have a sharp carving knife.
    Basic, Simple Knife Sharpening

  • Covered serving dishes and roasters are also handy for keeping side dishes warm. Consider using those that can go straight from the oven to the table - to reduce clean up.
  • Make coffee ahead and pour into a thermal carafe, or hot pot dispenser.
  • Arrange your desserts on a serving platter early in the day or the night before, and refrigerate or freeze until shortly before needed.
  • An electric chocolate melting pot can be used to keep hot dips or cranberry sauce warm.
    Chocolatiere Melting Pot

  • A blender with an ice crushing blade can be used for small quantities of ice for special drinks.
  • A whisk works well for smoothing your gravy.
  • A fruit punch is always delightful and a punch bowl with self-serve cups makes serving easier. No punch bowl? Use an oversized salad bowl and disposable glasses.
  • Not using your punch bowl? Use it for a delicious trifle.

  • After carving your turkey, place the bones you want for soup in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate - easy to take out the next day, and empty it into a stockpot with other soup ingredients.
  • If roasting your turkey in a low-sided or foil roasting pan, placing a cookie sheet under it will ensure no grease drips into your oven, and the roasting pan is more stable for easy removal.
  • Empty your dishwasher early in the day - clean up will be quicker.
  • Ready your servingware and kitchen tools early in the day. You can even napkin-wrap silverware.

Other Resources for a Great Dinner And last of all:Relax - Don't Fret - Enjoy the day!

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