Cooking Need Not Mean Spending Hours in the Kitchen
personal cookbook is all yours
Holidays can sometimes be depressing for some people and for others, well they just don't look forward to them because it isn't all that special when you spend nine tenths of your time cooking and then cleaning up your kitchen. By the time you are done, everyone has either left, or are asleep. Nothing to look forward to there, and that a fact;.
I have been a restaurant cook most of my life, (among other things) and when you have orders flying your direction and have to serve two hundred people dinner in a matter of a couple of hours sometimes, you learn to do things as quickly as possible, yet make the food look and taste wonderful too.
I am going to give you some ideas to make your holiday meals good, and not that hard to make or clean up after either.
The first and foremost thing to remember is to have everything that you are going to need prepared in advance, for your use. If you are planning to serve let's say a buffet table so that everyone can help themselves as they arrive and have it their way, be sure that you prepare enough of the sliced, diced, and chopped food, ahead of time, and put into containers in the refrigerator with lids so keep it fresh. Then as the trays empty it takes no time at all to refill.
If you are planning a more formal dinner, still do the same thing, the day before do all the slicing and chopping you are going to need, before you ever put one thing on the stove. Have all your recipes out and know them so you are not trying to figure things out at the last minute. If you think about making something, let us say for example, a side dish of fried rice, how much faster would it go if you had all the ingredients right there, ready for use, and just add them to the pan when needed and do other things with other dishes at the same time. Also, knowing your kitchen and having it organized so that all your utensils are within reach where you will be using them. If you are running across the kitchen for spoons all day long, you are using up a lot of time and energy.
Putting all of your favorite recipes into a notebook for your own personal use is a must. Writing down all the tips and shortcuts that you have learned through time and by watching your grandmother do them is a big plus when it come to not wasting time. When you write down your own recipes you can organize things the way that you want them, you also can make your favorite things the same way every time. I personally have some really good dishes that not only take very little time, but are inexpensive to make.
Things that you might think are difficult to make from scratch, aren't really that hard when you take the time ahead of time to look up a quick and easy recipe, try it out once, and if it works, put it in your book for the next time you might need it. When my kids were young, I had a bread recipe that took about five minutes to put together, and then it only had to sit and rise twice, and after that I only had to bake it for about half an hour and the smell of fresh hot homemade bread could be smelled down the street. It is this kind of cooking that makes the holidays special, not the kind of cooking that takes up your whole day making you feel like you have been run over by a truck, and missed most of the fun.
So in summary, buy everything you will be needing by reading your recipes ahead of time, prepare your pre cooking preparations the night before so you do not have to do any of that sort of thing that day. Have your favorite dishes in your own cookbook for handy reference. Finally, if you really want to use your favorite china for a special reason do so, but if that sort of thing does not matter that much to you, for heavens sake, use paper plates and save yourself some work, for I will tell you right now, the men in my family don't look at what the food is on, to tell you the truth they barely see what the food looks like.
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