Holiday Helpers - Cooking Tips for Blind and Vision Loss Guide for a Stress Free Day
"Second Sense - Holiday Helper Talk" (Notes)
Holidays are built around food & family traditions passed down for generations.
We are here to help you carry on that tradition.
We can give you recipes, but if we give you skills, tools and techniques you can create or make any recipe you have in your recipe box.
Here are a handful of tips to make the Holiday meal and party preparation easier.
“Mise en place” – a French term for “To put in Place” is the basis for a well-organized holiday.
Get your holiday menu together at least a week in advance and prepare an additional food list of items that can be done ahead.
This list can be used for forming a grocery list, to do list, pre-prep of items or parts of items that can be made and frozen for your holiday meal.
I keep mine in a handy drawer and check things off as they are prepared.
Below is a short list of foods you can make ahead so you can relax and enjoy the day:
• Casseroles made have ready to bake.
(Let the dish come to room temp a bit before putting in the oven if it is glass)
• Turkey or meat thawed ready to go in the oven: washed (if you wash) - dried. Rubbed with softened butter, pepper and salt.
Otherwise gather the seasoning ingredients in a bag / bowl ready for use.
(Maybe have ingredients in Dixie cups or bowls) Also for safety *Use a baster with the brush for control less splash.
• "Veggie's" peel and cut make ahead ready to cook. Keep moist with damp paper towels laid over and covered with plastic wrap.
• "Mashed potatoes" use a recipe that can be baked, crock pot cooked or ready to heat.
• Steamed Veggies: Corn, peas or other vegetables can be seasoned with butter, salt, pepper and a little water – have vegetables prepared –except for cooking in the dish in the refrigerator ready to go in the microwave.
This will reduce oven stove space and pan cleanup.
Crock pot a couple items, casseroles, appetizers, veggies, yams starting them early in the day and the crock pot will have them done for you.
In General, each of these things takes a little time off your schedule the day of the event making your life easier.
• Make your pastry dough ahead so it’s ready to thaw and use for your fresh pies you bake the day of the party or night before.
• Use frozen pie dough.
• Puff pastry, tart or filo dough.
Dough Freezing Instructions: To freeze your dough lay out on parchment paper or wax paper in circle sizes you would roll out for a pie. Leave on paper and roll up with paper in a roll. Wrap and place in freezer for the holiday.
Allow a couple hours for thawing the day of use, keep loose covered while thawing.
• Make the fruit fillings ahead, par-cooking the apples or any fruit, (so they don’t turn color).
Just assemble and bake the day of so you get the smell of pie baking.
Also for the filling you can use frozen fruit or vegetables and add a special touch saving time. Use a pre-made simple syrup make ahead of 50-50 water and sugar for a special touch for cakes and a quick pie filling.
Cakes: make and Freeze.
• Cake is easier to frost when it is frozen and they thaw quickly.
• Frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated, or use canned or box.
Note* Make sure you bring cold stiff frosting to room temp before use or you will damage the cake.
Note* Using a hot knife or spreader will make your frosting spread easier.
Make roux ahead for your gravy and refrigerate.
On items you can’t make ahead, gather ingredients in a basket or tray.
Have the ingredients measured up as possible, separated by the recipe.
“Saves time and confusion”.
Things you should ‘Not” do ahead:
• Cook your Turkey or meat.
• Gravy-but you can make the Roux ahead
• Bake your potatoes to finish
• Make or bake bread
• Pasta cooking, you can make and freeze some pasta.
• Whipping Cream, May weep.
• Final dessert touches like fresh fruit ….. Strawberries, Raspberries – could mold.
Prep any items that will tolerate and finish off on the day of with final fresh touches.
“Snacks add Snap”
Always have snacks for guests to keep them busy and out of the kitchen area while you finish cooking.
If you are running behind no one will be rushing you if you have some snacks.
PARTIES.....Familiar are good!
“Unique to you party ideas” keeping you comfortable.
Make what recipes you do well and make it small, or consider family favorites in a mini version, Such as Mini Pot Pie or mini turnovers
Mini Tacos or burritos
Queso with chips is simple with your favorite cheese and salsa and seasonings and chips or bagel, pita,
sesame, tortilla or taco chips,
Just throw items in the crock pot stir and don’t forget to taste.
Mini Potato Skins made of mini potatoes.
Link to NY Times 101 simple appetizers in 20 minutes or less.