The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, share joy, swap presents and most of all eat delicious food. But with this holiday happiness comes stress and pressure to prepare and host social events and gatherings. From decor to dinner, there is a lot to get done and not a lot of time to do it, so efficiency is key.
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The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, share joy, swap presents and most of all eat delicious food. But with this holiday happiness comes stress and pressure to prepare and host social events and gatherings. From decor to dinner, there is a lot to get done and not a lot of time to do it, so efficiency is key. Any little tip, trick, hack or shortcut helps when it comes to planning a memorable holiday gathering while doing a little less work.
We’ve gathered 8 of our favorite holiday hacks that are easy, clever and have you thinking “why didn’t I know these sooner?”
1. Slow Cookers Are Your Friend
When it comes to cooking for the holidays, oven space is limited, timers are beeping everywhere and there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Luckily you have a handy kitchen appliance that makes some of the most tedious recipes simple. Your slow cooker can do a lot of things, from delicious one-pot meals for fall-off-the-bone tenderness to fruit cobblers for dessert. Use your slow cooker to make cooking easier with a “set it and forget it” attitude. Try it with this Slow Cooker Cranberry Pecan Stuffing Recipe and enjoy a savory, sweet stuffing that you don’t have to fuss over so you can enjoy hassle-free holiday cooking.
2. Make Ahead
Everything doesn’t have to be a “day-of” duty and there are some things that can certainly be made ahead of time to free up your holiday. Cranberry sauce needs to be set overnight and desserts can be made ahead of time and packed away until ready to serve.
Our favorite? Garlic bread. Using a pack of KING’S HAWAIIAN® Rolls, 12, or 24 pack, you can make a garlic bread that is simple and packable for easy transportation. Simply cut the entire sheet of rolls in half, spread melted garlic butter (butter, fresh garlic, salt, parsley) and put the top back on. Return to the package and when you’re ready to heat up simply remove from the bag in the same tray and heat up in the oven for an easy pull-apart garlic bread tray.
The benefit of potluck isn’t limited to tasting your friends and families famous recipes and cooking, it’s getting to share the workload with others so it doesn’t always fall on one person! Whether it’s the main event, such as the ham or turkey, or sides and desserts, assigning everyone a task takes pressure off of a host and allows for everyone to participate in the gathering. That way, everyone can make the most of their one dish and it all comes together for the ultimate feast.
4. Buffet All the Way
Serving a crowd can be complicated and with all the food that is made, who has room at the table for all the dishes and the people? Start a buffet line. Pick a spot in the kitchen or dining area that makes for a simple, single-file line where folks can go down the row getting the dishes they want, in the amount they want, and free up your table for centerpieces, beverages and guests!
5. Night-Before Set Up
Don’t wait to finalize your decor and set the table. Take your time to create the ambience and vibe of the holidays with night-before set up. It allows you to create the home magazine-cover table setting you’ve always wanted and get things in order before the kitchen chaos ensues, so you can wow your guests with the food and the setting.
6. Cook-and-Serve Dishes
The worst thing about holiday feasts are the dirty dishes at the end of the night. Make life simple and save yourself the time of working away grease and grime at the sink by using less dishes. Cook all the casseroles, sides and pies in dishes you can serve in so you don’t have to dirty up multiple dishes for one recipe. Bonus tip: Use aluminum trays and dishes that you can recycle after for simple clean up!
7. Ingredient Prep
Chop. Chop. Chop. It seems the holiday food prep is always filled with peeling, cutting and chopping vegetables for all sorts of recipes. Make it easy and prep all of those ingredients beforehand. From measuring out to cutting and chopping onion, celery and carrots, you can get all of it done a day or two before the big day to make day-of cooking a breeze. Plus, it leaves for easy clean up!
8. Leave Them Wanting More
Don’t want a ton of leftovers lying around? Leave your guests with a bit of holiday leftover love. Use to-go tupperware containers and package a little bit of everything along with a few KING’S HAWAIIAN® rolls so they can make a mini feast the next day like our For the Love of Leftovers sandwich.