The Holidays is all about the food, the following products can make your kitchen tasks much easier.
But it can be stressful to deal with cooking for a large family or even a small one. If you are responsible for cooking Holiday meals, then you probably enjoy the cooking. That said there is no reason that you can’t make the whole process less stressful and a bit more efficient.
To help you, here is a list of kitchen accessories and tools that can help you prep, serve and clean more efficiently. These items will not make the cooking faster but they should shorten the time you spend in the kitchen before and after cooking.
Holiday Cook’s Prepping Tool Kit
Kitchen Utensil Holder – I’m not talking about the drawer that you keep all your spatulas and stuff in. I’m talking about a container that sits on your counter near the stove and holds the utensils that you are going to need for your marathon cooking session. Having everything out and ready to use will cut down on the time you spend searching through drawers. It will also ensure you have the right tools for the job. I keep my most used utensils in a German beer mug.
Measuring Spoons – I’m sure you have a set, but do you have all the sizes that you need? Take a look at your recipes and make sure that you have the right measuring spoons and cups. Having a good set of measuring cups and spoons will take a lot of the guess work out of cooking.
Spice Racks – Similar to the utensil holder, you want to have all your essential spices at hand and in plain sight. Digging around in the pantry or drawer is going to add time and annoyance to your prep work. It’s best to sort your spices beforehand and have the ones you use right out in front.
Blenders & Food Processors – Nothing is better than a blender or a food processor from Kitchenaid for saving you time in the kitchen by cutting down on your prep time. If you don’t use yours that often, make sure that you have all the pieces before putting it away. Remember to leave a convenient place to plug it in.
Holiday Cook’s Serving Tool Kit
Serving Trays – These are great for bringing food out of the kitchen and getting everything back into the kitchen. A good set of serving trays lets you carry a lot at one time and clear the table(s) faster. The fewer trips you have to make back and forth the better.
Party Tubs – These are essential if you have a lot of people coming through the house. There is nothing more frustrating than having people come in and out of the kitchen while you are working because they need to grab a drink. Put a party tub in your living room or on the back porch and you can shift that traffic away from you. The less distractions and interruptions you have, the faster you can get everything finished. This also takes the responsibility for drinks off of your plate.
Serving Carts – If you are dealing with a large number of guests, then a serving cart may be a better investment than the serving trays. A good serving cart will let you move several courses, dishes and anything else you need into the dining area and out again with a minimum of hassle. Instead of needing 3, 4 or 5 trips to the kitchen, you can do it all in one. You can also set one of these in a living room, den, or rec room and have people serve themselves snacks or drinks.
Holiday Cook’s Cleaning Tool Kit
Tupperware – I know this seems obvious, but one of the hardest things to handle after the meal is what to do with all the leftovers. (This is my least favorite part of preparing meals, that’s why Nick usually gets this job.) Make sure you have containers large enough to store the turkey or ham, and enough of them to put away all the side dishes. Another advantage of having plastic containers with lids is that they are stack-able so you can save space in the fridge.
Trash Cans & Recycle Bins – More courses and more guests means more garbage. Get a larger trash can, like the Step and Sort, for your kitchen so you can make fewer trips outside. If you recycle, then strategically placing a few recycle bins around the house can help you keep trash sorted. You’ll have one less thing to think about.
Dish Drainer – You cook more, you serve more and so you create more dirty dishes. Upgrade your kitchen dish drainer to something that can handle twice the amount of dishes you usually have after a meal. If you have a double sink then you can add even more space by getting one that mounts over the sink. The more dishes you can clean and dry at once, the less time you have to spend in the kitchen after the meal. I always wash dirty dishes while cooking as well, this helps to keep the after-cooking work load down.
Bonus Tip: Delegate
I’m sure you take your Holiday cooking seriously but that doesn’t mean you have do everything yourself. Put together a list of chores for the kids and relatives. Get the teenagers into the kitchen to help you chop vegetables, have your younger kids set the table (with some supervision), make sure someone has responsibility for getting the garbage out before and after dinner; have someone help clear the table and store everything and last put the kids in charge of the dishes.
I’ve been doing the cooking for many years now and helped out around the kitchen since I was a kid. Seeing how other people work (or don’t) in the kitchen has given me a lot of ideas about how to making the cooking part of the day much easier. I hope these ideas help you this Holiday season.
Do you have any tips or ideas to add? Please leave us a comment below.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Nick and Silke Jager