Holiday Cooking Tips for a Stress-Free and Festive Season

Nobody likes stress, but most especially not during the holidays. Our holiday cooking tips can help ease your worries and make your time in the kitchen very enjoyable.


1. Plan Ahead

From your menu to the ingredients, planning ahead can save you a ton of time and stress. Make a list of the dishes and recipes you want to make for the holidays, then make a corresponding ingredient list with all the items in the recipes. Go through your fridge/pantry and check off all the ingredients you already have on hand. What's left? That's now your shopping list!

But what if you don't know what to make? Pinterest is your friend! Create a Pinterest board of holiday recipes that are interesting throughout the year and then choose each of the following to actually make for your festivities:

1 Main Course
2 Sides
1 Salad
1 Dessert

And don't forget the gravy or decadent sauces to accompany your dishes!


2. Food Prep is your Friend

Preparing food ahead of time can be a life saver. Even something as simple as cutting up vegetables, chilling dough, or thawing meat. Prepare as much as you possibly can the day or two before your event. This will give you more time to relax and enjoy on the day of your lunch/dinner/event.

Root vegetables and squashes especially hold well when pre-prepared, so think about serving up some acorn squash or roast potatoes and beets as your side!

You can also pre-make pie dough and cookie dough at least 1 month in advance to keep in the freezer. So if you're a busy and on-the-go person who magically finds themselves with an hour of free time before the holidays, make that dough and check it off your list. Laying out these steps ahead of time will make the day of an absolute breeze.


3. Practice mindful cooking and eating

Okay, but what's all the hullabaloo about "mindfulness" anyway? Being mindful is basically to be present in the process.

Cooking should not be stressful. Cooking for loved ones should be an enjoyable experience! Being aware of each step in the cooking process and how the ingredients work together will be almost zen-like. You'll have a greater appreciation for the food. By meditating in the process, you'll see a change in how you approach your tasks!

And as far as mindful eating, we all know that first slow bite and the, "Mmmmmmm" that comes out of your mouth. Embrace that feeling and embrace when everyone around you is doing the same thing enjoying what you made!


4. Make Sure You Have all the Right Cooking Tools

Stock pots? Spatulas? Cookie cutters? Check out that menu you're planning again and make sure you have all the right tools and gadgets you need.

If you're making a pie from scratch, you may need a pastry blender to get the crust just right. Roasting some meat as your main course? Make sure to have a Roasting Pan on hand. All your spatulas somehow got super tattered in the last year? Have some silicone ones on hand for cooking and baking!

Having the right cooking tools is just as important as having all the right ingredients when it comes to cooking.


5. Play Your Favorite Music and dance in the kitchen

Trust us on this one. Pump up the jams, sing along into a spatula, and shake your groove thing. Dancing in the kitchen is one of the great joys of holiday cooking and will release dopamine into your brain. You'll have a great time. Just make sure to set timers so nothing goes up in flames!


These tips can help in creating a perfect holiday menu without the added stress during the holidays. Make your lists and check them twice, because you're basically Food Santa to everyone coming over to your house!

Or, you know what. Make it super stress free and just have a potluck. Treat yourself, you deserve it.