The 12 Days of Holiday Cooking

Published Date: December 11th, 2009
Category: Cooking, Holiday Fun

By Brook Noel Platinum Quality Author

Use this simple countdown strategy to keep Christmas preparations hassle-free, avoiding a last minute crunch. For a full menu and shopping list, visit and click on the Recipe link.

Day 12

Avoid last minute menu madness. Choose your menu for the Big Day as well as quick-and-easy option for the busy pre-Christmas days. Record your holiday meal plan in your Holiday Notebook. Collect all your recipes in one place and staple together or tuck them into your

Day 11

A careful indulgence: Before completely committing to your menu, check to see if any of your guests has food allergies or special-food needs. If you are having a potluck, or people are bringing side dishes be sure to know the ingredients, so you can advise your guests. If you have a vegetarian attending, provide one or two casseroles they can enjoy. The same goes for diabetics, the heart-conscious, etc. Although the holidays are a time of feasting, offer options for those who have to indulge carefully. While making your inquiries, firm up the time for the meal.

Day 10

A merry mail call: If your holiday greeting cards haven’t been mailed, now is the time! Or use the e-mail card tips in this guide for quick delivery. Make sure any last minute catalogue shopping comes with a holiday delivery-guarantee.

Day 9

Deck your dinner with delegation. Analyze your list and don’t hesitate to call on guests to bring an appetizer, wine, or dessert. Company will be so glad they don’t have to do the main meal; let them have the privilege of bringing a side dish. Use this strategy to mark off as many items as possible. Look at the recipes that are left on your list and read through
their instructions carefully before making a master ingredient list. Think through the process of how each recipe will be prepared and if there is a better alternative to conserve time or if the recipes

Day 8

Stock check: After delegating some of the recipes, make a master ingredient list. Make sure to check that you have the applicable pots, pans, utensils, etc., for preparation and serving. Call your local market to order the meat for your main entrée. For boned items such as turkey, plan on 1 pound per person. For boneless meats like ham or tenderloin, plan ½ pound per person.

Day 7

Work ahead: Highlight anything that can be done ahead of time. Example: cheese can be shredded; onions can be cut and placed in airtight containers in your freezer for up to 4 weeks.

Day 6

Supermarket sweep (part one): Purchase all non-perishable items and frozen items. Keep all holiday items together in your pantry and on a single shelf in your freezer (or place a holiday sticker on them so they are not accidentally used in a different recipe). Nothing is worse than
trying to make wild rice without wild rice. While still at the grocery store, unload your cart in an organized manner. Re-check your list, as you go, making sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Ask that like items be bagged together. This will make for easier unpacking at home. (Make sure to send cards and packages out via priority mail today, if you haven’t done so already.)

Day 5

The slow thaw sand table toppings: Pick up your main entrée. Place large meats in the back of your refrigerator to begin thawing. A large turkey can take up to 4 or 5 days to thaw. Allow approximately 24 hours per 5 pounds of turkey. Table toppings: Decide on table setting, centerpiece, iron linens, polish silver, you get the picture.

Day 4

Supermarket sweep (part two): Shop for all perishable items. Clean out your refrigerator before you go so you have plenty of room to unpack! Again, make sure to mark items with a holiday sticker to avoid the a missing-ingredient mystery.

Day 3

Odds and ends: Pre-bake any pie shells and tidy up the house. Make any gelatin molds or frozen desserts.

Day 2

Cooking countdown: Slice and dice everything that can be prepped in advance. Peel and cut your vegetables,

Day 1

The Mad-dash: Run any last minute errands. Make your Christmas Eve meal an easy one, because your biggest day of cooking is less than 24 hours away. Prepare any sauces or chilled desserts today. Use family teamwork to conquer as much cooking as possible, freeing more time for everyone to enjoy the upcoming feast. Assemble a Cheese Strata that sits overnight in the fridge and can be quickly cooked on Christmas morning. Hang up your stockings; set your coffee pot, and tuck everybody in.

Day 0

After breakfast, have family members help do a quick “clean up.” Then set the table for the evening to come. Make sure to take time during the busy day to pause and reflect on the deeper meaning of the holiday to you and your family.

From my Rush Hour Kitchen to yours… Happy Holidays!

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Elise Bauer is well known as one of the top food bloggers in the world and her recipes have fed thousand of hungry mouths around the world. Not only does her website contain an abundance of recipes but she is nearly always available on Twitter answering questions and discussing her cooking. A real angel of the cooking world who seems to be out to help everybody on the planet to cook better food!