A stress-free Christmas day relies on a little forward planning. And, if you are playing to host to any Christmas festivities this year and cooking up a storm for family and friends, now is the time to get your kitchen Christmas ready! See our tips for a hassle-free Christmas kitchen workout.
You find at this time of the year there are two types of people; those who are almost finished their Christmas shopping and those who are only just starting. But no matter where we fall in the gift giving department, most of us at some point will give our kitchen a Christmas workout as the big day nears. Food is an ever-important part of Christmas traditions!
Depending on your planning skills this kitchen Christmas workout, as I like to call it, can be as seamless or as disastrous as the effort one puts in. Only, in this case there is no pushy personal trainer to blame; the buck stops with you. No matter your planning skills there is bound to be something that pops up on Christmas Day. So, it always nice to try and be at least a little organised and have some spare time on hand to deal with the unexpected too.
Whether you’re super organised or one of those last-minute planners who simply wing it year to year, our kitchen experts have you covered. Take a look at our Harrington Kitchens team’s tips for getting your kitchen Christmas ready this year.
Brainstorm your Christmas Kitchen Menu
The most vital step in getting your kitchen Christmas ready is preparing your menu ahead of time.
Plan what you are going to cook and stick with your plan. This not only helps with organisation on the day, it is also a major player in purchasing ingredients too. Once you know what you are cooking you can grab items as they come on sale. That’s a win, win really.
* Tip: if you need some cooking inspiration, check out foodie sites like Yummly, Taste and Better Homes and Gardens recipes. But when cooking new dishes, it is always a good idea to run a trial first (see our tip below).
Share the Load
Once my family became accustomed to sharing the load, it made Christmas preparation a lot more stress-free. Communicate your plan with family and friends and arrange items for them bring. Give them plenty of notice so they too have time to prepare and be organised.
And, on the day if you need help – just ask! I’m pretty sure your guests would much rather pitch in than sit by and watch as you drown in your very own Christmas kitchen disaster.
Go with What You Know
You have the entire year to trial special recipes and dishes, don’t leave those for Christmas day. Unless you are a MasterChef extraordinaire, uber-impressive Christmas dishes are likely to add nothing but time and stress on the average cook.
To ensure your kitchen is Christmas ready, it is important to stick to recipes you know well. There is no shame in whipping up simple, stress-free dishes that you know you are great at. Keeping it simple means less time in the kitchen and more time for socialising with family and friends too; and isn’t that what the festive season is all about?
Avoid the Heat Stress
Unlike the other side of the globe, Christmas hits us here in Summer and Santa loves to bring the hot weather with him! In the hot weather, there are a few things you can do to avoid heat stress in the kitchen on Christmas day.
If you have one of those families who simply can’t do without their traditional Christmas roast, just cook it outside instead.
Smokers and outdoor barbeques, like the range of Weber’s and other similar products that are available are great for cooking roasts without heating up the house and taking up all of the oven space. Alternatively, cook a spit roast on your barbeque rotisserie.
Cool and Calm Christmas Dishes
I’m one of those people who prefers a Christmas feast which includes dishes that can be cooked outside and prepared ahead of time. Tasty dishes like cold baked ham, seafood, salads and those quick side dishes that can be prepared on the stove top and kept in a warmer are my pick of the bunch.
Aside from a traditional hot roast, following are a few ideas for some Christmas dishes that can be cooked outside, served cool, or prepared ahead of time:
- Honey glazed baked ham – tastes just as great hot or cold
- Whole baked fish – seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper and cooked in foil on the barbeque
- Mini quiches – served cold
- Chicken and cranberry salad with avocado, goat cheese and roasted almonds
- Zucchini and sweet potato slice with bacon pieces – this is also just as tasty served cold or hot
- Caramelised Brussel sprouts and whole baby carrots
- Pasta salad and coleslaw
- Turkish bread with a selection of dips
Here are some dessert dishes that are simple and easy to prepare ahead of time:
- Vanilla cheesecake
- Jelly cups
- Fruit salad – summer fruits are amazing for freshly made fruit salad
- Mini caramel tarts – use caramel Top ‘n’ Fill and prepared pasty cases
And, to avoid washing up, cook your dishes in environmentally-friendly, disposable dishes.
Be Storage Savvy
A Christmas ready kitchen needs to be clean and organised, and this includes kitchen storage.
Give your cupboards and fridge an overhaul well ahead of time. Get rid of those out of date items that seem to lurk in the corner of the pantry. Clean and re-organise your fridge so there is plenty of room to house any leftovers on Christmas day.
To conserve fridge space on Christmas Day, put your drinks on ice in Eskies or ice tubs. Delegate someone to do an ice run for you on Christmas Eve so this is prepared ahead of time and your drinks are icy cold.
Getting your kitchen Christmas ready and delivering a successful Christmas Day feast involves planning, organising and a good amount of delegating. Start now so that you have ample time to juggle that last-minute Christmas shopping, cleaning and decorating the house (which is a huge task itself!).
Does your kitchen need extra storage space or a makeover to get it Christmas ready? Harrington Kitchens are experts at new and revived kitchen cabinetry, pantry storage solutions, and all things kitchen design. If you are considering a kitchen makeover of any size, get in touch with our team and start the conversation on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry or visit us at our Narellan or Bowral showrooms.