Tuesday’s Tip: Easy Peasy Holiday Preparation Tip #3

November 16,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Are you ready for Turkey Day yet? If the answer is no, and honestly it is “no” for me, don’t worry, we still have a good week before the stuffing and gravy are served. This year we are hosting my parents and SPH’s mom and step-dad at our home in Ohio. I am so excited for this year’s dinner since SPH and I love hosting dinners. Even better, this year’s crowd is a very manageable size and we have 4 “I’d love to!” babysitters to entertain the boys while we prepare dinner. SPH and I have begun to work on the menu and it goes something like this: SPH: “I will smoke the turkey and make the oyster dressing.” Me: “Okay, great…we’ll have to do a stuffing, do you want to do the sausage and fennel one again this year?” SPH: “Yes, but maybe we could do a cornbread one too.” Me: “Three dressings/stuffings for 8 people might be a bit much, don’t you think?” And so it goes…there are so many sentimental recipes and favorites for this eating holiday that any attempt to add something new just adds to the mass of food being prepared for Thanksgiving. If I were to suggest for instance, that we cut out the stuffing, mashed potatoes or green bean casserole in lieu of quinoa (quinoa is high on my wish list this year, both for my nearly vegetarian mother-in-law and I) a possible boycott could ensue. This is why I believe we end up with approximately 72 side dishes on Thanksgiving for 8 people to consume. Can anyone say “freezer and refrigerator space?” Which brings me to this week’s Easy Peasy Holiday Preparation Tip #3: clear out some space in your refrigerator and freezer, perhaps even your cabinets, now.” If you are like the typical American family, you no doubt have relishes, dressings or condiments lurking in the door or dark recesses of your refrigerator that may be either A) past their prime or B) only about 2% full. Pitch the outdated condiments now and use the remnants of other sauces and jars now to clear out space. Think of it as a creative exercise: how can I reduce the most bottles out of my fridge in the next week? Likewise, do a quick perusal of your freezer to look for things that need to be pitched or consumed. All that extra freezer space will be a god send if you need to freeze leftovers of your 72 side dishes for future use! A little time clearing and pitching now will make sure you aren’t standing at the door of your fridge on November 25th staring for another little corner or space to cram in another item for your Turkey Day Feast. SPC