Tuesday's Tip: Make Ahead Now - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Make Ahead Now

November 09,2010
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.

We’re into Week Two of the Easy Peasy Holiday Kitchen Preparation Tips, and after last week’s tip of “Stock Up Now,” it’s time to consider actually making some items now. No, I am not suggesting you fully prepare an entire Thanksgiving Meal and have it on stand-by in the freezer. Nor am I implying that you can finish all your kitchen cooking and baking now. There is something to be said for freshly prepared dishes too, but getting started now will save you from a kitchen marathon during the busiest time of the year. My friend Nicole posted on Facebook late last week that she had made two batches of dough and placed in the freezer. Well done Nicole! I am not quite there yet, but my plan is to start slowly making things now so I won’t be up until Midnight making Christmas Cookies the week before Christmas. Most cookie dough freezes really well and is easy to thaw and use. A couple of my favorites to freeze ahead of time are sugar cookie dough, gingerbread and peanut butter dough. All of these keep fresh while frozen and in the case of the sugar cookie and gingerbread dough, there is an added bonus: most recipes require you to chill the dough prior to rolling it out and cutting it with cookie cutters. However, if you already have it in the freezer, you won’t have to wait the extra time between making the dough and being able to use it. In addition to dough, I like to prepare things like mashed sweet potatoes, fillings for filo triangle appetizers and other sauces and fillings that can be pre-made to save me time. I also freeze already made quick breads, such as cranberry bread, banana nut bread and pumpkin muffins to have on hand as a quick snack or treat for unexpected gatherings and guests. Perhaps you are not one to normally plan ahead, or the idea of planning so far in advance gives you a bit of a headache. Think of it this way: for every item you mix or bake now, that’s one more chunk of time to do other holiday things or, imagine this, take a load off and actually have a bit of time to just relax and enjoy a holiday moment of peace. So check Easy Peasy Holiday Kitchen Preparation Tip #2: Make Ahead Now off your list and you are well on your way to easing holiday stress. SPC