Sous Chef for Holiday Cooking: How to Be Your Own
Sous Chef for the holidays? How is that possible, you ask? Very possible. In fact, Congratulations! Because you are reading The Enchanted Blog, you have won your own sous chef to help you cook during the holiday season. It’s you!
I developed this secret key to food preparation for holiday meals a few years ago. Your Enchantress is a recovering perfectionist and I’m always looking for ways to keep my standards high while lowering my stress.
I became my own sous chef! Here’s how you can, too.
TAKE INVENTORY OF RECIPE INGREDIENTS
Always meditate for a few moments on the vision of the end result. Everything delicious and finished in time to get dressed and greet your guests. Then…up to one week prior to cooking a holiday meal, spread out all of the recipes you will be using. You may notice that onions, for example, appear in three different dishes. Celery may show up in two of them. Garlic in two others. Butter, in more than you would like to count.
After shopping for the ingredients, a few days in advance, chop all of the vegetables at once that are required for the various dishes and put them into Ziplock bags or glass containers. I, personally, love the Chop Wizard for slicing and dicing uniform size vegetables. Quick, easy and no tears from the onion chopping by hand.
PREPARE KITS FOR EACH RECIPE
A day or two before, make assembly kits for each recipe by marking grocery bags that will contain the ingredients for each dish. Let’s say you are making a stuffing. Measure out all of the dry ingredients, combining those that will get combined when you are ready to cook, and put them in a container inside of the bag marked STUFFING. Add the 1/2 stick of butter, still in its wrapping, and the reserved chopped parsley, dried cranberries, etc.
Move on to the next dish. If you are opening with a French Onion Soup, put the measurement of sliced onions in a Ziplock bag, separate from the sugar you use to caramelize them, and put the container of broth in the bag marked FRENCH ONION SOUP, as well.
ASSEMBLE AND DONE!
By the end of your prep time, you will have several kits labeled with the names for the various dishes and saved yourself time and energy by slicing six onions at once, five stalks of celery, four cloves of garlic…you get it. When it comes time for the big cooking day, you are mostly just assembling ingredients, rather than measuring, chopping and exhausting yourself.
Dragon Repellent: If guests are talking to you while you are cooking, you are less likely to make a mistake because the measuring is already done.
TIME TO BE ENCHANTING
Your fabulous inner sous chef has prepared everything for you! You get to put it all together and be enchanting!
Enjoy! So grateful to have you on the journey.