Ways to plan ahead for the food-loving season:
All great celebrations start in the kitchen, and holiday parties are no exception. From golden-roasted turkeys to frosted Christmas cookies, ‘tis the season for food.
But in order to make your festivities a treat, it’s essential to plan ahead.
“(Around the holidays), families can start getting at each other’s throats,” says Colton Soelberg, a chef at the Sundance Tree Room. “But if you prepare your menu early, you’re able to achieve a high level of quality with a low level of stress.”
Basic holiday food prep can also help the party’s social scene.
“Planning ahead actually gives you more time to spend with family,” Colton says. “There’s less cooking and more family time.”
Here are three plan-ahead tips for your family to taste test this holiday season.
TIP ONE: COOK IN SHIFTS
Popular holiday food that can be prepared early:
• Vegetables (peel and chop them beforehand)
• Turkeys (brining can be done ahead of time)
• Homemade salad dressings
TIP TWO: PICK A STYLE
Decide ahead of time what type of holiday food you want to make – traditional, trendy or both. This will help your menu to be cohesive and easy to plan.
“Food is getting more diverse for the holidays, but I personally tend to stick with a traditional point of view,” Colton says. “I also like to take something people recognize and recreate it in a way that’s unique.”
“Instead of just sticking the turkey in the oven, I like to roast (its parts) separately,” Colton says. “People are also starting to deep fry their turkey.”
TIP THREE: LEAVE THE KITCHEN
More and more families are planning their holiday menus with nary a pot or pan in sight, as dining out for Thanksgiving or Christmas can be a delicious solution for de-stressing the holiday season. Plus it’s a great way to support local chefs’ kitchens (and keep yours clean!).
HOME COOKING CLASSES:
A cooking class may be the only time it’s OK to have too many cooks in the kitchen. Take advantage of these local experts to spice up your cooking skills and menus.
Class ingredients: Combine cooking with romance at Classy Cuisine’s “Iron Chef Date Night” at The Shops at Riverwoods.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, call (801) 426-7922. Classes are $30 per couple.
Class ingredients: Learn the basics or master your holiday baking at the new cooking store in Orem.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, call (801) 224-1616. Classes are free.
Class ingredients: Utah County Macey’s stores have classes that range from “Dining Out at Home” to gluten-free cooking.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, contact the Call Service Desk at your local Macey’s. Classes are free.
SHEPHERD’S CAKE, CANDY & GIFTS
Class ingredients: There’s always room for dessert! Check out Shepherd’s classes on candy, pies and cake decorating.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, call (801) 373-5542. Pie classes are $10, and the month-long cake classes are $25 (plus supplies). There are free candy demonstrations on Saturdays.
Class ingredients: From an “Asian Feast” to “Pie Crust 101,” Thanksgiving Point has a wide variety of classes for the whole family.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, call (801) 768-4971. Classes are $35.
Class ingredients: Catch up on your cultured cuisine. UVSC has classes ranging from Mexican to Thai.
Pre-class instructions: For more information and to register, visit www.uvsc.edu/communityeducation. Prices vary.