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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FAMILY DINNERS, HOLIDAYS & ORGANIZING FOR A CROWD

I had a houseful for the Christmas holidays so I will use that as my example.

Besides menu planning and doing everything you can to organize, my best advice is to use cutting boards to aid in stacking items in the refrigerator and use cookie sheets as lids in the oven so you can stack multiple dishes on each shelf and have room for the Turkey or Ham and all your side dishes so they'll all be ready at the same time.

For a crowd that will be around for an extended amount of time, I also try to prepare dishes in advance and freeze them when possible so that I don't spend all my 'visiting time' in the kitchen. I spent the better part of a day cooking, but it was well worth it as it saved me tons of time while my company ass here.

So to recap:
1) Menu Plan
2) Organize
3) Pre-make as much as possible
4) Stay organized or at least reorganize as necessary

for example:
12/17 ~ Spaghetti Bolegnese & Garlic Bread (sauce was made today and frozen)*
12/18 ~ Winter Soup & Beer Bread (soup was made today and frozen)
12/19 ~ Crock Pot Lasagne & Garlic Bread (sauce was made today and frozen)*
12/20 ~ Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup & Buttermilk Biscuits & honey (soup made today and frozen)
12/21 ~ Garlic Shrimp Pasta
12/22 ~ Chicken Cacciatore (sauce made today and frozen)*
12/23 ~ Meatloaf Muffins & Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
12/24 ~ Pot Roast & Veggies & Mashed Potatoes & Corn Flake Wreaths & Peanut Butter Bourbon Balls
12/25 ~ Rum Raisin Glazed Ham, Holiday Carrot Casserole, Garlic Smashers, Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
12/26 ~ Chicken Enchiladas and Chile Cornbread (enchiladas made today and frozen)
12/27 ~ CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Night)
12/28 ~ Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken & Cranberry Rice Pilaf (Rice made today and frozen)
12/29 ~ Taco Ring Salad
12/30 ~ Out for mom's 69th birthday
12/31 ~ Chicken Fried Chicken with Peppered Gravy & Mashed Potatoes
1/1 ~ Creamy Tomato Soup & Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
1/2 ~ Stuffed Shells & Garlic Bread (Shells made today and frozen)
1/3 ~ CORN
1/4 ~ Meatloaf with a kick & Maple glazed carrots
1/5 ~ out on the way to the airport

All the meals that aren't already prepared have been proportioned out and seasoned before freezing so they're immediately ready after thawing.

Now I've given you a rather large example, so think how easy it will be to do just a Sunday family dinner after church? All the same principles apply just in a smaller proportion.

*I used the same sauce on all of these so I made a HUGE batch which saved me soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much time!!

This post originally ran as a guest post series for Barbara over at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers who is hosting the Homemaking September Shape-up. It was an all around comprehensive house to home style of posts to help us get our homes and lives whipped into shape.

2 comments:

Martha said...

When I'm not on break I do almost all my cooking and prep for the week on Sunday afternoons. I'll post some examples once I'm back in the work routine.

girlichef said...

I'm pretty jealous...I try to plan with the best intentions...but it usually goes out the window. But I must say you've inspired me to give it another try.

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