8 Little Ways to Make Holiday Cooking Way Less Stressful – Lose Weight in Your Hips

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Then make as much space as possible. Remove any non-essentials from your countertops (like decorations or appliances that won’t get any use), and clear out your fridge so you have extra room for all the sides. Then day-of, do a little reset every couple hours by wiping down counters, throwing what you can into the dishwasher, or making a helper take a break from chopping to wash some dishes by hand. Your goal is to make your holiday cooking as comfortable and stress-free as possible, not to make it picture-perfect, so don’t be afraid to leave some things for the next day if they’re not going to be in your way.

5. Gather all of your recipes into one, easy-to-access place.

When you have a lot of dishes to cook in a short amount of time, keeping each recipe at the ready is a little thing you can do to improve workflow in a big way. One thing I’ve learned to keep my mental peace: For digital recipes, I research what I’m going to cook ahead of time and pop all of the links into one spreadsheet. That way, I don’t have to run to Google every time I need to start cooking a new dish—everything’s right there.

Still, opening and closing your phone (hello, passcode), tablet, or laptop can be tricky when your fingers are covered in flour or grease. That’s why Kyogoku recommends printing everything out in advance if you can. “It will help you organize your list of to-dos, make you feel more confident about tackling the meal, and you’ll also avoid having to test the durability of your phone,” she explains.

6. Read through your recipes beforehand to avoid any surprises.

Giving them a once-over before you even step into the kitchen is one of the first things they teach you in cooking school, says Berner. This gives insights into what each requires—like the tools, ingredients, and techniques—and allows you to act accordingly. “A recipe may call for roasted garlic for a dressing added at the end,” she says. “But that takes about 30 to 40 minutes, so the best thing would be to get that garlic started right away.”

Prepping this way will also help you better organize your cooking schedule as a whole, Kyogoku says. “You can see which recipes will take longer than others, so you can game-plan what to prepare the day before, or what is able to be cooked while, say, the chicken or turkey is roasting,” she says. It’ll also flag any ingredients that you may have missed on your shopping list.

7. Use a few tricks to keep your counters clear while cooking.

Spotless is too ambitious, but “organized” is definitely possible. “I like to keep a quarter sheet pan nearby where I can put soiled tools, so they don’t get my counters messy,” Berner says. She’ll also drag her trash can and compost bucket closer to her work area. “[That way], I don’t have to trek across the kitchen to throw things away; they can go straight into their appropriate bin,” she explains. Too many tools and not enough counter space? When your oven isn’t in use, it can be an excellent spot for storing whatever you don’t have room for, Berner says.

8. Embrace quirky gatherings that skip the sit-down meal.

Consider nixing the idea of a classic sit-down dinner in favor of something more laid-back, especially when it comes to less formal gatherings.

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