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So you stay cool during the holidays in the kitchen

  Low-stress Holiday Dinner Ideas

Feel totally zen, no matter how hectic things actually are.

Knape / E + / Getty Images

This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019 and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.

Keeping the coolness of the kitchen holidays is equal mental preparation and the availability of the right tools to get the job done. Anyone who has ever cooked a feast knows how stressful it can be. It's a delicate balancing act that ensures that the main courses, side dishes and desserts are properly cooked and timed, while controlling all (often sticky) family interactions. Beat the fact that you're cooking dishes that you do not normally cook every day, and it's enough to send even the most relaxed chefs home into a holiday-driven emotional spiral.

Here are some tips to help you maintain your mental health during this holiday season.

. 1 Setting limits

As the old saying goes, "Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth." Take control of the situation. If you have a respected family member known for investing his two cents in cooking, or if a sleek mistress tending to steal bits of ingredients from the cutting board, it's crucial to your own mind that you previously Having set some limits you are starting to prepare your holiday dinner. You are in charge, so be aware of what you need and what you do not need help with.

. 2 Have snacks and activities ready.

Make sure you have delicious snacks and fun activities (eg, board games, TV games, or sports games) in another room to keep people busy and leave the food preparation area. Your loved ones will be less likely to linger in the kitchen when bacon-cheddar-mini-quiches or chorizo-olive-flatbread-squares are in another room.

  Bacon Cheddar Mini Quiche Recipe Chowhound "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/0sQF-apBOWwxvwRDafdO-phEdTI=/2019/11/20/81a0e6d3-a337-4f9a -af0f-0019dc512195 / Bacon Cheddar Mini Quiche Recipe Chowhound.jpg

Appetizers serve as a change to keep the cuisine clear.


. 3 Give Everyone a Job

If your loved ones insist on laying hands, give each one a specific task or responsibility. Whether you are folding napkins, chopping vegetables, or running into the store for a last-minute ingredient. By completing certain tasks, you can push the process forward while keeping "helpers" out of your hair.

. 4 Use food processor

Looking for a way to speed up the preparation of holiday meals? Enter your new best friend: the food processor. Nothing cuts, dices and mashes as fast and seamlessly as a food processor – and yes, that includes your family members (no matter how much your aunt Brenda claims she can chop onions best).

  brown-food-processor-amazon "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/vGbRYrd3O4fsFdf0lRyT_yfciy0=/2019/11/20/9732ad72-f153-415f-b93e-3dfe9461b2e6/braun-food -processor-amazon.jpg 19659020 brown-kitchen-machine-amazon


This 12-cup ($ 163) Braun food processor is exceptionally quiet and features seven top-mounted blades, including a juicer – perfect to start your detox after your holiday with homemade fruit and vegetable juices (after you've finished your meal) have enjoyed sliced, baked potatoes), of course).

. 5 Use your instant pot

  instant-pot "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/eRLq6AwGg84kIFQok7wSsBJEzqs=/2019/11/14/9bb3519c-459d-4c72-bf94-0081b2c0cd36/in -pot.jpg

The Swiss army knife.

instant pot

There's a reason why this Swiss Army Knife of a device has gained cult popularity. The Instant Pot Duo ($ 79 at Amazon) features a programmable 7-in-1 pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer, and a yoghurt cooker that you can use to fry and keep food warm. Its extreme multifunctionality is perfect for freeing up valuable space on the burner when preparing a large holiday dinner. Use the quick-cook feature to cook everything in a fraction of the time, from gravy and mashed potato to other delicious dishes like peach cob and pulled ham. If you have limited oven space, you can even cook a turkey with your instant pot.

When it comes to holiday cooking, the timing is everything. The instant pot's warm-up feature keeps the food at the right temperature until ready to serve.

Read more: Transform your instant pot with the Mealthy CrispLid into an air fryer

6. Cooking Pages in the Slow Cooker

Everyone loves a good holiday supplement, but it can be a logistical nightmare to find enough space for burners and ovens to properly cook and cook all your favorites. The solution: Use a slow cooker (or two) to prepare side dishes. Whether you're using your instant pot or a stand-alone device like this Hamilton Beach portable, programmable 6-liter slow cooker ($ 32 on Amazon), a crock pot is perfect for holiday favors like sweet potato casserole and stuffing prepare or even party-ready appetizers and hot drinks. A slow cooker is also handy when preparing soup with all the leftover turkey or ham bones.

  slow-cooker recipe for annealed cider "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/Ep_YsD8wLG3qdmkL6mMN3YhzAFM=/2019/11/20/d0a4c5d0-7f84-4733-a4c5d3e12 -cooker-mulled- cider-recipe.jpg

Your Slow Cooker is also great for man-friendly self-service cocktails


. 7 Add a Portable Hob

Take it one step further and make more space for burners ($ 79 on Amazon) with a portable cooktop such as this Cusimax portable electric range with 1800W dual infrared burners. The compact design not only provides extra space for the burner to cook and heat food, but also allows you to place it anywhere in your kitchen near a power outlet. Unlike conventional hob burners, infrared burners only need a few seconds to heat up and are compatible with coated frying pans and cookware made of aluminum, copper, cast iron and glass.

  portable-burner-amazon "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/4w7GPQlxwQWRwABJXGXm2zd0HbA=/2019/11/20/fb0e789f-6eef-40f6-a813-3b583baz831 .jpg

Increase the space of your burner with a portable electric cooktop.


. 8 Invest in a food processor

Are you stressed about getting your potatoes or sweet potatoes right? Always get silky soft mashed potatoes with a blender. This KitchenAid Artisan Swivel-Head Blender ($ 280 at Amazon) does wonders on festive treats such as potatoes, yams, and pumpkin pie fillings. Use your blender as it is or invest in one of the many accessories – such as the ice cream maker – and delight your guests with homemade cakes à la fashion. It is also indispensable for Christmas cookies.

  kitchenaid-stand-mixer-header "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/U80jQwLdRsn8gbYnP97BYJqUFeA=/2019/10/24/606b1ab8-1ea7-4a56-aae1-37b7ac295067/kitchen -mixer -header.jpg

Indispensable baking medium for the holidays, but good for so much more.


More information about Chowhound: Unexpected use for your blender

9. Deep fry your turkey

Do not knock until you try. If you are worried that you have enough time to cook a turkey, you should fry it. This Masterbuilt XL Stainless Steel Fryer ($ 122 on Amazon) can boil 20 pounds of turkey meat in a quarter of the time the oven is roasted. Your turkey tastes not only delicious, with a fryer you also have space for desserts and side dishes in the oven.

  Turkey fryer-Amazon "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/kyiLdBl_Zw6R3jfkf1vHPUDzBpI=/2019/11/20/d43def2a-5577-4113-9d65-b8918255a1f .jpg

Deep fried turkey that you can prepare indoors.


10th Do you have a plan for your leftovers

A refrigerator full of uneaten remains will cause anxiety. Do not let the turkey carcass linger for days. Instead, consider an emergency plan on how to use the leftovers before you start cooking. This may mean putting aside a certain amount of leftover food for other meals (think of the delicious bones broth made in your instant pot or crispy turkey chiladas) and sharing the rest between relatives. If you have a few extra food containers on hand (which you no longer need) – like these Bento lidded food preparation containers ($ 20) on Amazon – it will make eating leftovers easier.

  Recipe for leftover turkey enchilada "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/IOXQA6kxvOHHhXWYccZsTps5JJA=/2019/11/20/117a2e3a-e320-49ee-bf7e-f405155155155leb8 -enchilada-recipe .jpg

You'll be glad to have leftovers, if you know what delicious things you're going to do with them.


. 11 Take a moment

Self-care is especially important during the holidays. Even if you like to cook, take a moment to catch your breath. This may mean that you need to exercise for some time before you start preparing food, or just walk around the block as soon as the turkey is in the oven.

12th Focus on the essential

The quest for perfection can easily absorb the joy of the Christmas cooking season. If you are not used to cooking for large groups of people, preparing a holiday dinner will be a challenge and may even bring some hiccups. Do not stay tuned. It does not matter if your sprouts are not perfect or your cake has been bought in the store. In the holidays, it's really about spending time with people that are close to your heart.

This story was written by Simone Paget.

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