Hosting a big holiday dinner can be a gratifying experience – there’s something special about cooking every dish yourself, welcoming guests into your home, and pulling it all off with panache. No matter the occasion – whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday – planning, executing and serving a big dinner can make even the best chef sweat. Luckily, Post-it® Brand has some timesaving tips on how to make your holiday kitchen run as smoothly as the finest French restaurant.
Get inspired! Browse through your favorite cookbooks, food magazines, and newspapers for delicious inspiration. Use Post-it® Flags to highlight recipes and ideas you love. As you narrow down your choices, write each dish down on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in. This will be your master menu, which you can stick and re-stick anywhere for an easy reference – from your laptop to the fridge and back again.
You’ve got your gourmet holiday menu set. Now it’s time to break it down into master lists for every dish – a game plan for all your cooking times, ingredient prep, and other details. This part isn’t as romantic as casually sautéing garlic while sipping glass of wine, but getting organized early will go a long way toward managing the kitchen efficiently on the day you need to be cooking. Let’s say you’ve chosen 5 dishes to make. Create a master recipe for each one, starting with a Post-it® Super Sticky Big Note, 11 in. x 11 in. – the large size will come in handy. For your Brussels sprouts side dish, for instance, write “Brussels sprouts” at the top. In the space below, stick blue Post-it® Arrow Flags labeled with each ingredient in a column. Beside your ingredients, write down the cooking steps directly on the Post-it® Super Sticky Big Note. At the bottom, stick a color-corresponding blue Post-it® Super Sticky Note, 3 in. x 3 in. labeled with the cooking time and temperature the dish needs. Now, you’ve got a color-coded master recipe for every dish that will help you stay organized through the entire cooking process (you’ll see how shortly!). Stick each master recipe note on your kitchen wall or the fridge, and take a moment to marvel at menu planning skills that would make any chef weep with joy.
Using your master recipes as an easy reference, create a shopping list on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in. Group everything according to the sections of the store, like produce, canned goods, etc. – this will save you time and make your shopping trip easier, and you can stick your list right on the handle of your shopping cart.
Ah, prep work: this is what separates great chefs from mere cooks. The art of mise-en-place (everything in its right place) is paramount in professional kitchens – so why not use it in yours? On the big day, prep each ingredient according to its recipe, and then place each ingredient in its own small bowl. As you go, remove the corresponding Post-it® Arrow Flags for each ingredient from your master recipe, and stick them right on each ingredient’s bowl as a handy label. This way, your mise-en-place is perfectly labeled and color-coded, and you’ll know at a glance which ingredient goes with which dish -- you’ll be able to focus on cooking without missing a beat. Then, once that Brussels sprouts dish is fully prepped and ready to cook, remove the Post-it® Super Sticky Note, 3 in. x 3 in. that’s labeled with the cooking time and temperature from the bottom of your master recipe, and re-stick it to the cooking vessel while it’s waiting for its turn in the oven – that way, when the time comes, you’ll have your essential information right on the dish.
With just a little bit of planning and these Post-it® Brand holiday cooking tips, you can pull off an entire holiday meal with less stress and more fun. Your guests will be impressed as you bring each delicious dish out to the table, marveling at your ability to stay cool under pressure. Now all you have to do is open a bottle of wine and enjoy!