Holiday meal planning is a lot like your every day meal planning, but a lot more fun! Your goal during the holiday is to make sure you have a plan to make all those traditional holiday foods that you enjoy. This of course means planning ahead so you don't miss anything!
Food can certainly help make the holiday memorable. Are there certain foods that come to mind right away when you think of your holidays past? I know that even when I was single and living away from family, I still made a point to make my favorite foods for the holiday, maybe just on a much smaller scale. For Thanksgiving I couldn't do without some stuffing and pumpkin pie. And for Christmas, I couldn't do without the sugar cookies. They brought back happy memories of home.
You can use this same meal plan for Thanksgiving and for Christmas or your other holiday of choice.
Make a Food List
What do you plan to eat during the holiday? Do you intend to make a turkey, or do something more low key. What about side dishes, snacks, treats and desserts? Will you be baking cookies? As the first step in your holiday meal planning, list every single thing you want to make.
Next, check the ingredients needed for every item on the list. If there is something you don't have and need to buy it, put it in another list of items you need to buy. In my checklist that I use, I make a column of all the items I plan to make on the left and On the right I make a list of all the ingredients I'm going to need to purchase. I transfer the shopping list to my weekly grocery shopping list. Items that will spoil if bought too early I put on the final grocery list just before I need them. Having all your ingredients on hand is really important when you're ready to start cooking or baking!
Keep it Simple
You want to enjoy your holiday, not spend it in the kitchen. Therefore, keep it simple and don't do more than you really need to or want to. It's also perfectly fine to buy frozen items of quality and use them instead of making everything from scratch. Nobody is going to fault you.
Speaking of frozen foods, if it's feasible, why not precook some items and put them in the freezer until you need them? It's just an option to think about.
If you're having guests over you might want to have everyone bring something. That will also reduce your time cooking in the kitchen and allow you more time to visit with your guests.
Use Your To Do List
Be sure you use that To Do List on the front page of your holiday
planning notebook! On there you can list your holiday meal planning
things to do such as plan your meals and treats, grocery shopping, when
you plan to make certain items, etc. You might want to write down dates
with specific things to do such as to thaw something or to bake
something else, sort of like a timetable. That master list helps to
drive the whole holiday so that everything is done on time, so use it.
It's your friend!