10 Dinner Shortcuts To Try This Holiday Season

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The holidays should be a relaxing time with all your loved ones. Festive meals can get in the way of that. Use these dinner shortcuts this holiday season to speed up your time in the kitchen and minimize how much effort goes into each meal. You’ll make traditional recipes or new favorites without the annual hassle.

1. Get Frozen Vegetables

Everyone’s bought veggies for a holiday meal and watched them go bad in the fridge before the holiday arrived. Frozen vegetables don’t have that problem. They’re cut, washed and ready to eat. Just steam or boil them to perfect a few minutes before your meal.

2. Dress Up Canned Gravy

You could use many recipes to make gravy from scratch, but that only adds to how long you’ll need to spend in the kitchen. Buy the canned gravy instead and dress it up. You could add your preferred spices, brown butter to layer the flavors or simmer it with a splash of wine.

3. Throw Leftovers in a Bowl

Warm bowls are some of the most popular menu items in the winter. They’re steaming, covered in sauce and seasoned to perfection. Throw your holiday leftovers in a bowl and pair them with fan favorites like barbecue glazed shiitake mushrooms and sliced asparagus. You’ll transform leftovers into international dishes that are the ultimate, savory dish on a cold night.

4. Freeze Your Breads

Dipping bread into a thick stew or slathering a slice in butter might make your meal perfect. Everyone else is thinking the same thing. Buying frozen bread avoids the holiday rush with last-minute grocery shoppers.

You can also get fresh bread when it’s on sale and use a freezer bag to keep it safe. Defrost them the day before and you won’t find unfortunate mold growing across your bread at the last minute.

5. Try a Vegetable Chopper

Many holiday recipes have short cook times, but their prep times are longer than you’d like. Try using a vegetable chopper as this year’s shortcut. You’ll dice veggies for soups and stews in seconds. Use them right away or freeze them for long-term storage. Either way, a vegetable chopper saves the day.

6. Use Rotisserie Chickens

Buying enough chicken breasts or thighs for the whole family gets costly. You might also need to cook them in batches due to limited space on a baking sheet or in an Instant Pot.

Rotisserie chickens often cost less than a pack of raw chicken. They’re also big enough to feed a family. Find one or two this holiday season and carefully remove the meat to use in any recipe. Your family could have instantly cooked chicken for soups, salads and warm plates with mashed potatoes.

7. Marinate Your Meats

Sometimes recipes advise that you cook meat for a few extra hours at low heat. Save time by marinating them instead. Meats like chicken, beef and pork can sit in a bag or container while covered in sauces. You can also marinate vegetables and seafood if your holiday recipes call for them.

After sitting in the sauces and seasonings for a few hours or overnight, they’ll be full of flavor when you’re ready to cook. The sauces also make them juicer, providing the same savory effect as long hours in the oven or slow cooker.

8. Invest in a Food Processor

A food processor could become your new best friend. It shreds, chops and mixes foods with the various blades included in each purchase. Food processors also combine ingredients, so they’re a great budget-friendly alternative if you can’t get your dreamy stand mixer right now.

Use a food processor to make your holiday dips and batters this year. A push of a button will get the job done so you can move on with your festivities. Another bonus — you’ll have far fewer dishes to wash after everyone eats because the prep work happens in one container.

9. Upgrade Your Vegetable Peeler

Vegetable peeler blades get dull, like any knife or pair of scissors. Upgrade yours before the holidays this year. You’ll put less effort into pressing and pushing while peeling your veggies. The thin slices will be more accurate to the width of the blade.

Sharper peelers are also less likely to get caught and jump across your fingers. Investing a few dollars into a vegetable peeler will keep you safer in the kitchen and speed up your prep time. 

10. Cook With a Dump Bowl

People waste precious seconds walking back and forth from their counter to the kitchen trash can. Use a dump bowl to eliminate that wasted time. You can put egg shells, vegetable peels, and other unwanted food in the bowl while cooking. You’ll only need a singular trip to your garbage can to clean up your prep space instantly.

Learn the Best Holiday Dinner Shortcuts

Anyone can use these dinner shortcuts to enjoy their holiday season even more this year. Consider what you dread most or which steps take up most of your time to try the most effective tips for your holiday meals.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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