Cooking for family and friends during the holidays doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. Here are some suggestions to cook up your best holiday meals yet.
- Keep things in perspective. Spending time with family and friends is the important thing — not how fancy or expensive the meal is.
- Use what you already have and what’s on sale. Look in your cupboards, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for food you already have. Look at advertised sales at your grocery story and clip coupons for items you might need.
- Write down a plan. Write down your proposed menu for holiday meals, remembering to maximize your leftovers from previous meals. Write down your grocery list, including just the items that you don’t already have on hand and things on sale.
- Round out meals with less time-intensive, less expensive dishes. If you are making one menu item that requires more time to prepare or cook or is more expensive, select other quicker-to- prepare, less expensive dishes to round out your menu. Use low-cost, easy-to- prepare recipes. Make dishes ahead of time to freeze or refrigerate for later use, and use a slow cooker if possible.
- Host a potluck. Ask guests to bring a dish to share. This is a low-cost option for everyone involved, and — more important — sharing meal preparation enhances the feeling of togetherness.
- Stay mindful of food-related illnesses. Nothing puts a damper on your holiday like a bout of food poisoning or food-related allergic reaction. Use good food safety to keep your family safe and healthy.