Holiday Cooking

FlyLady’s Schedule For Holiday Cooking and Decorating

“If you are like me, cooking a holiday dinner really zaps your energy. There is a way to cook this meal and still enjoy the family and I am going to tell you how in step-by-step instruction. This plan worked for my Thanksgiving celebration two years ago. That was the first time I ever tried this method. I well never do another holiday meal without this plan.” – FlyLady

Dear Friends,

What can you do today that will keep you from having to do it tomorrow? This is a question that I ask myself, while planning for a holiday dinner.

So I am going to ask you some questions. Starting Sunday and Monday before Thursday’s dinner.

Have you taken the frozen turkey from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator to thaw? This takes several days. I plan on cooking mine Thursday morning. Place that gobbler in a garbage bag and put it in the refrigerator. This is the only safe place to thaw a frozen turkey. You don’t want people sick from salmonella. I don’t even trust thawing in a sink of cold water.

Now, is you china dirty or dusty? Get it washed on Sunday or Monday! I love our china, and many people tell me not to put it in the dishwasher, but I say pooy on this. My dishwasher has a china/gentle cycle and I don’t use any dishwasher powder. The dishes get clean and I didn’t have to hand wash them. I do the same for the silver, except the knifes. I hand wash them. Crystal too. Water glasses, tea glasses and the proper wine glasses for the wine you may be serving. My SIL and her Mother-in-Law like white wine. So I need to dust off a few of those.

Where are your favorite serving dishes? Turkey platter, casserole dishes? Are they clean? How many do you need for your table? Get them out on Monday too. Pick out what dish you want for each menu item, also the serving spoons for each. Set them aside, This way you will not be rushing trying to find the dish you had in mind while your guests are sitting down to the table. Don’t forget your bread basket.

Monday Morning first thing, I will do my weekly home blessing.

Vacuum, dust, empty trash, change sheets, cull magazines, clean windows and mirrors and mop the floors. I have done most of this over the weekend. There will be about 45 minutes worth of sprucing up on Monday morning, then I can go to the grocery store. For the most part with my routines, zones, and basic weekly cleaning, the house stays looking nice and all I have to do is concentrate on the pretty, cutey things that make our home welcoming to our visitors, family, and friends.

One thing that I need to make sure of, is that the refrigerator is clean and organized before I go to the grocery store. This I do every week, so it is not that bad. There have been times… (we won’t go there, but you know what I mean). I want to have plenty of room for the groceries and the casserole dishes that I will be preparing in the next couple of days.

After looking at what I have to cook, I am going to pick out the items I can fix on Monday and Tuesday.

Robert loves to bake pies, so I will let him do the pies on Monday. Now that we have more than a two-butt kitchen and he has his very own oven at the other end of our kitchen, he will not be in my way.

On Monday after I get back from the grocery store, I can put together a squash casserole, a broccoli salad, and break the fresh green beans for stirred fried green beans. Now mind you, I don’t do this all at once and I don’t start the process with a dirty kitchen. All the groceries have to be put away. And I have hot soapy water in my sink and the dishwasher is emptied. Then I can start to put together the casserole and the broccoli salad. One at a time, cleaning up and totally putting everything away before I start the next dish. Now you may think this is stupid, but this is the best thing I have ever thought about for not getting overwhelmed when cooking a big meal. You only have the things out that you need to fix the dish at hand. Do not be tempted to leave out an item that you will need for the next one. It doesn’t work that way. Once it is in the baking/serving dish, the preparation utensils washed up and put in the dishwasher, then you can go on to the next menu item.

I will set the table Wednesday and make it pretty.

Whip the cream for the pies. Get the turkey washed and sinks sterilized after handling poultry. I use comet for this and hot water. Clean hands and counters and knives. Do not have any other food products out when you are handling the turkey.

This will leave me cooking a turkey, and a ham, making mashed potatoes, cooking the corn, stir frying the green beans, and making “angeled” eggs (I had a friend that called deviled eggs this, and I loved it) for Thursday.

Planning my schedule for Thursday:

To do this, I need to check the cooking times for the items that need to be fixed. I have a time table ready to input the proper times to put things in the oven and get them ready for the meal.

The rolls take 2-3 hours to rise and then they need 15 minutes to cook. If we are going to have them at 1:00 pm for dinner, then I need to have them ready to set out on the counter by 10:00 am to thaw and to rise. Now I can get them ready on Wednesday, by putting them in a pan with melted butter and then placed back in the freezer till time to get them out.

The turkey is 12 pounds, I expect to cook it for 4 hours, this mean that I need to put it on at 8:00 am. I want it ready by noon, so that if it is not done by the poultry thermometer, I can cook it a little more.

Wednesday, get the turkey and the ham ready to go into the oven. I will put the ham on before I go to bed and set the oven to turn off 4 hours later when I get up in the morning.

Here is my final schedule.

  • 7:00 am Get dressed to shoes in my holiday jumper, fix my hair and face, make coffee, and have a dab of breakfast. Do my regular Morning Routine
  • 7:30 am Boil 1 dozen eggs. Put eggs in pan of cold water and bring to a boil and remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes in the hot boiling water and finish cooking with the lid on. Then run cold water over the eggs to cool and release the shell for easy peeling. This is the only item that I will do and start something else while they are getting totally cool. I will remove them from the boiling pan and place on a bowl to cool, while I get the turkey ready to pop in the oven.Fry bacon for Broccoli Salad.
    Melt butter for turkey, rolls and mashed potatoes have it handy.
  • 8:00 am Put Turkey in the oven, set the timer for 4 hours.
    Cut up precooked giblets and boiled eggs for the gravy, add to chicken broth and mix flour and water make a paste and pour into cold broth, Put back in the refrigerator for cooking later.
  • 8:30 am Make angeled eggs: Mayo, mustard, and sweet pickle relish.
  • 9:00 am Put corn on to cook: Frozen corn and butter.
    Set up coffee maker for after dinner coffee.
  • 9:30 am Peel potatoes, put in pan of water. set aside.
  • 10:00 am Put frozen rolls on the counter to thaw.
  • 10:30 am Put squash casserole in the oven to cook for 1.5 hours.
    Make giblet gravy and set on back burner to simmer/warm.
  • 11:00 Cook potatoes
    Stir fry Green beans
    put bacon bits in broccoli salad
  • 11:30 am Mash potatoes and set on back eye to stay warm.
  • 12:00 am Take out squash casserole and put in rolls. Check Turkey for doneness and remove from oven. To sit so it can be carved.
  • 12:15 Take out rolls, brush with butter.
  • 12:30 Set up buffet table with the food. Put ice in the glasses.
  • 1:00 Turn on coffee, sit down to dinner and enjoy my friends and family.

List of stuff to put on the buffet table:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Squash Casserole
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Angeled Eggs
  • Corn
  • Rolls

Items that are being brought by the family:

  • Sweet potato Casserole
  • Dressing
  • Cranberry salad
  • Veggie Tray

Dessert table:

  • Pumpkin pies
  • Pecan Pies (Brother-in-law is making)
  • coffee
  • Coffee cups
  • Cream and sugar
  • Wine
  • Water pitcher
  • Tea Pitcher

Now I can hear you all now. This is a lot of food. We are having 10 people for dinner. I love to cook and am only fixing family favorites.

Oh by the way, clean-up will be a breeze, because I put all of the left overs in Ziplock(TM) bags, no more creative stacking of casserole dishes in the Refrigerator. I will divide the turkey and ham and give most away and freeze the rest for later casseroles. Do not wait on this. Put it away as soon as you are finished and you still have plenty of help. Don’t wait. It only get harder to do. Have plenty of those give-away new Glad(TM) bowls for your company to take home with them.

Catch you later,

P.S. I hope this helps you a little to see the way I think.

Even though we have a new 2 butt kitchen, I still had rather stay out of my DH’s way. Life is good with one cook in the kitchen.

Do you know the Chinese symbol for peace is a picture of a house with one woman under the roof. Another symbol for (I don’t know if it is chaos or unhappiness) is 2 women under one roof. LOL Maybe it should be a husband and a wife in a kitchen. Who both think their way is best. I have to bite my tongue a lot. He loves to cook, so I get out of his way. He is such a sweetie.

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