One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is cook, but it can be quite a daunting task as well. I love to find ways top make my cooking easier, quicker, and more efficient so I can also get to enjoy sitting with my guests and my family and making memories over the great meals and treats I have spent time making. You have probably seen general cooking hacks, but the holidays call for special hacks that can make your kitchen into a cooking machine. Here are 11 Holiday Cooking and Baking Hacks to help you make the most of your time spent in the kitchen this holiday season.
11 Holiday Cooking and Baking Hacks
1. Quickly soften butter for baking. If you have a recipe that calls for room temperature butter and you forgot to let some sit out on the counter, try cutting it up into slices (about 1/2 inch thick) and allowing them to sit for a few minutes. Since there is more surface area, they should soften in way less time. You can speed it up by grating your butter, too.
2. Print out your recipes and tape them on your fridge or pantry door. By doing so, you can do them in order, know exactly what you need to get out for the next recipe and take them down as you go so you can essentially ‘check’ them off the list of things that still need to be made. This makes your time much more organized and in turn, more efficient. I like to also keep a list of substitutes for baking there, too. It allows me to easily reference should I run out of an ingredient.
3. Don’t peel your potatoes. If you are making mashed potatoes, one of the most tedious tasks is peeling them. Instead, just wash them and add them to boiling water. The peels will pretty much come off on their own once they are boiled if you add them to cold water right after.
4. Cook what you can in your slow cooker. For some reason, people forget all about their trusty slow cooker during the holiday cooking season. You can make mashed potatoes, stuffing, appetizers, and even a ham or turkey in your slow cooker. Let it help you stress less!
5. Thaw your bird under running water. Did you wake up Thanksgiving day and realize you forgot to put your bird in the fridge to thaw for a couple of days? You can thaw it in just a couple hours in the sink if you put it under cool (not hot) running water. I let the bird sit in the sink and fill it to save on water. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, then empty and start all over with cool running water. I can usually thaw an average turkey in under 2 hours with this method.
6. Keep your turkey from drying out. A little bit of turkey gravy and covering your bird will do the trick!
7. Do some prep before the actual day to save yourself some time. You can often do things like cut up produce (such as onions, peppers, and carrots) or make pies a day or two before the big cooking day. If you are cooking for a crowd, this is usually the best way to go since you will have so much to do.
8. Making cookies and an egg shell dropped in? This is one of the most annoying things to happen because it feels almost impossible to get it out. Simply wet your finger under the faucet and it will allow you to grab it with ease.
9. Out of brown sugar and need it for a recipe? Just combine 1 cup of white sugar with 4 tablespoons of molasses.
10. Clean your kitchen before you start any cooking. This means cleaning out the dishwasher and doing any dishes you have in there by hand. This way, you can clean as you go and you won’t be left with a cluttered kitchen to try to serve food from. I also like to fill the sink with hot dishwater so my things can soak as I cook as well as rinisng things off right away to be put in the dishwasher.
11. Use your dishwasher to warm up plates super fast. If you want to add this extra touch, just set your plate in the dishwasher on the “heat dry” setting for a few minutes.