By Sara Moffett, Deli Manager, Co-op Owner
Are you ready for the holidays this year? If not, there is still plenty of time to get your kitchen and ingredient list organized for a successful holiday meal. Here’s a helpful check list to make sure you’re covered this holiday season.
- Clean your kitchen. Before even planning your menu, just clean your space to prepare for not only guests, but to make it easier to organize. This includes cleaning out your fridge. No matter what you are making, this is step one in having less clutter and more room for your holiday dishes. Throw out last, last weeks leftovers! Also clean your oven. This is a task to start on THIS weekend so you are not worrying about it later when you are in holiday overdrive. You could use the self-cleaning feature on your oven or try running a damp cloth over the greasy areas and then use baking soda on the surface for 5 minutes. Clean up the area with a damp cloth. Let your oven air or towel dry, and it should look great!
- Create your holiday menu. Choose what you are going to make and stick to it. This will make shopping easier. Plan your shopping list, this might include: wine, chicken broth, spices, veggies, frozen foods, etc., all the non-perishables. Pick up some extra containers for leftovers.
- Pick up your turkey or tofurky and other shopping list items. If you have a frozen turkey, you will have to start thawing it on Monday if you’re thawing it in the fridge. If you still need a turkey, GreenTree has both frozen and fresh turkeys available this holiday season.
- Make what you can ahead of time. The weekend before the holiday is a great time to start your pie crusts and cranberry sauce. Pie crust can be made on Saturday and kept in the refrigerator until Tuesday or Wednesday. Cranberry sauce keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks and freezes beautifully.
Monday to do list:
Defrost your turkey. If you have a frozen turkey, start thawing it now in the fridge. If you plan on brining it, you can make the brine now. Here is some great information on the benefits of wet vs. dry brining and why you should brine your bird.
Tuesday to do list:
Start prepping side dishes. You can prepare veggies, cut and toast bread cubes for stuffing, wash lettuce for salads, and do anything else that will keep in the fridge for a couple days.
Dry brine your turkey. If you’re dry brining your turkey, you should do this on Tuesday because dry brining takes longer than wet brining.
Wednesday to do list:
Peel and prepare potatoes and fresh veggies. You can peel your potatoes on Wednesday and keep them submerged in water in the fridge so they don’t turn brown. Trimming your fresh green beans could be done now, too.
Finish all your side dishes. Stuffing, soup, dips and casseroles can be made ahead of time and reheated once the turkey is out of the oven. (You should let your turkey rest, loosely covered with foil, for at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes, plenty of time to reheat other dishes.)
Wet brine your turkey. If you’re wet brining your turkey, stick it in a bucket, cooler, or bag and submerge completely in the brining liquid. Keep it chilled while it’s brining.
Thursday to do list:
Cooking your turkey. Be timely about getting your turkey in the oven so that it is cooked and rested when you are ready to eat. Bird size and oven temperature are both key factors in deciding when you should put your turkey into the oven. This link should help steer you in the right direction for cooking your bird. Once it’s cooked, let the turkey rest, covered, for 30-45 minutes, which will impact how juicy your bird will be!
Include your family and guests in meal production. Have the kids help set the table early, so it’s out of the way. Make your side dishes while the turkey is roasting and start boiling potatoes about 30 minutes before serving dinner, once made add a thin layer of milk or cream to keep them from drying out. Make the gravy from the pan drippings while the turkey rests. After all this prepping you are sure to impress your guests and have a fantastic meal!
If you are not creating a big meal this year, you can order from our Holiday Catering Menu through 11/15. In addition, later this month GreenTree will have Holiday Menu items on our hot bar. You will also be able to find these items in our grab-and-go case along with a variety of pies and desserts that are sure to please you and your guests. We hope you celebrate your holidays with us this season. We are thankful to have you as neighbors and customers!