Holiday Dishes to Skip Prepping: Keep These Fresh for the Feast!
Whether you’re orchestrating the entire meal or contributing a dish to the holiday gathering, you’ll need a game plan to keep everything tasting top-notch. While many desserts and side dishes can be prepared in advance, some items require cooking on the actual day of the event.
Food & Wine magazine collaborated with chefs from various regions to gather insights on time-saving holiday cooking strategies. They sought advice on which dishes are suitable for prepping ahead and which ones are best made on the day of the gathering.
Dishes that should be made the day of.
Their experts suggest that you don’t prepare dinner rolls or other breads in advance. They note that dinner rolls may not hold up well to cooling and reheating. Although it’s acceptable to prepare the dough beforehand. They recommend baking the bread on the day of the gathering for optimal results.
Fresh greens, particularly in salads, are recommended to be assembled shortly before serving to avoid wilting. Storing the salad in the fridge until dinner time is suggested to preserve the crispness of the greens. This is especially true considering the heat in the kitchen.
Mashed potatoes should not be prepped in advance, as they can develop a less desirable texture when reheated.
Finally, don’t prepare you Turkey in advance either, as reheating may result in dryness. While applying a dry rub or wet brine in advance is acceptable, the magazine suggests baking the turkey on the day of the gathering.
Dishes that can be made in advance.
According to the magazine, vegetable dishes and casseroles often respond well to reheating. These include the classic green bean or broccoli-cheddar varieties, which are great for preparing in advance. They reheat well, and according to one of their experts. In fact, making them a day ahead actually enhances the flavors, allowing them to marinate.
The experts also advise preparing gravy in advance to save time on cooking and prep in the kitchen.
Additionally, the magazine recommends taking a proactive approach to desserts by starting at least a day before. Planning to bake cakes, pies, and cookies that can withstand a couple of days will not only reduce stress on the main day but also free up your oven for the turkey, rolls, and casseroles.
Check out their full list here.