When asked to name their favorite time of year, people typically cite the holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We look forward to the associated family, friends, food, and entertaining traditions all year long.
But is your kitchen ready? Here are 16 tips to help you prepare for the festivities to come.
Your counters are spotless and the floor is super clean, but when was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your oven, microwave, fridge, freezer, and dishwasher, inside and out? While you’re at it, wipe down the cabinets too. Run all your oven mitts, hot pads, dishcloths, and washrags through the laundry.
Figure out where you’ve stored the turkey roaster, oversized pots, specialty casserole dishes, and similar pieces you rarely use outside the holiday season. Give them a good scrub and keep them nearby for the time being.
Does your family use special dishes, silverware, cloth napkins, and the like for holiday meals? Check to see if they need cleaning, polishing, washing, or ironing.
Before baking and cooking can begin, clear the clutter. If you don’t have a lot of storage space in your kitchen, move the mail, paperwork, non-seasonal decorations, and more to another room for the duration.
Holidays involve lots of baking and roasting. Using an oven thermometer, check the accuracy of your oven settings and adjust as needed. If you can’t adjust them, try to get the unit serviced before the holidays, or note the differences so you can adjust accordingly. For example, if a 350oF setting produces a 340oF temperature, make a note to adjust either temperature settings or cooking times manually.
Check your carving knives and sharpen them as needed. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to artfully carve a ham or turkey with a dull knife.
Holiday ingredients and prepared foods take up lots of room. There’s no better time to clean out your pantry, fridge, and freezer and discard anything that has expired, gone stale, dried out, or experienced freezer burn.
Certain spices may not be used frequently outside of the holiday season, or at least not in the quantities needed for the holidays. In other words, you may not realize that you are almost out of a particular spice or that your existing stock is so old that it’s likely lost potency.
Chances are, you use staples like flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and similar ingredients far more at this time of year than otherwise. If you haven’t already, consider transferring dry staples like these to air-tight canisters or storage containers for ease of access that’s usually less messy, too.
Avoid last-minute, mad dashes to the store by ensuring you have plenty of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, dishwasher detergent, dish soap, and garbage bags in stock – disposable plates, cups, and utensils, too, if you use those.
Even if you don’t typically have leftovers, chances are high that you will have plenty during the holidays. It’s time to tackle those food storage containers and throw out any damaged or no longer have matching lids.
If you feel like you may need more chilled space despite cleaning out your fridge, get a large cooler to the station in your pantry or utility room for easily-sealed items that need to be kept cool, like cold salads, dips, cut-up vegetables, or canned and bottled drinks.
Do you have enough seats to accommodate the couple of unexpected guests that always seem to pop up during the holidays? In addition to installing the dining table leaf, gather up barstools for the counter or break out a card table and chairs to ensure everyone will have a place to sit.
Plan your menus and determine what can be prepared in advance. For example, chopping vegetables the day before and keeping them in sealed containers in the refrigerator can free up valuable time to spend with friends and family on the holiday itself.
A little orange and gold at Thanksgiving, red and green at Christmas, or gold, silver, and white at New Year’s help you and your guests get into the holiday spirit. Check department stores and dollar stores for inexpensive, seasonally themed decorations, such as kitchen towels and spoon rests.
If going through this list has made you wish a few things were different about your kitchen, call Caruso Kitchens to talk about kitchen remodeling. Depending on the work involved, there may still be time to pursue a quick project before you host that holiday gathering.
Caruso Kitchens has been creating award-winning kitchens for Colorado homeowners for three decades. Our skillful designers will put their 150 years of combined experience to work, helping you create the kitchen of your dreams. Located in Lakewood, Colorado, we proudly serve the entire Denver Metro Area. To schedule a no-obligation appointment, contact us today.