Monday, December 20, 2010

Time Saving Tips for Holiday Entertaining

Entertaining for the holidays? Wondering how you will put it all together?

Whether you are having an open house holiday party or extended family for a sit down dinner,
I have a few tips that can make serving easier.

Choose appetizers you make in advance and served cold.
Baked Brie With Raspberry Preserves Topping
Crudites of Raw Vegetables with Dip
Cheese Ball and Crackers 
 A Variety of Cheeses, Garnished with Whole Strawberries, Little Bunches of Grapes, and Crackers
Fruit Platters with Vanilla Yogurt Dip
Apple Slices Dipped in Chocolate and Sprinkled with Cinnamon


1. Crock Pot- Serving Soup at a dinner party? Use a crock pot to keep the soup, chili, or even potatoes warm. Pour cold soup into a cold crock pot and turn temperature to low or high depending on how much time until it will be served. Soup can be placed in crock pot up to 4 hours before serving. This allows you to wash the cooking pot in advance and not have to allow time to reheat the soup. Soup is ready for serving whenever you are.

2. Coffee Carafe -

Serving tea or coffee after a dinner party? Prepare coffee and tea in advance and keep piping hot for up to 8 hours in a simple thermos carafe. Here's how: Purchase two 1.8 liter thermos carafes from a store like Marshalls, TJMaxx or Kohls, The carafes keep water or coffee hot for at least 8 hours. Before the dinner party boil water or use your coffee maker to make hot water and pour it into the carafe. Make coffee and pour it into your other carafe. Clean up and store coffee or hot water in the carafe.After dinner there is no need to start making coffee or tea, both are piping hot and ready to serve and you don't even have to leave the table. 

3. Hot Plate Warmers
Sometimes you just run out of oven space. Cook food in advance, clean pots and pans in advance. Place food in an aluminum through away pan and place on hot plate about an hour before serving. A hotplate keeps food warm and delicious. Again guests can serve themselves.

Here are some additional Tidbits:

Need a really quick soup ? This one is almost ridiculous, but it tastes great! Take a jar of Vegetable juice ( like V-8 juice) and heat it up. It tastes like tomato soup!! Really!! ( and it is very low calorie too) If you want to be more impressive, add a pat of butter, cooked brown rice, chopped hard boiled egg, or chopped cilantro just before heating.

Peeling Hard Boiled eggs? They will be easier to peel if you add a pinch of salt to the water , bring to a boil and then shut off the heat, cover the pot and allow eggs to steam for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and peel.

Like to cook with wine? When you have leftover wine, freeze it in ice cube trays. This makes it easy to use for future cooking.

Want to keep your trash can smelling fresh? Place a laundry sheet ( like bounce) at the bottom of the wastebasket

Want to save time at your next party? Place an extra unopened garbage bag under the open garbage bag in your wastebaskets. When you empty your wastebasket, there is another one already there for you to open right up. Great time saver at parties!

Want to peel garlic quickly. Method one- place in microwave for 15 seconds, skin peels right off .
Method 2- crush the garlic with wide knife, skin peels right off.

Need to clean the blender quickly? Fill the blender with 3/4 water and 1 drop liquid detergent and blend. It cleans itself. Rinse well

Want an easy to clean spoon from the honey jar? Coat the spoon with cooking spray first!

Burn food in a pot or pan? Cover burned area with baking soda and water. Soak overnight.

Need to clean a narrow vase or thermos quickly? Fill with water, drop in 2 Alka seltzer tablets; allow to sit for 10 minutes, swoosh and rinse

Need to clean the toilets before company? drop un 2 Alka seltzer tablets and allow to sit 25 minutes and flush

Need to open a clogged drain? drop 3 alka seltzer tablets down the drain and then a cup of vinegar. Wait a few minutes and run the hot water.

Does tomato sauce stain your plastic storage containers? Spray the containers with cooking spray first to prevent the containers from discoloring.

Want to know if your raw eggs are still fresh? Make a bowl of cold salty water. Place the egg in the water. It should sink. If it floats to the top, its not fresh!

Does your jelly jar get messy? Put the jelly into a squeeze bottle and it will save you a lot of mess.

Want to lower the fat content when baking? Substitute applesauce for the oil. Works great!

Want to keep your potatoes from growing buds? Place an apple in the bag with them.

If you have any time saving tips to share, please click comments in the green box that follows the posting and share your ideas..

This has been  posted on the following fabulous blogs: Tuesday Twister, Simple Lives Thursday, It's a blog party, Vegetarian Foody Fridays, Gluten Free Wednesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, My Meatless Mondays, Family Food Fridays, Seasonal Saturday, Katies Cucina , Simply Gluten-Free,, Food on Fridays, Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday, Foodie Friday, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop


  1. I like the idea of the apple in the potato bag. I hate when the potatoes get old and start growing those buds.

    Thanks for these.

    1. It is a good idea, I wonder if it works with onions?


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