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Strategies for a Low-Stress Holiday Meal

Assistant Test Kitchens Director Tiffany Vickers shared a few tips on how to stay sane as you plan and produce a celebratory meal on the biggest food day of the year:

1. Two days before: Clean out the fridge. Before you begin preparing your meal, take a few minutes to clear some space where you'll soon need it most: the fridge. This is a great time to toss out old condiments, cheeses, sauces, jams, and plastic containers of mystery leftovers. You'll save yourself the trauma of standing before the fridge with your hands full of turkey, dressing and other items that need to be cooled before they are cooked...and wondering where they'll fit.

2. The morning before: Plan for the morning after. Pick an easy breakfast casserole like our Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole or Southwestern Breakfast Casserole (pictured) to pop into the oven on Friday morning after the feast. It's smart to throw together a quick and easy meal like this while your kitchen is already filled with the action and ingredients of your holiday dinner. Come Friday, you'll be glad you did, because you won't be scrambling for food or just fighting the urge to gorge on leftovers at 7 am. 

3. The day of: Mise en place...with zip-top bags. Even though you've cleared out the fridge, all those plastic containers, bowls, and baking dishes take up TONS of space. This is a good time to employ gallon-sized zip-top plastic bags. They can hold all your snapped green beans, the bread cubes for your dressing, all the ingredients for your turkey rub and any cut vegetable. You can later toss them instead of washing another container. And best of all, they are minimal space hogs in the cooler.