Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holidays Are Here - With All the Stress

I was driving my Honey to work this morning and every radio station had something to say about the "joy" of getting together with family. I put JOY in quotes because, none of the stations seemed to see it as joyous. There were interviews with people who found the holidays stressful....and they are, no question...even if getting together with your family and friends will be happier than the ones I heard about on the radio.

It's one thing to plan a big dinner party and make your lists of what to buy and schedules for when to shop and when to cook, but what about those spontaneous get togethers. The ones to overcome the travel delays/cancellations...the people your Honey brings home at the last minute because they're all alone...the "oh My, I've been running around all day, focusing on "the big day" and now what do we eat?"...the neighbors inviting you to their potluck that starts in an hour...the list of unexpected food events is legion.

I thought my holiday gift would be ways to cut down on your stress by having these things on hand in your pantry and fridge/freezer...
Ready to bake dough (your own or from a box - things for pizza, puff pastry or mini pastry shells)
Asian dumplings (perfect to plop in some broth, fry up as pot stickers, or steam)
Ready to serve sauces & soups


-Goat cheese which is great to make fast, but fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, melted in with some pasta and throw in some fresh herbs, left over green veggies..., dips - whipped up with some marinated artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes...whatever, delicious in omelets and scrambles)

-Haloumi - is a fantastic salty Mediterranean cheese that grills without melting, served on toast rounds - awesome.
-feta, crumbled on pizza, pasta, omelets, fritattas, salads
-grated cheese to top last minute pizzas
-your favorite fancy cheeses to serve with crackers or toast rounds
(I try for pitted Kalamata) great to nibble, or sprinkled on a dish


Pestos - perfect for instant bruscettas, pastas, pizzas, spreads for sandwiches. Seriously awesome & bound to impress- grilled goat cheese on some crunchy bread that's slathered with pesto before adding the cheese. Here's a sample. I'm drooling just thinking about it. Here are two of my favorite pestos that take minutes to whip up, and keep well for at least a week or two. Roasted Red Pepper Pesto and the Classic Basil Pesto.

Pita rounds - great for making instant pizzas, toasting to add crunch to a salad, or my family favorite - Pita Chips - so quick, you can make a batch before your guests have their coats hung up.
Salami - Italian, Chorizo, Pepperoni - or whatever you favor


Pasta (how could I not have pasta in my pantry!)There are a gazillion quick recipes to choose from at the Presto Pasta Night Roundup Archive, but here's a very simple one to throw together in the time it takes to boil water.
-Pasta with Shrimp, Arugula & Lemon Oil (or you could just add a little olive oil, and whatever you have in fridge or pantry)
Tins/jars of tuna, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, beans,

I'm sure I've left out some of your favorite "go to ingredients", but this is a start and will keep you sane during the holidays. So sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Wishing you and yours a Joyous Holiday Season...and don't forget to breathe.


Mary said...

Some great ideas and suggestions here. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Patsyk said...

Great idea! It is sometimes hard to come up with a good dinner idea when the holidays have you all stressed out.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Ruth Daniels said...

Hope your holiday gatherings will be stress free.

Happy 2009 and may it bring all you wish for.