I’m not known for getting meals on the table in a timely manner. With a normal dinner – we’re talking one easy main dish, one side – my kids are usually whining about being starving as I yell “Ten more minutes! I swear!” If I say dinner’s at seven, my husband is smart enough at this point to expect it no earlier than eight.
However, I do much better with big holiday dinners, and the reason is simple: I make a schedule. First, I gather all of the recipes I’ll be using and figure out how long each one takes, making a note of whether any part can be done ahead of time. Then, starting with the time I want to serve dinner and working backwards, I make a schedule of everything that has to be done.
I swear, the fifteen minutes it takes me to do this prevents about a dozen problems and keeps things on schedule. I don’t forget a side dish in the fridge, because it’s on the schedule. I don’t start the mac & cheese late, because I know how long it takes to make. I don’t end up with too many dishes in the oven at the same time at different temps, because it’s all been worked out.
Do this, print it out, and cross things off as you do them. You won’t be sorry.
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