Holiday Cooking Shortcuts, Tips & Recipes

by Tammy Taylor~

The holidays are quickly approaching, y’all. This time of year is filled with many gatherings of friends and family, along with lots of good food. In our family we take turns hosting our family celebrations. The host family typically provides the main dish and all the guests bring their favorite side dish or dessert. That means there’s ALWAYS lots to eat during our big gatherings!

So I thought it would be helpful to share some holiday cooking tips & recipes that we typically enjoy during the holidays.

Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader

Pre-Roasting The Turkey

Many times our holiday meal will feature a nice, juicy roasted turkey. It’s tradition for us! When it’s our turn to host I always simplify the big day by PRE-roasting my turkey! WHAT??  Oh yeah, you heard right. This has been game changing for me.

Pre-Roast Your Turkey! Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader

It’s easy, I simply Roast the Turkey beforehand, allow it to cool and then carve it. The meat is layered attractively on a foil-covered metal tray and plenty of the meat juices are poured across the whole tray of meat to keep everything good & moist. Then the whole shebangie is wrapped tightly in foil & placed in the freezer.

Before the big day I bring the tray of meat out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few days.  Then a quick heating in the oven is all we need to serve I nice, juicy already-carved bird. Since I’ve already layered it attractively the presentation is always appropriately polished.

This one trick been so valuable to me. Because of it I’m not shackled in the kitchen during the celebration and my sink isn’t already packed with clunky, greasy turkey-roasting and carving dishes. And more importantly I’m not tasked with dealing with the mountains of turkey-roasting dishes instead of spending time with my family.  All of that is taken care of beforehand, including making the broth with the carcass of the bird. So I can actually enjoy the holiday celebration too.

Plus since many guests are traveling to our home for the celebration, it frees up the oven for other dishes that might need to be reheated before the big meal. Truly the biggest and most used convenience when it’s our turn to host.

Side Dishes

There are several side dishes that we can contribute to the meal.  A few of our faves:

Green Bean CasseroleGreen bean casserole. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader – This is RancherMan’s dish and it’s always, always, ALWAYS requested.  The kids associate this dish with the holidays so it’s very much a tradition for us. And tradition also dictates that it make & serve it in that crappy green vintage casserole dish. LOL

 

Ranch-Style Beans Ranch-Style Beans. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader– An easy and inexpensive dish. Ranch-Style Beans are simply beans with a chili-type gravy. It’s a very popular dish down south – maybe where you live too?

 

 

Roasted Vegetables – it’s easy to roast up veggies for a quick eye-catching and healthy side. Be sure to choose many colors of fresh veggies to chop & mix.

 

 

Pico-de-Gallo Deviled Eggs – This is like traditional deviled eggs, but with a spicy kick! We mix fresh pico-de-gallo into the egg filling. Sometimes we’ll top it with a thin slice of jalapeno.

Desserts

And what about dessert? Here are some of our most-requested delights.

Cherry Shtuff No-Cook Cherry Dessert. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader– My most-requested dessert during the holidays. It’s quick & easy. Cherry pie filling mixed with whipped topping, sweetened condensed milk, crushed pineapple.  I’m sure it has an actual name, but in our family we’ve named it Cherry Shtuff. 🙂

 

 

Cherry Pie Filling Cherry pie filling. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader– I used to buy  a can of cherry pie filling for my Cherry Shtuff dessert. But I was always disappointed in the lack of actual cherries in the can! Nowadays I typically whip up a batch of my own cherry pie filling so it can be as cherry-y as I want.

 

 

Apple Pie – What’s more traditional that good ole apple pie?  And this one is made with apples picked over the summer from my aunt’s tree. You don’t get more homemade than that!

Double 9″ Flaky Pie Crust – I always make my own pie crust. This one is super easy and nice & flaky.

Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream – All the whipped cream recipes I found before were made with powdered sugar. So when I found one sweetened with honey? Well I knew that would be my fave. It does not disappoint.

Rich Chocolate-Frosted BrowniesFudge Brownies. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteaderChocolate brownies frosted with a quick no-cook chocolate frosting. There’s a secret ingredient to make the chocolate flavor pop!

 

 

Chocolate Crazy Cake Chocolate CRAZY Cake. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader– The quickest & easiest of all desserts – chocolate crazy cake. No eggs, no milk, no butter. Mix & bake in the same pan!

Other Helpful Ingredients

Homemade Broth – The commercial stuff is loaded with sodium & other things. But it’s deceptively easy to make your own broth.

Cream-of-Chicken Soup – My go-to recipe for cream-of-anything soup. I can whip it up in minutes!

Sweetened Condensed Milk – This is a mandatory ingredient in my Cherry Shtuff dessert. Although it was expensive, it was necessary to pick up a can at the store. But I was surprised to learn how quick & easy it was to make sweetened condensed milk myself.

Food Safety

Keeping food hot. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader

Food safety is important, y’all! But you’re trekking over the river & through the woods to grandmother’s house, how do you keep your family’s favorite casserole at a safe temperature?

Here’s how we keep our food Safely Hot

 

Keeping Food Cold. Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader

Conversely, you need a way to keep food safely cold too. I hate to buy bagged ice (because, you know – plastic) but our crappy refrigerator would never produce enough ice for that.

So we’ve come up with a better way using thicker, longer-lasting ice to keep our food Safely Cold.

 

So there ya go.  A few holiday cooking tips & recipes that RancherMan & I will be enjoying during the holiday season.  Oh and don’t forget – food safety is important!

Enjoy, y’all!

~TxH~

Want More Holiday Cooking Tips & Recipes?

SIDE DISHES

DESSERTS

BREAD

INGREDIENTS

FOOD SAFETY

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8 thoughts on “Holiday Cooking Shortcuts, Tips & Recipes

  1. Nancy

    I just spent the day canning cranberry sauce. My son brought home a two pound bag of cranberries, so l made my mom’s recipe. She used to make it every year but I started actually putting it in jars for later several years before we lost her. Whenever someone wanted some throughout the year, they’d come to me. Homemade is so much better than canned. And my mom always put cloves in it, so I do as well. My kids look forward to it every year.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s good to hear from you Nancy, hope all is well in your world. How wonderful that you’re canning cranberry sauce. #jealous Love your family tradition with cranberry sauce – sweet memories… ~TxH~

      Reply
  2. Angela DeGroot

    Great post SIL; see many familiar dishes you have shared with us during family gatherings. Hoping to try some of these myself.

    Reply
  3. Valerie

    Greetings Tammy. Just a quick comment about your blog … I love it! Especially this one with the Holiday Shortcuts. I am going to try pre-cooking my turkey this year … tired of being in the kitchen while everyone else is visiting and having fun. I will also attempt some of the additional recipes. My husband has a sensitivity to GMO so I have to prepare most of our food from scratch which is much tastier and healthier anyway. I am a Canadian and we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Our next holiday is now Christmas and here in Southern Ontario we have already had an early snowfall. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed Christmas. Valerie

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Well aren’t you sweet as peaches, Valerie? Thank you for your kind words. Wishing you & your family a wonderful, blessed season as well! XOX ~TxH~

      Reply
  4. Patti

    I had no idea, this is better than sliced bread!! Thank you for posting all those recipes, I am using many of them. The chocolate cake recipe is a favorite of ours and since I’m allergic to eggs and dairy I can actually have this!! If I’m not able to post before Thanksgiving may you and your family have a wonderful day!! Hugs, Patti

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m a big fan of the chocolate crazy cake too Patti. But, you know, CHOCOLATE! (It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate…) ~TxH~

      Reply

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