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Foodie Friday: Mise-en-place Part 2

It seems like every year my family gets bigger and bigger, which is great news for me since I love to cook. Personally I am always trying out-do the previous year’s spread, adding more appetizers, desserts and side dishes. While this goes over great with my family and friends it usually ensures that I miss out on games, stories and conversations with people I only get to see once a year.

This is a common issue amongst us Foodies: always in the kitchen making sure the sauce doesn’t stick and the turkey gets basted. In the second edition of this two part series I am going to go over some more great ideas to help you prepare in advance for the bustling busy holidays so you can have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Last week’s tips for preparing quantities of items ahead in batches for use in many recipes directly coincides with something I call a “recipe pack.” When I am preparing a large variety of dishes in large quantities I like to pre-measure all of my ingredients, then label and store them in containers ahead of time. For instance when making my stuffing I will put all of my dry ingredients in a large zip-lock bag and mark it clearly “Stuffing Mix”. In a separate containers that I have clearly marked “For Stuffing” measure out the butter, white wine, stock and vegetables. This will make cooking process streamlined and organized.

This same method can be applied to any recipe you will be cooking over the course of the day and can be done a day or two in advance. Think of it like a snowball fight. The person with the biggest wall and most snowballs usually ends up the warmest.

Here are a some methods that will help you prepare your ingredients in advance:
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Foodie Friday: Your Freezer, Canning and You: Tips for Surviving the Winter

Happy harvest season, everyone! It’s a season full of produce: sturdy squashes, apples and pears, and hearty greens. Unfortunately, as healthy as they are, some of these options can be a little harder to grab-and-go, or use to cook a fast dinner; then once winter sets in, it gets a little harder and more expensive to find fresh produce. Before you dive back into your pantries for the store-bought canned goods or the freezer aisle of the grocery store, consider some ways you can save some money, and flavor, while still having a wide array of healthy options ready to use right at your fingertips.

The freezer — and cans! — are not the enemy. But there are some fantastic ways to utilize the last days of those bountiful fresh herbs and produce to have delicious meals for the winter, and ways to make your dry goods more convenient. Here are some satisfying steps to delicious, healthy eats and some domestic self-satisfaction without wasting food or taking a big hit to your wallet. I’m good with freezing; I’ll defer to the experts for canning!
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