Last week I posted a picture of the binder that I use to organize my Holiday menus and recipes on Instagram and had lots of messages asking me to share some more about it. Today I’m going to share with you how I organize this binder to make it the most efficient for when I’m busy prepping for Holiday meals.
This binder is mainly used for Thanksgiving and Christmas planning but you can adjust it for what works for you.
In this binder you will find my Thanksgiving menu along with all of my Christmas menus as well as the coordinating recipes and print outs of new recipes I want to test before the day arrives to see if the family likes the recipe enough to add to the menu.
This binder is divided into two main sections, Thanksgiving and Christmas and then has sub-sections of menus, grocery lists, to-do lists, recipes and recipes to test.
As of now I have only done the Thanksgiving section, I won’t menu plan for Christmas until the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The Christmas section is the same except there are a couple extra menus to plan for Christmas Eve, Day and Christmas Breakfast as well as the list of Christmas cookies I’m baking for this year.
The first thing I do is plan my menu and I always talk to my immediate family to make sure everyone has a say on the food being served and also has their favorites at the table.
This year we decided to do an anti Thanksgiving and not have Turkey on the menu, we kind of took a vote last year and decided we all wanted prime rib instead with all of the traditional Thanksgiving sides, so you will not see turkey on my menu this year.
Once I have my menu made I gather up all the recipes and see which ones can be made ahead. I’ve personally been doing it this way for years so this part is pretty much a regular routine for me. I always make the pumpkin cheesecake and stuffing ahead and freeze those the first week of November, they thaw beautifully the day before and still taste amazing.
I also print any new recipes I want to test and get those made for the family to try during the first week of the month. This gives me the opportunity to know well in advance if I want to use something. I never use a new recipe for an event like this without testing it first.
Next I look at the calendar and figure out the timeline for when I want to get things done leading up to the big meal. I start it on November 1st leading up to Thanksgiving week to decide the most efficient way to prep and make the list all the way up to the time we’re going to eat. I use the menu to help me decide what can be made ahead in advance or even a few days before.
I keep all of these to-do lists and recipes in my binder and this sits on the counter and is available to me at all times through the prepping and cooking process.
I always keep a post it note on the inside of the binder that I add notes to for the next year. I will also make notes right on the schedule of things I may of forgotten. If I need more or less of something or can skip a recipe the next year because we didn’t eat a lot of it or would rather replace it with something else. I love doing this because who remembers this stuff the next year, of all the things you do I highly recommend this!
The last thing I add is the grocery lists, I always have a list for Target, Sam’s Club and our local grocery store so I can go through each recipe and make a list of the ingredients I need and add them to the appropriate store lists. I also have two grocery store lists, one for items I can buy ahead and one for perishables that I buy a couple days before the meal.
To make my grocery list I start with an extra print out of the menu and all the recipes I’m using. I go down the line of menu items and write the list of ingredients I need for each item and then go through and count up if there is multiples of something so I can make sure I add enough to the list. For example if I need 2 sticks of butter for something and 2 for another and so on I make sure to count them all and add the appropriate amount to the list.
This is a binder that can easily be personalized to whatever size event your doing and is one place you can go to for everything you need.
I hope you were able to find some tips and inspiration here to help make your Holidays a little more organized and stress free.
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Have a wonderful week!!