(Family Features) When entertaining guests this holiday season, the last thing you want to do is run around last-minute, prepping your table and cleaning. This year, try some simple tips so you can spend more time enjoying the season with friends and family.
From the food preparations to the table settings and the cleanup, entertaining can be time consuming, but also rewarding. Planning ahead and introducing a few shortcuts will help manage your kitchen time so you’re free to mingle and not stress about the mess.
Here are some hassle-free, time-saving ideas for your holiday entertaining:
Plan your menu. Will you be serving tried and true favorites or experimenting with some enticing new recipes? Either way, make a list and stock up on the ingredients you need. Remember to have some finger foods on hand for guests to snack on and alternatives for picky eaters or those with special dietary needs. Also, take a close look at cooking time for each dish and see if you can make anything the day or night before the party to save time day-of for last-minute prepping.
Ready your cleaning arsenal. This holiday season, let it be more about the enjoyment of cooking for your hungry crowd and spending quality time with them, rather than worrying about the cleanup. No need to resort to disposable dishware to avoid doing dishes afterward, like the 84 percent of party hosts who have done so, according to a recent study from Wakefield Research on behalf of the OxiClean™ brand.Use a powerful dishwasher detergent like OxiClean™ Extreme Power Crystals that tackles even the toughest baked-on stains, greasy food, spots and film. No more pre-washing or scrubbing dirty dishes – just put everything straight from the table into the dishwasher and save precious time. Plus, you only need to fill the dish cup halfway full to get a powerful clean.
Make the most of prep time. In addition to preparing as much food as possible ahead of time, you can also cut back on the flurry of activity the day of your event with some other practical preparations, such as setting the table the night before and having serving platters on the counters and ready for plating food fresh from the oven.
Keep your look simple. A table set with sparkling dish, stem and flatware needs only minor enhancements to look fully dressed. For example, add some seasonal color with candles in clear glass, sprigs of freshly cut holly at the base and complementary cloth napkins to set an elegant tone that looks like you spent a lot of time on it.
From the party prep to the clean-up, plan ahead and keep reliable supplies on hand for your holiday entertaining so you can relax with family and friends and enjoy the merriment of the season.
For more information on getting the tough stains out during the holidays, visit www.oxiclean.com.
*OxiClean Dishwasher Detergent Study, Wakefield Research / March 2014