The holidays are a wonderful time to try new recipes and learn new skills in the kitchen. It might be your first time in the kitchen with your friend or family, or you might have hosted a dinner and made the entire meal on your own. Either way, these tips could come in handy.

Now, finding and following a recipe and having it taste great in the end is a huge accomplishment at any cooking level. But, if you’re tasked with bringing a few dishes to share or hosting your holiday meal, it might feel intimidating to suddenly be faced with all of these recipes, steps, and ingredients when you’ve got one stove and your two hands. This guide is for how to gain confidence in the kitchen by making a few dishes at once, and hacks to help you make you feel comfortable in the kitchen.

If you’re looking for more recipes, we also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App  — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

1. Double Check Your Recipes and Use a Timer.

  • Make sure your recipes are ones you can handle and feel comfortable making. Double check the recipes and see if there are any surprise steps such as soaking time or resting time. Sometimes, breads need extra time to proof before baking or need special conditions to rise properly.  Planning that out ahead of time helps a lot!
  • If you’re making a sauce while something is in the oven, use a timer! Even if you think that you’ll remember to grab the stuffing or your main dish out of the oven 30 minutes from now, having one less thing to think about (especially when that one thing is time), can save your sanity.

2. Prepare your Mise en Place.

  • Mise en Place is a French word for “establishment.” In cooking, it means to prepare your space for your recipe. So, pull out everything you’ll need for the recipe you’re making (this includes even the smaller spices and seasonings, too.).
  • Further, prep those ingredients ahead of time. If you’re making a stew, chop the base ingredients like the carrot, onion, and celery and set them to the side. You can even prep your herbs and spices in one bowl so they’re pre-measured.

3. Know your Limits and Accept It Might Not Be Perfect.

  • If you’re newer to being in the kitchen, take on two recipes and try these techniques.  If you’re stuck making six different things for your meal and you don’t have much experience cooking everything at once, it might feel overwhelming and stressful enough for you to not want to give it another try.
  • Also, practice making meals simultaneously during the week with meal prepping. If you’re planning on making a roast and a vegetable side dish for your holiday meal, you can practice your timing and simultaneous cooking when you make your meal prep. Choosing something similar for your weekly meals is a great way to practice. For instance, choosing a meal that takes time to cook (such as lasagna or a one-pot stroganoff) and a vegetable side that requires a lot of prep work (think tabbouleh or coleslaw), and making them at the same time when you meal prep is a great way to see what you’ll need on the day of your holiday cooking. Maybe you’re a person that needs everything shredded beforehand, or you’re a person that can shred vegetables as your other dish bakes in the oven.
  • Remember, cooking is not only about creating something in the kitchen, but is also a learning process. Your dish might not look perfect or even taste perfect, but that’s okay! You might burn something a bit or burn it entirely. That’s okay, too! These skills all come with practice and it’s okay to mess up and make mistakes, especially when you’re new at something.

4. Bring in a Friend or Two.

  • This is a great way to get some socializing time in and some support, and an extra pair of hands to help mix, stir, or take things out of the oven.
  • If you’re not able to invite a friend over, you can video call them or even just be on the phone with them as you cook.

5. Break Tradition.

  • Although the holidays tend to be on the traditional side, feel free to break free of the tradition of making a star centerpiece meal and opt to do something simpler yet just as delicious, such as stuffed peppers or even crispy tempeh or tofu with a complimentary vegetable side.
  • Suggest to others to use alternative ingredients in other sides to make them vegan or plant-based. This can be as simple as switching out the butter for a vegan butter or even using vegetable broth in place of a chicken or beef broth.

Simple Holiday Recipes Ideas For You to Try Out this Holiday Season:

These recipes are all on the easier side and pack a punch of flavor. Plus, put together, these meals will make a great holiday spread for you and your family or friends! These meals are simple enough to follow and shop for, or even to make during for your meal prep before or after the holiday season!

Appetizers:

Vegan Oven Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Source: Oven Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Entrees:

Vegan Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash

Source: Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash 

Sides:

Vegan Plant-Based Holiday Stuffing

Source: Plant-Based Holiday Stuffing

Vegetables:

Vegan Cauliflower Salad with Chermoula and Carrots

Source: Cauliflower Salad with Chermoula and Carrots

Desserts:

Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Source: Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Easy Churros

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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