Plan Your Holiday Meal With A Trial Run

Switch up your holiday menu by doing a trial run of new cooking techniques and recipes.

You probably have proven, tried-and-true dishes you enjoy serving at every holiday meal. But what if you want to integrate some non-traditional options this year?

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Maybe you want to mix and match proteins with veggies, or put a new spin on an old favorite. Now is the time to take a holiday meal test drive and ask family members or friends to weigh in. They make the best guinea pigs!

One of the best ways to conduct a holiday meal trial run and taste test is to weave new dishes and cooking techniques into weeknight dinners. Just pick a dish or technique to try (maybe a new spice rub on poultry, or a side dish you’re not quite sure about) and add it to your dinner menu. Then ask for honest feedback and have some fun trying new dishes along the way. We suggest taking notes!

Poultry passion

If you’re experimenting with how to cook the turkey, it’s best to get your game plan together ahead of time so you’re prepared for a win.

Instead of cooking a 20-pound turkey for a taste test, try new techniques on smaller poultry like chicken, game hen or even duck. Each of these types of poultry is typically cooked differently, so it won’t be an exact dress rehearsal for the big day. But you can get a good idea of which flavors work and which don’t, or whether you want to switch up spices, glazes or cooking methods. Plus, you’ll add some variety to everyday casual dinners.

Tip: To make these trial runs simple and easy, make sure you have the right dishwashing supplies on hand. Pop plates and dishwasher-safe cookware in the dishwasher with a Cascade Platinum ActionPac so you can skip the pre-rinse and remove baked-on messes. (If you need to hand-wash dishes, use Dawn dish soap to get the chore done quicker.)

Birdless bounty

It may sound like blasphemy in some homes, but there is no hard-and-fast rule that you have to serve turkey at your holiday meal. Consider adding different meats to the menu. Check out our articles on how to select and prepare them:

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Veggie variants

We’ve got beet salad. We’ve got asparagus. We’ve got bacon-wrapped green beans and green bean pasta salad and five-bean salad. We’ve got sweet potato drop biscuits, french fries and even doughnuts (yes, sweet potato doughnuts).

We’ve got plenty of quick and easy recipes you can try out this month. Think about how different flavors might complement each other, and don’t be afraid to go a little wild.

Tip: Trying new recipes can lead to new messes. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable is up to the task for cleaning up greasy spills and stuck-on food on stovetops and counters.

Mix and match

Maybe you want fish with your Brussels sprouts. Maybe you want a meal of pork belly and ratatouille. Maybe you want to cook a smaller turkey this year, which will help free up the oven for some pork, beef or baked sides. Or maybe you want to offer three different cranberry sauces.

Choose your own traditions. Make the day what you want it to be. Just keep in mind: It’s never too soon to start prepping and taste testing.

Tip: After the meal, run a Swiffer WetJet over your kitchen floors to pull grime and dirt deep into the WetJet pad. Cleanup complete!

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