Around the House: Plan Ahead to Create Erev Yom Tov Calm
By Yehudit Garmaise
As Elul approaches, many of our thoughts turn to the dozens of Yom Tov meals that we will be making, serving, and eating, starting with Rosh Hashana.
With organization and forethought, we can quell some of the meal-related panic.
Clear Out Your Freezer: No one likes the frustration of cooking in advance only to find a lack of space to store foods.
As we look ahead to 5783, we first need to use or throw away anything that is currently taking up space in our freezers.
As a rule, just toss whatever you cannot identify or whatever no longer looks appealing.
Make an Organized Chart: outlining every upcoming meal for: Rosh Hashana, pre and post-Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Chol HaMoed, Simchas Torah, and Shemini Atzeres.
Next to each meal, write down how many people you will be serving, as far as you know right now.
Then start to write out what you usually serve for each Yom Tov meal, as far as you know right now. For meals you know you will be eating out, write down what you will be making to bring over.
Tape the list to your refrigerator and keep adjusting as you continue to make plans in the coming weeks.
Make a shopping list: Using your meal plan, make a shopping list. Once your freezer is cleared out and wiped down, you can start cooking and storing, starting with the foods that freeze best.
Start with Soups: as they freeze quite well. But be sure to separate portions into what your family and/or guests eat at one meal.
Keep your Kugels: ready to go, by making them in the weeks before Yom Tov in aluminum tins and sliding them into your freezer until you are ready to let them defrost a few hours prior to use. Baalabustes, of course, disagree on what freezes well, but potato, noodle, apple, and cranberry are some of the kugels that freeze well.
Bake your Brisket: Chicken and fish are both best cooked fresh, however, brisket and other cuts of beef can be cooked and frozen in advance.
Build your Bakery: You can start baking challah, babka, muffins, and desserts now and freeze them. You can even just freeze challah dough, and finish braiding and baking it right before Yom Tov comes in to make your home smell like Yom Tov!