Planning for the holidays can be tedious even for seasoned experts. You need to determine if you have enough space, if some guests have dietary restrictions, how many guests you’ll have and most importantly what to cook.  Fortunately, you can avoid making some common mistakes in the kitchen this Christmas season.

Here are some common mistakes and ways to correct them.

Failing to plan in advance

Not having a proper plan can leave you feeling all stressed out. To avoid disappointments, sit down and write what you need to buy, plan out each of your dishes and be mindful of those with different prep times.

Buying the wrong turkey

Every gathering is unique. There are different types of turkeys in the market. Finding the right size for your expected guests is essential. You can account for 1.5 pounds of turkey per person when shopping.

Waiting to cook at once

There are some dishes that can be cooked ahead of time. Some desserts and side dishes can be cooked a day before. Look at your plan and determine the items that can be cooked in advance to avoid spending all your time in the kitchen instead of bonding with your guests. It’s also nice to accept dishes to pass from your guests as this will free up some time.

Trying out a new recipe

While it may sound like a good idea to try out a new recipe during the holidays, it could turn out to be a disaster.  If you need to try a new recipe, do it before the day you expect visitors to ensure that you’re fully comfortable cooking the meal.

Forgetting the appetizers

Trying to prep various side dishes and roast the perfect turkey is most people’s top priority. Over time, it can be easy to forget the appetizers. Starter snacks keep your visitors busy as you focus on getting the main dish prepared and served on time.  Your appetizers don’t have to be complicated. Opt for something easy such as squash bites or stuffed peppers. Additionally, appetizers should be light to keep your guests interested in the main event.

Failing to set the table ahead of time

Not setting your table ahead of time could end up costing you later on. Your food could end up burnt or cold as you’re trying to set the table and arrange silverware. Have your table set a night before particularly if you would like to separate some guests. Kids can also help out with setting the table ahead of time as you plan the meals.

Not using a meat thermometer

A meat thermometer is a must have kitchen tool. The tool ensures that your meat whether beef or turkey is not undercooked, overcooked or even dry. Using a meat thermometer ensures that your favorite turkey is properly cooked at the recommended temperature. Some thermometers have pictures to show you which part is cooked.

Improper timing

While having your food cooked at the right temperatures is important, it’s also critical to be careful with the timing to achieve a successful holiday meal. If buns are just from the oven, ensure that the side dishes are hot.

Serving unsmooth gravy

Adding flour into hot broth or stock could lead to lumps in the gravy. In addition, pouring broth too quickly onto the flour mixture can also cause clumping. To prevent this, gradually add the thickener to the hot broth, stir it until the gravy comes together. In case you get lumps, you can use a strainer or blend the mixture to achieve a smooth consistency.

These are some of the common cooking mistakes to avoid this holiday. If you’re looking for some cooking inspiration, be sure to visit http://www.cookingwithnoah.com/ for some great recipes.