6 tips for hosting a stress-free holiday

(BPT) - The holidays are quickly approaching and so is the stress that holiday hosts know all too well. But with the right preparation and kitchen essentials, you’ll feel ready and excited to celebrate the season. Follow the tips below to throw the most festive gathering this season — without the guesswork!

1. Keep your ingredients “fa-la-la fresh.”

Get inspired with tried-and-true recipes from Bosch and plan your full menu ahead of time, from appetizers to dessert. Start building your grocery list with each ingredient you’ll need (and don’t forget to double or triple the recipe, depending on how many it serves).

Grocery stores are busier than ever during the holidays, so make plenty of time for shopping in advance and bulk-buy ingredients to stock your refrigerator with everything you need. Utilize refrigerator features to help extend the shelf life of your food and keep everything in an easy-to-find, easy-to-reach place. French door bottom mount refrigerators from Bosch feature the FarmFresh System, keeping your ingredients fresher, longer. And, the customizable FlexBar allows you to rearrange shelves to make room for pies, long serving platters, wine bottles and more.

2. Create a schedule so every dish is cooked to perfection, and on time.

Keeping a timeline of when to cook each dish is key to a smooth holiday, so you’re not trying to cook everything at once. For example, make the cranberry sauce the day before, put the prime rib in the oven day-of before noon, warm the rolls at 2 p.m. and get the coffee going at 4:30 p.m.

Once you have a set schedule, work with your oven for perfect results. Make sure you have an oven with convection for consistent, uniform cooking/baking, and if you’re baking with several pans in the oven at once, make sure they are properly spaced to allow for even better heat distribution. When putting food in the oven, remember that cold/frozen items will impact oven temperatures that have already been pre-heated.

3. Let technology help you for a smarter holiday.

Smart appliances come with many holiday-saving features, like preheating your oven remotely from your living room, so you can get back to spending quality time with family and friends.

You can also set up the coffee playlist on the Bosch Built-In Coffee Machine so that you can make everyone’s favorite cup of cheer efficiently, with no fuss. Simply enter multiple beverage orders from your smartphone or tablet, preparing one after the other with ease for the whole family via the Home Connect app.

4. Prep your appliances for the main event.

A few simple appliance hacks make them function flawlessly all through the holiday season. Clean your oven well before the holidays instead of the night before, so you’re not overloading your appliance. It’s generally recommended to perform a diagnostics test on your oven a few weeks before the holiday for optimal performance.

Clean your dishwasher filter to remove debris and help water drain properly, a simple task that should be done every few months. Replacing your refrigerator filter is important as well. Since you and your guests will be using the ice and water features in your fridge quite a bit, make sure your filter is fresh every six months.

5. Personalize your holiday with your guests’ favorite drinks.

A wine-derful holiday is in your future with dedicated storage space for your favorite bottles. If you’re in the market for a refrigerator, opt for one that doubles as a beverage center so you can offer your holiday guests their drink of choice — from beer to wine to soda — at the optimal temperature and humidity. The Bosch Refreshment Center refrigerator holds up to 17 standard wine bottles, featuring a glass-front beverage drawer with five pre-programmed settings. A customizable toast to the holiday and new year is key to the perfect celebration.

6. Dashing through the cleanup.

A simple way to cut down on dirty dishes is to use baking and cooking vessels that double as serving dishes. In addition, make sure you have a top-of-the-line dishwasher with technology that perfectly cleans your dishes as much as it dries them, for less manual steps like pre-rinsing or towel-drying. A simple holiday hack is to run the dishwasher before you bring the food to the table, so you can end your meal without a looming pile of dishes waiting for you in the sink.

Lastly, stainless steel appliances and glass induction cooktops make cleaning a snap. These surfaces are easy to clean with the simple swipe of a damp washcloth. Holiday cleanup should be quick and stress-free, so you can get back to the seasonal fun.