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  Dinner Tips for the Hectic Holiday Season
Save time and ease the chore of cooking during the holiday season with these helpful tips.

Bring the whole family in on the process of preparing and making home-cooked meals.

Get closer to your kids. Invite them into the kitchen and teach them a few things about cooking. Itís a life skill that they will certainly thank you for some day.”
Homemade foods have always been healthier than processed, prepared, or restaurant meals, which are generally much higher in fat, salt and calories than home cooked foods. Eating too much of these unhealthy foods can pack on the Holiday pounds and slow your kids down at school.

But letís face it, the days leading up to the holidays are hectic. Getting a home-cooked dinner on the table during the holidays may seem to be an impossible feat, but here are few tips to ease the burden:

* Team up. The holidays are a great time to entertain with friends. Team up with a friend and have a family dinner at their house one night and switch to your house on another. Let a holiday dinner be the excuse to get together. Divide up the menu between families and have each family bring a dish.

* Get closer to your kids. The holidays are a great time to make family memories. Invite your kids into the kitchen and teach them a few things about cooking. Itís a life skill that they will certainly thank you for some day. Some of the meals you make together can become family traditions for years to come!

* Invest in a slow cooker. This is a fabulous machine for busy families on the go. A slow cooker allows you to make simple, one-dish meals in a snap. Simply prep the ingredients in the morning, turn the slow cooker on and come home to a delicious ready-to-eat dinner.

* Create your own fast food. Make foods in advance and freeze them in family sizes and individual servings. Have some fun and cook with a friend, double each otherís recipes, and split up the meals for both families.

* Have it prepped and ready. The clean and prep is often the most time consuming part of cooking. Buy pre-washed veggies in the produce section of stores. The "open and steam" convenience of these pre-washed products is great.

* No need to cook it. Serve "no cook" side dishes with your dinners. Apples, pears, avocados, tomatoes are just few foods that donít need to be cooked and taste great all by themselves. A fruit or veggie plate makes a terrific side dish.

* Plan on holiday leftovers. Donít spend all your time in the kitchen cooking just one big feast. Make enough food to make several leftover meals. Happy cooking and happy holidays!

Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the "So Easy Baby Food" and the new book "So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years." Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

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