Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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Time to Ring In The New Year- Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This year was a busy year filled with some good and some not-so-good happenings. We had to say to goodbye to loved ones, but we welcomed new family members, met new people and discovered new places. It seems like January 1, 2015 is now lightyears past, but as we reflect on the year gone by, it is a good opportunity to find out how to improve ourselves for the year ahead.

Some may find that they want to develop healthier habits. Others may want to learn a new skill, travel to a new a place, find a new place to live, or start a new career. Whatever our goals may be, the best way to achieve these goals is to be realistic, specific, and constantly reminded of those goals, however that may be.

I once had a teacher that told me to write my goals down because it would increase my chances of achieving them. That theory went right out the window when I lost the paper (which I found a year later going through the year’s collection of homework and grades). Remind yourself of your goals in whatever manner works best for you. I had a friend that put an event in his Google calendar EVERY DAY to be sure he started his new habit and kept to it. His phone would then remind him at the same time every day and he achieved his goal in 4 months.

We all suffer setbacks as life never really goes the way we think or want. The best thing we can do is to learn, get back on track, and go for it again. Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying again.” Reflect on this as you plan your resolutions, as it will give you the rigidity you need to achieve some of your tougher goals. Don’t hit a roadblock and just give up.

We have set some resolutions for ourselves here at Prisco’s and I thought I would share them with you. We do a lot of things well, but we aren’t perfect and we continue to strive to be the best we can. For 2016 we resolve to:

1. Become more knowledgeable about the foods that we currently offer or don’t yet offer, so as to better educate our customers on their meal options.   
2. Better serve our customers with a clean and organized environment. We will do so with better merchandised displays and cases.
3. Better serve our customers through educated and trained employees who will strive to be even more attentive to customer needs and at all times be genuinely friendly.
4. Create and innovate the best food possible by expanding our selections and tastes.
5. Continue to be an asset to the community through services both inside and outside of the walls of Prisco’s Family Market.

Our team at Prisco’s will strive to fulfill these resolutions to the best of our ability, and continue to support our community in the most positive ways.

Please be safe in your travels for New Year’s and always remember, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE and DON’T LET FRIENDS DRINK AND DRIVE.

From the Prisco’s family, many blessings on your family for the 2016 year. May your year be filled with lots of joy and great food!


Happy New Year,


Andy

 

Eating habits and the New Year- Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Here are some suggested New Year’s Food Resolutions

Read Labels

As you walk through our store doing the weekly grocery shopping, take the time to read the ingredient label and nutritional information of prepared foods. Try to eat less sugar, salt, and unsaturated fats. If the ingredients list is full of names that you can’t pronounce, perhaps you should ask yourself if it’s really something that you want to serve your family.

Eat Your Vegetables

Most of us fall considerably short of the suggested daily intake of fruits and vegetables; if you shop at our stores regularly, you will have to agree that it’s not for lack of variety. In any given week we carry hundreds of different fresh fruits and vegetables. If you see something that you are unfamiliar with, ask for help. In addition, our website has over 6,800 recipes available for you to use. All you need to do is go to the search box and type in the specific ingredient you are interested in using. For example, if you were to look up Brussels sprouts, you would discover 13 different recipes that all call for that ingredient.

Try Something New

The next time you go to a favorite restaurant, don’t pick your old stand-by. Ask your server to suggest something new and exciting, and give it a try!

Cook More

Most of us love to eat out; however, there’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying your own meal. Your family will enjoy it and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have provided them with a nutritious, low cost meal.

Dinner with Family and Friends

Dine with family and friends. In the process, take the time to sit and enjoy your food, not mindlessly gorge while watching the television. This is the best opportunity you will have each day to bring the family closer together. Take advantage of your time together and appreciate each other's company over a good, home-cooked meal.

 

Some last minute ideas for stocking stuffers you can get at Prisco’s- Tuesday, December 22, 2015

  • Fine Chocolate Bars – our checkers have a delicious imported chocolate bar at the registers in several yummy flavors priced at just 2/$5.

  • Jumbo navel oranges – traditional children’s gift dating back to the early 19th century when fresh fruit was hard to come by in the winter.

  • Jars of local honey from Charles & Karen Lorence, your neighbors and our great customers.

  • Hand-made, all natural hand soap and skin lotion made by another neighbor and loyal customer, Maria Skokan (and her family). Check out her wonderful Aroma Roots all natural products.

  • Perhaps a bag of 2-Brothers custom blended coffee, another well known local success story.

  • Tea or Favored Coffees, your preference – don’t miss our wide assortment of Coffee Drop Shoppe loose-leaf teas and 4 oz. packages of coffee currently being featured at just 3/$10.

  • Don’t miss the great selection of premium nut meats and chocolate covered nuts and candies in our produce department. The cashews are so large they take two bites each.

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!"- Tuesday, December 22, 2015

...As the popular song goes. Seems like everywhere we go people say the same thing; time seems to just fly by.

For those of you who send out a Christmas letter each year, the first thing you do when putting pen to paper or fingertips to a keyboard is a quick rewind of the year just passed. You take stock of all the major events that took place in your family over the past twelve months and share those with friends who you might not see too often, who live too many miles away to be a part of your daily life.

Looking back on our store’s past year, we have had a few major events we want to share with those of you who may not have heard.

Early in the year, Rob’s sister and Andy’s Aunt, Margaret, decided to begin a new chapter in her life and retired as our meat department manager. We were sad to see Margaret leave, but at the same time happy that she now has the ability to dedicate her time to various community organizations, including the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry. This has been a life-long passion of hers and we love seeing her still very active in the community.

We were very fortunate that, just when we needed him, our new meat manager Chris Tope came into our lives. Chris is an experienced leader and has answered our need to maintain and even enhance the reputation that Prisco’s is the best place to shop for meat in Aurora. Once the holidays are behind us, Chris has some exciting new plans to implement in the meat department and we know that you are all going to love what’s coming next.

In our deli/bakery, we had a significant event occur very recently when Andy’s sister and Rob’s niece, Bridget, walked down the aisle to become Mrs. Sam Donnell. The Donnell’s are long-time Aurorans with a passion for being active in the community as well. We at Prisco’s are quite pleased that Sam & Bridget have purchased their first home right here in the neighborhood, where they plan to sink their roots and someday start adding to what is now the fifth generation of Priscos on Aurora’s west side.

Rob and Georgette welcomed their first grandchild, Carson, back in February. With Rob and Georgette’s retirement plans on track, Carson has provided a lot of smiles and love for the family. With Rob’s partial retirement, Andy has stepped into the leadership role and has shown us a bright future. Running a business, particularly retail, is filled with many challenges and Andy has shown that he is up to the task. Anyone who knows Andy knows that he is intelligent, full of enthusiasm, level-headed, customer-focused, and fully supports the Prisco tradition of offering only the best food at a fair price. These are qualities that have been passed down for 4 generations, allowing us to serve our community for 90 years.

Next year promises lots of exciting things to come as we prepare to celebrate our 90th year of continuous operation in Aurora. This would not be possible without the support of wonderful customers like each of you, many of whom have been shopping at our family market all their lives. We’ve had many comments from fellow community leaders and members that we have the best customers ever, and we couldn’t agree more.

So from the entire Prisco family and all of our dedicated employees, we want to wish you and your family a very joyous and Merry Christmas, a wonderful Holiday Season, and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

 

Rob – Andy – Beth – Georgette – Bridget – Jacquie

...and the entire staff at Prisco’s Family Market

 

 

When you want to serve your family the best holiday roast, count on Prisco’s- Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Our store has been serving the west side of Aurora and surrounding communities for 90 Christmases. For as far back as anyone can remember, our meat department has been the central focus of our customers' attention because folks have come to rely on Prisco’s to be their go-to fresh market for holiday meats.

Unlike Thanksgiving where we have a hands-down favorite in the Fresh Ho-Ka Turkey, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s meals have a host of strong holiday roasts that folks love to serve, often depending on individual family traditions.

See if your traditional roast is listed among our most popular -- or perhaps try one of these for the first time.

Standing Rib Roast (or Prime Rib)

The term standing rib roast refers to a bone-in roast, which is cooked "standing" on its rack of ribs. This cut is from the primal rib section of the steer and consists of ribs and weighs 14-20 pounds. These roasts are usually divided into smaller portions for sale. At Prisco's we sell our roasts by the rib.  An average rib weighs between 3 to 4 lbs and will serve 4 to 5 people. So if you are serving 10 to 15 people you will want a 3-rib roast. 

If you were to shop competitive ads, you will find lower prices for a standing rib roast, but wait just a moment before you rush off to get one elsewhere: The low price alternatives, in most cases, are a "select" grade of beef or even a lower. We have been buying our beef for over sixty years from the Aurora Packing Company and we buy only USDA Choice Angus for our standing rib roasts. The taste and tenderness of this top quality cut are worth every penny. Through December 29th we will be offering our USDA Choice Prisco’s Angus Standing Rib Roast with EZ Carve Gourmet Trim for $17.99 lb.

Beef Tenderloin Roast

Beef tenderloin is the most expensive and most tender cut of beef, but it also has a reputation for mild taste because it does not contain a lot of intramuscular fat and of course has no bones. A whole tenderloin has three distinct areas: The large end, called the butt end, the small end (referred to as the "tail") and the center portion, commonly known as the "heart". The tail is usually folded under the center section and tied to create an even thickness for cooking. 3-4 lbs. of tenderloin will feed about 5-6 people.

Again, our roasts are all USDA Choice Prisco’s Angus Beef and if you purchase a whole tenderloin at $21.99 lb., we will be happy to cut and trim it for free.

Crown Pork Roast & Hams

Many families prefer pork over beef for a large family meal and we have just the right item for Christmas meals, the crown pork roast. This section is shaped into a circle and secured with string so that the exposed rib bones are positioned upward (resembling a crown). Prior to the roasting process, aluminum foil or foil caps are placed on the tips of the ribs to protect them from burning and are often replaced with paper or decorative foil "frills" when the roast is served. The open center of the crown is often filled with stuffing, vegetables, or potatoes. An 8-9 lb. crown roast will serve approximately 10-12 people.

For pork, our brand of choice for years has been Prairie Fresh and this year you can pick up a nice crown pork roast for $6.99 lb.

Another pork option is ham; we offer a wide selection of hams, including Hillshire shank, butt and spiral cut hams. If you are serving a smaller crowd or want to add an additional meat option, consider our Kentucky Legend whole petite smoked hams at $4.69 lb.

Regardless of what choice you make, we promise to give you our best service and we offer only top quality meats. We won’t cut corners or skimp on quality because our reputation as the finest meat store in town is always on the line and we have no intention of ever accepting second place!

We do ask one favor of you, however. In order to fill everyone’s holiday meat requests we need to get your pre-orders in as quickly as possible, so that we can bring in just what you want and be certain that no customer settles for something other than exactly what they want. If you have any questions or would like our recommendations, please stop in and see me at the store or call me at (630) 264-9401, and the sooner the better.

 

Happy Holidays everyone,

Chris Tope – Meat Manger

Spicing up a holiday side dish with family tradition.- Tuesday, December 15, 2015

One side dish that has found its rightful place in the hearts and stomachs of America is (depending on family tradition) called either stuffing or dressing. For simplicity we will use the term stuffing, but feel free to substitute "dressing" at any time you prefer.

Most often we think of this dish as a required side for turkey, but there are also those who will offer up stuffing as a part of a pork roast meal. Stuffing begins as a bland base of bread or rice which then invites embellishment. Depending upon your tastes, national blood line or family tradition, it’s the additional ingredients that make each type of stuffing unique and loved by each household. Ingredients such as sausage, nuts, fruit, mushrooms, and shellfish combine in countless permutations. In contrast to the more predictable turkey, stuffing is the frisky, occasionally outlandish, personality of the holiday table.

If you hale from our East Coast, oyster-stuffing may be your holiday tradition. Thanks to railroad distribution in the 19th century, oysters, and oyster stuffing, penetrated the middle of the country. Great gastronomical doyenne M.F.K. Fisher argued that it was probably a bigger deal in the middle of the country than along the coasts: "Not every man could buy [oysters], God knows, and a Middle Westerner was even prouder than a man from Down East to have those shell-fish on his feast-day."

Southerners, tend not to use the term stuffing and prefer "dressing". In the south, cornbread is used as the base rather than white bread, which delivers a livelier texture and flavor. Adding andouille sausage gives it a Cajun vibe, and green chiles provides a Southwestern inflection.

Looking for some different ideas this holiday season? Why not give one of these recipes a try? Who knows, it might just start a whole new tradition in your family.

5741

Cornish Hens with Bacon Stuffing

3043

Crown Roast of Lamb with Cornbread Stuffing

20816

Crown Roast of Pork with Walnut-Rhubarb Stuffing

1262

Dried Fruit Stuffing

6745

Garden Vegetable Stuffing

4999

Glace Pineapple Poultry Stuffing

11165

Holiday Berry Stuffing

8177

Kluss' Pineapple Stuffing for Ham

3315

Lamb Chops with Cinnamon Raisin Stuffing

1255

Oyster Stuffing

20802

Pomegranate Sausage Stuffing

2512

Pork Roast with Herb Stuffing

2961

Rack of Lamb with Orange Carrot Stuffing

11286

Roast Chicken with Apple Stuffing and Cider Sauce

11281

Roast Chicken with Spiced Winter Vegetable Stuffing

2872

Roast Goose with Apricot & Currant Stuffing

1326

Roast Goose with Cranberry Orange Stuffing

2202

Roast Turkey with Cranberry-Sausage Stuffing

8188

Ted's New England Turkey Stuffing

1266

Turkey Breasts with Dried Fruit Stuffing

 

 

Winter root vegetables: Low cost side dishes that are good for your health- Tuesday, December 8, 2015

[info courtesy of finecooking.com & popsugar.com]

Although most summer vegetables are available year-round in the U.S. courtesy of our varied climate and ability to ship products nationwide, they aren't the most cost-effective choices come wintertime in many parts of the country due to their more limited quantity, and lack of a local selection means it's tougher to find organic varieties as well. When the season shifts and autumn has made way for winter, you're better off turning your attention to seasonally-appropriate produce: And this time of year, root vegetables (a group which includes turnips, beets, carrots and rutabagas) are at their most abundant.

Unlike most other vegetables, winter roots store exceptionally well: As they mature, root vegetables develop a tough, protective skin that helps keep them from spoiling. Root vegetables also boast a variety of flavors ranging from sweet and mellow to nutty and earthy, and their dense, dry flesh is perfectly suited to cold-weather vegetable dishes, such as mashes and stews.

Buying Root Vegetables

  • Winter roots should be firm and heavy with no signs of sprouting or shriveling.

  • Look for fairly evenly shaped specimens—overly twisted or irregularly shaped roots may be excessively tough, fibrous, and even bitter.

  • Avoid roots that are split or gashed as well as those with soft or damp spots.

  • Early root vegetables are routinely sold with their greens attached. Look specifically for the brightest and greenest bunch.

  • For root vegetables without their greens, the stem end (where the greens once were) is the first place to show signs of spoilage, so check closely.

Storing Root Vegetables

  • Store loosely in a bag in your refrigerator’s produce drawer. The idea is to keep them dry, cool, and in the dark.

  • If there are greens attached, trim them off before storing; save any beet greens or turnip greens to cook separately.

  • Don’t wash root vegetables before storing, as any moisture can promote spoilage.

  • Expect properly stored vegetables to last eight to twelve days. (Rutabagas are often waxed and so will last closer to two weeks.)

Cooking Suggestions

For mashed or puréed root vegetables, simmer until tender. Possibly the simplest way to transform the dense, starchy character of root vegetables into a toothsome dish is to simmer them until tender and then purée them until smooth.

For hearty root vegetable gratins, slice, layer, and bake. The roots most suited to this technique are the starchier ones—celeriac, rutabagas, parsnips, large turnips—because their starch mingles with the cooking liquid to create a thickened, creamy gratin.

The strong, dry heat of roasting brings out the natural sweetness in root vegetables like no other method. Roast a single variety or a medley. To achieve a roasty brown color and flavor, use a rimmed baking sheet, a jellyroll pan, or a low-sided roasting pan. High-sided roasting pans shield the vegetables from the direct oven heat and won’t give you much browning.

 

Timely advice to help you save money and enjoy great holiday beverage tastes.- Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Over the years, our store has grown to become the ultimate destination for adult beverages when it comes to craft beer and affordable wines. From its modest beginnings about six years ago, we currently offer over 800 varieties of craft beers. The good news is that as our reputation grows, we are able to get our hands on rare, small batches of excellent hops when most big box retailers can’t touch them. One recent example was the fact that this past Black Friday we had a line outside our store starting at 3:00 am where craft beer enthusiasts were willing to wait four hours to be able to lay claim to their limit of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stouts. At that event we sold our entire allocation within twenty minutes of the store’s opening.

If you, yourself, are a craft beer lover or know anyone who is and you are looking for a great gift idea, make tracks to our beer department now. Our beer and wine buyer Megan has put together a nice assortment of holiday beers which she refers to as The 12 Beers of Christmas. 

Please don’t hesitate, because as always these are one-of-a-kind limited items and when we run out of current stock, we are out.

For wines this year, I’m excited to tell you about a couple of great ways to save big bucks on great taste. First, I want to introduce you to a hidden gem we discovered this past year that, although overlooked in the past, needs a proper introduction, because in my book it is the best new Prisco find in wines to come down the road in a long time. Let me explain by way of a brief history of the king of toasting wines, “Champagne”.

In order to be labeled as Champagne the following rules must be met:

Champagne, a bubbly white wine that people often drink to celebrate happy occasions, is a wine exclusively produced from grapes grown, harvested and made into wine within the Champagne delimited region, in France. The grapes used to make Champagne wines possess characteristics not found anywhere else in the world due to the particular geography, soil and climate of the Champagne delimited region.

Champagne wines are produced by natural yeast fermentation in the bottle, in accordance with strict criteria laid down in the Champagne regulatory framework covering every aspect of winemaking.

Principal rules:

  • Just three authorized grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier

  • Short pruned vines (Cordon de Royat, Chablis and Guyot pruning)

  • Capped grape yields per hectare.

  • Juice extraction strictly limited to 102 liters of must per 160 kilos of grapes

  • Minimum annual required alcohol levels by volume

  • Dedicated Champagne wine-making and storage premises

  • A natural winemaking process known as the ‘Méthode Champenoise’

  • A minimum 15 months storage period for bottled wines prior to shipping

Now, if you are a real wine connoisseur, you would know all those rules. However, for most of us, we simply know that Champagne must be imported from a specific region in France and it is very expensive. Now, for the big A-ha! More than a century before champagne, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire in the Southern foothills of Limoux had created:

The Abbey of Saint Hilaire

What is now the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire began as a primitive chapel in the 6th century started by Hilarius, the Bishop of Carcassonne. By 817, the Abbey was under the domain of the Order of Saint Benedict. The Abbey includes a Roman-style church from the 12th Century, and a Gothic cloister and Fortifications from the 14th Century. It was in the Abbey's historic cellars where the world's first sparkling wine was created in 1531. The Mediterranean terroir (the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate), near the village of Saint-Hilaire, in the area of Limoux, produce full-bodied red wines as well as distinctive Chardonnay wines with remarkable character -- aromatic and complex. Today, over four and a half centuries later, SAINT-HILAIRE Blanquette de Limoux is made in the very same foothills of Southern France. One uncorking and you'll discover why the French (those from outside the Champagne region of course) compare SAINT-HILAIRE with their finest Champagne.

So there you have it, a sparkling wine as lively and enchanting as Champagne at a fraction of the cost -- you'll never need to pay Champagne prices again. For the holiday season we brought in a stock of SAINT-HILAIRE Brute Sparkling Wine 750 ml. bottles for the outstanding price of 2/$25.

I can’t forget to mention another great offer we have going on this holiday season in wine. From now through Saturday, December 19th, we are running a pre-holiday stock-up discount offer. Simply purchase any six (6) 750 ml. bottles of table wine at regular or sale price, and you will automatically receive a 15% discount on every bottle (no coupon necessary). Then, for Christmas and New Year’s, that same offer is being offered on any of our sparkling wines and Champagnes. You will save 15% off any six (6) bottles purchased from 12/20/15 through 01/02/2016.

Join us for our December Wine Tastings

Every Monday throughout the remainder of December we will be hosting an in-store walk up tasting of a wide selection of holiday wines, and you can taste and ask all the questions you may have about fine wine and craft beer. We will also be happy to make pairing suggestions for all your upcoming holiday entertaining events. Just stop in any time Monday evenings between 4:00 pm & 7:00 pm.

 

See you there!

Andy Guzauskas – General Manager

 

Holiday Baking- Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Depending on how things are run in your household and perhaps on the family traditions that you were brought up on, Holiday Baking may be a big part of your Holiday fun. Yes, I said fun: If spending the day in the kitchen with your kids, your grandkids, or perhaps your older siblings and your own Mom making Christmas pies, cookies, stollen and cakes isn’t fun, why do it? If it’s not something that you really enjoy, then don’t take on any more stress than the holidays already send your way...Prisco's bakers can do all the work for you, and you and your guests can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

On the other hand, if you love to get up to your elbows in flour and sugar, nothing is more enjoyable than Christmas baking. Now is the time to stock up your pantry with all of the traditional baking staples and those hard to find special ingredients that you need for all your favorite family recipes. If you haven’t done so already (what are you waiting for?), take a close look at our exceptional baking aisle where you will find every type of extract, spice, flour, sweetener, filling, and baking additive you can imagine.

Of course we have the basics, but we also carry unusual ingredients from all over the world. Things like Green Mountain Organic Peppermint extract or Ghirardelli white chocolate morsels.  Perhaps you were looking for premium bread flour, like King Arthur brand, or Wholesome brand organic Turbinado raw cane sugar? And for all those party appetizers, don’t forget the phyllo dough and pastry leaves! 

No matter what your level of baking experience or the amount of baking that you will be doing this holiday season, we wish you lots of laughs and a great deal of fun making those treats that everyone loves you for.

Here are a few holiday baking tips we found on the internet

Minimize Cleanup
- Line baking pans with parchment.

Stockpile Piecrusts -
Make the crusts, fit into pie plates, freeze, and bake straight from the freezer.

Put Meringues on the Menu
-  They're easy to make, low in fat and calories, and everyone can eat them: They're nut-, gluten-, and dairy-free.

Refrigerator (Icebox) Cookies and Pinwheels – To keep your Icebox cookies from getting flat on one side keep them nice and round by standing them upright in a tall drinking glass while they're chilling.  To avoid having your cookies flatten further when you try to slice them, rotate the log 1/4 turn after each slice.

Bar Cookies -
When making bar cookies, create a liner for your baking pan by turning the pan upside-down and covering it with aluminum foil, making sure to form the corners and leaving an overhang of an inch or two. Then, remove the foil, turn the pan right side up, turn the foil over and place it inside the pan.

Bake Big
- Turn to big cakes, like Bundts. They're less fussy than small cakes and serve lots more people.

Be Slice-and-Bake Savvy
- Keep logs of cookie dough in the freezer, then slice and bake as needed (no defrosting necessary).
 
picHere are a number of Christmas Holiday Recipes.

Want to have fun preparing for the holiday season? - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Have a friends & family bake off.

For most people (myself included), the hardest part of a task is getting organized and then getting started. We all love the fresh baked homemade cookies, breads, pies and cakes for the holidays, but it never seems like we can find the time to do it without adding a lot of stress to the event.

It’s also true that holiday baking done all alone just seems more like a job than a pleasure. I’d like to suggest you consider something a little different and organize a baking party. Invite family members or neighbors that you enjoy being with and make it more of a social event, rather than yet another chore that you need do before the holidays.

 Here are a few tips to help you put together what may turn out to be a holiday tradition among your circle of friends.

  • Start with a head count – Your kitchen is the limiting factor. Most kitchens can hold four to six people if things are organized and tasks pre-assigned. Remember, you don’t need to do all the work in the kitchen. Dough rolling, cookie cutting, dipping & decorating can take place in the dining room or on card tables in the family room.

  • Map out work stations – You will want to do this in advance, ensuring that people will feel comfortable standing or sitting, and that they have all the tools they'll need well within reach. For example, one person can fit at the back counter or island for dough, one at the sink for dishes, one at the oven for baking, and three to four people at the table.

  • Pre-assign recipes - To avoid confusion and duplication, take the time to pick the recipes in advance, and send each invited guest one or two recipes with portion sizes included (enough so that every guest goes home with an equal amount of every recipe). When sending the recipe, ask each guest to be responsible for bringing all the key ingredients for those recipes, along with pans, cookie sheets, and other unique utensils needed to make the them. As host, you can supply all the spices and smaller items like baking powder.

  • Containers to take it home – Ask each quest to bring along cookie tins and storage containers to pack up and take home their share of the holiday booty.

  • You'll need plenty of refrigerator space - The more you can place in your fridge to set or chill throughout the day, the more efficient you can be. If the weather is cold enough outside or in your garage, try setting up a table outdoors so you can set cookies and treats outside to chill as they finish.

  • Add holiday atmosphere – Have a selection of cheery holiday tunes being played -- not so loud as to distract, but loud enough to mellow everyone. Serve some liquid refreshment like egg nog, mulled wine or cider, and have some easy-to-serve and eat finger food.

  • Everyone helps and everyone receives – Because space is the biggest constraint, it’s best to have each guest stick to one task, or perhaps at some point rotate to a second task. This is preferable to trying to have each quest do all the work involved in their recipe(s).

So don’t just sit at the kitchen table thinking, "When will I ever get to all this baking?" Invite some friends, pick some tasty recipes, and have a fun-filled holiday baking party.

 

Bridget – Prisco’s Pastry Chef