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Christmas Eve - Help Me get everything done on time!

Christmas Eve - Help Me get everything done on time!

Old Dec 16, 19, 9:22 am
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Christmas Eve - Help Me get everything done on time!

Our family does our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. The menu is pretty set - Fried Fish (haddock), Kielbasa, Two kinds of Pierogi, Salad, and Lasagna. Someone else will be bringing a veg and some kind of potatoes.

This year I have to do it all myself. The trick is how I am going to manage frying the fish so it is fresh, and getting all the boiled things - the pierogi and kielbasa - done at the same time by myself. And the lasagna will be in the oven so cant really use that for keeping things warm until the very end.

Any suggestions? Can I crumb the fish earlier in the afternoon and keep it in the refrigerator to save me some time?
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Old Dec 16, 19, 9:54 am
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Do you have an outdoor grill that you could use to keep items warm?

When I host Thanksgiving or Christmas, I always write out a timeline and work my way backwards, starting with the time that everything should be ready and on the table. Then I figure out how long things should take to prep and cook, and work my way backwards.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 12:41 pm
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Pierogi can go in a crock pot to stay warm, as can kielbasa. Lasagna can sit in the oven (shut-off) to stay warm for a few minutes.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 12:00 am
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Originally Posted by kipper View Post
Pierogi can go in a crock pot to stay warm, as can kielbasa. Lasagna can sit in the oven (shut-off) to stay warm for a few minutes.
This...lasagna retains it's heat once cooked and covered with foil. for a while. Plus it has to rest anyway before you cut into it. If you have a second shelf in the oven, put the kielbasa in there. Can't the pierogi stay warm in a covered pot while you fry the fish? Fish won't take long to fry. If you do decide to bread ahead of time put them on a wire rack so air can circulate and they don't get soggy although I am not sure I would do it ahead unless you are really swamped.
any extra pierogi can be sent my way.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by corky View Post
This...lasagna retains it's heat once cooked and covered with foil. for a while. Plus it has to rest anyway before you cut into it. If you have a second shelf in the oven, put the kielbasa in there. Can't the pierogi stay warm in a covered pot while you fry the fish? Fish won't take long to fry. If you do decide to bread ahead of time put them on a wire rack so air can circulate and they don't get soggy although I am not sure I would do it ahead unless you are really swamped.
any extra pierogi can be sent my way.
I've honestly never tried that with the pierogi.I've always hated them when they sat for a while, so never tried it. Of course I will have to find somene I can borrow a crockpot from but its a good idea.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
I've honestly never tried that with the pierogi.I've always hated them when they sat for a while, so never tried it. Of course I will have to find somene I can borrow a crockpot from but its a good idea.
You can buy crockpots for $20 or so.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 10:33 am
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The trick here seems to be how many pieces of fish you'll need to bread and cook. Is it 8 or 80? Assuming it's a reasonable number, here's what I'd do:

1. Cook the lasagna, this takes the longest
2. Near the end of the lasagna cook time, make your kielbasa and pierogi
3. Bread your fish and set on a wire rack as the lasagna finishes. I've actually found they fry better if you let them sit for a few minutes before frying.
4. Take the lasagna out of the oven and cover with foil. This should be good for 15 minutes at least.
5. Turn off the oven, put your kielbasa and pierogi on a baking sheet and store them in the still warm oven.
6. Fry the fish

Again, assuming you aren't frying 100 pieces of fish, everything should still be warm when the fish is done. The only caveat is I've never made pierogi, so don't consider myself knowledgeable on that item.

My other recommendation would be to find yourself a sous chef -- someone who can move the cooked dishes around at your direction while you make the fish. My wife is a great sous chef, but she's not for hire .
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Old Dec 20, 19, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
The trick here seems to be how many pieces of fish you'll need to bread and cook. Is it 8 or 80? Assuming it's a reasonable number, here's what I'd do:

1. Cook the lasagna, this takes the longest
2. Near the end of the lasagna cook time, make your kielbasa and pierogi
3. Bread your fish and set on a wire rack as the lasagna finishes. I've actually found they fry better if you let them sit for a few minutes before frying.
4. Take the lasagna out of the oven and cover with foil. This should be good for 15 minutes at least.
5. Turn off the oven, put your kielbasa and pierogi on a baking sheet and store them in the still warm oven.
6. Fry the fish

Again, assuming you aren't frying 100 pieces of fish, everything should still be warm when the fish is done. The only caveat is I've never made pierogi, so don't consider myself knowledgeable on that item.

My other recommendation would be to find yourself a sous chef -- someone who can move the cooked dishes around at your direction while you make the fish. My wife is a great sous chef, but she's not for hire .
The problem is the pierogi dry out, especially if they sit in an oven. We've tried that in the past. I am working on finding a crock pot I can borrow - I don't have room to buy one. I am not too keen on putting the Keilbasa in the oven either. But if I can find a couple of crockpots that might solve that issue too.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
The problem is the pierogi dry out, especially if they sit in an oven. We've tried that in the past. I am working on finding a crock pot I can borrow - I don't have room to buy one. I am not too keen on putting the Keilbasa in the oven either. But if I can find a couple of crockpots that might solve that issue too.
Add more butter and be sure they are well wrapped in foil. They aren't as likely to dry out that way. You also don't need to keep the oven at a cooking temperature, just a warming temperature. Many modern ovens have a preset for warming.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by kipper View Post
Add more butter and be sure they are well wrapped in foil. They aren't as likely to dry out that way. You also don't need to keep the oven at a cooking temperature, just a warming temperature. Many modern ovens have a preset for warming.
This--lots of butter and no exposure to air (keep fully wrapped in foil) and they won't dry out.
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Old Dec 22, 19, 10:11 am
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I use a Coleman cooler to keep things warm, similar to Cambro food storage. An advantage is since there isn't additional heat things won't dry out. I've had success holding a turkey, brisket, casseroles, etc. for an hour. I put a heavy towel on the bottom, the foil-covered item next, and then another towel over the top. The lasagna sounds like a candidate for this. I'd time it to be finished when the other preparations need to be started so it's one less thing to worry about and you free up your oven for warming.
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Old Dec 23, 19, 9:30 pm
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Good luck tomorrow. I hate frying anything. It's such a mess and then you have to do something with the leftover oil. I would love to try making my own doughnuts but the frying has always kept me from doing it.
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Old Dec 24, 19, 11:52 am
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Little late to the party, but I can be there in two hours with four crockpots, a steamer, and pressure cooker.

Alternative would be to buy some steam pans to keep everything warm. Basically a double boiler.
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Old Dec 24, 19, 10:20 pm
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I made it through. My brother fortunately showed up last minute to help. As is the pierogi were a bit cold and there was a lot left over.But they will reheat. Everything got totally messed up - got a late start this afternoon, people showing up, forgotten items. But Eve is over, now on to tomrrow, with is simply a roast so that should hopefully go smother.
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