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Whether you're hosting a holiday dinner for the first time or are a seasoned pro, the holidays are undeniably stressful when you're battling your way through the supermarket and entertaining a home full of house guests. Oh yeah, and you have to feed a hungry crowd with high expectations for juicy ham, perfect prime rib or beef tenderloin, ultra creamy mashed potatoes, and pie galore. Thankfully, TODAY Food is here to the rescue with 5 fabulous kitchen hacks to make your life easier this Christmas.
Problem #1: There's no room in the oven to roast your centerpiece Christmas beef tenderloin or ham
The hack: Use a cooler to cook your meat.
Place brined smoked city ham or beef tenderloin in an oven bag or zipper lock bag, press out the air and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Place the bag in a clean medium-sized cooler. Fill with enough hot tap water and boiling water to submerge the bag completely.
Using a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water, cover the cooler once the thermometer reads a temperature of 130º F for ham or 135º F for beef. The cooler will insulate the heat and the meat. Allow the meat to cook for 4 to 6 hours.
Check the temperature every hour to make sure the water is about 125º F for ham or 130º F for beef. Add more boiling water if the water cools down. For the ham: once finished, remove ham from bag and brush with your favorite glaze. For the beef: once the meat is cooked, pat dry, season with salt and pepper, and then quickly sear it in a cast iron pan. You can also use this smart kitchen hack cooking method year-round for steak, chicken, and fish.
Problem #2: You've got two pounds of potatoes to peel for your mashed potatoes
The hack: Give your potatoes an ice bath
Quickly cut a thin line around the circumference of each raw potato with a paring knife. Boil until tender, then transfer to an ice water bath. When cool, slide the skin off each potato using two hands.
Problem #3: You've got a bushel of apples to peel for apple pie
The hack: Break out your power drill
Attach a flat boring bit to your power drill,and skewer the apple with your power drill/bit. Turn on drill to rotate apple, and use a Y- peeler to remove the skin of each apple in 5 seconds. Core and slice with a large sharp knife.
Problem #4: It's time to make the whipped cream but your mixer is caked with food and your whisk is nowhere to be found
The hack: Use a mason jar or cocktail shaker
Place heavy cream and the spring from a Hawthorne cocktail strainer into a chilled mason jar or cocktail shaker, cover, then shake it for 3 to 5 minutes.
Problem #5: Everyone wants more wine but your corkscrew just broke
The hack: Use a shoe
Remove one shoe, place the bottle in the foot hole, then pound the shoe against a wall. The shoe will act as a buffer between the bottle and the wall, and the corkscrew will loosen and dislodge after about 10 taps.