• Christina Francy

Tips for a less stressful holiday


Do the holidays have you stressing out? Finishing up shopping? Hosting dinner and not a clue on what you're making? Let us help you.

Last-minute shopping could actually save you money!

Not quite done with your shopping list? Or maybe you haven't even started... We won't tell anyone. You might find yourself saving money if you're still shopping! Yup, you read that right. Retailers are pulling out all the stops this late into the holiday season. Take a look at your weekly circular or even go online to see what's on sale. A lot of big box stores are running BOGO deals, % off savings, extra points, etc. Take our favorite red and white big box store for example. This week they have BOGO 50% sweaters for the family, BOGO 50% kids clothing, pajamas for the kids and save $25 when you spend $100 or $10 when you spend $50 on toys! There are sales and specials weekly and you still have time to order online! We are two weeks away so be sure to pay attention to the delivery dates during checkout!

Need to feed the family but not sure what to make that won't take all day?

Forget the turkey. That's so last month. Stick to meals that are quick to prep, easy to make and feed enough of for the entire family. The trusty slow cookers comes in handy here. You can make almost anything in the slow cooker and Christmas lunch or dinner is no exception. Take for instance what we are making for lunch, slow cooker lasagna. If you have more than one slow cooker, you can make more than one kind. Our 6 qt. slow cooker makes enough to feed 5-6 adults. Check out how to make it below and tweak it to your liking.

What you'll need:

- 1 - 16 oz box of oven-ready lasagna noodles

- 2 - 23.5 oz jars of your favorite pasta sauce (or make your own)

- 1 - 15 oz container of ricotta cheese

- 1 lb of shredded mozzarella (equal to 4 cups)

- whatever you want to add - we do kale to sneak in something healthy, cooked ground Italian sausage and sauteed cremini mushrooms

How to make it:

- Spray your slow cooker insert with non-stick cooking spray. Add a thin layer of pasta sauce to the bottom so nothing sticks or burns. You'll need to break the pasta up to fit in the oval shaped slow cooker, but don't worry about how it looks because you can't tell when it's done.

- Start layering your oven-ready lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese*, shredded mozzarella, veggies, cooked sausage or beef and anything else you want. Be sure to repeat layers 3 times. End with noodle layer with thin layer of sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

* The trick to making ricotta cheese spreadable is by mixing in a bowl and thinning out with some milk. This way, you can spread and control the layer of ricotta instead of spooning chunks of it in and not having evenly spread out layers.

- Once your layers are done to your liking, cook on high for 3 hours. After 3 hours, turn off your slow cooker, but leave the top on for 1 hour. That 1 hour will still keep food hot, but will also make sure that the noodles have a chance to soak up any extra liquid, moisture, etc.

- Serve hot and garnish with some Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to give the festive red and green look.

TA DA!!! A meal big enough to feed the family with about 10 min prep time and 3 hours cook time. Make it after opening presents and have it ready for lunch.

What are some other easy tips you can offer for the holiday to make it a little less stressful and more jolly? Add a comment to this post so everyone can get some ideas.


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Signature Homes Hinsdale • Compass

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