Holiday Kitchen Disasters and How to Fix Them

You’re cooking a variety of foods in the kitchen to share with guests for holiday festivities, but uh-oh, something bad happens. And it happens again. And maybe another time.

holiday food anxiety

Unfortunately, it’s pretty common to experience some mishaps in the kitchen, as cooking for a crowd and the pressure of whipping up those holiday favorites can make it hard to stay on track. The good news is you can easily fix a kitchen disaster, so it’s no big deal after all, and everyone will still be pleased with how everything turned out.

There Are No Eggs In The Fridge

“What happens if you’re about to make your favorite holiday cookie recipe but have no eggs in the fridge? No problem! Check your pantry for milled flaxseed- it is an easy substitute for eggs when baking,” says Brooke Zigler, MPP, RDN, LD.

Here’s what to do. “Add 1 Tbsp. of milled flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. of water into a small bowl, mix together, and you have a flax egg,” she says. Other egg substitutes include bananas, applesauce, and yogurt, so you’ll still be able to have holiday cookies ready for everyone.

The Oven Stops Working

It’s probably one of our biggest fears: you’re preparing your holiday meal and the oven stops working. Then what, right? Yet don’t worry—you can still get your special meal on the table for everyone to enjoy. “If you have a large enough toaster oven, you can still bake your cake and cookies in there, and roast your vegetables, too,” Zigler points out.

Here are a few more examples. “If you were going to use the oven to bake meatballs, use your stovetop instead and have them cook in a large pot with sauce. If you were planning to roast turkey, try using your grill instead or sauté in a pan on your cooktop,” she says. There are so many other ways of getting your holiday meal on the table without an oven.

You Ran Out Of Room On The Stovetop

If you’re running out of room on the stovetop but still need to cook your mashed potatoes or meatballs, use your crockpot or slow cooker instead. “It will free up room on your stovetop, and it will be one less dish to think about since the appliance does all the work for you,” Zigler advises. “You can also use the crockpot to cook soups, proteins, and your favorite mac and cheese recipe,” she adds. That’s perfect for holiday crowd!

There Aren’t Enough Potatoes

If you didn’t buy enough ingredients, don’t worry, you can bulk up elsewhere. For instance, if you realized your favorite potato side dish won’t be the same, as you didn’t buy enough potatoes, figure out a new way around it. “Whether it’s mashed potatoes or a sweet potato casserole, no need to worry! You can add cauliflower to any of these dishes to help bulk up the recipe,” Zigler shares.

“Simply puree cauliflower in a food processor or blender and add to your dish in place of the extra potatoes you’re missing. No one will ever notice the difference since cauliflower has such a mild flavor and can be transformed into many dishes,” she says.

You Burned Your Cake

Ahh—the worst. “If you forgot to set your timer and accidentally burned your cake in the oven, you still have a few options! You can slice off any burnt parts and frost the cake so that no one would ever know,” Zigler says comfortingly.

If most of the cake burned, you could instead repurpose the cake and crumble it up for a delicious trifle. “Just use the parts in the middle of the cake that did not burn, and you’re left with a clever way of salvaging your cake! This could also work for burnt brownies, too,” Zigler advises.

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About Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, author, and certified health coach. She writes for various magazines, such as Cooking Light, SHAPE, Men's Health, Women's Health, Health, Prevention, POPSUGAR, Runner's World, Bustle, and more. She is also the author of the book "5-Minute Energy." She can't resist a good sample, a killer margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. Beyond magazines, she helps grow businesses through blogging and content marketing strategy.