Blog

Return to the Blog Home Page

Uncategorized

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Meal Healthier

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that’s lower in fat and calories but still thrills the crowd isn’t hard. All it takes is a few ingredient substitutions and some clever fat-busting techniques.

  • The Big Turkey
    If you’re hosting a small gathering, buy a turkey breast rather than the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat. If you do buy a whole turkey, avoid “self-basting” turkeys, as they often contain added fat. And–it goes without saying–stay away from the deep fryer this year, and roast or smoke the turkey.

    Stuff the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples, and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and/or rosemary.

    Rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, spray it with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.

    Good Gravy
    Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table. Use vegetable oil rather than turkey drippings when making the gravy–it’s still fat, but oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free.

    If you use turkey drippings to add flavor, use a gravy separator. Pour the gravy into a separator and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Some of the fat in the gravy will rise to the top of the glass where you can skim it off easily.

    Better yet, make a low-fat broth-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy instead.

    Carbo-loading

    Instead of using butter and cream to mash potatoes, save the cooking water when you boil of the potatoes. The starchy water will give the potatoes a creamier texture than plain water would.

    You can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream. For extra flavor, stir in roasted garlic and herbs. For added nutrition, add pureed cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips

    Dressing, not Stuffing

    Bake the dressing in a casserole dish rather than in the turkey, where it absorbs fat from the turkey as it bakes. It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, so take a small serving if it’s your Thanksgiving favorite. Avoid recipes using sausage or bacon; wild rice and grains are more nutritious than bread stuffings.

    Slimmed-down Sides

    Scrap the traditional dessert-style candied sweet potato casseroles in favor of a low-fat, naturally-sweetened dish. Try a cranberry relish or cut down on the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce by adding fruit juices or apple sauce.

    Hurrah for the Pumpkin Pie
    Most of the fat in a pie comes from the crust. Try a reduced-fat graham cracker crust or our crust-free pumpkin pie recipe

     

‘Fall’ in love with this delectable desserts this season.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

It’s finally time for that beloved fall classic—pumpkin! We’ve rounded up the best pumpkin dessert recipe for your sweet enjoyment. You’ll fall for this seasonal cake that’s full of zing. Spice cake mix and pumpkin purée are blended for the batter and topped with a rich frosting made with marshmallow cream and maple extract.

 

Pumpkin Spice Cake

 

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 c. pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. water

Frosting:

  • 2 stick butter
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff or Creme)
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ tsp. each maple extract and vanilla extract
  • Garnish: marzipan pumpkins and vines

 

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat two 8 x 2-in. round baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with wax paper; spray paper.
  2.  Make Cake: Beat cake mix, pumpkin purée, eggs and water in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter between pans.
  3.  Bake 30 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert, remove pans, peel off paper and cool completely.Meanwhile, make Frosting: Beat butter in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in marshmallow cream until blended, then beat in confectioners’ sugar and extracts. Increase speed to high and beat about 3 minutes or until fluffy.

 

Assemble: Cut off rounded tops of each cake layer to make flat, if desired. Place a cake layer, top side up, on a serving platter. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Place remaining cake layer, top side up, on top. Frost sides and top with remaining frosting. Store, loosely covered, in refrigerator up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before serving

Skillet Roasted Chicken Thighs with Dandelion Greens + Baby Carrots

Monday, July 4th, 2016

This easy one-dish meal is a busy cook’s romantic dream: efficient, thoughtful and, when cooked properly, almost necessarily resulting in clean and simple flavors. Here, the recipe is exactly that — an honest dinner, cooked simply, from only four ingredients that took up space in the refrigerator. The combination, however, of well-seasoned roast chicken, tender baby carrots, slightly wilted dandelion greens, and a squeeze of lemon juice shouts of summer’s arrival in a clear tenor to the tune of no dishes or leftovers.

 

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 bunches dandelion greens, washed
  • 2 bunches baby carrots
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high; season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan skin-side down and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. While chicken cooks, trim stems of carrots and clean. Transfer chicken to a plate; add carrots to chicken fat in pan and place chicken, skin-side up, on carrots. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast chicken and carrots until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, about 12 minutes.
  2. While chicken cooks, wash and trim dandelion greens. Transfer chicken to serving plates and toss greens with carrots and lemon juice in hot pan until wilted.

To find more recipes like this one go to: http://food52.com/recipes

Go Green! Save Green!

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

How to green your grocery shopping on a tight budget. The following are tips on how can you get what you pay for, and still afford to pay for what you get. You can do more than clip coupons and shop at low-traffic times. Here are a handful of tips for weekly budgeting success:

 

• Prioritize your list. Know what you can leave off the list if prices are higher than you expect. If you have trouble remembering or, have a pet who inevitably eats your list, get an app for your iPhone. No iPhone? Get the PDF version.

• Create a weekly menu. Plan to use the same ingredients in more than one dish. For example, use broccoli as an ingredient in a stir-fry the first time, only to have it reappear later in the week as a side dish. Just keep it simple–at least at first. The simpler the dish, the easier it is to reinvent the leftovers.

• Eat mostly plants. For example, for a dish like stroganoff, replace half the meat with mushrooms. As for eggs, try ground flax as a substitute when baking. (For one egg: 1 tbsp ground flax, 2-3 tbsp water, microwave in 15 second increments until the flax has an egg-like consistency.) You can buy a package of flax for nearly the same price as a dozen eggs.

• Reap what you sow. Most likely you can’t raise your own animals and wouldn’t want to, but you can raise your own veggies. Consider a raised box. You can buy one or build your own. Tomatoes grow nicely in larger planters. Keep an herb garden with your most frequently used herbs on your windowsill or front porch and maybe save your spare change in a piggy bank to get next year’s garden started.

• Buy what’s in season. You’ll find the best prices, and the best flavors, on the foods that are ready to be harvested today. Off-season greenhouse growth often comes with a higher price tag.

• Check the fridge, pantry and freezer before you shop. You may have a whole meal waiting to be reheated. You may only need one ingredient to create a main dish. Which brings me to:

• Shop dry. Some dried beans, some water, and a handful of herbs can be simmered on the stove one slow Sunday to produce a savory main dish. Pair with a simple salad and homemade bread or plain rice. While not necessary, a slow cooker is a great investment, especially as Fall and Winter approach.

Buy in bulk. Get grains, coffees, teas and cereals from bulk bins, and only buy what you need for the week unless the price is at rock bottom. Then buy as much as you can without going over your week’s budget. If you have some pennies left from last week (I call that rollover cash), use that to stock up. Apply this to produce too, like blackberries. You can easily freeze them for baked goods and smoothies later. If you can afford it, go for it.

• Pay with cash. I can’t tell you how many people gave me this tip before I tried it. The benefits are obvious, really. If you can only pay with what you have in your hands, you pay more attention to what you put in your cart and you don’t go over budget.

• Splurge–at the end of the month. If you get to the end of your pay period and there’s cash in your envelope, treat yourself or throw a party. You’re a success!

Strong Men Put Their Heart Health First

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day is the gift of heart health. Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. While Americans of all backgrounds can be at risk for heart disease, African American men, especially those who live in the southeast region of the United States, are at the highest risk for heart disease says the Center for Disease Control.   Additionally, more than 40 percent of Americans have high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke says the American Heart Association.

That’s why this February during American Heart Month, Americans are being encouraged to take charge of their health and start one new, heart-healthy behavior that can help reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.  American men can make a big difference in their heart health by taking these small steps during the month of February and beyond.

 

Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health.

It’s important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals for improving your heart health, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and trust their advice.

Add exercise to your daily routine.

Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

Increase healthy eating.

Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Take steps to quit smoking.

If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use website .

• Take medication as prescribed.

Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications,  If you’re having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you’re having side effects, ask your doctor for help.

Top 10 Heart-Healthy Foods

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Many foods can help keep your heart at its best. Some help lower your blood pressure. Others keep your cholesterol in line.  So to maintain good heart health, the WebMD says it a good idea to add these items to your shopping cart:

 
1. Salmon
This ocean-going fish is a top choice because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3s have an anti-clotting effect, so they keep your blood flowing,” says Rachel Johnson, PhD, RD, Bickford Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont. They also help lower your triglycerides (a type of fat that can lead to heart disease).
Aim for at least two servings of oily fish each week, says the American Heart Association. A serving is 3.5 ounces. That’s a little bit bigger than a computer mouse. Other options: Tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel.

2. Walnuts.
Nibbling on 5 ounces of nuts each week may cut your risk of heart disease in half. Walnuts have lots of “good” fats. When you use these monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats (such as butter), you cut your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol.
Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats. (They don’t have the same kind of omega-3s as fish, though.) Many foods can help keep your heart at its best. Some help lower your blood pressure. Others keep your cholesterol in line. So add these items to your shopping cart: Other options: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, flaxseed, and chia seeds.

3. Raspberries
These berries are loaded with polyphenols — antioxidants that mop up damage-causing free radicals in your body. They also deliver fiber and vitamin C, which are both linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Other options: Any berries — strawberries, blueberries, blackberries — are great choices. Fruits and vegetables in general are excellent choices because of their nutrients and fiber.

4. Fat-Free or Low-fat Milk or Yogurt
“Dairy products are high in potassium, and that has a blood-pressure-lowering effect,” Johnson says. When you choose low-fat or fat-free dairy, you get little to no saturated fat, the kind of fat that can raise your cholesterol.
Other options: Most fruits and vegetables also have some potassium, Johnson says. Bananas, oranges, and potatoes are especially good sources.

5. Chickpeas
Chickpeas and other legumes (lentils, other kinds of beans) are a top-notch source of soluble fiber — the kind of fiber that can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. If you buy canned beans, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties (sodium can raise your blood pressure). Rinse them in water to wash off any added salt.
Other options: Eggplant, okra, apples, and pears are also good choices for soluble fiber.

6. Oatmeal
Oats have a type of fiber (called beta-glucan) that lowers your LDL cholesterol. One and a half cups of cooked oatmeal or a little over a cup of cooked barley gives you the amount of beta-glucan you need daily to help lower your cholesterol.
Other options: You can also find beta-glucan in barley, shiitake mushrooms, and seaweed.

7. Olive oil
A cornerstone of the traditional Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a great pick when you need to limit saturated fat (found in meat, whole milk, and butter). Fats from animal products, and trans fats (“partially hydrogenated oils”) raise your “bad” cholesterol and can make fat build up inside your arteries. Other options: Canola oil and safflower oil.

8. Dark Chocolate
Cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can keep “bad” cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls. Choose dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) to get more flavanols and less sugar, Johnson says. (Sugar raises your risk of heart disease.)
Other options: Think beyond the bar. Choose natural cocoa powder over Dutch-processed to get more flavanols. (Check the label to make sure you don’t get too much sugar.) For a totally unsweetened take, try cacao nibs. Add them to your granola.

9. Avocados
These fruits get their creamy texture from “good” (monounsaturated) fats, which lower your “bad” cholesterol.
“They also seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, so you don’t get chronic inflammation that makes atherosclerosis — the hardening of artery walls — worse,” Johnson says. Use mashed avocado as a spread in place of butter, or add cubes of it to salad, or over black bean chili. As delicious as they are, avocados are high in calories, so keep your portions modest.
Other options: Nuts and sunflower oil

10. Unsalted almond butter
Nut butters are great on whole-grain toast instead of butter. They’re a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Use unsalted, natural options to avoid added salt, sugar, and hydrogenated fats found in other forms of peanut butter, Johnson says.

Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet!

  1. Control your portion size

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs

  1. Eat more vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

  1. Select whole grains

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, such as whole-grain farro, quinoa or barley.

  1. Limit unhealthy fats

Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

  1. Choose low-fat protein sources

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties

  1. Reduce the sodium in your food

Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet

  • Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of salt)
  • People age 51 or older, African-Americans, and people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. You know what foods to feature in your heart-healthy diet and which ones to limit. Now it’s time to put your plans into action.

   7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus

Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices.

  8. Allow yourself an occasional treat

Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you’ll balance things out over the long term. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.

Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you’ll find that heart-healthy eating is both doable and enjoyable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind!

To Learn more go to:  www.eatingwell.com

 

 

What Are Your New Years Resolutions?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

There is an old story about two friends seeing each other after a long time. The first one asks his friend, “So, how are you doing?” The second one replies, “Great, I’m working on my second million dollars. I gave up on the first million.”
That story might remind us about some of our New Year resolutions which we abandon for one reason or another. Psychologists and personal coaches tell us that to be meaningful, our goals (and that applies to New Year resolutions, too), should be SMART.

That’s an acronym used to describe goals (resolutions).

S= specific, M= measurable, A= achievable, R= realistic, and T= time-bound.
Make sure your new years resolutions include these five things and you will be sure to have the ability to maintain and stick to them for the long hall! Happy New Year!

Top 10 Healthiest New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

 

New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but can be difficult to maintain.

Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half are still on target six months later.

It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you’ve swept up the confetti, but it’s not impossible. This year, pick one of the following worthy resolutions, and stick with it because it could be a matter of better health, so here’s to your health!

1. Lose Weight – The fact that this is among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But you can succeed if you don’t expect overnight success. Beware of the valley of quickie cures.”

Also, plan for bumps in the road. Use a food journal to keep track of what you eat and have a support system in place. Around week four to six…people become excuse mills, that’s why it’s important to have someone there on a regular basis to get you through those rough times.

2. Stay In Touch – Feel like old friends (or family) have fallen by the wayside? It’s good for your health to reconnect with them. Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those who don’t.

In fact, a lack of social bonds can damage your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking, and even more than obesity and lack of exercise.

3. Quit Smoking – Fear that you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the path to success.

Try different methods to find out what works for you and think of the cash you’ll save! (We know you know the ginormous health benefit.)

4. Saving Money – Save money by making healthy lifestyle changes. Walk or ride your bike to work, or explore carpooling. (That means more money in your pocket and less air pollution.)

Cut back on gym membership costs by exercising at home. Many fitness programs on videogame systems like Nintendo’s Wii (Wii Fit Plus) and Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect (Your Shape Fitness Evolved) can get you sweating.

Take stock of what you have in the fridge and make a grocery list. Aimless supermarket shopping can lead to poor choices for your diet.

5. Cut Your Stress – A little pressure now and again won’t kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress give us an energy boost. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of—or worsen—insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more.

Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress. Stress is an inevitable part of life. Relaxation, sleep, socializing, and taking vacations are all things we tell ourselves we deserve, but don’t allow ourselves to have. Plan to do one or all of these this year to help reduce your stress level.

6. Volunteer – We tend to think our own bliss relies on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also increases when we help others. And guess what? Happiness is good for your health!

7. Go Back To School – No matter how old you are, heading back to the classroom can help revamp your career, introduce you to new friends, and even boost your brainpower. What’s more, several studies have linked higher educational attainment to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

By going back to school, you are gaining a sense of accomplishment by gaining new knowledge, and you are out there meeting people and creating possibilities that were never there before.

8. Cut Back On Alcohol – While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, too much tippling is still the bigger problem. (In fact, binge drinking seems to be on the rise.)

Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.

Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.

9. Get More Sleep – You probably already know that a good night’s rest can do wonders for your mood—and appearance. But sleep is more beneficial to your health than you might realize.

A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And sleep is crucial for strengthening memories (a process called consolidation).

So take a nap—and don’t feel guilty about it.

10. Travel – The joys and rewards of vacations can last long after the suitcase is put away. We can often get stuck in a rut, and we can’t get out of our own way. Everything becomes familiar and too routine.

But traveling allows us to tap into life as an adventure, and we can make changes in our lives without having to do anything too bold or dramatic.

It makes you feel rejuvenated and replenished, it gets you out of your typical scenery, and the effects are revitalizing. It’s another form of new discovery and learning, and great for the body and the soul.

To Learn more: http://www.health.com/health/

6 Biggest Mistakes of Holiday Cooking

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned cook, there are certain things that should just not be done when you’re preparing food for your holiday meal. If you can avoid these seven atrocities, you’re guaranteed to have a great meal. We can’t, however, do anything about annoying aunts or cranky cousins. Happy holiday cooking!

1. Not Buying Enough Turkey

Don’t scrimp on the turkey. If you have turkey leftovers, you can transform those leftovers into new and tasty dishes. A good rule of thumb is to buy 1 pound of turkey per person to allow for seconds and leftovers. So if you’re having 8 guests for the holidays, you’ll need an 8-pound bird

2. Not Using A Meat Thermometer

Small and inexpensive, the meat thermometer is one of the most valuable kitchen tools you can own. Using one is the surefire way to make sure that your turkey, beef tenderloin, or pork roast is not overcooked and dry or undercooked and unacceptable.

3. Burning the Rolls

Before you start cooking for the holidays, check your oven to make sure it’s calibrated so that you’ll be baking at the correct temperatures. Then follow the time and temperature given in the recipe, but check a few minutes early just in case. Use a kitchen timer so you won’t forget that you’ve got something in the oven

4. Making Dressing That is Too Dry or Too Gummy

Dressing preferences are highly personal and people feel quite strongly about which type they prefer. The best recommendation is to follow the recipe exactly, especially in terms of the amount of liquid that’s added. However, if you follow the recipe and think it’s too dry, you can always add a little more warm chicken broth and bake just a little bit longer to incorporate the broth. If the dressing is too gummy, you can bake it longer, uncovered, to dry it out a bit.

5. Serving Lumpy Gravy

One cause of lumpy gravy is directly dumping flour or other thickener into the hot stock or broth. Another is adding broth too quickly into the flour-fat mixture, which can cause clumping or a gluey layer on the bottom of the pan. Hot spots in a large pan can also cause lumps.In any starch-based sauce, the thickener needs to be gradually introduced to the hot liquid. The easiest way involves whisking a flour slurry into the broth mixture, then stirring until the gravy comes together. If you get lumps, pour the gravy through a sieve or strainer, or puree it with an immersion blender or, very carefully, in a regular blender.

6. Serving Foods at the Wrong Temperature

So that you can serve the dressing and green bean casserole hot and the ambrosia chilled, make a game plan and stick to it. Starting a week ahead, make a list of dishes that can be made ahead and frozen or chilled until the big day. Keep writing until every dish is listed leading right up until serving. Use your microwave for reheating some dishes or prepare some menu items in the slow cooker to free up some oven space.