10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

It’s soon to be THAT time of year, prepping your house for the onslaught of holiday entertaining is something of a necessity! It’s officially holiday party time where you have holiday potlucks, gingerbread house building parties, and extravagant dinner parties. It’s also a time that can get pretty stressful if you’ve decided to host a festive get-together for friends, family or both! Here are ten easy steps to help avoid the stress and making sure your kitchen is in top shape before the holidays hit.

1. Purge Old Food

Set an afternoon aside to clear out all old food items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. You will not only be getting rid of expired and unwanted items you’ve forgotten about, but you’ll also be creating more room for all those holiday culinary creations. Make more room in a crowded freezer by taking things out of their bulky boxed packaging and storing food in resealable plastic bags. Discard foods that show signs of freezer burn, and place food items that you’ll need up front and center. While your at it, take a quick moment to give your fridge shelves a good wipe down. The quick clean will make your fridge feel fresh thru out the holidays.

2. Check Your Spices and Oils

Check the “best by” dates on all the spices and oils you plan on using. When in doubt, throw out all spices or oils over a year old as well as any that don’t have an obvious aroma when opened. Did you know that spices and oils can go rancid or lose their flavor and scent entirely?  Some spices that you might need this holiday season are poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, and sage. Making sure you have those in stock before the holidays is a good item to put on your to-do list.

3. Clean Your Appliances

Cleaning your appliances is one of those chores that is easy to put off. A simple cleaning tool for any of your household appliances is ammonia. Inexpensive ammonia, baking soda, or plain white vinegar can help to loosen and dissolve those tough messes when dealing with your appliances. Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or commercial oven cleaners. If you have a gas oven, make sure the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off before you start cleaning. Also make sure you check each appliance you plan to use – microwave oven, stovetop, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, crockpots, food processor, mixer and blender. Nothing better than the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie! A clean oven insures that is all you smell…

4. Wash Dishes, Flatware, Glasses, and Linens

A few days before the bustle of preparations, pull out any special dishes, glassware, flatware and serving pieces and give them a good wash. It’s one preparation that can be done easily ahead of time before the kitchen gets super busy with the hustle and bustle of food prep.

5. Check For Restocking

Save yourself some time and be sure you have the supplies you need food and supply-wise. You may think your pantry is well-stocked but double-check just in case. Do any of your guests have food allergies?  Are they vegetarian, vegan, etc.? Take these into account and prepare accordingly. No one wants to be spending their time on a holiday hunting down a can of French’s fried onions.

6. Start Meal Planning

Prep what you can ahead of time. Most casseroles and potato dishes can be put in a baking pan ahead of time, and vegetables can be chopped and stored, too. Cookie dough is another easy one to prep and freeze. Having a schedule will keep things organized and allow your guests to know when and how to help. Bake one thing for your freezer once a week starting now for your busy time later.

10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

7. Sharpen Knives

Start the season off right with sharp knives. To use a sharpening steel, hold the steel in your left hand and the knife in your right hand, with the cutting edge toward you. Lay the blade on top of the steel and raise the back of the knife 20 degrees. Place the heel of the blade at the tip of the steel and using light pressure draw the edge across the steel in a sweeping, curved motion. When in doubt take them to a professional to be sharpened. No one wants to have to hack away at their honey-baked ham!

8. De-Clutter Your Pantry

You want to start off your holiday plans with spending time organizing your pantry, cabinets, and fridge. Just like cleaning your fridge in step 1, throw away any expired or rancid food. If you find there are things you just don’t use, it’s the perfect time of year to give to a food drive. Another great way to organize is to pour your flour, sugar, chocolate chips, etc. into canisters or old jelly jars and label them. This gives a cute and organized look to your kitchen.

9. Child-Proof Your Kitchen

First make sure any young children can’t get a hold of any potentially harmful objects, such as matches, lighters, sharp utensils and household cleaners, by storing them in upper cabinets or by using child-safety latches. When cooking, unplug appliances not in use and wind up all cords and try to use the back burners of the stove as much as possible. Make sure all electrical outlets are covered when not in use.

10. Keep Kitchen Decorations Minimal

Here at Kitchens Unlimited we love our holiday decorations. But, decorations can often get in the way if you do a lot of cooking or baking. If you want to spruce up your kitchen for the holidays, add some fern garland to your windowsill or hang mistletoe from an arch. Keep decorations off the counters and away from the pantry. Another great and fun way to decorate this holiday is to show off what you made! Display the pies and cookies on a cute glass cake plate.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen?

All that time in your kitchen make you realize a remodel is on your wish list? It’s never too early to start planing. Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients all over the San Francisco East Bay since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood!


We take designing a beautiful kitchen for our clients very seriously, focusing on creating a kitchen space that is both functional & beautiful. We love to provide insight and education to our clients while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel?  Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


Mel’s Crock-Pot Chili

     Hey everyone! Melissa here. I am taking over the blog today to share with you my Crock-Pot Chili recipe that I make quite often, especially on colder days. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.


   I know I am not the only parent who has a child in extracurricular activities, and I am pretty sure I am not the only single parent (or busy parent in general) 😉 . What I also know is that dinnertime can be frustrating for us busy parents. Sometimes, not getting home until after 7 PM makes getting dinner together down right stressful. Which is why I make A LOT of “dump meals” in my Crock-Pot. It saves me from having to worry about what to make for dinner, and also saves me time when we finally arrive home at night. And the smell that fills your nostrils when you walk in the door, MmmMmmMmm 😋 .



Mel’s Crock-Pot Chili




1 LB. Ground Meat (Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Pork)

1 Can stewed tomatoes

2 Cans Tomato Sauce

2 Cups Water

½ Cup Brown Sugar

1 Can yellow corn

1 Can Kidney Beans

1 Can Black Beans

1 small can of diced greed chilies

3 TBS Worcestershire sauce

4 Cloves garlic (Minced or chopped)

2-3 TBS Cumin

½ Yellow onion (Small)

1 TBS Salt

1 TBS Ground Pepper

Taco seasoning








Start off by browning the meat with the Taco seasoning and yellow onion in a pan on the stove. Once the meat is done, put to the side and start opening all the canned goods (straining what needs to be strained) and dumping them into the Crock-Pot. After the canned goods have been dumped in, add the remaining ingredients, and stir well. Next add the browned meat, and stir.


Set Crock-Pot to high for 6 Hours, and be on your way.


If you notice, before serving, that the chili is a little thin, or not as thick as you like, make a flour paste (1 cup water & 1-1 ½ cup flour). Slowly add the paste, while stirring, to the chili until it is at the consistency you like.


Don’t forget to taste once it’s all mixed up. If your taste buds feel like its missing something, add it.



Side note:

We enjoy jalapeño (or regular) corn bread with our chili. For leftovers we usually add cheese and make it into a dip. We even use it for chili dogs, burgers, and/or fries.



If you have anything else you like to add to your chili, let me know. I would love to try it.



If It Makes You Happy

A couple of years ago, I was discussing a potential vacation with a good friend, and occasional travel companion. We had kicked around the idea of this trip for a while, and I was reluctant to commit to further planning. This was to be an international trip lasting a few weeks. “It’s just going to be expensive”, I said, “and I really want to get my house painted.” She couldn’t understand my hesitation. Being a true lover of travel, she didn’t see how I would even consider putting off a trip for something as mundane as painting a house. I tried to explain that, while I loved the idea of going to a new place and exploring different parts of the world, the experience would be pretty short lived compared to the satisfaction I would feel having a freshly painted house, in a color I love. Yes, I do enjoy traveling as well, and the memories that come with a fun trip will last a long time, but I knew that I would also feel joy when coming around the corner and looking at my newly painted house. I don’t know if this makes me materialistic, or too attached to worldly goods – please don’t judge!


Anyway, I did go ahead and have my house painted that year. I was thrilled with the result! And, even though it’s been a couple of years now, I still feel joy when I come around the corner to my street and look at my house, especially on a beautiful sunny day.JenniferHouse

The following year, we took that trip. We had a great time, I have my souvenirs and happy memories, and pulling into my driveway when coming home after three weeks, I experienced the satisfaction of a beautifully painted house all over again.


So, if there’s something about your home that is bugging you, (an outdated kitchen or bath, perhaps?) and you wonder if it will be worth the trouble and expense to fix or change it, you have to decide if it will bring you joy or satisfaction. Because, for some of us, that happy feeling that you can get from making your home more beautiful is priceless!



Contact us today for your first free consultation.



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