Christmas Dinner SOS: How to Save Your Holiday Dishes

Simple tips for making sure all your hard work in the kitchen doesn't go to waste.

Rock Hard Brown Sugar. Photo: AOL
Rock Hard Brown Sugar. Photo: AOL
Plan for the unexpected. Life doesn't always go as planned. We all know the drill, but somehow we forget those lessons when we're in the thick of cooking catastrophes. When you're faced with a crumbled cake or burnt drippings and guests are on their way, you're going to panic. And that's fine—for a minute. Then you have to regroup and remember these awesome tips for how to handle Christmas dinner catastrophes:

Rock Hard Brown Sugar

Problem: Rock hard brown sugar

Fix: Place your brown sugar rock in a pan along with a cup of water and heat it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

Overcooked Meat

Problem: Overcooked meat

Fix: Cut the meat into smaller pieces, place in a covered pot with broth and let simmer. The juices will soften the meat a bit and add some flavor. 

Soggy Pie

Problem: Soggy Pie

Fix: Skim off the crust, warm the filling and serve it with ice cream or whipped cream.

Gooey Mashed Potatoes

Problem: Gooey mashed potatoes

Fix: Rethink your plan and put the gooey mashed potatoes in a shallow pan, cover with bread crumbs and some dabs of butter and bake. Or, create a well in the center of the mashed potatoes, add a ton of melted butter and garnish.

Crumbled Cake

Problem: Crumbled cake.

Fix: Crumble it more and use as topping for cream, pudding and fruit desserts. If large chunks of the cake are salvageable, turn them into a trifle. 

Oversalted Root Vegetables

Problem: Oversalted root vegetables.

Fix: This one has a few quick fixes: double the recipe and toss the overly salted and unsalted versions together, or add the overly salted sweet potatoes or squash into dressing or stuffing. A little lemon juice also can cut the salty flavor.

Cake Stuck in the Pan

Problem: Cake stuck in the pan.

Fix: Reheat a cooled cake for several minutes and use a spatula to gently remove it from the pan. 

Burnt Drippings

Problem: Burnt Drippings

Fix: There are a few options, but you have to start by removing the roast from the pan. Next, scrape up the bottom of the pan, add beef, vegetable or chicken broth to the pan, and let it simmer. If the drippings are hopelessly burnt, start from scratch. Remove part of the roast that was closest to the pan, finely chop and place is a sauce pan with butter, onions and herbs, then make your gravy.  

Forgot to Thaw the Turkey

Problem: Forgot to Thaw the Turkey

Fix: Dunk it in cool water, then change the water every 30 minutes until it's completely thawed. 

More from Kitchen Daily: 
Unique Holiday Desserts for Your Christmas Table
How Pie Birds Will Save Your Holiday Fruit Pie
The Secret to Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes
9 DIY Foodie Gifts that Practically Make Themselves
Easy Way to Dress Up Your Christmas Cookie Recipes
Traditional Red Berry Holiday Trifle Recipe

This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 


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