Holiday Worries? 50% of California Residents Are ‘Stressed Out’ About Holiday Prep

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According to the Del Monte Holiday Meal Census — which surveyed 3,000 Americans about their holiday habits and stress levels — California residents spend an average of 5.4 hours preparing for a family holiday meal — with many hours of additional time spent on cleaning the house and coordinating extended family members.

Additionally, 50% of  California residents report high stress levels related to holiday planning (defined as a level of “5” or higher on a 10-point scale) — a figure high enough to rank California as the #19 most ‘stressed out’ U.S. state during the holidays.  (For the complete list of state rankings by stress level, just email me with your request.)

So how can you impress your in-laws without driving yourself crazy?  No matter how much time you have to prepare, the recipe experts in the Del Monte holiday kitchen recommend these four tips to reduce holiday meal stress:

>>  DEL MONTE’S TOP FOUR HOLIDAY MEAL STRESS RELIEF TIPS

* STRATEGY #1:  FAKE THE FANCY
Use special garnishes to make each dish look more spectacular without the stress. For instance, try lining your meat platter with lemon leaves, clusters of rosemary sprigs, and citrus wedges.

* STRATEGY #2:  HAVE A SECRET INGREDIENT
Even adding just one special ingredient can totally reinvent your favorite dish without creating more more work for you. Add apple cider to your gravy for a sweet change up or add cranberries to your horseradish sauce for a tangy twist.

* STRATEGY #3:  WORK IN TECHNICOLOR
Go the extra mile by introducing different and surprising colors into your traditional holiday menu (instead of more complicated and stressful recipes).  If your holiday dinner table looks a little drab, add a dish in radiant yellow like Del Monte’s Cheddar Corn Casserole.

Del Monte Cheddar Corn Casserole recipe:
http://www.delmonte.com/ recipes/side-dish/cheddar- corn-casserole/

* STRATEGY #4:  TWIST YOUR TRADITION
Experiment with simple, easy ways to enhance your holiday staples without the fuss.  You could add crispy bacon to your green bean casserole, stir some caramelized onions into your mashed potatoes, or make a double-nut pie by combining both pecans and walnuts.