Kansas No. 1 for speedy holiday meal prep, Del Monte says

The survey found that Kansans spend an average of 3.6 hours preparing a holiday meal.
The survey found that Kansans spend an average of 3.6 hours preparing a holiday meal. Tribune

Maybe it’s our meat-and-potatoes, no-frills M.O.

Maybe it’s our common-sense, git-r-done attitude.

Maybe our work ethic is so good that we can get things done faster than anyone else.

Whatever it is, Kansas, we’re No. 1.

At least when it comes to making a holiday meal fast, according to a survey by Del Monte.

The fruit and vegetable company asked 2,500 Americans how long it takes them to prep for a holiday meal. Kansans who answered the survey spent the least amount of time – an average of 3.6 hours, according to a news release.

Rounding out the top five fastest states were:

▪ Iowa, 3.7 hours

▪ Delaware, 3.8 hours

▪ North Dakota, 3.9 hours

▪ New Mexico, 4 hours

The five slowest states were all Southern. Is that a surprise?

▪ Mississippi, 7.1 hours

▪ Kentucky, 6.9 hours

▪ Alabama, 6.7 hours

▪ Georgia, 6.5 hours

▪ Texas, 6.5 hours

Jan McMahon, a Sedgwick County Extension Service agent, said however long you take to make your meal, don’t leave it out for more than two hours, or you’ll risk getting sick.

“Get it back in the fridge,” she said.

She suggests cutting down on holiday stress by preparing dishes ahead of time and freezing them until ready to serve.

“Anything you can prepare ahead of time and freeze, do that,” she said. “If you’ve got lots of things to warm up, the oven is great. But if you only have a few things, the microwave works great, too.”

Del Monte also offers these tips:

▪ Fake it. You don’t have to make everything from scratch. Buy ready-to-go foods and “customize them with extra ingredients and garnish to claim it as your own,” the company suggested in its news release.

▪ Cook outside the box, or, um, oven. Break out your slow cooker, toaster oven and other kitchen gadgets.

“If you save prime cooking real estate for dishes that really need it, you’ll speed up the process dramatically,” Del Monte says.

▪ Plan smartly. Choose dishes with minimal prep times and use already-chopped or prepared ingredients.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

Holiday hints

County Extension Agent Denise Dias put together 50 tips to get through the holidays. You can find them at www.sedgwick.ksu.edu/doc27203.ashx.