15 Cooking Projects for Your Holiday Vacation

15 Cooking Projects for Your Holiday Vacation

Stephanie Barlow
Dec 26, 2014

While our focus is usually centered around the fastest way to get dinner on the table, we think it's luxurious to have a few hours to just cook. Lucky enough to have more than a few days off? Why not try several projects? We've rounded up 15 of our favorite projects for an afternoon or snowy weekend. Let's get cooking!

1. Bake bread: Once a common task, few of us make bread daily (or even monthly!) these days. Start basic if you're a bread newbie (or even try a no-knead recipe). Go for sourdough or brioche if you're up for a challenge.

2. Make vanilla extract: It couldn't be an easier project, but the results are always impressive. Even better, make several batches in small bottles to save for gifts.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

3. Make pasta: Homemade pasta is one of those cooking tasks everyone wants to try. Invite a few friends over and try out a batch, then cook it for dinner — instant dinner party!

4. Make mozzarella: This one has been on my list for some time. With the right equipment and supplies, it's a project with relatively quick (and delicious) results.

5. Make tomato sauce: You can never have too much tomato sauce in the freezer, as it can be used on the fly for any number of dishes (pasta, meatballs, pizza, as a quick vegetable sauce, etc.). Try this version with canned tomatoes — ideal for winter months!

(Image credit: Lauren Kodiak)

6. Make candles: If you've ever wanted to sidestep those ultra pricey designer candles by making your own (at a fraction of the price!), there's no time like the present.

7. Make yogurt: This one is way simpler than I would have thought. Basically, start with yogurt, add milk, and wait for more yogurt to develop. Couldn't be easier!

8. Bake croissants: A true labor of love, these will take you more than a day to make (don't worry, most of it is inactive). But what's better than homemade croissants just out of the oven?

9. Infuse vodka: Ever go to those ultra hip bars where they infuse their own spirits? It's as easy as steeping your favorite herbs, fruits, or even peppers in liquor. A perfect holiday project!

10. Make freezer meals: Less of a complicated holiday project and more of an endeavor to plan for the new year, taking a few hours to stock up your freezer can be a very good use of time.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

11. Dip dye a tablecloth: We love the look of a bright, not-too-fussy tablecloth, and dip dyeing makes for the ultimate customized result. This is a great project for those in warmer climates; those snowed in may want to hold off until the temperatures warm up or use a laundry room instead of rinsing and drying outside.

12. Cook cassoulet: We never seem to have the time to make cassoulet, the classic French dish with confit, pork, sausage, beans, and everything else good in the world. When could be better than a long winter weekend to try it out?

(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

13. Bake macarons: Labor intensive and notoriously finicky, these pastries will be the perfect showcase for your New Year's Eve party.

14. Make soap: A perfect hostess gift, making your own soap is a fun, crafty way to spend an afternoon. Try adding your favorite scents and herbs to make the soaps uniquely yours.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

15. Cook boeuf bourguignon: Another notoriously laborious cooking project, this hearty dish is just made for December. Try our slow-cooker version below.

What kitchen projects have you always wanted to try?

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