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Idiot-proof Christmas Dinner help!

(3 Posts)
Loolumboolum Thu 06-Dec-12 21:46:56

Wise MNers...
I can cook family slop. But I don't roast things. And my in-laws are ALL coming for their first ever Christmas away from home. So can someone give me idiot-proof timings for producing a passable Christmas Lunch, sitting down about 1.30 ish, using a normal fan-assisted oven and four-ring hob? I'm getting into a blind panic.

I'm more than prepared to prep and freeze, and thinking that microwavable parsnip purée etc might be less stress on the oven?

Have ordered the ridiculously expensive Naice turkey, but otherwise um... bricking it. Can't bring myself to order it all from Markies, as I'll never forgive myself...

Thank you thank you thank you...

AlohaMama Thu 06-Dec-12 22:53:14

I would buy a good magazine like BBC Good Food, Good Housekeeping etc. They usually have a Christmas issue with a planner in the back. It will have timings for the day and also a shopping list. Plus you've got all the traditional recipes you might need (turkey, veg, sauces etc) in one place for easy reference. That will give you a good starter, then you can adjust timings based on when you want to eat. To make it less stressful work out what you can do in advance e.g., make and freeze stuffing, prepare vegetables the day before or early in the morning, prepare pigs in blanket day before, do a dessert you can make ahead and freeze or at least the day before. Also if your oven is not too big, make sure you have room for all the things that will be cooking at the same time e.g., turkey plus roasted veggies. If you're making bread sauce, make breadcrumbs now and freeze them, then make that the day before to reheat in the microwave. If in-laws offer to help, say YES. Especially if you can have them do some more time-consuming tasks like preparing sprouts, peeling spuds. Don't over-stress yourself by doing a starter, otherwise you'll be running to the kitchen to check on food while everyone else is sitting down to eat. Instead do simple nibbles/canapes in the late morning with drinks. Make sure you've allowed plenty of time for turkey to thaw, and cook. You'll want it to rest for 30 minutes anyway, so if you let it rest for 45 minutes, then if it needs a bit longer to cook it doesn't push everything else behind. You can keep it warm by covering with foil and laying towels on top. If you're worried about turkey being cooked, buy a meat thermometer, they are only a couple of quid and give you reassurance you're not going to poison anyone wink.
Make sure you've got plenty of drinks on hand, available with glasses so people can help themselves, then you don't have to be worrying about serving drinks as well as cooking. And that way by the time dinner starts, everyone will be merry and it will smooth over any hiccups!!
Ok, brain dump over <wipes sweat from brow>. Good luck and have fun!

PomBearWithAnOFRS Thu 06-Dec-12 23:34:04

Do everything beforehand. Our Christmas dinner is already in my mam's freezer, with only the meat to cook on the day.
Buy frozen veg, frozen Yorkshire puddings, if you want bacon rolls or pigs in blankets make them now and freeze them too.
Use packet or frozen stuffig. Buy jars of cranberry/apple sauce.
On Christmas eve, as you go to bed, put the turkey in the oven on low and just leave it all night - cover it in bacon, then knobs of butter, then foil, and you will wake to the delicious smell pervading the house grin
As long as the gravy is hot, nobody will care about the rest, so don't panic - just microwave it all until it's piping hot and put it on the table in tureens/serving bowls and let folk help themselves.
Get ALL the veg frozen - mash, parsnips, peas, carrots, the lot - Aunt Bessie is your saviour friend grin

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