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Christmas at home - how do avoid spending the day in the kitchen?

(54 Posts)
DTisMYdoctor Sat 05-Oct-13 11:58:22

We're planning on spending Christmas Day at home for the first time this year - just me, DH and DS - and we want to have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, but without spending the whole day in the kitchen!

Any tips? What to make in advance, what to cheat on by ordering from M&S (have some vouchers stashed away etc). We've always been out on Christmas Day, so not sure where to start (hence the planning ahead).

Charlottehere Sat 05-Oct-13 12:00:56

Was just going to suggest m and s...v little time in kitchen

chicaguapa Sat 05-Oct-13 12:06:15

When we do Christmas dinner at home we cook the turkey the night before. And prepare all the veg, leaving it overnight in pans of water. Then there's less to do on the day.

Setting the table the night before is nice too as it's all Christmassy in the morning for breakfast.

Unexpected Sat 05-Oct-13 12:06:40

Prepare in advance - brussels sprouts, red cabbage, cranberry sauce etc can all be made and frozen. Just have a turkey crown instead of a complete turkey and roast it in a disposable foil tray (get one from Poundland!) That might be something to get from M&S as it will come beautifully prepared so you have nothing to do except pop it in the oven.

Depending on whether you eat at lunch or in the evening, either have a large breakfast and then just some prepared canapé style food, olives, crisps etc for lunch or have a very simple breakfast of nice juice, coffee and mini pastries to minimise washing up and fuss.

If you make your own sausagemeat stuffing, you can also do that on Christmas Eve and just leave binding it with egg until the Day.

Make sure you have already decided which cutlery, dishes and table decs you are using and they are ready for use.

CherryMonster Sat 05-Oct-13 12:15:51

i do most of the work on christmas eve. i cook and slice the meat, cook the veg and store in tupperware boxes overnight, usually outside in the garden as no room in the fridge, make the stuffing balls and pigs in blankets so they just need cooking, use frozen yorkshires, and cut up and par boil the potatoes

BaconAndAvocado Sat 05-Oct-13 12:20:44

Get DH to take the helm grin

DTisMYdoctor Sat 05-Oct-13 12:24:53

grin Bacinandavocado. He normally does do most of the cooking, but the dealbreaker in agreeing to stay at home was that neither of us be in the kitchen all day.

Some great ideas thanks. Especially for foil trays (no dishwater here).

Crutchlow35 Sat 05-Oct-13 16:10:15

Marks and spencer.

soontobeslendergirl Sat 05-Oct-13 16:29:13

Cook & slice your meat in advance and lay it into flat roasting dishes - cover with gravy on the day and cover with tin foil and heat through. Then all you need is a tray for your roasties and trimmings. I par boil the tatties for roasting the day before and keep in the fridge. All other veg prepared before or bought ready prepared and cooked just before. No more than an hour in the kitchen.

Advantage of doing meat earlier is that you have the bones for stock etc the night and you can make soup for a starter.

Buy in a pudding smile

NumptyNu Sat 05-Oct-13 17:19:18

Excellent tips. How long do you boil the spuds for and how do you store them so that they're ok the next day?

wheredidiputit Sat 05-Oct-13 17:42:39

I cook meat on Christmas Eve, and we either have cold or heated in gravy while roasting potatoes and yorkshire pudding are cooking.

Veg are prepared as well. So more time then any other day.

We don't have starter either, pudding usually ice cream if anyone wants it.

newtonupontheheath Sat 05-Oct-13 17:51:15

We tried this last year... Me, dh, ds and newborn dd.

M&S portions were too large for us (feeding 4 adults plus...) so we ordered from morrisons and everything came in foil trays. Planning what went in the oven first, second, etc was the only thing I had to do on the day.

Word of warning re morrisons was that even though it was "pre-ordered" dh still had to wander round the store to find it, it wasn't all packed up ready for him.

This year I am going to prepare and freeze in foil trays, defrost in the morning, cook in the afternoon. Same theory, now I know I can do the heating up bit!

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 18:10:31

Christmas Eve -
*Parboil potatoes for 10-15 mins. Drain in a metal colander and shake them so the smooth side is roughed up a bit. This will make them go extra crispy. Put them in a disposable foil tray, cover with cling film when they're cold and refrigerate.
*Prepare all veg and put in cold water in saucepans on the hob with lids. Change the water before cooking.
*Lay the table, including plates and glasses
*Decant sauces into dishes and cover with clingfilm.
*Put out Christmas crackers, table decorations, candles
*Waitrose Christmas pudding is delicious - microwaves in about 10 mins, so no prep or hassle there.

Christmas Day -
*Take the turkey out as soon as you get up so it's room temperature before it goes in the oven to prevent shrinkage.
*Work out what time you want to eat and work backwards from there.

soontobeslendergirl Sat 05-Oct-13 18:33:47

Parboil the tatties for 15 mins, drain them give them a wee shake, let them cool, put them in the fridge, covered and can be used over the next two days - maybe longer, but they never last longer in our house. If I've made too many roasties, I fridge them overnight and just reheat next day too - nothing wrong with 2nd day roasties smile

CreamyCooler Sat 05-Oct-13 18:34:27

For the last two years I got the complete meal deal from M&S. It's £100 and includes a massive cheese board and pudding which I get out on Boxing day when i have extended family over. It's almost to easy to cook, just heating up really. It includes an excellent quality Turkey crown, 2 types of sausage and bacon things, gravy , bread sauce, mash, roast potatoes, carrots, stuffing, red cabbage, sprouts and parsnips. We have enough turkey for some turkey sandwiches in the evening and end up with no waste or left overs. All in all a lovely meal and I get to enjoy the day.

NettoSuperstar Sat 05-Oct-13 18:38:54

Spending the day in the kitchen is brilliant, it's what I love about Christmas!

ziggiestardust Sat 05-Oct-13 18:39:01

Yes, definitely cooking in foil trays so you can just bin them after; bit wasteful but it's only once a year.

Peeling veg on Christmas Eve during the daytime as well; I pop DC up on the kitchen counter and we just chat to make it more enjoyable.

Making your own gravy is an utter, utter waste of your time. Cooking the turkey giblets stinks to high heaven and to be honest, Bisto tastes better.

The only things I cook myself from scratch, are the turkey and the potatoes. Perhaps one other vegetable, but you always end up with a shedload of leftovers that, despite your good intentions of 'tasty recipes' you'll do with them, end up firmly in the bin.

So buy your trimmings ready done; less goes to waste.

ziggiestardust Sat 05-Oct-13 18:40:11

creamycooler I was actually just looking at that festive feast from M&S online! Does it feel less festive not having a whole turkey?

newtonupontheheath Sat 05-Oct-13 18:40:42

Creamy.... Please can I ask how many that served? I'd love to splash out on m&s if I could justify it!

bigbadbarry Sat 05-Oct-13 18:46:06

I don't know if anybody has said this already but you can freeze your parboil potatoes then cook from frozen. They are better than fresh ones! not just a short cut.

bigwellylittlewelly Sat 05-Oct-13 18:47:20

I seem to remember an amazing thread last year eiyher in here or Good Housekeeping about how to minimise the time speant cooking on Christmas Day and there were some absolutely Amazing tips.

Last year we were unexpectedly at home (it was incredible and we'll be doing the exact same this year) ans we had a sainsburys turkey crown which fed three for lunch, then dinner and the next day too! I prepped everything the night before and then DH was in charge of cooking. Very simple. If we had had guests I'd have been gone . only a little while.

CreamyCooler Sat 05-Oct-13 18:59:38

It was for me, my mum, 2 teenage sons, adult son and DH. The last 4 are all really big eaters. It was just so easy, no mess and way nicer than if I'd done it all myself plus my ovens just not big enough. Actually it may come with two which puddings have been amazing, one year it was 36 different coloured macaroons with a great big display thing you build to put them plus a massive mouse type desert that all my guests loved.

TheYamiOfYawn Sat 05-Oct-13 19:29:43

bigwellylittlewelly - that thread sounds perfect, but I can't find it. can you remember any more details?

princesscupcakemummyb Sat 05-Oct-13 19:51:31

cook the turkey the day before and start in the kitchen with veg early if possible christmas day evenings we have a cold buffet with diff meats cheese mini bread rolls etc allways a hit we love xmas at home grin

DTisMYdoctor Sat 05-Oct-13 20:04:47

I love all these ideas. Thank you everyone. It hadn't occurred to me to do the turkey the day before. Will give that some thought, depending on what we decide to do Christmas Eve during the day.

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