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What are your best make-ahead tips for Christmas dinner?

(30 Posts)
TheRedRabbit Sat 26-Oct-13 14:58:52

I really want to be able to enjoy Christmas morning with the kids and not be stressed in the kitchen. So far I have decided to get a Turkey crown as it is quicker to cook and easier to carve, take it out of the oven 45mins before we eat to rest while I put the potatoes in at very high heat. I'm also going to make bread sauce and brandy butter in advance and freeze.

Can I parboil potatoes/parsnips the day before? Would they then keep in the fridge ok?

Any other tips?

BellaVita Sat 26-Oct-13 15:06:34

I always cook red cabbage a couple of months in advance as it really freezes well.

Am not sure about par boiling pots that much in advance, have done them a couple of hours before I needed them and they have been fine though.

I always set the table the day before.

curiousgeorgie Sat 26-Oct-13 16:20:08

Do all chopping and peeling the day before & keep in pots of water with lids on the hob ready to just be turned on.

Lay the table the night before,

Have scissors, screwdriver, black bags & batteries ready in a drawer for the presents & packaging in the morning.

Desserts like trifle & Christmas pudding all made and stored in the utility room fridge.

My mum cooks her turkey & two crowns (plus 2/3 other meats) the night before, covers them with cling film and leaves them on the side and serves them cold, the gravy and all vegetables served warm warms them up and we like them this way.

All serving dishes and jugs are ready in the kitchen on the side so no last minute rushing around to find them.

Sky plus pre looked at and things recorded early for kids to watch, with a few movies and Christmas specials plussed for adults for later.

All Christmas games out and stored in the living room footstool for easy access.

I think that's it!

WaitMonkey Sat 26-Oct-13 16:31:34

Lol. I thought you wanted make up tips, for Christmas lunch. I thought you liked doing special make up for Christmas or something. <I though you where mad>. grin

ChippyMinton Sat 26-Oct-13 17:51:16

Spuds can be prepared ahead and frozen, then roasted from frozen.

Suzietwo Sat 26-Oct-13 18:13:59

I have heard this about potatoes

Realllllllly? Are they any good?

ChippyMinton Sat 26-Oct-13 19:55:50

Yep. Par boil as normal and fluff up. Allow to cool and lay out on baking trays to freeze, then bag them up.
Xmas day, chuck them straight into the hot fat for an hour.
If you google Good Housekeeping frozen roast potatoes you'll probably find some proper instructions.

hermioneweasley Sat 26-Oct-13 20:14:24

Marking my place for ideas. Mary Berry insists you can cook your roast potatoes the day before and just pop into a high oven on the day to finish off

aliceinapalace Sat 26-Oct-13 20:20:39

Gravy. I know he isn't so popular on here but Jamie Oliver's "get ahead" gravy is lovely and freezes well. You just add turkey juices on the day (or forget in my case and its still really nice)

raisah Sat 26-Oct-13 20:25:56

I suppose you could make a load of sausage rolls, spring rolls, mini quiches & mincepies. These are nice easy snacks that you can easily cook from frozen for when people drop by for a visit.

nbee84 Sat 26-Oct-13 20:34:58

I'm a fan of Jamie's get ahead gravy. I make it throughout the year to serve with a chicken roast as well as a turkey dinner. It's a bit of a faff but you can make it when you have some time and you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze it.

nbee84 Sat 26-Oct-13 20:35:51

Cross post - but I agree with alice grin

aliceinapalace Sat 26-Oct-13 20:46:44

Ohhh that's a good idea nbee I'm gonna made lots and freeze in portions to use during the year...

Littleredsquirrel Sat 26-Oct-13 20:48:38

I've collected chestnuts this week (for free!) and they're now all blanched and peeled and in the freezer ready for stuffing and stir frying with Brussel leaves and bacon.

dementedma Sun 27-Oct-13 08:58:00

I cook a turkey crown the day before and carve and serve cold. Everything else is hot so its fine and we've done it for years.
Yes to making and freezing red cabbage ahead and same with roasties. Buy a really good ready made gravy which just needs heating and a glug of something added to it.
So on the day, all you do is reheat the cabbage and bung the frozen roasties - also parsnips-in the oven. Heat the gravy and serve. Easy meal.

Rubybrazilianwax Sun 27-Oct-13 10:08:29

I cook my turkey the day before. Then I take all the meat from it, putting what I'm not using for dinner in the fridge. I make a thin stock using some of the juices from the turkey pan and about an hour before dinner I out my slices of turkey with stock poured over in a shallow baking tin, cover with foil and reheat. It makes the turkey really juicy. Also this is the way most hotels prepare turkey for large numbers. I also cook my sprouts the day day before, cover and chill. Then on the day I stir fry (vacuum packed) chestnuts, mixed bell peppers and add my sprouts for last few minutes.
Spuds and other veg I peel and put in those large ziplock bags in the bottom of the fridge. I used to leave them in cold water but read somewhere that a lot of the vitamin c seeps into the water. Which would hardly matter for one day, but I do this most week nights now when I'm working for handiness.
Cranberry and port sauce made the day before too.
Bacon wrapped stuffing made up and sitting on baking tray ready to go.

OctoberMoon Sun 27-Oct-13 10:13:46

good thread!

ok, so can i boil my potatoes the day before, fluff them up and just leave them in the fridge, ready to roast the next day? i'm worried they'd be disgusting.

jamie's get ahead gravy, well i must be doing it wrong. done it last christmas & easter and it was pretty flavourless. my DP has asked me not to make it again blush any other get ahead gravy options?

TheRedRabbit Sun 27-Oct-13 21:19:52

Great tip about cooking the turkey the day before, slicing then cooking in gravy in the oven. My only reservation is that I love the smell of turkey cooking on Christmas morning! But I think that is a small sacrifice for no turkey cooking angst!

Can I make stuffing up ie a packet mix with boiling water, roll into balls then freeze and cook from frozen? Or would that not work?

SugarplumKate Sun 27-Oct-13 21:52:12

I parboil then freeze both potatoes and parsnips. They roast fabulously from frozen, and you can do them weeks in advance.

Pollypotatohead Sun 27-Oct-13 22:27:07

I too always cook the turkey and ham the day before.I slice /carve them cold in the morning,lay out on a roasting tin,add a few tablespoons of stock/water and completely seal and cover with foil.I then reheat about half hour before serving and its fab.Takes all the work out of Christmas morning.Also do potatoes and all the veg parboiling the day before.Anything like mashed carrot/parsnip also do the day before and reheat,Gravy also perfect reheated.Stuffing also day before.
I am always incredulous at those who faff around doing everything from scratch on christmas morning.I mean 'why'?

Pollypotatohead Sun 27-Oct-13 22:30:06

And yes octoberthey will be fine fluffed up and left in the fridge overnight.I do this most weekends if I am doing a roast on sunday.I usually do the potatoes parboiling on saturday,fluff em up and leave them in fridge till sunday.They are fab.

TheRedRabbit Sun 27-Oct-13 22:30:09

My DM always did everything from scratch and was also always mega stressed all of Christmas so I am determine not to turn into her, in that way at least!

Pollypotatohead Sun 27-Oct-13 22:33:16

I know redrabbit its not worth it really.You want to be able to enjoy it yourself too eh?

Chottie Mon 28-Oct-13 01:56:32

Am I the only one who finds the idea of cooking Christmas meats the day before just awful? I'm surprised how many people do it. Does it really save time, surely the oven just cooks the joint or turkey while you are doing something else on the day?

Sorry to go off post a bit, my tips would be to set the Christmas table the day before if possible, prepare, bag and store in the fridge all the vegetables. I also prepare the turkey and leave it in the car boot overnight as I never have room in the fridge.

Delegate on the day, so the cook is not left in the kitchen doing everything. Have the dishwasher clear and stack plates between courses to keep the kitchen clear. Put all greasy pans straight into a sink of hot soapy water to soak.

Cheers and a happy Christmas to you smile

Tinkerisdead Mon 28-Oct-13 06:55:13

I'm going to try the potato thing this week now to check it out, that sounds great if it works.

I make the good food sausage eat, sage and onion stuffing but I make it into balls and freeze them. I've frozen them raw and cooked on the day or frozen them cooked and warmed them through after defrosting but that's a great time saver. Same with pigs in blankets. I make them all up and then freeze them so once defrosted they just need cooking not making up.

Mince pies I make them all up raw and then freeze them in the tin, once they are frozen I pop them out of the tin and into a freezer bag then when people pop in over Xmas I pop some frozen ones back in the tin and cook. Lovely warm mincepies at the drop of a hat!

I too make Jamie's gravy. I lay the table the night before. This year I'm going to be wrapping the gifts up after I've removed all the cable ties etc too. And I peel my veg and leave it in water the night before.

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