First time attempting Xmas dinner!(31 Posts)
This year will be my first year cooking christmas dinner in my own home. Previously, I have always had Christmas dinner at my mums house. However, this year me and my partner bought our own house, and intend to have a family Christmas in our own home with our baby son.
The only problem is, I'm not too good at cooking. I know the basics, but a lot of things which I have attempted to make in the past have failed miserably.
I know the basics, but if anyone has any tips to share I would really appreciate it
Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Don't think you have to be Delia and make absolutely everything from scratch.
Sit down with your partner and work out what you want to have - what meat, veg, starter, dessert etc - I found that DH and I have totally different ideas about what a Christmas dinner should include!
All the main supermarkets will do pre-prepared veg, mash etc. A turkey crown might be a more manageable size than a full turkey and you don't have to do anything to prepare it.
Just buy in as much as you can, work out what time you need to shove it all in the oven (make sure you have enough oven space or can easily keep things warm!) and then sit back and relax in your new home!
Squad- Thanks for your reply. We have decided on soup for the starter, as we can make this beforehand and freeze it.
And do not allow anyone else into the kitchen.... (Bitter voice of experience!) My dad completely cocked up my first Christmas dinner, messing around with the temp of the oven and turning the veg on high!
And drink alcohol... I find the more alcohol I've consumed the better the dinner tastes
Work out how long everything needs to cook for, what oven/hob space is available, edit as appropriate then make a time line list for when stuff needs to go in. Roasts are easier for me than most things as it's all about timings. Remember resting time for the meat gives you time to turn the oven up to finish potatoes etc and gives fudge if it's not quite done!
How many are you cooking for?
Go the easy way with frozen roast potatoes, frozen roast parsnips and yorky puds. Decide what vegetables you both want to have.
Have an easy prepared starter and dessert that doesn't need much faffing with.
Think about what time you want to eat and make a schedule working backwards from that time.
I'm cooking for 4 people, we have invited my parents round for dinner.
Rope your mum in to help
I'm sure she will be more than happy to show you how she does it. I know my mum loved teaching us when we asked.
You have got plenty of time to have a couple of practice runs between now and Christmas - I don't mean that you should cook a full Christmas meal but you can have a go at cooking a roast dinner so you can practice roast potatoes and gravy.
Most supermarkets sell microwave-in-the-bag fresh vegetables that save on hob space.
Buy ready prepared pigs in blankets - I'm all for Christmas poncing but life is too short to wrap bacon round sausages if Tesco can do it for you. I do make my own stuffing now though - but used Paxo mixed with sausage meat for the first twenty years or so that I cooked Christmas dinner.
What are you wanting to cook? A traditional dinner (turkey, ham etc) or something different (beef wellington etc)
I've asked my mum for advice and she has told me that she doesn't mind helping out. To be honest though, I don't really want to ask her for help if I can help it.
My parents have done a lot for us this year, and they have been really supportive. For years, my mum has cooked Christmas dinner for my family. This year, I want her to have a break, relax and enjoy Christmas Day.
Let your Mum bring a starter or Christmas pudding.
At the end of the day it's jut a roast dinner, albeit a bit big bigger!
Cook the bird first, you can rest it for ages covered in foil and a couple of tea towels on top which frees your oven up for everything else. Par boil spuds, carrots and parsnips the night before.
Use disposable trays and chuck straight in the bin when you're done.
Why don't you aak her to write down exactly what she does, with temperatures and times? Then you can copy and she doesn't have to lift a finger on Christmas day.
Remember that if the people who are coming care about you, they won't mind if the dinner isn't perfect or isn't on the table until after 6 pm.
Work out a timetable working backwards from when you would like to eat dinner (but don't panic if it doesn't go to plan).
(My dad would stick his timetable onto the kitchen cabinets and score it out as he went through it. )
If you're having a roast, it needs to rest for a bit after cooking - and if you wrap it well in foil or tea cloths it can sit for at least 40 mins - 1 hour without coming to harm. Gives you time to cook potatoes etc.
By the way - don't overestimate how long a roast takes to cook. A free range 6 kg turkey can be cooked in around 2 hours, and a joint of beef would probably be less than that.
My tip is get your potatoes done in advance, I parboil mine until cooked, rough them up a bit with a fork and at this point you can either freeze them so on the day just defrost and cook in hot oven whilst meat is resting or do them first thing in morning then they are ready to go in later in hot oil/butter.
Watching with interest as in same boat! Well, actually, I have cooked a Christmas dinner twice...first time I was 8 months pg with dc1 and bought everything pre-packed from Waitrose, as it was just me and dh.
Second time (3yrs ago) I invited inlaws round, and we had a toddler. MIL asked if there was anything she could bring and I said "yeah; a cooked turkey please!" And she did saved me stress and oven space. I went totally overboard on veg tho, a lot of which went cold before it reached the table.
bored can you really par boil the potatoes night before? Do they not go black?
Put potatoes in a bowl, cover with a clean t towel then refrigerate. I would cook mash the night before take half out for the next day, leave the rest in. Then one load of washing up, water to boil etc.
Top tip: don't hold yourselves to the time you've always eaten your Christmas dinner.
We've had a Christmas tea at 6/630 since DS was born because that's the time he eats his main meal. This has helped enormously over the different ages and stages. Also because it's later on than lunch, it makes things easier.
Soup is a great starter, or some smoked salmon on mini oatcakes with a little cream cheese/lemon - very simple.
Write down your timings - work backwards from when you want to eat.
And buy gravy. I can make gravy in my sleep, but it always goes wrong at Christmas.
Thank you for all your advice, I really appreciate it . I'm going to ask my mum if she can go through everything with me, then me and DP will have a trial run on our own. Hopefully, it will go well!
A Traditional Christmas Dinner is basically a roast with a bit extra going on.
I would suggest having a couple of practice goes with a chicken for Sat / Sun dinner. I've only been doing 'proper' roasts for less than a year and it's already a lot easier and less stressful. I've got a freezer stash of cauliflower cheese and red cabbage so I don't have to make that on the day so if you like stuff like that you could make a huge batch for a dinner in November and freeze the Christmas Day portion.
Practice has also helped me work out timings etc and what serving dishes / cutlery / jugs etc I need - sounds silly but that's all crucial at the last minute dash!
My roasties have also been perfected with practice and they go with loads f dinners so can be practiced a lot.
Roast dinners are cheap and healthy of you have a good variety of veg so definitely worth trying to serve a few up between now and Christmas.
buy everything else prepped, although i do like preparing veg.
Ready made yorkshire puds and gravy.
we tend to have a nice breakfast around 11am, smoked salmon etc then xmas dinner around 4pm.
As pp have said, it's just a roast dinner with a few extras. Frozen Yorkshire puddings save you the agony of wondering whether your will rise. Packet stuffing is an easy shortcut. The meat needs around 30 mins to rest before carving so the rest of your dinner should cook I this time (there are a few exceptions like roast potatoes). Par boil anything you want to roast first, otherwise the cooking time is aaaaaggggeeesss.
I crumble a chicken oxo over my roast potatoes before cooking.
Write down your timings and allocation of hob / oven space.
Make sure your plates are warmed pre-dishing up.
I also write a plan of what's going in each serving dish so DH can help with that.
M&S christmas dinner pack is pretty good if you're not used to big roasts, everything is done for you and you just bung in oven according to their times. SIL did this last year and it was good.
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