Please help me prepare for Christmas!(20 Posts)
Well, food wise.
I'm super organised in every way barring all the cooking on the day. I prepare no veg etc in advance and this means I spend a lot of the day in the kitchen.
So, what veg can I prepare a day or 2 in advance? Any tips getting ahead in other ways would be great too. Thankyou
The day before hand I am going to make my soup and stuffing.
There is also Jamie Oliver's Get-ahead gravy
You can boil the potatoes ready for roasting a day or two before. If you have red cabbage, make that earlier and reheat. All prep for veg, e.g. Carrots can be peeled an chopped and left in cold water in pans overnight.
Yes to get ahead gravy !! It's gorgeous
You can prep potatoes , Brussels and all the veg the day before . Make sure they're in pots of water
Pigs in blankets can be made in advance . So can stuffing , however Id just prep the stuffing not cool it until the actual day
Stuff the turkey ahead of time . Lay / dress the dinner table the night before.
Get all your veg on the coffee table the night before and sit and chop and peel it with a movie on. Get dh/dp to help.
Roll the cocktail sausages in streaky bacon.
Lay the table.
You can peel and chop potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc and leave them in jugs or pans of water until you want to cook them. You can parboil the potatoes in which case they don't need to be left in water and can go straight into the roasting pan the next day.
Make yorkshire puddings and freeze them
Depends on what you're cooking really - loads of things can be made in advance like soups and chilled starters/puddings.
I peel potatoes and leave them soaking in water in a pot on the stove. Although, I left them overnight in olive oil, with seasoning, in a Ziploc bag on Sunday night for last night and that worked well too.
I peel and chop the carrots and leave those soaking in water.
I peel the brussels sprouts, and leave those soaking in water. If they will be sliced before cooking, I only do that when I am cooking, not in advance.
Peel and chop parsnips and butternut squash, but put them in an airtight Tupperware tub (they don't soak).
Peel and chop the onions, put those in a separate air tight Tupperware (no water).
I make the stuffing in advance - I make breadcrumbs whenever I have leftover crusts etc and freeze those. Sometimes I even make a basic stuffing and freeze. Christmas stuffing is more seasoned, and DH adds sausage meat to it. But that can be done the day before (just make sure the meat has fully cooked and cooled before adding it to the rest).
I also make giblet stock for the gravy - just boil the carrot and onion peelings, some bay leaves, and the turkey bits, for a while, strain, and store in a pot on the stove or in a bottle in the fridge (depending on space). If you are super-organized, you could have that done beforehand and frozen.
If you have visitors and will need to do drinks, apart from having ice organized in advance (bag from shop or make lots of trays and empty those into a plastic bag or tub in freezer), I find it useful to slice and freeze lemon and lime in advance as well.
I make my roast parsnips and potatoes well in advance. Prepare and cook as usual but dont cook completely. Just take out of freezer and whack them in a hot oven for 10 mins or so on the day (spray first with low fat spray or add a bit of oil). No need to defrost first. I always do large batches whenever i make a roast dinner and freeze as soon as they are cold . It saves loads of time ( and energy ).
You can make them a few months ahead and then feel incredibly smug!
I make my stuffing and mushroom Wellington (veggie option) well in advance and freeze. Do all the veg prep on Christmas Eve, spread out throughout the day, with carols on and DDs help - one of my favourite bits of Christmas. The only thing I would not do in advance again is the veg mornay, doesn't freeze well and last year went rancid over night. Didn't notice until everyone had served it onto their plates. Not my greatest Christmas culinary moment, but I have also learnt not to take it all too seriously - there was enough other stuff.
Last year I peeled/chopped/julienned all of the veg xmas eve and stuck it in ziplock bags and it saved a ridiculous amount of time and effort on the day. Also made the stuffing and trifle xmas eve.
Roast potatos upto a month in advance. Par boil, fluff in a colander, spread out on a baking sheet to cool, put spread out in sealed bags lay flat to freeze, once frozen you can stack them up so they take less space. They cook from frozen, if they've not been frozen as a big blob, in a hot oven allow an exta 10- 15mins so about an hour at 220.
Aldi do bags of preprepared frozen button brussel sprouts. I used to be a spouts snob (I love my sprouts) but they're fab. Really tasty and cook from frozen.
If you're doing roasted route veg then 48hrs in advanceit can be peeled, chopped and bagged.
Yorkshire puds freeze well and cook from frozen.
Disposable trays of pugs in blankets and stuffing balls wrapped in bacon can be frozen and just fridge defrosted on Christmas eve,
Definitely going to try doing the potatoes your way flapjackfairy! Sounds like a fab idea! I read somewhere that people have cooked the turkey the night before but not sure if that's a step too far and if it stays moist?
"Pugs in blankets" - I couldn't eat too many of those, there would be no room for turkey
Pugs in blankets gave me a giggle Flouncing!
What sort of thing is on your menu?
E.G. starter? Make it as easy as possible if you
really want one. So make soup ahead of time and freeze, get out of the freezer on Christmas Eve and serve with part baked rolls or go for something even less stressful like tartlets which again make ahead, freeze and reheat or buy pre-prepared.
Main course - I do a big joint of beef a few weeks beforehand and freeze it in some gravy, I allow 2 slices per person and it's just as good as if it had been done fresh.
Veg - YY to prepairing on Christmas Eve, earlier if you can freeze some of it.
Stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy, cranberry sauce, red cabbage all freeze brilliantly. Bread sauce...do the breadcrumbs but I've never been successful when I've frozen it as sauce.
Pudding/cheeses/Christmas Tea - what are you thinking of doing?
Not meal related but I get all our gifts bought, wrapped and distributed by 2nd week in Dec. That frees up a lot of time. I also blitz the house just before I put the tree up and plonk any clutter up in the loft.
A sprinkle of salts makes them extra crispy ! Potatoes and parsnips that is not pugs in blankets!
We cook our turkey on Christmas Eve (family tradition). DH is also in charge of making turkey stock so it's ready for the gravy and we quite often pre peel and chop the veg the night before.
Cooking the turkey the night before means it can cool very gently, stays beautifully moist and is very easy to carve. The meat is then gently reheated ready to be served with hot fresh stuffing, roasties, veg, gravy etc.
Some fab ideas thankyou! Mrs Dill here's a typical menu:
*Christmas eve brunch is a fry up
*Christmas eve afternoon is hot chocolate and home made popcorn.
*Christmas Eve supper is a buffet. Usually lots of cheese, dips, cold meats and pre packed frozen bits so that's easy.
* Christmas breakfast is usually continental meats and cheeses, with a selection of croissants.
* main meal
- starter is prawn cocktail and home made sauce.
- main is roast turkey, stuffing, roast potato's, carrots, parsnips, sprouts, pigs in blankets and sometimes peas etc.
Pudding- option of xmas pudding or chocolate xmas pudding.
Plan so far now is to make the prawn cocktail sauce in advance aswell as prep the salad xmas eve. Prep all veg for main and pre make the steamed and fluffed potato's the day before. Thinking of getting the prep out the way xmas eve morning
I have a camping fridge that is drafted into service over Christmas especially to keep extra bits and bobs in.
I also start eating stuff out of the freezer from now on in so I have room for Christmas stuff.
If you have room, make a couple of extra dinners (cottage pie, stew, chili etc) and fling them in the freezer when you do them next. Very often I can't face cooking after all of the posh rich food, but a cottage pie is always a great standby freezer dinner.
Have you got a day you can set aside to get ahead in general? I always find it less stressful if I'm organised! Stick a christmas CD on, have a
little Bailey's, and write a big list of everything you would love to get done by 18th Dec. Very satisfying to tick things off
Not fussy in our house we'll eat pugs! Just tell the DC its meat. Must remember to proof read more especially when drinking.
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