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First Christmas dinner tips

(50 Posts)
elland Thu 30-Nov-17 15:58:48

I'm making my first Christmas dinner this year for 4/5 adults and a newly turned 1 year old!

What are your must haves/have nots or just general tips for timing, prep anything that will help me?

I'm just looking at things to keep us entertained aswell so anything fun that you do around the table I'd be interested to hear about too!

errorofjudgement Thu 30-Nov-17 17:09:42

Ooh good luck!
A few general tips picked up over the years, if you’re cooking it you get to decide what to cook!
We always have ham (leftovers from ham cooked xmas eve) & turkey crown.

Pigs in blankets can be cooked now and popped in freezer, then quickly reheated on xmas day.
This weekend I will also make and freeze braised red cabbage and a cauliflower cheese, again to defrost and heat on the day.
Once cooked, cover the turkey with 2 layers of tin foil and several thick tea towels - it stays hot for ages literally a good hour. So plenty of time to cook up other dishes once the turkey is done.

Most importantly though, enjoy the day!

Chaosofcalm Thu 30-Nov-17 17:15:53

OP this could be me except my DD is 18 months. I have two veggies and we also need to make it dairy free.

I will be make by own cranberry sauce as I normal do and freeze it in advance. It is unbelievable easy and so much nicer.

Compared to dinner at my parents I am definitely going for less is more. I think a few well chosen dishes will be better than trying to make a million side dishes.

elland Thu 30-Nov-17 17:25:06

Ooh thank you! I'll utilise the freezer definitely, I hadn't thought about that but will save time and space for sure! Thanks @errorofjudgement

@Chaosofcalm veggie and dairy free too, oh god!🙈 I'm starting to worry without that!

Any suggestions that I come across elsewhere I'll add incase they're useful for you too.

4forksake Thu 30-Nov-17 17:29:56

Prepare as much as possible in advance. Start writing lists for each part of the meal & what you need. Maybe do a few canapés or again something that can be prepared in advance for starter. Buy some stuff ready made (stuffing/pigs in blankets). Work backwards from what time you want to eat for your timings. Make sure the ovens big enough for the turkey and work out how much oven space you've got to cook other things like roasties, parsnips etc. Buy some foil roasting trays so you can just chuck them out. Things we always have chicken covered with bacon (not keen on turkey although have had it before), pork with crackling, roast pots, mash, sprouts, maple syrup parsnips, carrots, green beans, cauli cheese, yorkshires, pigs in blankets - there's a lot of us!), apples sauce, cranberry sauce. Then Christmas pudding & custard for much later in the day. Make sure you plan for the day, delegate & don't spend all day in the kitchen with a little one to watch having fun.

Almostthere15 Thu 30-Nov-17 18:12:10

If you can get hold of nigella Christmas book it does a plan you can adapt. I think its a good idea for your first Christmas dinner to write a timing plan. I have a good few goes drafting mine and then just stick it on the side during making dinner with a timer and a pen. She also says so long as your gravy is boiling hot you're good and I tend to agree.

I wouldn't do starters. It's an extra timing pressure you don't need. Working out how long people will take. If you think people all want something buy some prepped canapes and serve them in the lounge.

A couple of really well done side dishes is better I think but if you have real traditionalists just buy those microwave steam fresh packs for them for familiar veg!

Slightly warmed plates are forgiving in terms of dishing up as they help contain the heat.

We play table games. Card factory have some or you can buy 'board game' crackers/chocolate sets. I got a colour in tale cloth last year and the parents enjoyed it more than the children!

Atalune Thu 30-Nov-17 18:17:13

Make things in advance and have cheats

In advance and freeze
Cheesy leeks
Bread sauce
Sausage meat terrine
Red cabbage

On the eve prepped and ready to go
Potatoes
Parsnips
Carrots
Stuffing
Pigs in blankets

Delegate some things to others-

We are hosting 20 (!) so I have asked MIL to bring a ham and a pudding, my sil is doing canapés and starters and BIL is bringing cheeses

I’m main and some pudding and drinks.

It’s should work!

dkb15164 Thu 30-Nov-17 18:24:33

If you're not afraid of frozen food, Aldis does an amazing starters and sides range including pigs in blankets. Depending how big your oven is, it's definitely an option. If your doing mash potatoes instead of roast, instant smash is actually quite nice if you add a bit of butter and single cream and season it.

goose1964 Thu 30-Nov-17 18:31:36

Don't worry if it's not perfect as long as it's edible .Enlist help for the veg prep ,this can be done on Christmas Eve , I usually do the sprouts on the sofa watching a film.

I know a lot of people will say buy from M&S or cook but the problem with them are that you can't just cook the amount you need so either end up with not enough or loads left.

Littlelambpeep Thu 30-Nov-17 18:36:03

I always buy fresh stuffing (m&s or aldi) and red cabbbage Pre prepared. Already in foil trays

I make Jamie's get ahead gravy and I make cranberry sauce (all in freezer now) and mince pies.

Nice ideas are to buy the selfie photo props. Good laugh and nice memories. I have a Christmas twister game also.

KiaOraAura Thu 30-Nov-17 18:51:15

Apologies for the Daily Fail link, but this article has loads of ideas on failsafe ways to make it dead easy on the day:
www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-1328728/Christmas-dinner-CAN-stress-free--long-start-cooking-NOW.html
Roasties done this way are divine.

Petrichery Thu 30-Nov-17 18:52:48

Stupid question - but for those of you who pre-prepare veg the day before, how do you store it? In water? Or tupperware? Or something else?

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Thu 30-Nov-17 19:15:03

Ahead of time, peel, cut and freeze parsnips ready to roast on the day,

Same with swede.

Aunt bessie yorkshire puds, bake from home ones

Prep veggies xnas eve.

Cook turkey xmas eve.

Cook beef christmas day, use juices for gravy.

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Thu 30-Nov-17 19:17:04

Stupid question - but for those of you who pre-prepare veg the day before, how do you store it? In water? Or tupperware? Or something else?

Prep, cut.
In water in saycepans.

Jayfee Thu 30-Nov-17 19:19:13

jellyshoes.. Yorkshire puddings with turkey????

Jayfee Thu 30-Nov-17 19:22:25

Turkey and roast beef? no my mum used to do that...turkey and all the trimmings s more Christmassy and less work imo.
We peel pots, carrots, parsnips and carrots the day before and keep in cold water overnight.

WazFlimFlam Thu 30-Nov-17 19:32:10

It's all in the timings. Look up the Good Housekeeping timings to get an idea

Then adapt to your own needs.

I am an accomplished cook, and will do Christmas Dinner with a timetable in my hand.

WazFlimFlam Thu 30-Nov-17 19:34:45

Oh, and even if everything goes well, you will sit down to eat half an hour later than planned, so don't panic if that happens! It's tradition!

The meat will actuallly benefit from an extra half hour of resting!

Allowing a goid hour+ for the meat to rest means you can have the oven at the right temp for roasties, canapés and pugs in blankets!!

herecomesthsun Thu 30-Nov-17 19:49:56

Have a timetable/ plan, so you have an idea what needs to go in the oven when. I think Delia also does one.

Delegate re peeling spuds etc, can be done the day before.

According to my family, you can never have too few sprouts.

Don't worry if it doesn't work out exactly, it will be a precious memory and it could be a laugh anyway!

Laska5772 Thu 30-Nov-17 20:02:51

Instead of turkey , why not try Hugh FWs stuffed pork with mincemeat

Trust me, Its really, really, good very Christmassy and pretty cheap also ! Easy to do as well wrapped up in foil its takes an hour max. I made it a few years years ago on Boxing Day and now I am not allowed to do anything else for Christmas.. I dont bother with his cream sauce . just a gravy made with the juices and chicken stock

errorofjudgement Thu 30-Nov-17 20:32:16

Make your own Yorkshire’s!!!!!!!
Takes less than 5 minutes to make the mix, then they take a half hour in the oven while you crisp up the potatoes, and they are eleventy billion times better than ready made.

TeeBee Thu 30-Nov-17 20:49:20

Yep, I make my own yorkies weeks ahead and freeze them. I make them in little petit four pans.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Thu 30-Nov-17 20:50:19

Can you confidently cook a roast now? We will be doing a chicken and some beef, roasties, veg and stuffing + pigs in blankets.

We peel the few bits the night before and leave in water. Not much else that needs doing then other than a timing job and gravy last while the meat rests.

AJPTaylor Thu 30-Nov-17 20:50:28

Lay the table first.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Thu 30-Nov-17 20:51:33

In terms of entertainment, I quite like the pass the sprout or Christmas pudding thingies I've seen around (paperchase amongst others) but you'd probably just be busy building stuff and or playing with toys grin

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