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How have I got into my late 20s and never cooked a Christmas Dinner before?

(35 Posts)
Acidrain Wed 18-Nov-20 20:08:09

I'm in my late 20s and always have been lucky that since leaving home at 16 I've always gone to my friends family or since meeting DH my MIL for Christmas Dinner.
I know it's a glorified Sunday lunch but I'm a little daunted by it all.
This year me, DH and DS3 have decided to have Christmas Dinner at home this year with everything going on in the world.
So hit me with your tips and recipes?
From things like honey glazed parsnips to making sure I'm not spending all Christmas day in the kitchen?
Buy a turkey crown and freeze it? Or get a fresh one a few days before?
DH will help put cooking and organising but for some reason I'm imagining burnt, dry turkey and hard roast potatoes with the expectation!!

OP’s posts: |
baremineral Wed 18-Nov-20 20:11:58

Do all your prep the day before! That's what I do and it means I don't spend Christmas morning chopping veg etc!

TheCrow Wed 18-Nov-20 20:17:03

You can get preprepared veg in foil trays from most supermarkets like roast potatoes in goose fat, honey roast parsnips etc and you just bung them straight in the oven, following cooking times on the packet. Same with pigs in blankets and stuffing. Cook everything you can in disposable foil trays, they fit in the oven better because they don't have a big rim around the edge like normal roasting trays and you chuck them out afterwards to drastically cut down on washing up.

Cheesypea Wed 18-Nov-20 20:23:03

You can go mad with sides, pigs in blankets, stuffing, bread sauce, peas, sprouts, carrots etc, lots of cooking and lots of waste. So pick 3 or four max to limit time in the kitchen.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 18-Nov-20 20:32:21

You'll be fine. I cooked my first one last year, and I'm 41! 😯😂

iwishiwasonhol Wed 18-Nov-20 20:39:18

ha ha im 49 and im doing my first one this year , theres only 2 of us ,and like you say its just a glorified sunday dinner, so im doing simple starter (soup) ,not going mad on sides (roast potatoes, parsnips ,pigs in blankets and veg carrots ,sweetcorn) and a pudding ,set then table nicely and some crackers ,its only as difficult as you make it

Mustbethewine Wed 18-Nov-20 20:40:17

Apart from the roasties and gravy, I cook everything on Christmas eve, refrigerate and then reheat in the oven on Christmas day. I got the idea from my friend who did this one year and I've been doing it ever since.

HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Wed 18-Nov-20 20:41:13

Awww it’s actually really nice to cook your very first Christmas dinner - a rite of passage into proper adulting. [

You could do a goose - really delicious, almost impossible to dry out, and you get lots of goose fat to use for roast potatoes!

HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Wed 18-Nov-20 20:41:57

Don’t know what MN did with my fwink there...

dementedpixie Wed 18-Nov-20 20:42:26

I'm 47 and never cooked one. I have dh for that

TheYearOfSmallThings Wed 18-Nov-20 20:43:00

That's nothing - I'm in my 40s and I've never cooked one. Allegedly vegetarians don't belong in the kitchen at Christmas.

NotWithoutMyMerkin Wed 18-Nov-20 20:49:34

I’ve got three children so I aim to leave Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as free from cooking as possible.
So I make and freeze in advance;
Yorkshire puds
Red cabbage
Pigs in blankets (buy and freeze if you want)
Stuffing (again you can buy and freeze)
Gravy

I also;
Par boil roasties, coat in oil and freeze
Ditto for roasted parsnips and carrots - will glaze before I cook

Most of the above can be reheated or cooked from frozen, otherwise defrost the day before.

List of timings - write what time you want to carve your turkey and work back from that. So everything has a written timing of when it needs to go in/come out the oven. (That way anybody can help out on the day rather than it all being in your head) - just cross things off as you go

It is a Sunday roast but with the addition of pigs in blankets, sauces, stuffing and extra veg you may have it does become a faff and time consuming to do all on the day.

Plus the more that can be cooked from frozen the less space it takes in the fridge!

ScreamingBeans Wed 18-Nov-20 21:03:12

I don't know how the hell you've managed it, but I salute you.

Just make your husband think he needs to do it all.

Then you might get away with it for life, I can't help wishing I'd known this 25 years ago.

Mother2princess Wed 18-Nov-20 21:46:39

I prep and cook most the night before so I'm not in the kitchen much Christmas day

JayAlfredPrufrock Wed 18-Nov-20 21:49:30

I was in my early 40s when I did my first.

Second nature now.

33goingon64 Wed 18-Nov-20 22:03:43

I didn't cool my first til I was well into my 30s. DH does it now. Prep the week before: red cabbage, swede and carrot mash. Prep the day before: peel potatoes, parsnips, sprouts. Don't underestimate how early you need to put turkey in - allow at least 30 mins for it to rest before you carve. Top tip: follow Delia Smith, you won't go wrong.

Acidrain Wed 18-Nov-20 22:43:49

Thanks everyone!! Seems like preparation is key! And working backwards i like, I will succeed haha!

OP’s posts: |
HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Wed 18-Nov-20 22:56:00

The most important thing to remember is that your turkey (if you decide to go with that) can sit quite happily for about an hour and a half once done - it needs to, in fact - so there’s really no need to have a mad rush trying to get everything ready all at once. Take the bird out, cover it, leave it & forget about it. Put the potatoes in, a while later put in the stuffing, pigs in blankets and carrots/parsnips. When they’re almost ready start frying the Brussels sprouts/pancetta/chestnuts, put the braised red cabbage into the microwave to warm up, and heat the gravy through on the hob.

Job done!

(Obviously you can substitute any side dishes but the principle is the same)

You definitely need a meat thermometer! Takes all the guesswork out of it and your turkey won’t dry out.

We always do a bog standard supermarket dried stuffing with turkey (but a fancier version), because we’ve tried lots of fancy and quite labour intensive fresh versions over the years and we’ve really never found it worth the money, effort and time spent. If we do duck or goose we do stuff it with prunes/apples/whatever.

We don’t do a starter.

We don’t have pudding either - we prefer to have a cheese board, Christmas cake and cognac later on in the evening.

Jinglebellissimo Wed 18-Nov-20 22:59:24

I love cooking Christmas dinner. Timing is the key - and also some cheating!
My cheats - but a crown it’s just easier. Buy microwave red cabbage, and buy frozen parsnips (I swear they come out better).

Timing - do a backwards countdown. Consider oven space - what will need to be in at the same time - even for reheating.

HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Wed 18-Nov-20 23:00:15

Gravy can be made beforehand and frozen, as can braised red cabbage. I’ve always found supermarket red cabbage perfectly fine, although I do prefer to make my own, and microwaving doesn’t impair the flavours/character at all.

Jinglebellissimo Wed 18-Nov-20 23:00:17

Oh and I do microwave mash as well

notacooldad Wed 18-Nov-20 23:03:48

Awww it’s actually really nice to cook your very first Christmas dinner - a rite of passage into proper adulting
55 and I've never done one.
Its DHs territory.

HollyandIvyandallthingsYule Wed 18-Nov-20 23:07:12

There are lots of variations on adulting... fsmile

Anyway OP if you’re doing a turkey crown it won’t need to rest for quite as long so I’d put the potatoes in for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking, then crank up the temp once you’ve taken the turkey out.

Seriously though, you should also consider duck or goose, both of which are much nicer than turkey (Imo)!

CorianderLord Wed 18-Nov-20 23:16:36

Top tip - if you're worried about timing get a buffet warmer. If things are done early put them in and they'll stay hot until ready to serve.

CorianderLord Wed 18-Nov-20 23:17:22

I cooked my first at 19 :D my turkey was dry as a nuns... well, you know. But nobody cared.

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