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Your time saving tips for Christmas lunch

(32 Posts)
wrapmefestively Tue 21-Dec-04 09:40:31

I'm not a big roast dinner person so Christmas lunch isn't totally straightforward to me.

Any tips for ensuring that I get it prepared and served up for 13.00 on Christmas day (feeding 7 adults, 1 toddler and a baby)?

Obviously I can do the veg the night before, but what about the turkey. Can I pre-cook that and then rewarm it, or will that make it all dry?

WigWamBam Tue 21-Dec-04 09:53:58

I cheat - we buy pre-prepared roast potatoes, roast parsnips, ready-made stuffing, ready-made gravy and sauces, and a prepared turkey breast joint (I'm veggie so don't want to be doing anything with a whole turkey). All I do then is write up a list of times that the stuff has to go in the oven based on the cooking times they recommend on the packs, stick it on the cupboard door, and use a kitchen timer to tell me when the next tray has to go in.

I'm a good cook, and I can do a roast from scratch, but I like to enjoy Christmas day along with everyone else, withouy having to slave all morning in the kitchen

pabla Tue 21-Dec-04 09:58:13

Although I love cooking, I am not great at doing roasts, partly due to my crappy oven. Last years Christmas lunch was a bit of a disaster as everything was ready on time bar the turkey, even though I had cooked it for more than what should have been the correct time.

This year I am going to cook the turkey (crown only) on Christmas Eve. That way it can take as long as it needs without any deadline looming.

A friend recommended this, apparently her mum has always done this - she carves it when it is done, makes up the gravy and stores the meat in gravy overnight so it doesn't dry out. I am going to try this out this year.

I also found out last night that my MIL also cooks hers the day before!

As I don't want to spend Christmas Day morning in the kitchen, getting stressed out, I also cheat by using ready made gravy (good quality from M&S, eg) and frozen roast potatoes!

alilujahcatsg Tue 21-Dec-04 10:33:23

I always do the veg the night before and leave root veg in olive oil with a teaspoon of garam masala powder and same of ground cumin - really brings out the flavour.

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 10:35:44

WWB - like the ready made gravy idea - where do you get it?

WigWamBam Tue 21-Dec-04 10:44:17

I usually get mine from M&S, although I have seen it at Tescos as well.

glitterfairy Tue 21-Dec-04 11:08:56

I always slave (and enjoy) in the kitchen at Christmas but this year I am going away straight after. So have been to M&S and brought the whole thing and feel wonderful set free and carefree. Plus it has actually been cheaper!!!

wordsmith Tue 21-Dec-04 11:10:04

Go to the In-laws

WigWamBam Tue 21-Dec-04 11:13:10

One of the reasons I go for ready made is that it would be far too complicated otherwise - my dad won't eat turkey, my dh insists on turkey, and I'm a vegetarian.

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 11:14:12

So when you say you've been to M&S - what do you get? Would we still be able to get a turkey breast from there now? Do you get carrots, sprouts etc ready prepared? I'm definitely going for the gravy.

There's a huge M&S open 24 hrs at the moment near us so might just go down there tonight!

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 11:16:16

I've cheated and bought a Tesco Finest Christmas pack which has 6 balls of stuffing, 12 little sausages and the bacon to go with it. There are 6 of us so that'll do! I keep thinking I've not got enough stuffing but at the same time, don't you find you just buy far too much and you can barely fit it on the plate, let alone eat it? I'm trying to be more sensible about it this year and making an effort not to go overboard!

WigWamBam Tue 21-Dec-04 11:23:59

GDG, we got our turkey joint, beef joint, stuffing, roast pots and parsnips, gravy and brandy butter at M&S yesterday, and they had plenty. They do pre-prepred packs of veggies too, if you want to be really lazy - although I'll probably do my own veg the night before.

All I need to do now is work out what I'm going to eat ...

glitterfairy Tue 21-Dec-04 11:41:23

Yes M&S do pre packed everything bread sauce the lot. It is so much easier and they have loads left at the moment. Go for it!

nailpolish Tue 21-Dec-04 11:44:04

my time saving tip - go to a hotel. then everyone gets what they like, there's plenty of room, toddlers can run about, santa comes in to visit, you bump into others you know (happens to us every year!) someone else does the dishes etc etc etc etc

pootlepodinapeartree Tue 21-Dec-04 11:47:45

Definately agreee with WWB's idea of writing times down. Also think about how much space you have hob and oven wise, and if you have a microwave use that. Also, you can set the table up before, or get the bits -cutlery, crackers etc out ready and leave then to the side so there's no fishing around in drawers. And work out what you might serve up in what dishes and get those ready as well (yes, I'm a saddo with nothing better to do!

MaryChristmas Tue 21-Dec-04 11:50:02

Go to family for dinner.

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 11:52:00

Thanks all - have roped JoolT into coming to the 24 hr M&S with me tonight! Hope it's not heaving!

Will probably do my own carrots, sprouts, potatoes but get the turkey and gravy/sauce ready done.

Any good ideas for doing extra special roasties OR how to make carrots and sprouts more interesting?

TumbleflumpDancingBum Tue 21-Dec-04 11:53:32

I found this site hope it gives you some useful ideas happy cooking, I'm off to mil & fil .......

nailpolish Tue 21-Dec-04 11:55:31

oh.............. 24 hr m and s................

where where where??!!

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 11:56:47

Oop North! Handforth in Cheshire.

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 11:57:19

Thanks for the site Tumbleflump!

nailpolish Tue 21-Dec-04 11:57:56

oh well

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 12:02:34

If you cook the turkey upside down, it only takes about 2 hours (for a 12lb bird).

The veggies can all be peeled and chopped the day before so that they are ready to cook on the day.

Delia's "Last 36 hours" is good for figuring out when to do all the trimmings - but there's no need to follow her complicated turkey cooking method. As long as you are organised, it's not that stressful to do a Christmas dinner from scratch. The hardest bit is the clearing up afterwards - but with 7 adults in the house, even this shouldn't be too hard.

Enjoy it - it's fun to do a big meal, especially if you can get one or two of your guests to help you in the kitchen (along with a couple of bottles of wine)

MariNativityPlay Tue 21-Dec-04 12:06:18

Can recommend Joubere bread sauce and cranberry sauce, and Duchy ready-made sausage meat and gravy (might be able to get those in Booths or large Sainsburys GDG). Also Duchy Christmas pud with luxury M & S custard.
Will be making spiced parsnip puree in advance to re-heat and glazing the carrots with honey, lemon and ginger.

Gobbledigoose Tue 21-Dec-04 12:09:05

AMerryScot - if you peel and chop carrots and sort out sprouts the day before, what's the best way to keep them overnight?

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