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Christmas Dinner tips and tricks: share them with Aunt Bessie's - chance to win £300

(193 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Dec-17 09:15:03

The team at Aunt Bessie's would love to know all about your Christmas Dinner tips and tricks - what makes your festive roast dinner go down well with your family? Do you prepare in advance? What really makes it special in your household? What's the main dish - do you have a turkey or goose? Or something else? What about vegetarian dishes? What about accompaniments like bread sauce, cranberry sauce and stuffing - do you make your own following family recipes, buy it in or something else?

Aunt Bessie's say "Christmas Dinner is about more than just great food – it’s about gathering the family around the table and enjoying the moments that we have together. So we’d love to hear how you make the most of this time by telling us your quick tips and tricks that make room for the important things."

Add your tips for the best Christmas Dinner below and you will be entered into a prize draw where one person will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.

Thanks and good luck


Insight Terms and Conditions Apply

Gazelda Mon 11-Dec-17 14:05:37

I have a December spreadsheet that gets dusted off each year.
It includes dates to make/freeze stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce etc.
Dates to book supermarket delivery.
A list of quantities and favourite recipes to make planning easier.
Dates to defrost and clean the fridge and freezer.
One day a week to make dinner from freezer content or store cupboard items.

Another spreadsheet with all of the jobs to do Christmas Eve/Christmas morning. Eg peel sprouts, defrost gravy, get 12 plates ready, find 6 serving dishes, make sure 6 serving spoons cleaned etc.

I then have another spreadsheet with the timings for cooking the dinner. That means that anyone can pop into the kitchen and do the next task according to the plan, while I entertain guests and sip wine.

BrieAndChilli Mon 11-Dec-17 14:20:44

I buy non perishable stuff and things to go on the freezer from about October onwards each time I shop.
This way I can take advantage of offers as well as making sure we definetely have things like pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce etc that make xmas dinner differentto a normal roast.
I make a big list and know exactly when things need to be prepared or what tile to put them on to cook.

I also cook the turkey so it’s finished about an hour before so it can be taken out and wrapped in foil and towels and the oven cranked up for the roast potatoes and other stuff

The biggest thing is to plan everything down to the tiniest detail, timings for cookings, space on fridge to chill drinks, what tableware is to be used for what course etc

MummyBtothree Mon 11-Dec-17 14:40:38

We start purchasing non-perishable food items around November and put them away for Christmas and I always write a list of essentials and tick them off when bought. I also prepare my trifle the day before and sit and prepare the veggies for dinner on Christmas with a glass or two of wine.

MummyBtothree Mon 11-Dec-17 14:40:41

We start purchasing non-perishable food items around November and put them away for Christmas and I always write a list of essentials and tick them off when bought. I also prepare my trifle the day before and sit and prepare the veggies for dinner on Christmas with a glass or two of wine.

FoofFighter Mon 11-Dec-17 14:40:41

Prepare as much as possible in the run up, I would rather be watching the present opening with a glass of something than peeling potatoes.

Most things can be prepped and frozen or fridged these days.

Also I don't feel guilty about taking some shortcuts, for instance cranberry sauce is something I will never bother making!

And getting guests to bring either a starter or a dessert dish with them.

Nothing outstandingly hacky but it works.

FoofFighter Mon 11-Dec-17 14:41:59

Oh and I always make nigella gingerbread stuffing! Cheating obviously with pre prepared sausage meat stuffing mixed up with Jamaica ginger cake

Bonkerz Mon 11-Dec-17 14:58:27

Don't stress about it! I think that's the key.
We don't do fancy breakfast here. Kids eat choc croissant or fruit. So Christmas Day dinner is between 12-1pm leaving the rest of the day for chocolate and treats!!!!!!!!!
Veg prep is done Christmas Eve. A family affair. We use a steamer for veg and a halogen oven for roasties with goose fat! The meat is cooked overnight, beef in slow cooker and turkey on low in oven. The turkey comes out first thing Christmas morning freeing up oven space for trimmings like parsnips and-stuffing balls and Yorkies (aunt Bessie's!) and pigs in blankets then we do microwave swede and mash by aunt Bessie too.
Dinner is placed on the breakfast bar and everyone helps themselves.

mumsbe Mon 11-Dec-17 15:03:07

We make the stuffing one batch with mint sauce in and one with cranberry in and freeze it a few days before all veg is peeled and frozen a couple of days before. Yorkshire puds and Turkey are cooked the day before no hard work on christmas day just the veg to heat up because potatoes need to be fresh. I buy things like mint sauce cranberry sauce christmas pudding and pigs in blankets a few weeks before christmas. Nice calm christmas

NeverUseThisName Mon 11-Dec-17 15:25:13

At the NeverUse house, the joint is already stuffed, trussed, weighed and frozen. Ditto the sausages and the stuffing balls. All must-haves are prepped/bought/dealt with early. Then on 23rd/24th we raid the supermarket for all the fresh stuff, and anything we're willing to compromise on. That way there are no disappointments or last minute panics.

ImNotAFlower Mon 11-Dec-17 15:33:39

Foil cooking trays are my absolute must for Christmas Day. To be able to just throw them after is brilliant. I do use my own tin for the roasties though.
Veg is all prepared on the day although usually it is just myself, DH, DD and DS so I don't have a mountain to get through.
Stuffing I tend to make the day before and pop in the fridge.
We don't do bread sauce or Yorkshire's on Christmas Day so that keeps the work down and the Gravy is often a fresh ready made packet from M&S.
DH does the pigs in blankets the day before and now we have a double oven it is much easier to juggle it all!
I can't wait!

Thesqueezermustghost Mon 11-Dec-17 15:38:23

Make sure to have plenty of good humour - this often goes out the window for the cook on Christmas morning. My tip buy the best quality you can - a little bit of tasty smoked salmon is better than a lot of oversalted stuff. And have crackers and lots of wine and all will go swimmingly.

sharond101 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:17:31

Make ahead and freeze. Pudding, cooked turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pigs in blankets etc. Someone I know uses disposable plates and cutlery to save on washing up. Not for me but maybe appeal to some.

TheKnackeredChef Mon 11-Dec-17 16:52:44

I agree - preparation is key. I try and clear out a drawer in my freezer when the schools go back in September, and then as and when I have the time and inclination I stash things away in there. It's surprising what can be done ahead if you really think about it. Gravy, stuffings, sauces, mince pies, desserts, pigs in blankets - all sorts of things really. I also try and get a few casseroles, curries and other dishes done ahead as well so that I can really put my feet up and live off the freezer for a good few days. It makes me feel like I can actually enjoy Christmas rather than rushing around like a headless chicken.

theladylovescupcakes Mon 11-Dec-17 17:33:29

Sprinkling my roasties with semolina before roasting (after par boiling). The best roasties ever!

Cosmia Mon 11-Dec-17 18:03:12

Cranberry jelly supplies are crucial to my success! Nobody seems to really notice all the other bits, as long as the classics are all there, but if we run out of cranberry jelly it's a disaster! There are 3 jars in the cupboard so far but I might get another couple in, just in case....

goose1964 Mon 11-Dec-17 18:07:57

to keep the turkey breast moist but butter under the skin and streaky bacon on top

WowOoo Mon 11-Dec-17 18:13:34

Prepare and freeze what you can in the month before.
I also make sure I've got back up meals for other holiday days where I CBA to cook - things like lasagne and spag bol.

Also means that I tend to have a big freezer clear out at the end of November so I have enough space for everything.

UpOnDown Mon 11-Dec-17 18:33:27

Definitely use a spreadsheet to keep track of all the tasks, both leading up to it, and on the day.

Cupcakeicecream Mon 11-Dec-17 18:47:13

Make veg in advance freeze in tin foil oven trays ready to pop in on the day. Make plenty of roast tatties Yorkshire and lots of gravy always the favourite but never enough. For less washing up just use paper plates and serving dishes. Ask relatives to bring one dish so helpful. Blast the tunes makes cooking time go quicker having ding sing and dance whilst cooking.

NoStraightEdges Mon 11-Dec-17 18:52:31

None of it actually matters. I've had a cheese salad baguette say in the floor of a hospital corridor for my Christmas dinner a couple of years ago and it was the best Christmas ever-because my mum had survived the huge life saving operation the day before.

But, that said, on a normal Christmas we love a proper Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. As veggies, we make a show of the veg, butnine thing I never make from scratch is careot and swede mash-we always buy aunt Bessie's! It's the bees knees!

AntiBi Mon 11-Dec-17 19:20:00

Kids help with peeling. I'd do Aunt Bessies roast potatoes but spending it with my mum this year and she'll want to do her own (sorry). I'd like not to spend all morning in the kitchen really. I'll get the kids to prepare night before.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 11-Dec-17 19:28:00

I prep as much as I can in advance and we eat around 3, giving me plenty of time to cook, drink and socIalise.

Hot gravy hides any loss of heat plating up.

ScaryMary81 Mon 11-Dec-17 19:41:42

Prep the turkey xmas eve & the veg the night before leave covered in water, so it's good to go in the morning and organised, get plenty of Aunt Bessie's Home Bake Yorkshire Puddings as they taste delicious & are perfect everytime!

LondonStill83 Mon 11-Dec-17 20:05:11

We have a huge family, so it's absolutely impossible for one person to cook for everyone. So we have a system whereby everyone / every family brings a dish. Then the leftovers get sent home with everyone on their own dish- making tidying much easier and also an extended Christmas feast for everyone.

We also do secret Santa with an agreed limit so everyone gets one present and buys one present, rather than everyone having to buy 36+ presents.

Luckily my Auntie has a huge house so we can congregate there- it's always buffet style though as no table is big enough for all of us!

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