No one wants to have to miss Christmas morning breakfast to slave over home-made gravy, or duck out of a round of charades to baste the turkey. When it comes to Christmas dinner (and keeping your sanity) preparation really is key.
No-one’s expecting military precision in the kitchen, but being organised with your timings and maybe cooking one or two bits a couple of days before could save you hours to enjoy with your family and friends.
We’ve pulled together some great tips, time saving cooking hacks and recipe tweaks to make this year’s Christmas dinner the most enjoyable yet.
- Make sure your turkey fits in the oven AS SOON AS YOU GET IT HOME and not on Christmas morning, mum….
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make sure you stock up on good quality tin foil, cooking oil/goose fat, seasonings and condiments ahead of time.
- Have a fridge and freezer clear out to make way for Christmas dinner ingredients. It’ll make finding everything you need so much easier!
- Frozen vegetables like Brussel sprouts and root vegetables will save lots of time on prepping fresh versions if you’re planning on roasting them in a tray together anyway.
- Making your own stuffing? Roll your stuffing mixture into balls and pop into the freezer a few days before the big day. All they’ll need is a quick reheat through on Christmas morning.
- Make your gravy long before Christmas day and simply freeze in a container and defrost on the day. Simply heat through and add the cooking juices from the meat before serving.
- If you’re juggling lots of pots and pans at the one time, then definitely borrow a timer from a relative or use the timer on your phone to set various alerts for the finishing times of each dish.
- Serve an easy oven-free starter like melon, soup you’ve defrosted from the freezer, or pate on toast so you just have to focus on one tricky course.
- Don’t try and squeeze everything into the oven at the same time. The turkey will need 45 minutes to an hour to rest after cooking, giving you plenty of time to roast your veg and potatoes.
- Don’t waste precious time peeling and prepping things like nuts and garnishes. Pre-peeled and cooked chestnuts are great to scatter into roasted veg or puree into soups and gravy.
- For extra colour and flavour, try cooking your carrots in a mix of pure orange juice, zest and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Thicken up and add extra flavour to your gravy by mashing a boiled or roast potato into it! If you haven’t tried this before it’s an absolute game changer - trust us.
- Remember to take your turkey out of the fridge 2 hours before you start cooking it to allow it to come to room temperature.
- If you’re hosting dinner for the whole family, then don’t be afraid to ask for help - tis the season for sharing and all! Let the creative ones set a show stopping table, your chatty auntie can peel some spuds whilst talking to you in the kitchen and give your least favourite cousin the washing up to do (joking... kinda)!
- Warm your dinner plates up to keep everything warm on route to the table. Stack them 4 or 5 high and add a half filled cup of water on top. Stick them in the microwave for a minute or two and take them out with oven gloves on.
- Wash as you go. No one wants to be chained to the sink for the rest of the evening on Christmas day. Make sure you give yourself time to relax and enjoy the after-dinner games with the family by washing some pots and utensils as you use them.