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Planning Christmas Dinner: What to do When
What is Christmas without warming food? Pair that with delicious drinks and laughter and you’re on your way to enjoying one of the best festive traditions there is. But with a great tradition comes great responsibility, and no one wants to spend all day in the kitchen, missing out on the fun.
Getting ahead of the game with Christmas dinner preparations is key to make sure you have more time to make memories and spend less time getting your feathers ruffled. We have some helpful tips to set you up for a more relaxed Christmas, and this first step doesn’t require you to spice, dice or cook anything.
Plan how many mouths you have to feed (or at least get a number in your head) so you know serving sizes and if you can, enlist your most trusted helpers and agree jobs with them. This could be as simple as assigning jobs such as sous chef, table setter or even a games organiser for after the showstopping meal! This plan gives you a head start and can be done weeks in advance.
One week to go, make a list and shop less
There’s nothing wrong with leftovers, and if bubble and squeak is your thing then those extra veggies are a welcome Boxing Day staple, but to avoid food wastage it’s best to make a list in advance. Break your meal up by starters, mains, desserts and drinks (if you’re having them) and make two lists that cover perishable and non-perishable produce. This should help you stock up on what you can and save the fresher bits for nearer the time. Remember, you can probably freeze more than you think! Check before you try, but pre-making and freezing elements of your dinner such as stuffing, cranberry sauce and fruit crumble is a great way to get ahead.
In the final few days leading up to Christmas there are a few things you can do to make things run smoothly. Double check your shopping list progress and have a clear view of those final purchases such as fresh fruit, veg and herbs.
When you head to the shops, make sure you keep a savvy mindset and you might find that you can pull together a mouth-watering spread without going near the premium pre-packed store alternatives like cheese boards and prawn wheels.
If you’re having meat as your main, and it happens to be a frozen turkey, let it safely defrost somewhere cool (not the fridge) for up to 24 hours that to avoid a solid bird the next day! Once you get to Christmas Eve, a few quick wins include peeling and cutting veg in advance, preparing roasties to reheat the next day and setting the table with your favourite festive tableware to give you some extra time to relax.
Once the big day is here, have a list of when all the different staples of the meal must go into the oven, be mixed or come out of the freezer and set timers to avoiding anything getting burnt, going soggy or disappearing. Now is the time to enjoy yourself, have a good natter and let someone pour you a drink before dinner is served and enjoyed by all. Merry Christmas indeed!