Our Best Make-Ahead Tips For Christmas Dinner
We’ve all been there, It’s Christmas Day, but rather than catching up with family, you’re peeling carrots and hoping you’ll have time to grab a glass of fizz before the turkey needs basting. By the time you sit down to Christmas dinner, you’ll be so exhausted you’ll barely have the strength to eat it.
If like me, you think that we should all have some time to enjoy the festivities – why not do some of the cooking now? There’s absolutely no need to be peeling veg on Christmas morning! Late November is the time to get the bulk of the Christmas cooking done and put away in the freezer, where it will be fine for up to a month. At the end of the day, remember, Christmas dinner is just a roast!
You can make a tasty Christmas gravy long before the main event. Simply freeze it in a container, and defrost on the day. You can add the juices from your Christmas turkey to it before serving.
Stuffing freezes well – you can even freeze it in an oven dish, so once it’s defrosted, you can pop the dish straight into the oven. If you’re really strapped for time on the day you could cook the stuffing before freezing, so it only requires warming up: a good idea when oven space is at a premium.
Braised red cabbage is one of those foods that actually improves its flavour over time, so it’s well worth making in advance. It will keep a few days in the fridge, and reheats brilliantly.
Boil the sprouts, drop them in cold water to stop the cooking process, then the next day just reheat them in a pan or in the microwave. You can do this with most other vegetables too.
Just parboil and freeze them to give you a headstart on Christmas Day. Or you could really cheat and use frozen roast potatoes…
Parsnips & Carrots
You can boil your parsnips and carrots then keep them in the fridge for up to a day before, to cut down on the cooking time on Christmas Day. Alternatively, you could freeze them.
If you’re serving Yorkshire puddings, you could make the batter a day in advance. You could also completely cook and freeze them, then, after they’re defrosted, just give the puddings a quick 5-10 minutes in the oven to warm them up.
Bread sauce freezes well, but it also keeps for a surprisingly long time in the fridge. Just make it a few days before, and you won’t even need to defrost it. Freeze foods in freezerproof boxes. If you’re short of space in the freezer, take the solidly frozen food out of the boxes. And transfer to freezerproof bags which take up less room.
Christmas puddings, could have been made months ago and kept in a cool dark place to mature nicely until Christmas Day. Simply steam it for a few hours on Christmas Day till reheated. I also make mince pies now and freeze them until needed. You can take out however many you need. Heat them through in the oven and just dust with icing sugar before serving. Make sure any other desserts are simple and don’t require oven space. Cold desserts that can be made ahead and served straight away. Like a chocolate mousse or a frozen dessert, are ideal.
Now you can relax and enjoy Christmas! Does anyone have any more time-saving tips for Christmas food?