Gransnet forums

AIBU buy ready prepared food this Xmas?!

(147 Posts)
Flaxseed Fri 23-Nov-18 15:11:30

I have hosted Christmas for as long as I can remember. My parents are elderly and my sisters house is tiny.
The family has grown over the years (as they do) and DP has 3 grown up children (student age) who will join us this year.
There’s a definite 11 coming this year, but potentially 13.
I’m tired just thinking about it!
Every year I prepare from scratch and every year I spend all morning peeling, chopping, juggling oven space, etc etc. I’m not a great cook.
This year I decided we would all go out to dinner grin and got very excited! That is, until I realised I left it too late to book sad and it would have been far too expensive anyway.
So I have decided that I will be making it as stress free as possible. Aunt Bessie’s goose fat potatoes, Yorkshire puds, parsnips and some pigs in blankets are already in the freezer. I’ll be getting the rest over the next few weeks.
Starters (undecided) will be ready prepared and not need oven space.
I will be making my own cauliflower cheese wink

Does anyone else do this?


SpringyChicken Fri 23-Nov-18 17:20:16

Go ahead Flaxseed and don't feel guilty either. Everyone should be jolly grateful that you are hosting the meal. And don't mention you have bought ready prepared, they don't need to know. We limit our meal to two courses, can't manage three.
It is more stressful to serve a starter than a pud because you are trying to keep the meal hot in the kitchen without spoiling. Why not ditch the starter and buy a selection of desserts - if guests are full after the roast, they can have the puds later. Guests without a sweet tooth can opt for cheese and biscuits.

kittylester Fri 23-Nov-18 17:54:32

Port, brandy, red wine, Brunette - not all at once!

GillT57 Fri 23-Nov-18 18:08:24

I would buy as much as I could ready made, M&S stuffing is delicious as is their cauliflower cheese and red cabbage. Peel the spuds, carrots and sprouts the night before, make pigs in blankets on a wet sunday afternoon and freeze them. No starters, cold puddings such as trifle/cheese and biscuits. Ready made gravy with slug of port. Cook gammon a couple of days before then that is Boxing day sorted with a few pickles.

Grannyknot Fri 23-Nov-18 18:10:51

Go for it! I'm all for cutting corners.

I discovered that Tesco sells Frozen Cheese Sauce. Bought some the other day (for Haddock with Cheese Sauce and poached egg on top and spinach on the side) - it was delicious. I got myself back there pretty fast to stash a few bags in the freezer. It comes out in blocks and you just dump it in a saucepan and stir. Rich, cheesy and creamy.

MawBroon Fri 23-Nov-18 18:13:17

Hear, hear Grannyknot this is the 21st century so why give yourself extra stress and work?

wildswan16 Fri 23-Nov-18 18:43:28

Christmas is the one time I would buy everything possible ready-made, frozen, tinned or otherwise. If other adults are arriving then they would be expected to provide desserts (no Xmas pudding in this family).

I have also cooked my turkey the day before, carved and sliced it, then heated it up in the gravy on the day. Nobody complained (or even noticed there wasn't a whole bird on the table).

jacq10 Fri 23-Nov-18 18:43:49

Think us "oldies" are singing from the same hymn sheet!! Many years ago I bought a Gary Rhodes cookbook - Short-cut Rhodes - in which he passed on many tips on "cheating". When cooking for larger numbers I have no hestitation in cheating - use Aldi's cauliflower cheese and top with gratin of breadcrumbs and grated cheese, add redcurrant jelly to packet gravies to take away artificial taste - I could go on at length! The one thing I do the traditional way is roasties. Bought packet of M&S roasties dressing one year and thought it was great - looked on the packet and now just toss mine in semolina and save some pennies! I'm sure your dinner will be appreciated - the main thing is for you to be able to enjoy it as well.

nanaK54 Fri 23-Nov-18 18:48:46

Just five adults and two children to cater for here this year and I will be cutting as many corners as possible!

Cherrytree59 Fri 23-Nov-18 19:01:22

Tin foil baking tins are useful,
Use and Chuck.
Helps to keep washing up to minimum.

Prawns with rosemarie sauce (tomato sauce mixed with mayonaise and drop of lemon juice served with mini tacos

or arranged in a nice glass with mint leaf on top and thin slice of lemon on side of glass.
Brown bread triangles

Melon balls from iceland or fresh melon slices
Pate and thins (long crackers)

Pre prepared gravy (from supermarket)

Pudding in the
Ready made rum/brandy sauce.

Nice box of mints.

Feet upwink

agnurse Fri 23-Nov-18 19:10:42

I don't have an issue with it. When I was a child, on Christmas eve we did an "appetizer dinner". All kinds of different foods, but all appetizers. Sometimes Mum went to M&M Meats and bought some prepared things. It was never a problem.

MissAdventure Fri 23-Nov-18 19:22:09

Or you could dispense with all the things that aren't strictly necessary.
Cheese sauce, prawn cocktails, pigs in blankets.
Just bang out a roast.

Melanieeastanglia Fri 23-Nov-18 21:19:27

You're not being unreasonable. Do what suits you.

NanKate Fri 23-Nov-18 22:07:09

Ready prepared by M and S, just the ticket.

No one ever says thank you for peeling, scraping, prepping XY and Z. Make it as easy for yourself as you can with that number.

Sarahmob Sat 24-Nov-18 09:07:34

I use foil roasting tins too - much easier and less mess.
I’ve also cooked the turkey the day before and re-heated in the gravy.
Who wants to be tied in the kitchen on Christmas Day? I’d far rather be enjoying everyone’s company.

labazs1964 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:08:36

dont blame you let aunt bessie take the strain!

Harris27 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:17:35

I think your an angel and I would be suggessting after this Christmas if you could have some help as its only fair. I used to do this and slowly backedoff. Do brunch now on Boxing Day and cold buffet!

Nanna58 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:21:56

Used to be exactly the same, always 10plus, we wore ourselves out . Done this for past 30 odd years. This year young ones visiting in laws / staying in their own house etc so just us. I love cooking so will really enjoy it as not for huge numbers. Still like to take it easy so as usual will make and freeze my gravy, cranberry and bread sauces, and parboil and freeze my spuds. Might actually get a chance to relax and put my feet up this year!?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:23:21

Christmas is great but means a lot of work for the hosts. I believe that anything you can do which lightens the load is a good thing. You don't want to feel like a wrung-out old dish-cloth due to the stress of it all at the end of the day, do you?
Merry Christmas.

NotSpaghetti Sat 24-Nov-18 09:26:15

We once ate out on Christmas Day.
Would never ever do it again.
... and no leftovers for Boxing Day sad

ReadyMeals Sat 24-Nov-18 09:27:42

I don't cook xmas dinner at all. There is so much junk in the house over xmas what with sugared almonds, sausage rolls and whipped cream walnuts that I always think we might as well get through that instead. That means I never see family at xmas as they expect a dinner and need to go elsewhere for it or stay home. I see DD and DGS on xmas morning for presents then they have to rush off and get dinner. smile What a horrible grandma

annehinckley Sat 24-Nov-18 09:29:12

In general, I think we women feel guilty about far too much! I certainly wouldn't feel guilty about buying as much as possible pre-prepared, if you are catering for 11+ (or even 2+). I think there used to be an advert with the slogan 'Why make life complicated'. That works for me.

annehinckley Sat 24-Nov-18 09:30:59

Don't worry too much about the housework, either. With all the decorations, wrapping paper, presents etc. no one will notice.

Patticake123 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:34:46

Definitely what I do, except I do manage to roast my own potatoes ( how skilled am I). Last year I also bought two turkey crowns to cater for the 12 people, like you cold starter and the pudding takes a few minutes in the microwave. I thought the meal was excellent and nobody dared to say otherwise! As a postscript, as soon as lunch was over, so was I and I left absolutely everything else to everyone else. HAPPY CHRISTMAS ?

GreenGran78 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:37:23

I am lucky. Having brought up five children I now have Christmas dinner cooked for me every year. My daughter loves to do it, so who am I to argue? Looking back to when the family was young, and there were scarcely any convenience foods, I wonder how we coped. I would certainly take advantage of it if I was doing the cooking.
The trouble with buying everything, especially from M and S, is the cost. I don’t know if that could be a problem for some of you super-hostesses. I know that one of my neighbours had got herself into the position of hosting Christmas every year. As the numbers increased, so did the expense. It had become a real problem, but she never plucked up the courage to change the status quo and ask for contributions.
Have any of you been in this situation, where you felt too uncomfortable or mean to ask?

dragonfly46 Sat 24-Nov-18 09:37:26

I honestly think the food is the least important part of the day. People will not remember what the food tasted like (especially if you add wine to the mix), they will remember the atmosphere and the fun of all being together. Christmas is about family and enjoying each others company.