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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?


kitnsimon Sat 24-Nov-18 14:55:32

Flaxseed you are a star !! All these years of cooking Christmas dinner, fantastic, I hope everyone brings something to contribute to the food ? Buy turkey crowns from Aldi, they are excellent and do not take too long to cook. Buy all the veg ready prepared of you can and frozen roast spuds are fine !! Hope it goes well.

womblekelly Sat 24-Nov-18 15:15:01

No guilt feelings needed at all … having cooked many Christmas dinners in the past absolutely relish the fact that there are just 2 of us for Christmas Day - and we get to eat our favourite food with not a turkey in sight!

Craftycat Sat 24-Nov-18 15:15:56

I usually have 11.
TBH I love all the shopping for food, prepping it & cooking from scratch but if it us not your bag than nothing wrong with buying pre- prepared.
The main thing us everyone getting together.

FlorenceFlower Sat 24-Nov-18 16:01:27

Go for it, get everything in, including the cauliflower cheese!

I watched a good episode of The Pioneer Woman on the Cookery Channel yesterday (I sometimes find her a bit precious!). She did a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey etc, and she bought in, or pre-prepared, everything!

I particularly liked her jointed turkey, the whole raw turkey was cut into about six pieces, it went on one large oven tray and it cooked in 90 minutes with about 30+ mins relaxing time. Then cut into slices in the kitchen and put on a pretty serving plate. So easy.

Enjoy your day ?

FlorenceFlower Sat 24-Nov-18 16:02:27

PS And frozen sprouts are so much better than fresh ✅

Edithb Sat 24-Nov-18 16:11:22

My daughter buys sliced meat, frozen roasties and stuffing balls, microwave veg etc. No stress for her, done in much less time and just as delicious.

Chucky Sat 24-Nov-18 16:15:34

I always cater for family at Christmas. This year there will be at least 11. I prepare potatoes and sprouts the day before. Veg for soup also prepared day before. Garlic is mixed with butter, so just to be spread on baguettes. Marie Rose sauce made and in fridge. Stuffing mixed and in fridge. Trifle base made day before and in fridge. Meringue for pavlova is also made prior to the day. Sausages wrapped in bacon and put on trays ready for oven, in fridge. Table is put in position and laid day before. Means on Christmas morning I only have to prepare and cook turkey and finish off and cook the rest. Desserts just need cream whipped and fruit on them. This way it doesn’t really matter whether 10 or 20 for Christmas dinner (think most I ever cooked for was 22).
So the answer is to prepare beforehand so you are not left rushing about on Christmas Day.

albertina Sat 24-Nov-18 16:15:48

Yes yes yes. Go for the easiest option. Drink lots of red as you cook. Do NOT feel guilty and remember to enjoy yourself.

JacquiG Sat 24-Nov-18 16:21:55

Big feasts are tiring to prepare. I once did one for family - about 10) and fell asleep in the afternoon upstairs on bed, and missed the socialising bit. That was decades ago before all the decent ready prepped food which is now available.

Don't forget there is a lot you can do the day before. Spud peeling, sprouts done, cheese sauce made etc. And rope the men in!

They can wash up afterwards too. If you haven't got a dishwasher, get some dishwasher powder and rubber gloves, to wash up in. Cuts the grease marvellously.

Have a lovely time and a little fizz to get you through.

fluttERBY123 Sat 24-Nov-18 16:59:35

Part of my Christmas is to have everything except the turkey crown and sprouts in the freezer or pantry by end of November. Leaves time to panic over presents and cards. We have always Aunt Bessie spuds since I got my first not freestanding oven years ago as it was too small for spuds as well. You would be unreasonable to try to do as you have done before with so many people turning up.

NemosMum Sat 24-Nov-18 17:40:02

Starter - really? Don't bother! We have never had starters for Christmas lunch and nobody has ever complained. Anyway, if you are not keen on cooking, why can't your partner step into the breech?

Hattiehelga Sat 24-Nov-18 17:54:57

My daughter has hosted 16 of us for the past six or so years as they had a huge kitchen come diner which can accommodate everyone. We have all contributed to the feast but collectively decided that dughter and SIL should have a break and spend a proper Christmas morning with the children. We agreed we would all go out but the chosen venue proved outrageously expensive. Then daughter saw a Martin Lewis programme in which he said that in most restaurants the meal on Christmas Eve is virtually the same as The Day but half the price !! She investigated and it absolutely is so we are all going out for Christmas Eve Lunch and then congregating for tea at daughters on Christmas Day. I have always done lots from scratch but the past couple of years have bought ready mde pigs in blanket, brandy sauce, bread sauce and do not feel a jot guilty.

Overthehills Sat 24-Nov-18 18:27:18

My DiL is a great cook and always cooks everything from scratch - except on Christmas Day!
Buy in, feel NO guilt and enjoy yourself!

Pat1949 Sat 24-Nov-18 20:12:44

Make it easy for yourself. It does get too much the older you get. Ten years ago I used to cook dinner for 15, which I thought was ok. With people moving away and passing away, it's down to 4, my one daughter, grandson, hubby and me. The turkey I cook, potatoes and beans. Everything else is frozen, so basically just has to be heated. In all honesty, that suits me.

TheMaggiejane1 Sat 24-Nov-18 20:57:54

I am catering for 15 on Christmas Day this year. It’s usually between 10 and 20. I’ve already made and frozen cranberry sauce, stuffing and red cabbage. Turkey crown (quicker to carve) gravy and pigs in blankets will be courtesy of M&S. Aunt Besssie Yorkshire’s - I can’t stand the stress of worrying whether the homemade ones will rise or not. I’ll peel the potatoes and parsnips the night before, other veg will be bought ready peeled and cut. A platter of smoked salmon and prawns and another of melon and avocado with accompanying sauces made on Christmas Eve for starters. About three years ago we realised that nobody really liked Christmas pudding so I invested in tall glass sundae dishes. I buy lots of different ice creams, numerous chocolates and sprinkles and chocolate sauce as well as sophisticated fruit purées. Everyone has a glass and they concoct their own sundae. It’s great fun and no work for me!

stevej4491 Sat 24-Nov-18 21:14:17

I worked with a senior chef for many years and he alwqays bought in ready prepared for his own xmas.

stevej4491 Sat 24-Nov-18 21:14:38


Davidhs Sat 24-Nov-18 21:23:38

Any large meal the secret is write a list out a few days before, prep as much as you can the evening before, get up early and enjoy the cooking. My mob of 11 descended on me bonfire weekend, didn't tell me they were staying for lunch on Sunday until lunch the day before. I did do puds the evening before, the rest on the day, Lamb, 4 veg, potatoes, trifle and Blackberry & Apple crumble. For me cooking is a pleasure and a challenge, my reward, clean plates.

4allweknow Sat 24-Nov-18 21:40:14

It's your Christmas too so do whatever it takes to lighten the load. Is your family open to bringing something to contribute to the festive fare eg stuffing all done, even veg to be heated up, something for dessert. Worth a try. YANBU. Hope you manage to enjoy the day.

codfather Sat 24-Nov-18 21:45:02

I will be cooking for 12 or so this year and will do it all from scratch. But that's my choice. If you want to do it that way, go ahead! As long as everyone is happy, that's all that matters! Anyone objects, tell them to do it!

Nanagem Sat 24-Nov-18 21:52:32

It’s your Christmas, you do what makes you happy. I don’t do cauliflower cheese, but pigs in blankets/ cranberry sauce, stuffing etc are all made days ahead and frozen, just lift out Christmas Eve, veg are done Christmas Eve and left in water / bags in fridge to steam on the day, try Jamie Oliver’s gravy, it’s very good, and can be frozen. One thing I do insist on is using tinfoil trays, as much as possible, I freeze things in them, lift out Christmas Eve, cook, then bin trays, even roast potatoes do fine in them. The pudding, I put in the slow cooker last thing Christmas Eve on low, it’s fine.

Kathcan1 Sat 24-Nov-18 22:33:54

It’s not just about the food it’s about the company. I’m sure it’ll be the best Xmas dinner you’ve ever held, when you can actually sit unfrazzled at the table with everyone else. Not Guilty at all.

arthursfam Sat 24-Nov-18 22:38:51

I just remember when I was newly married—-I had a stove with three rings ,one oven, no microwave, and no prepared veg,I managed then so now it is all so much easier!

coast35 Sat 24-Nov-18 22:57:16

I used to find the serving of the meal traumatic to say the least. So I started laying it all out on a table in the other room and let them go through two at a time to help themselves.
A couple of years ago we had a family discussion and it transpired that none of us were very keen on turkey. We all, however, love curry. So we ordered from our local takeaway, collected and served it at home on a nice Christmasy table in a festive room. I put the carry out out on a big counter and they help themselves. It wouldn’t be for everyone but it suits us and I am freed from the tyranny of the Christmas meal.
I remember in days of yore having 15 at the table and feeling I couldn’t offer them less than 3 roasties each. 45 potatoes are an awful lot of potatoes to peel!!!

MawBroon Sat 24-Nov-18 23:06:25

coast - room for one more round yours?
Sounds perfect to me!