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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?


Jalima1108 Sat 24-Nov-18 23:08:08

45 potatoes are an awful lot of potatoes to peel
and I doubt you could fit anything else in the oven!!

SparklyGrandma Sat 24-Nov-18 23:42:06

I have already ordered my pre prepared Christmas dinner for 5 from M&S.

Never done it before, shall see how it goes.

Flaxseed Sun 25-Nov-18 08:41:03

I make no apologies for having Cauliflower cheese! It has crept into Xmas dinner over the years and one of our favourite parts of it! Sod tradition.
We love Yorkshire puds too.

Oven space is a problem though and probably the thing that stresses me out the most. It’s a bog standard oven.
I do have a hostess tray though.

To the poster who warned me about mini roast potatoes - don’t worry. I have Aunt Bessie’s potatoes cooked in goose fat in the freezer already wink

I would LOVE to prepare things in advance but my shift pattern puts paid to that.
I am lucky that this year I actually have Christmas Day AND Boxing Day off. I am working every day leading up to it and straight back to work 27th sad

I’m glad I created this thread though.
I can be hard on myself but feel I’ve been given permission to cut corners and it’s great to know lots of you do too.
I need to realise that the majority of us are not Delia or Nigella grin

Grannyknot Sun 25-Nov-18 09:04:36

Flaxseed I also have a bog standard oven, so I double up in it with a layer of meat in roasting tins on a rack, the other layer is a tray of roast veg (Jamie Oliver recipe) and it works just fine.

Additional veg is in the slow cooker. It all works out.

Here's another one of my "food hacks": chopped, frozen spinach whirls from Waitrose (their's is the only one that's chopped fine), cook in pot/slow cooker, drain off excess liquid well, stir in double cream and a pinch of nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Yum, it's creamed spinach.

Craicon Sun 25-Nov-18 10:15:45

I wouldn’t fret about it Flaxseed. We live abroad so it’s always just the 3 of us for Xmas dinner. Sadly, neither DH or DS like a roast dinner at any time, so I haven’t made a proper Xmas dinner in years. It will either be pasta or a curry...again!
At least I never get indigestion or put any weight on over Xmas (I’m big enough already!). grin

Yorkshiregirl Sun 25-Nov-18 10:38:25

My daughter & son in law make the family Christmas lunch every year. My daughter is lucky that her husband loves to cook.
Everyone takes something to help them out, and we all clear up afterwards.

I always take a large dish of pre cooked mashes swede & carrot, and also a large pan of pre prepared sprouts ready to cook.
Someone else cooks a joint for those who don't like turkey, and another makes 2 trifles.
If this family tradition is to continue ask for help.

Enjoy your Christmas

justwokeup Sun 25-Nov-18 15:22:43

I haven't read all the thread Flaxseed but offering support, great idea! I'm doing exactly the same this year to see how it goes. I've hosted since AC were tiny and and spent most of the day cooking or washing up, with too little sleep. We've eaten out recently one or twice too but it does cost a lot and it's too long/formal for the little ones. (though I loved it grin). I'll see if anyone notices it's 'take away' and then decide what to do next year. Numbers are dwindling as our family isn't getting any bigger so we may decide it's just the two of us then ... a bit upsetting in one way but it may also be blissful!

PECS Sun 25-Nov-18 19:36:55

I have decided to order a Cook Christmas meal this year. I am not convinced my back will recover well enough to be standing around on Christmas Eve/morning prepping stuff. DD2 is doing desserts. Rather be cheerful and have less discomfort. I am not proud! grin

purplevamp Sun 25-Nov-18 23:03:54

I prep my Christmas Dinner the day before, potatoes, sprouts, etc peeled. We have turkey and another meat so the 2nd meat gets cooked the day before with the pigs in blankets. Ready-made yorkshire puds too. I don't go out to eat Christmas Dinner because my eldest son is a chef and has had to work every Christmas Day since he got the job. This year he changed jobs and will be spending the day with us for the first time in a long while. Pre-preared food at Christmas is sensible. Hope you have a great Christmas. smile

MawBroon Sun 25-Nov-18 23:27:41

What everybody seems to missing is the fact that the sprouts should have been on since September gringrin

ReadyMeals Mon 26-Nov-18 12:02:48

They don't call me ReadyMeals for nothing. Packet and Freezer food is all you'll get around here.

sodapop Mon 26-Nov-18 12:07:28

You are right Maw I will get mine prepped immediately. tchsmile

Flaxseed Mon 26-Nov-18 18:33:50

mawbroon This is exactly why I don’t let my mum ‘help out’ grin

Fedupgran Mon 26-Nov-18 18:34:25

Flaxseed , I did this for years and not once has anyone else in the family offered to do Christmas ! So I started to do things as easy as poss . Frozen veg (except the sprouts ) turkey crowns ( expensive but quick to cook ) ready made gravy , side dishes , sauces and bought puddings ! No one has complained and woe betide them if they care ! You go for it girl !!

Jalima1108 Mon 26-Nov-18 18:49:44

Already boiling away MawBroon grin
I must top up the water, we've been out all day.

Barmeyoldbat Tue 27-Nov-18 09:10:59

Yes go for it, ready prepared is certainly ok in my eyes for however many. It will leave you feeling less stressed and more time to socialise. Have a happy day.

Witzend Tue 27-Nov-18 09:19:25

If you can afford it, why on earth not? That's what M&S is for!

I must be a bit weird since despite having hosted more times than I care to remember, I actually enjoy doing it all - making stuffing and pigs in blankets etc., often with carols playing.

Having said that, I never do starters for Christmas dinner, or lots of different veg and side dishes, so it's really no big deal. How anyone manages 5 sorts of veg, mash and roast potatoes, never mind Yorkshire puds as well, I can't imagine.

But I do balk at the idea of cooking the turkey the day before and reheating in gravy! Turkey must come to the table whole, in all its golden glory - the smell of turkey cooking is part of Christmas Day for me - and gravy must be made in the roasting tin, with giblet stock simmered the day before.
We never have Chr. dinner till around 5, so it's never a massive rush, either.

PECS Wed 05-Dec-18 09:01:08

My order is in at Cook .. all I will add is some red cabbage..which I might make myself...or just buy prepped when I pick up the order. Looking forward to a relaxed Christmas. Have bought some silly masks, optical illusion glasses and a new game or two to play ...

nearlyagran Sun 09-Dec-18 09:36:14

Just as a helpful piece of info.... We have been trying out every shop bought roast potato on the market (well near enough) in order to save me doing enough for 12 this year (which actually should be enough for 20 given my adult sons appetite for them) and have finally found the best! Waitrose fresh roast potatoes in goose fat - which I add to a little extra pre-heated goose fat (in the same manner as I would home done roasters) and in a roasting tin rather than the foil packaging they are sold in. They aren't as good as homemade, but they are close enough for me not to care. While Waitrose isn't cheap, it is worth it for me not to be stressing for the duration of cooking time.

seacliff Sun 09-Dec-18 11:02:56

I am sure everyone will be grateful you are still hosting - quite a house full! Do whatever necessary to make it as easy as possible for yourself. You want to enjoy the day too.

Ask them all to help, I'm sure they'll be willing if told exactly what they could do to help, and what to bring. Will they bring crackers/special drinks/nuts etc.

I am vegetarian, and I adore Cauliflower and Brocolli cheesey bake, Yorkshires, lots of varied veg and stuffing. No special veggie loaf, the veg are all enough for me. Topped off with a little veggie gravy and mint sauce! I know it's weird, but I enjoy it so why not. I get a smallish turkey crown for OH.

There will be just two of us on Christmas Day, as my paramedic son is working Christmas Day for the 6th year running. I think he quite enjoys it, they get lots of goodies given to them.

Flaxseed Sun 09-Dec-18 21:32:55

Thanks for recommendation but I have already bought my Aunt Bessies. I will remember the Waitrose ones for next year.

seacliffe I am feeding a vegan which will be difficult as she obviously doesn’t eat cheese, so won’t appreciate my wonderful cauliflower cheese hmm

I work in 24/7 healthcare. It seems a little unfair that your son has worked 6 Xmas days in a row (unless of course he volunteered to!)
If nobody volunteers in our dept we look over past years and take it in turns. I am working Xmas eve and New Year’s Eve night this year which suits me fine tchwink