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tips for next years xmas dinner please

(28 Posts)
anneey Mon 29-Dec-14 11:27:15

I am a good cook, yet find keeping everything hot at the end extremely difficult. I wouldnt dream of buying ready cooked 'anything'.Although I dont blame anyone for doing so.
I Cook... Turkey Stuffing Pigs in blankets Bread sauce Cranberry sauce (can serve cold) Roast potatoes Red cabbage Roast parsnips Sprouts with chesnuts Peas and carrots (together) and ofcourse gravy.
I do all the prep on Xmas Eve, but there is always this terrible panic at the end. I have no excuse as I have a double oven, and 2 microwaves. Any tips out there pleeese?

durhamjen Mon 29-Dec-14 11:40:11

Go vegetarian. Reduces the cooking load by half.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 29-Dec-14 11:43:05

Let daughter, or son, or at least someone else, do it. I think I've now retired from being Mrs Xmas on the cooking front.

Will never let go of the baking or the present buying though. Or putting the decs up. tchsmile

durhamjen Mon 29-Dec-14 11:50:20

I thought I had, jingle, so why did I end up cooking for 9 on Christmas Day?

Elegran Mon 29-Dec-14 11:51:29

Watch the charity shops or Ebay for a heated tray. As each item is ready you put in on the tray with kids on (square or rectangular serving dishes make the most of the space) When everyone has been served first time round, the dishes go back onto the tray to keep warm for second helpings.

You don't need a whole big hostess trolley (though they are very good) A tray on the sideboard is enough. Mine has a compartment underneath for heating plates, which holds more stuff, the things in shallower dishes. The family all borrow it when they are feeding parge numbers.

There are a lot of models with fitted Pyrex dishes, but also flat ones that you stand your own dishes on - I think those are more versatile, you are not tied to their size and number of items. Also it will cost you nearly £40 to replace all the fitted dishes if you break one!

Lots of models on Amazon and E-bay.

Elegran Mon 29-Dec-14 11:52:23

Lids on, not kids! Kids are active enough without heating them up!

anneey Mon 29-Dec-14 12:53:57

Yes, Elegran. A heated tray would help.
I wish I had bought one years ago.
Another idea I might do...Roasted parsnips, swedes, carrots and red onions all in one pan.

vegasmags Mon 29-Dec-14 13:04:37

We ate at 3.00 and the turkey was cooked and ready at 1.00. I then cover it in a double layer of thick foil and tuck it up in an old bath towel, which ensures it keeps hot for at least a couple of hours, thus freeing up the oven for the roast veg and so on. I do delegate the carving though.

merlotgran Mon 29-Dec-14 13:40:35

Like vegasmags I let the turkey rest for an hour under foil and a bath towel. I do the roast potatoes in the top oven and once the turkey is out the leeks in cheese sauce, strangled sausages, roast parsnips and anything else that needs baking go in the large oven. The carrots and sprouts are steamed in a two tiered steamer so only use one hob and the pudding re-heats in the slow cooker. The gravy is made early and reheated just before we sit down. We've given up on bread sauce because the DGCs don't like it. Cranberry sauce comes out of a jar.

The microwave only gets used if something needs re-heating.

I nearly bought a hot tray from Aldi and I think I will next time it's my 'turn' although like jingl I'm beginning to feel the strain.

shysal Mon 29-Dec-14 13:48:23

This year I rested the turkey as above, but breast-side down, to keep it it moist. It worked!

tanith Mon 29-Dec-14 14:27:34

I have the gravy, carrrots/swede, brussels and any other vegs cooked early and then when everything else is almost ready just reheat them in the microwave...

anneey Mon 29-Dec-14 15:34:43

First time I have heard of 'strangled' sausages, Merlotgran. (I like it)
I could kick myself. I have just remembered, that tucked away in a cupboard, I have a Brabantia food warmer, albeit with tea lights, but surely would be a help.

goldengirl Mon 29-Dec-14 16:12:50

I have a hot cupboard which I use a lot anyway but it comes into its own on Christmas Day. It holds 2 large and 2 smaller serving dishes. I use the top oven for a warming cupboard too which frees up the main oven. Like others I cook the turkey and wrap it to keep warm. I steam the veg and this year it all worked well but I admit that I didn't make the yorkshires and the pigs in blankets were ready prepared. It all seemed to work ok but it is a juggling act.

NotTooOld Mon 29-Dec-14 17:03:08

I too had the turkey (crown) ready an hour early and kept it warm in foil on the top of the oven - it worked. I also did all the veg in the 3-tier steamer. I cheat a lot - frozen stuffing balls, frozen potato noisette thingies, supermarket pigs-in-blankets, cranberry sauce from a jar, pre-made turkey gravy....and I'd also have frozen roast potatoes if I thought I could get away with it (I can't - they'd notice). The night before I make out a timed list of what must be done and when and I stick to it. Mind you, it's still all a nightmare. The only person I could delegate to is SiL but then I'd have to spend two weeks cleaning the kitchen so it's not worth it!

Tegan Mon 29-Dec-14 17:10:27

The S.O. has a hostess trolley that really comes into it's own at Christmas time [it's so Abigails Party and made me snigger a bit at first]. Mind you, I've realised over the years that I prefer Boxing Day food of yesterdays mash either cold or re heated with brown sauce so don't worry too much about what should constitute a Christmas dinner [although we didn't actually have a proper one this year anyway]. Years ago I spent the whole of Christmas with the in laws and there was no mashed potato in sight; since then I make mash like it's going out of fashion [can't get enough of it!].

Ana Mon 29-Dec-14 17:12:02

Cold mash??? Nooo...tchshock

Tegan Mon 29-Dec-14 17:44:45

Had it fried with kale yesterday; oi likes peasant food, me wink....

Ana Mon 29-Dec-14 17:48:05

Fried's fine by me! But you did say 'cold or reheated' Tegan...

Tegan Mon 29-Dec-14 17:52:33

Cold's good too; I just wanted to try it with kale to use the kale up [it's my latest superfood!].

kittylester Mon 29-Dec-14 18:08:32

Buy a hot trolley - one with two shelves and a heated top. Brilliant invention. Don't care what anyone says about them being terribly middle class.

Do check that

a) you check that a DGS hasn't put all his treasures in it for safe keeping BEFORE you switch it on and

b) make sure you take the wooden top off before switching the hot top plate on! tchblush

FlicketyB Mon 29-Dec-14 18:13:41

Over the years I have pared down the number of dishes on the Christmas table. Do you really need all those vegetable dishes when there is turkey, sausage meat, stuffing etc?

I stuff sausage meat in the turkey, cook a gammon joint the previous day and reheat on Christmas day and then just do turkey, reheated gammon, stuffing, roast potatoes, sprouts and parsnips on the day. Cranberry Sauce comes from a jar but, if making your own, make it several days in advance and keep in the fridge.

Like you I prepare everything in advance. I retreat to the kitchen when the Kings College carols start at 3.00pm and expect to have the whole meal prepared and the table laid by 6.00pm. Christmas is for me to enjoy as well as my family and I refuse to martyr myself to make a family Christmas.

Purpledaffodil Mon 29-Dec-14 21:39:58

I have a hostess trolley but sadly CBA to remove all the odd serving dishes, vases etc which have found their way inside.Silly really as I used to find it very useful at Christmas. Am always reminded of the Victoria Wood line "Bend me over backwards on me hostess trolley" tchgrin

KatyK Tue 30-Dec-14 10:59:38

This year I cooked Christmas lunch for the first time in about 12 years. We usually go to my sister's but my DD asked if she and SIL and DGD could come to us. I was panic stricken. tchshock My plan was to do most of the prep Christmas Eve and some of the cooking and then heat some bits and bobs in the microwave on the morning. Christmas Eve I was busily putting my plan into action when DH popped something into the microwave only to find it wasn't working! He had to rush out to the shops and buy another one. I was just grateful that this hadn't happened on Christmas Day. I also have a tiny kitchen and by the time I dished it up I was in a right state. They said they enjoyed it. If they -insist on coming- would like to come again, I will definitely invest in some sort of heated tray/trolley

KatyK Tue 30-Dec-14 11:00:22

'insist on coming' was supposed to have a strike through it! tchblush

felice Tue 30-Dec-14 13:55:39

Go out, would probably not cost that much more and save a lot of stress, except for the likes of me 'retired chef', but thats my job !!!!!!!