Gransnet forums


Pre-Christmas party meal.

(60 Posts)
Pigma Mon 02-Oct-23 18:29:39

I am hosting our family pre-Christmas get-together in early December. It will consist of a sit-down meal for 10 and I generally do a couple of casseroles, Dauphinois/jacket potatoes and rice, a choice of puddings and a cheeseboard. I’m looking for suggestions, please, for the main course casseroles, having exhausted most of my recipes. I need a beef and a chicken recipe, preferably that can be made and frozen ahead of time then reheated, finished off and kept warm in slow-cookers. Something more ‘special’ than, say, Shepherd’s Pie or lasagne but nothing too hot or spicy as we have a variety of tastes and ages. Boeuf Bourguignonne has been done but that sort of thing would be ideal. I’d be really grateful for any help you can offer. Thanks for your help.

Callistemon21 Tue 03-Oct-23 22:30:43

I'm going to save/watch this thread for future reference!!

teabagwoman Wed 04-Oct-23 07:56:20

Thanks Pigma, menu organised. I like your idea of mixing peas, broad beans and leeks too.

Pigma Wed 04-Oct-23 11:49:32

Yes, it’s useful to have a selection of veg in one dish to hand round, much easier. Red cabbage would also work well with that menu, Teabagwoman. You can make and freeze that in advance and just reheat too. I use good old Delia’s trusted recipe but add a couple of tablespoons of redcurrant jelly into it too. Funny how we lose our confidence in cooking for larger groups, isn’t it? I used to feed a houseful without batting an eyelid in my younger days, now I seem to stress over every detail! Tried the celeriac and potato mash, thank you for the suggestion. Definite winner, have now frozen half and will thaw and reheat over the weekend as a practice run - that would go with the beef too if dauphinoise is too much of a faff. We’ll get there, feeling much more confident now!

madeleine45 Wed 04-Oct-23 11:50:53

We had an old sailing boat and I bought from a charity shop a hi dome prestige pressure cooker. It saved on the fuel and more importantly if it fell off the stove or whatever nothing leaked out, so no burns scalds of stuff to slip on. Personally I think that shin beef gives you the best gravy of all, and I dont like meat cooked in microwave etc . Also can do a decent amount. I use firstly onions plenty of them lightly fried first as the taste is quite different to raw onion added. So it is onion and then green pepper chopped small lightly fried and put in pressure cooker, followed by the shin beef sealed in the pan first too. Then I add lots of celery and carrots chopped up. Think celery gives a lovely flavour, So cook all this and allow to cool. Then I would freeze it in a couple of bags . When you want to use it let it defrost slowly perhaps the night before and then I add mushrooms and some red wine to the contents of one bag, and leave the other without mushrooms. Then all you need do is jacket potatoes for however many are coming (I stick them in the microwave to start them off , but absolutely must put in the oven to get the really good skin. Then I would probably just do some cauliflower as an extra vegetable but this way you have a lovely casserole with very little work to do on the day, and you can even give a choice of with or without mushrooms or wine etc.The casserole tastes much better when reheated and can sit and wait for latecomers so you are not worrying about it being spoilt. Oh I could just eat some now!!

vintageclassics Wed 04-Oct-23 11:51:28

Beef Strogonoff - easy peasy - tastes wonderful with potatoes or rice - freezes really well (just leave out the cream / creme fraishe until ready to serve) - this is my go to recipe (but I often make with Roast leftovers rather than steak

Pigma Wed 04-Oct-23 12:09:37

Oh, yes, jacket potatoes may be a lot easier, I’ll have to give all of this some thought but reckon I’ll have enough ideas from you lovely, helpful people that I never need to panic again about what to offer. Can’t tell you how grateful I am for everyone taking the trouble to help a granny in a quandary!

handbaghoarder Wed 04-Oct-23 12:31:00

Goulash with noodles or rice or potato. Make ahead and then heat through. Tastes better after couple of days. Red cabbage. Garlic bread. Or just crusty bread for the sauce Easy 👍🏻

Gundy Wed 04-Oct-23 12:37:39

Beef Bourguignon ALWAYS for festive Christmas (if you can’t do a standing rib roast.) Made one or two days ahead to meld flavors for even more deliciousness. Served over mashed potatoes.

Chicken Divan is very good. Go to and search recipe. So easy! So tasty! Flavorful comfort food and easy on your tummy.

My mouth is watering already 😛
USA Gundy

Rumbabba Wed 04-Oct-23 16:56:40

I recently made a beef bourguignon, and made it with 100% red wine (no water added whatsoever!🤣) and it was absolutely delicious. I cooked it on a very low temperature for about 4 hours and the meat cut like butter.

1summer Wed 04-Oct-23 17:08:17

I often do Nigella Lawton’s Greek Lamb and Pasta for big family occasions, it’s a one pot dish. I will try and post a link.

1summer Wed 04-Oct-23 17:14:52

Or this one, I use cubed venison. It lovely with braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Thisismyname1953 Wed 04-Oct-23 17:33:23

What about going Greek eg Lamb Kleftiko or Beef Stifado ?
I’m sure both could both could be done in advance and put in a slow cooker .

grannybuy Wed 04-Oct-23 19:45:24

I do cauliflower with some coconut oil and curry powder mixed in at the end.

Pigma Wed 04-Oct-23 19:46:57

Some more great suggestions, all very welcome, thank you. Yet more for a trial run! A friend suggested Lamb Kleftiko and I had forgotten so will have a look. I’ll have no qualms now about offering to host the pre- Christmas do for many years to come. Now, puddings…….

Tenko Wed 04-Oct-23 19:58:37

I second venison casserole, it’s so easy in the slow cooker . Or Spanish chicken with chorizo, red peppers, tomatoes, onions and paprika. With mash for the venison and rice with the chicken .

grannybuy Wed 04-Oct-23 23:30:44

Black Forest trifle. Chocolate sponge base, soaked with frozen (defrosted) cherries, black cherry conserve and alcohol of your choice, topped with a layer of pink jelly fluff, then whipped cream and grated chocolate. It can be frozen.

Pigma Wed 04-Oct-23 23:44:19

Thank you for the suggestion, Grannybuy, but sadly I made a similar trifle for our last ‘do’ but with chocolate custard instead of pink fluff - will give your version a try some time though.

Esmay Thu 05-Oct-23 10:18:19

I also make a lamb tagine like Ziplock .
I skim off the fat when cold .
I reheat it slowly and I think that the taste is unbeatable .

I think that beef casseroles are wonderful and versatile :
I either make it English style flavoured with a rich stock , carrots ,onions and mustard with dumplings .

Or French style cooking it in stock with carrots , onions and garlic. Then adding
red wine , sautéed mushrooms and cream to finish .
I'd use a bouquet garni for both .

I find that chicken tends to break up and doesn't have a good flavour when reheated :
I tend to cut it up , marinade it and cook it on the day.

Pigma Thu 05-Oct-23 11:50:00

Ramay - your French-style beef sounds interesting, I’ve put horseradish cream in a beef casserole before but not ‘teal’ cream. Does that recipe have a named do you know? I agree chicken can break up but want to give people a choice so a red meat and chicken seemed the obvious choice. May have to rethink that one!

Bijou Thu 05-Oct-23 12:24:15

Boeuf Bourgignonne. Burgundy beef. I had some friends who always requested this every time they visited.

Pigma Thu 05-Oct-23 12:30:41

Yes, that’s my ‘go to’ as well, Bijou, it’s such a useful staple but it’s been gone to just a few too many times so looking for a change. Really should proofread better- teal cream of course should read real cream!

Dottynan Thu 05-Oct-23 12:31:33

Cheat and get cauliflower cheese and red spiced cabbage ready made from M and S. Both delicious

Gundy Thu 05-Oct-23 17:09:23

Additional ideas to look up on : Chicken and Rice Bake, Chicken Tetrazzini (w/spaghetti noodles, mushrooms), Chicken and Stuffing Bake, Chicken Divan (w/broccoli and cheese).

If you don’t have oven space, many of these can be adapted and made in a slow-cooker. Some are quick baked in the oven. Many or most use cubed pre-cooked chicken. Chix and Rice as I know it (my recipe) uses raw chix breasts. All delicious and festive too🎄. They will love anything you make!

Granbelle10 Thu 05-Oct-23 22:13:26

Normandy chicken has become my favourite recently (using cider as stock). And perhaps beef goulash? You can get both recipes from Google.

teabagwoman Fri 06-Oct-23 06:22:59

You mentioned deserts Pigma, I find Nigella Lawson’s Clementine cake useful. It’s dairy free, can be gluten free and tastes delicious. What’s more leftovers can be enjoyed with a coffee later. I’m going to try and add a link, haven’t done it before so here’s hoping. It also tastes better if made in advance and will take gentle reheating.. I serve it with crème Frau he and a substitute for dairy free friends.