When it comes to Christmas celebrations, menu planning is probably one of the most challenging. Of course, family meals should be extra delicious during that day but you also want to keep it healthy. Perhaps, those planner inserts of yours or weekly spreads are now loaded with brunch dates, the possibility of hosting a party or the ones you get invited to; and that could mean you have to wear your Chef hat on, cook your specialties and come up with new dishes.
The thing is, it’s easy to be all too excited about Christmas, but it’s a different story if you think about all the stuff you need to do and accomplish. Raise your hand if you are so looking forward to the holidays but dreads the frenzy that goes with it!
This is exactly why planning is important. The good news is, there are so many easy yet mouthwatering family recipes available on the web which you can prepare in advance to help you ensure wonderful celebrations and festive dinners!
One thing to keep in mind though, a fulfilling Christmas dinner is basically just about the roast of which elements can be prepared days and even weeks ahead.
We got you the following do-ahead cooking pointers to jot down on your planner inserts or notepads.
Make your tasty gravy before the main event. Whether it’s from your mum’s old cookbook or your newly discovered recipe, do it ahead of time. Simply freeze it in a container and then defrost and heat on the day. Before serving, you might want to add the juices from your roasted Turkey.
The best thing about stuffing is that it freezes well for days! Here’s a cooking tip, freeze your stuffing in an oven dish so once it’s defrosted, you can just place the dish straight into the oven. If you want to just heat the food on the day, cook the stuffing before freezing in advance.
To get you a headstart on Christmas day, parboil and freeze potatoes in advance. If you prefer your potatoes cooked fresh, you can go ahead with the peeling and chopping the night before. Just make sure to keep the potatoes soaked in water overnight to stop them from browning.
Healthy family meals mean getting those greens! Prepare those Brussel sprouts (and other preferred vegetables) ahead of time with what chefs call “blanching & refreshing.” The process involves boiling the sprouts and then dropping them in cold water to stop them from being cooked. Just reheat them in a pan or in the microwave the next day.
What would holidays be like without your favourite roasted turkey? The classic turkey dishes are more oven-ready and most of them can be purchased straight from the groceries. However, if your dish involves deboning, then you may want to get it out of the way beforehand. Another thing to remember is to rinse the turkey and pat it dry. If you want to fill it with stuffing or anything similar like onions, herbs, and spices, then prepare the ingredients early and store them in sealed containers inside the fridge.
If we talk about easy recipes, Bread sauce probably tops the list. The good thing is it freezes well for a long time, which means faffing around with it can totally be avoided if you want to. Make your family’s favourite bread sauce days prior to Christmas Eve and you won’t even need to defrost it.
Who doesn’t love their Christmas pudding? Make a bunch weeks ahead and then simply steam or reheat it on Christmas day. If you want to serve cold desserts like frozen yoghurt and chocolate mousse, prepare those in advance too.
You don’t want to find yourself peeling potatoes and carrots or boiling sprouts while waiting for the turkey to cook. You don’t want your guest catching the bread sauce on your hair the moment you open your front door. What you do want is to sit down with them around the dining table and share happy stories over hearty dishes. You want to sip that wine and enjoy the moment! You can; but only if you prepare ahead!
What are your preparations for Christmas so far? We’d love to know, drop us a line in the comments section below.