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Christmas Dinner - Help its my first!!!

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Christmas Dinner - Help its my first!!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
41 replies 6.9K views
Bens_MomBens_Mom Forumite
180 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
My little family are having our christmas dinner at our own house this year and Im wondering the best way to go about it....

We usually go to my parents and have the best christmas dinner with ALL the trimmings...

My questions are - (Our dinner this year is me, my oh, oh mom, and our toddler)

Which turkeys are the better, fresh or frozen and how does the ££s differ? Also what sized turkey would I realistically need??
Im thinking of doing trimmings but really need to plan as I am on a tight budget?? Anyone got any good ideas??

ps, Hope ive posted in the right section :o


  • With turkeys, you get what you pay for. Frozen ones are dirt cheap but tend to taste of cardboard, free range, fresh ones can be very tasty but are fiendishly expensive. If you opt for the cheaper option, make sure you make at least one tasty home made stuffing to give it a bit of flavour.

    The size will depend on how many days you're prepared to eat leftovers but I tend to think that an 8-10lb bird manages to look like a proper turkey but doesn't drag on for too long for a small family.
  • I always think that, when people complain about turkey being 'dry' - it's because they've bought a HUGE one that's had to have a long cooking time.

    8-10lbs is about right for a small family meal and some left-overs for sandwiches and a couple of inventive meals :).

    Make sure you find out what everybody likes by way of trimmings. For instance, no point in 'going the whole hog' and then finding out that NOBODY likes Bread Sauce.

    Good Luck - it's just like doing a 'slightly bigger Sunday Roast' really :grin:.
  • Hi!

    I did this for the first time 3 years ago, so I know the feeling.

    Unless you're dead set on turkey, why not consider a very big chicken with all the trimmings? The leftovers are easier to handle, and they're not as dry. I'd buy a fresh one from your butcher, and put an order in for it with your butcher in the next few weeks.

    I'd suggest buying a pack of his thin sausages now (to spread the cost) and cut them in half either now or when defrosted for the pigs in blankets. Buy a small pack of streaky now?

    I shop at my market or farm shop for veg and save a fortune.

    make your own yorkshires and roasties. veg oil is fine, but what they say about goose fat is true *drool*

    You can make a Xmas pud if you have fruit in? There are a few recipes on this board.

  • MrsE_2MrsE_2 PPR
    24.2K posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Get a boned & rolled breast (butcher is cheaper than M&S or Waitrose). Its so much nicer & easier than a big bird, easier to store before & after cooking.

    I do Turkey, stuffing (M&S do a nice ready made one), sausage & bacon rolls (you can make or buy these), roast pots, carrots (put a knob of butter & sprinkle some dried mixed herbs on when cooked), brussels (put a chicken stock cube in the cooking water), Parmesan parsnips (delia has a recipe for this), gravy & cranberry sauce.

    Trifle, xmas pud & cream and a cheeseboard.

    We always have prawn cocktails to start, but I'm soooooo fed up of them.
  • wornoutmumoftwowornoutmumoftwo Forumite
    1.3K posts
    We get the butter basted turkey from M&S, bung it in the oven for 2/3? hours (can't rememeber), leave it to cook and it is absolutely gorgeous, does us two days (+sarnies), for three adults and 2 kids.
    Payment a day challenge: £236.69
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  • edited 25 October 2009 at 8:00AM
    Penelope_PenguinPenelope_Penguin Forumite
    17.3K posts
    I've been Money Tipped! Best Buy Bear
    edited 25 October 2009 at 8:00AM
    Mrse wrote: »
    Get a boned & rolled breast (butcher is cheaper than M&S or Waitrose).

    Whatever you do, don't just get breast. It's the least tasty of turkey meat - dark meat has far more flavour :D

    Penny. x
    :rudolf: Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding :rudolf:
  • dizzybuffdizzybuff Forumite
    1.5K posts
    turkey her but 3 bird roast , possibly 5 dependant on what the butchers can do for me . Plenty of leftovers and curries and turkey chips and beans . not going to in laws till just before new year so I wont have to cook for a whole 5 days yeyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    ONE HOUSE , DS+ DD Missymoo Living a day at a time and getting through this mess you have created.
    One day life will have no choice but to be nice to me :rotfl:
  • MrsE_2MrsE_2 PPR
    24.2K posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Whatever you do, don't just get breast. It's the least tasty of turkey meat - dark meat has far more flavour :D

    Penny. x

    I don't like the dark turkey meat & I'm not keen on dark chicken meat either.

    Plus a rolled breast is so weasy to store in the run up & after its been cooked.

    I always found it a nightmare trying to get a massive bird in an already overstocked fridge.
  • borokatborokat Forumite
    296 posts
    I think really everyone has different ideas about what constitutes the perfect christmas meal. A couple of years ago my sister and I cooked the xmas dinner as our parents were away. The key was preparation - do as much as you can on christmas eve. Get your veg prepped and leave in pans/bowls of water overnight. Make the yorkshire pudding mixture the day before. Get the giblets out (if you go for a turkey) and make stock for gravy (giblets, carrott, bouquet garni, celery, water). The added bonus is that you can check everything on Christmas Eve and you will have time to react if you've forgotten anything! You can make the pigs in blankets xmas eve too.
  • kunekunekunekune Forumite
    1.9K posts
    I think that christmas can be made far too complicated, although maybe that's because other people have massive family gatherings to cater for, and I only ever do it for our little family of two adults and two children. My approach is to get the best meat I can afford, and then if that is going to take up most of the budget, just cut back on the extras. I don't really get the idea of multiple trimmings such as the sausages, different kinds of stuffing, hams, cakes as well as puddings and pies, etc etc. If it is going to take two days to prepare, is it really worth it?

    This year we'll have a fairly traditional meal, but all the cooking will be done in between lunch and the main mealtime. No need for advance preparation if you plan the meal well in the first place. We do:

    1. Fancy breakfast such as blueberry pancakes, bacon and maple syrup or scrambled egg, english muffins and smoked salmon
    2. Antipasti platter at lunch time with champagne
    3. Cooked meal at tea time: no first course at all, roast turkey (bronze, free range), roast potatoes, parsnips & carrots, stir-fried sprouts, gravy and home made stuffing balls; followed by bought christmas pudding with clotted cream or ice cream.
    4. Late evening snack of oatcakes & stilton, amaretti biscuits and dessert wine

    Not too much in the way of leftovers other than the turkey, some will be recycled for boxing day, the rest frozen with gravy and leftover stuffing for other occasions
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