Christmas Dinner, dare to be different!

edited 14 August 2019 at 3:01PM in Special occasions & other celebrations
13 replies 5.7K views
EleanorREleanorR Forumite
6 Posts
Hi :)
I know it's a few months away but I am so fed up with cooking a traditional Christmas dinner, not only because it takes so long and takes me away from the rest of the family but also because I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen, boiling hot, worrying about mountains of food. I do pre-prepare as much as I can and I do cheat but it still seems like a lot of work. Yes I could get people to help but with limited space I am better on my own. I just want to think of an alternative way so that it does not take so long overall. There will be 6 of us, 3 are veggie.

I'm trying to think of a way of still keeping it like a Christmas dinner but with less dishes. At the moment, along with the meat (and the veggie alternative), I do mash potato, roast potato, brussels (with chestnuts), peas, carrots, parsnips, stuffing, cranberry, gravy, pigs in blankets,the usual stuff. I've been wondering though about just scaling it back, still doing the meat (and veggie alternative) and then just one potato dish and then a variety of different veggies. But I want to see if I can think of a potato dish that isn't roast potatoes or mash. Also vegetable side dishes that are different to just plain brussels and carrots.

I know there are many choices of potato dishes and side dishes out there but I don't want something that we would be having on a normal day or the week, I want something that looks nice and is a bit different. I'm not much of a cook but I'm thinking of maybe something like you might get in a restaurant as a seasonal side dish at Christmas, that is a bit different and looks stylish. Ideally if I can prepare in advance still, then all the better.

I hope this makes sense but I really just want an easier version which still represents a Christmas meal but without so much work and less volume of food and let's me out of the kitchen! We have children in the family who are only with us for part of the day so going out for a meal isn't an option as they want to be home with the toys.

It seems like a challenge to break with tradition but at the same time, still representative of a Christmas dinner. I don't see why we should always have to have the same every year and I want to shake things up a bit :D If you think I'm crazy, then I understand and I totally understand that most people like to stick to the same thing but I just want to have a change for once.

:)
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Replies

  • I just prepare everything the day before and stick it in the oven on Christmas day, majority of it takes 25 minutes in the oven, I'm in the kitchen about an hour on and off on Christmas day and someone else does the washing up. Potato dauphinoise is an easy side dish or just buy everything from m&s and heat it through on the day.
  • Get a shoulder of lamd instead, cant see all thevhype over a horrible dry turkey, that noone wants to eat after a few days, even when i had s dog he used too o get sick of it, lol
    “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
    ― George Bernard Shaw
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 4:00PM
    dan958dan958 Forumite
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    edited 14 August 2019 at 4:00PM
    Our christmas dinner is barely different from a Sunday roast. We do a roast chicken and a small beef joint, roast potatoes, veggies, parsnips, yorkshire puds, and some pigs in blankets.

    We try and prepare as much as possible the night before, that involes peeling and cutting all veggies and potatoes (as that is the most time consuming part)

    It still feels like a christmas dinner, as the entire family is there (which doesn't happen on a mormal sunday roast)
  • kazwookiekazwookie Forumite
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    Cook the meat the night before
    One spud dish
    3 veg
    gravy

    Get someone else to bring the pudding / cheese / fruit

    Get someone else to wash up
    :) Sun, Sea :)

  • suki1964suki1964 Forumite
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    Im with Mai _Taylor, I spend about an hour in the kitchen Christmas Day and I do the traditional dinner - turkey, ham, and a goose

    Goose is cooked the day before cos it smokes the oven out and it really is just as nice cold as hot

    Christmas Day I put the turkey in, the ham on to boil and I prep the roasties ( no need for mash, there stuffing, and pigs in blankets filling up the plate as well as 3 types of meat) by peeling and par boiling ( well I actually nuke them ). I also cook the carrots and parsnips if Im having them mashed, or just prep and par boil those if Im roasting them. Whilst the ham is boiling Im away getting a shower and doing hair etc. Ham out to cool to handle, then into a foil lined dish, glazed and slung in below the turkey

    Lay the table, make the Marie rose sauce, get the prawns out to defrost, remove ham and turkey from. oven and away to the pub for a couple of hours

    Home, put oven back on and chuck in the roasties, carrots and parsnips , make up prawn cocktails, sit and eat those whilst roasties are browning. Chuck in the pigs in blankets and stuffing, drain the fat from the meat juices, make the gravy. When roasties and stuffing etc are done, reheat any pre cooked veg, nuke the peas, slice the ham, carve some turkey and Goose, put everything on a big heated platter, veg in dishes and hot plates soon table, sit down, pig out and enjoy the compliments :)

    No hassle at all

    for me its the same as any other roast dinner, takes no time at all and there's no need to be in the kitchen watching it all cook. My roast dinner is on, I threw the chicken in the oven, prepped the veg and Ive not stepped back in the kitchen since. I can't smell the chicken so I know its not cooked yet so no point

    Don't be afraid of cooking large bits of meat well in advance. My turkey is still very warm after a couple of hours wrapped in a bit of foil and tea towel and hot plates and hot gravy and all that lovely hot veg stops you noticing. Plus meat is easier to carve and chickens and turkey improve by being allowed to rest breast side down
  • edited 20 August 2019 at 7:43AM
    aanch_mittalaanch_mittal Forumite
    3 Posts
    edited 20 August 2019 at 7:43AM
    I think you should keep the best cook competition at your home and ask everyone to prepare their favourite dish. After that give prizes to the winner. This will reduce the burden on you.

    There are so many online gifts available in the form of cakes, flowers etc. For the winner person, You can order customised cakes or gifts.
  • LMG1305LMG1305 Forumite
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    If you're looking for a different potato dish I'd suggest potato gratin, although I'm not sure if it's easier than mash or roast potatoes. Can you prep some stuff the day before? Potatoes can be parboiled the previous day & kept in an airtight container, so would then wouldn't take as long the following day to boil & roast. Or I did find a recipe the other day that is basically mashed potato pre-cooked, put in an oven dish and then on the day you just put it in the oven with some butter over the top. I think it was a recipe from Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), her cookbooks are on Amazon but she also has a website, so the recipe might be on there.

    Regarding the veg, what about just getting frozen mixed veg. Takes just a few minutes to cook once the water has boiled.

    Don't be worried about not going with tradition either. For years we would spend all of Christmas Day visiting both sets of families and alternating who we had Christmas Dinner with. It was frustrating because we would be out of the house by 10am and not get home until as late as 9pm sometimes. I hated it, I felt like our whole day was just about getting from one place to another. So now we still visit both sets of family, we spend 2 hours with each and then go home. We have our Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, just the 4 of us. It's a complete break with tradition, but it works for us and we are enjoying Christmas Day so much more now. It's actually better for our families too because in the past they would have to cook dinner on our timetable, because we'd be rushing about to visit others, but now they can have dinner when they want to.
  • Thanks for all the replies. I've decided, after discussion with other family members, that as several of us are veggie, that we will do a vegetarian Christmas this year. This also cuts back on having to do as much as I'm not trying to do meat and also a veggie option so all round it works well :-)
  • lesleyblesleyb Forumite
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    LMG1305 wrote: »
    If you're looking for a different potato dish I'd suggest potato gratin, although I'm not sure if it's easier than mash or roast potatoes. Can you prep some stuff the day before? Potatoes can be parboiled the previous day & kept in an airtight container, so would then wouldn't take as long the following day to boil & roast. Or I did find a recipe the other day that is basically mashed potato pre-cooked, put in an oven dish and then on the day you just put it in the oven with some butter over the top. I think it was a recipe from Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), her cookbooks are on Amazon but she also has a website, so the recipe might be on there.

    Regarding the veg, what about just getting frozen mixed veg. Takes just a few minutes to cook once the water has boiled.

    Don't be worried about not going with tradition either. For years we would spend all of Christmas Day visiting both sets of families and alternating who we had Christmas Dinner with. It was frustrating because we would be out of the house by 10am and not get home until as late as 9pm sometimes. I hated it, I felt like our whole day was just about getting from one place to another. So now we still visit both sets of family, we spend 2 hours with each and then go home. We have our Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, just the 4 of us. It's a complete break with tradition, but it works for us and we are enjoying Christmas Day so much more now. It's actually better for our families too because in the past they would have to cook dinner on our timetable, because we'd be rushing about to visit others, but now they can have dinner when they want to.

    We are having Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve this year, Christmas day we will have a lunchtime buffet :j
  • Very understand your thoughts.
    Important festivals require a sumptuous meal, but everyone has different requirements for a big meal. From my personal point of view, as long as it is liked by family and friends, it is a hearty holiday feast.
    I am also a vegetarian, and I don't want to spend a lot of money to buy ingredients every time I have a big meal. As long as I like it, I am very happy.:j:j:j
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