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    Christmas Dinner (preparing in advance)
    • #1
    • 14th Dec 08, 6:11 PM
    Christmas Dinner (preparing in advance) 14th Dec 08 at 6:11 PM
    I am trying to plan the cooking for Christmas Day and was thinking, apart from preparing the veg on christmas Eve, whether I could do anything else in advance.
    Could I do things like mash swede, make gravy and make up stuffing balls on Christmas Eve, and maybe even freeze yorkshires to use on the day rater than buy frozen ones in.
    Also, my family like to eat a steamed suet pudding with a roast dinner. Would i be able to make that in advance too and freeze it to use on the day without spoiling the flavour or texture? Or can you do these in the microwave?
    Just wondered whether any of you do this successfully as it would save being tied to the kitchen all morning!
Page 3
    • lynn2
    • By lynn2 20th Dec 08, 3:45 PM
    • 303 Posts
    • 337 Thanks
    Ragz, can you please tell me how you do the cheesy leeks, i.e how far you prep, then how you cook? Thanks.
    Originally posted by trying-very-trying

    I'd like to know how you do cheesy leeks too
  • weemissy
    Advice please - got my M&S turkey crown today for family meal on boxing day, bought an extra big one thinking I would cook it, slice it, put the remainder in freezer for meals later on as I do with my chicken, but says on the container not to reheat. Surely this cant be right?
    there's me, OH, DS 10, DD 7,
    and our deranged border collie - sadly put to sleep Aug 23rd 09 now have our GSD x collie oct 10
    • hayley11
    • By hayley11 20th Dec 08, 5:29 PM
    • 7,367 Posts
    • 14,864 Thanks
    Thanks for the tip about cooking the turkey the day before, slicing it and reheating it in gravy, sounds yummy. Definitely going to do that this year. I don't think i'm going to do anything else the day before because knowing me i'll mess it up and my MIL already thinks i've "taken too much on" - because i'm making 3 different veg, roasties, mash, stuffing, yorkies, pigs in blanket etc :confused: My MIL bless her just does a normal sunday roast for christmas dinner, no turkey, no extras at all, whereas I like to do something a bit special.

    I'm cooking dinner for 5 people, haven't cooked dinner for a few years but I cooked for 10 people one year so this shouldn't be too hard.
    Think happy & you'll be happy
    I my doggies
  • irishwexford
    Today I have roasted and put in freezer potatoes and parsnips, Made up pigs in blankets and stuffing balls also into freezer. Will blanch the carrots and freeze them so only turkey and sprouts to do on Christmas day. I am a bit worried that something will go wrong, the potatoes and parsnips tasted heavenly today so hope they will taste as good. I watched Jamie last evening so just chucked garlic cloves and rosemary into veggies as he does but also coated parnsips in honey. Have organic turkey this year as it just cost 7. OH watched Jamie carving and was so impressed he will try it that way, nice thick slices. Bought home made mincemeat and puff pastry and made this into a long roll (Jamie again) so keeping my fingers crossed that everything will be ok on day, I certainly will be.
    • rev229
    • By rev229 20th Dec 08, 7:47 PM
    • 1,016 Posts
    • 789 Thanks
    the turkey I will either re-heat in the microwave or the oven with gravy. The microwave if I don't put gravy on it as it reheats it very quickly.
    • kippers
    • By kippers 23rd Dec 08, 7:22 AM
    • 1,939 Posts
    • 5,915 Thanks
    Preparing ahead for your xmas day meals...
    I thought it would be interesting to hear what you are all doing today and tomorrow to prepare for your xmas day dinner/tea/nibbles (it may also remind us of things we may have forgotten to do).

    Today i will be:

    defrosting turkey
    peeling potatoes and putting in water
    making caramel shortbread
    making chocolate log (my DD1 & DD2 decorate a shop bought swiss roll with buttericing and xmas decs)
    Put wine/beers in the fridge in case anyone pops in before xmas (if they will fit)

    Xmas eve i will be:

    Peeling & chopping carrots/parnips and leave in water overnight
    Prepare brussell / cauliflower and leave in plastic bag (in fridge) overnight
    Defrost mincepies
    Defrost mini quiches
    Make cobs so fresh for xmas day

    I think i've thought of everything i'll be doing.

    Have a merry xmas all

    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 23rd Dec 08, 7:33 AM
    • 17,082 Posts
    • 132,744 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    Hi there - some great ideas I'll add this to the existing thread.
    • I've made mince pies, sausage rolls and pigs in blankets, and they're frozen.
    • I'll be preparing the goose stuffing today, and then getting it all prepared tomorrow so that it can sit in the kitchen overnight to come to room temperature.
    • pudding has been maturing in the pantry for some weeks
    • chanpagne, wine,beer, fizzy water, soft drinks in the fridge.
    • loads of ice in the freezer
    • lots of lists
    Apart from that we do most of the lunch preparation on the day - DH and I love the being in the kitchen together, children wandering in and out eating and chatting while we relax.

    Have a lovely Christmas

    Penny. x
    Badgers at the bottom of our garden
    • blueberrypie
    • By blueberrypie 23rd Dec 08, 1:28 PM
    • 2,357 Posts
    • 5,197 Thanks
    Made the cranberry sauce and the sage-sausage stuffing-balls on the weekend. Latter went into the freezer and is now defrosting in the fridge.

    Yesterday I put the frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw, and the gammon in the (unplugged) slow-cooker to do the same. Peeled potatoes for making mash.

    Today I have made and refrigerated the mash, and chopped carrots and peeled shallots and put them in a ziploc bag, ready to roast tomorrow (we eat our Xmas dinner tomorrow evening). They'll be cooked with brussels sprouts and baby beetroot. Also having roast parsnips, but they are just sitting in the veg drawer until tomorrow. Have also wrapped bacon around chipolatas this morning. Gammon is now soaking. Have thawed bread and home-made stock for second kind of stuffing. Will peel more potatoes later and leave in water, for ease of making roasties tomorrow. Will thaw more stock overnight for tomorrow's gravy.

    Tomorrow morning I'll prep the gammon and cook it in the slow-cooker, make herb butter for turkey, prep the turkey, put it in the oven, toast walnuts and cut bread for stuffing and get that started, reheat the mash in smaller slow-cooker, parboil then roast the potatoes, roast the various veg, chipolatas, take the turkey out and rest it while everything else finishes off and I make gravy. Then we'll stuff ourselves silly and tuck the children into bed :-)
    • mon1o
    • By mon1o 23rd Dec 08, 2:10 PM
    • 739 Posts
    • 1,355 Thanks
    To be honest i havent done anything as yet! In a little bit im gonna clean my house which wont take long as its not that bad and then im gonna have to do the following:

    * coat mozzarella in breadcrumbs and other herbs and freeze until xmas day when it will be cooked from frozen (this is our starter)
    *peel potatoes and mash one half and keep in fridge, roast other half and freeze.
    *boil carrots and parsnips coat carrots in honey and freeze, coat parsnips in butter and freeze,
    *make up pigs in blankets and either keep in fridge or freeze
    *make my boozy chocolate mousse

    Tomorrows jobs are:
    * make up my xmas pudding ice cream (should have been done today but cant find sweet sherry!)
    *make pasta and sauce, keep in fridge
    *make sauce to go with my mozzarella
    *make stuffing and keep in fridge
    *cook green beans and sprouts keep in fridge and reheat on xmas day
    *cook and slice my turkey
    *arrange my cheese board
    *set my table

    and of course make sure presents go under tree when kids are in bed! We are having a massive meal, but we are an italian family so it goes with the territory lol. I have written myself a schedule for xmas day and it should (fingers crossed!) go according to plan!

    Monica x
    Last edited by mon1o; 23-12-2008 at 2:56 PM.
    • Chris25
    • By Chris25 23rd Dec 08, 2:15 PM
    • 12,776 Posts
    • 12,607 Thanks
    put the broccoli on to blanch and then the phone rang..........I'm sure you can guess the rest :rolleyes:
    • Skint_Catt
    • By Skint_Catt 23rd Dec 08, 2:56 PM
    • 11,431 Posts
    • 23,689 Thanks
    Mon1o, Sorry if these are silly questions but mozerrella in breadcrumbs - are there any other ingredients, can you do this with other cheeses and doesn't it all melt when heated? (I'm still learning.....)
    • mon1o
    • By mon1o 23rd Dec 08, 3:22 PM
    • 739 Posts
    • 1,355 Thanks
    no skint not a silly question basically it melts yes but its not a runny cheese so it stays quite firm. All i do is mix breadcrumbs with chopped oregano, parsley, garlic salt, grated parmezan and salt and pepper. Roll your cheese in flour and then an egg and then in the breadcrumb mix. Pop on some greaseproof paper and freeze overnight.

    The next day take it out of the freezer, preheat oven to 200 degrees (sorry i dont know what that is in gas) and fry the frozen mozarella in oil (you an use peanut oil, olive oil or any you like) until golden brown. Then place your mozarella in a pyrex (or any other heatproof!) dish along with a basic tomato sauce (chopped tomatoes, passata, garlic, basil, mixed herbs and oregano) and bake in the oven for 6-7 mins until your cheese is soft.

    You might be able to use other cheeses for this but i think camembert may be too runny.

    Hope this helps x
    • Skint_Catt
    • By Skint_Catt 23rd Dec 08, 4:21 PM
    • 11,431 Posts
    • 23,689 Thanks
    mon1o - that sounds fab! Will put it on my list to try! Thank you for taking the time to explain!
    • mon1o
    • By mon1o 24th Dec 08, 12:06 PM
    • 739 Posts
    • 1,355 Thanks
    well, im pretty much on schedule! Apart from the parsnips - they are now off the menu as i completely over cooked them and they went all mushy Everything else is fine!

    Just a question - im cooking my turkey tonight, so do i slice it tonight or leave it whole and slice it tomorrow?
  • JailhouseBabe
    I normally cook everything on the day, but may be going out tonight so want to have as little as poss to do tomorrow.
    Can anyone tell me:
    Parsnips and carrots - if I parboil today so they're ready to roast tomorrow, can I just store them in a bowl/bag in the fridge?
    Stuffing balls - (am only doing packet mix as I'm the only one who'll be eating them), do I mix and roll then store in fridge - or do I bake them and just re-heat tomorrow?

    Thanks all x
    some people grin and bear it, others smile and do it
    • blueberrypie
    • By blueberrypie 24th Dec 08, 2:06 PM
    • 2,357 Posts
    • 5,197 Thanks
    Parsnips and carrots - if I parboil today so they're ready to roast tomorrow, can I just store them in a bowl/bag in the fridge?
    Stuffing balls - (am only doing packet mix as I'm the only one who'll be eating them), do I mix and roll then store in fridge - or do I bake them and just re-heat tomorrow?
    Originally posted by JailhouseBabe
    Yes to both questions - but can I suggest you roast your parsnips and carrots? There's no need to pre-boil them, and they come up so sweet and yummy - and hey, the oven's on anyway :-)
  • wallbash
    Always interesting to hear how other people get ready.
    Me !!! I leave a few jobs to do xmas morning, gives me a chance to hide from some of the relatives.

    JailhouseBabe par boil the potatoes, advice from yours truly
    ( and Gordon/jamie/delia and the other one)

    My question, how do you peel the parsnips so early, mine seem to discolour while sitting in water. So its spuds tonight ,,,,, parsnips tomorrow.
    • Chris25
    • By Chris25 24th Dec 08, 2:22 PM
    • 12,776 Posts
    • 12,607 Thanks

    My question, how do you peel the parsnips so early, mine seem to discolour while sitting in water. So its spuds tonight ,,,,, parsnips tomorrow.
    Originally posted by wallbash
    I put mine into a bowl of cold water & milk and pat them dry when I take them out. I know others use a touch of lemon juice on theirs.
    • Chris25
    • By Chris25 24th Dec 08, 2:25 PM
    • 12,776 Posts
    • 12,607 Thanks
    Stuffing balls - (am only doing packet mix as I'm the only one who'll be eating them), do I mix and roll then store in fridge - or do I bake them and just re-heat tomorrow?
    Originally posted by JailhouseBabe
    either way would be fine - mine are made but not yet cooked - and sitting in the fridge.

    If you're going to cook them beforehand, don't let them get too brown though.
    • gairlochgal
    • By gairlochgal 26th Dec 08, 12:07 AM
    • 417 Posts
    • 726 Thanks
    Thank you to everyone for all the great tips on this and related threads.

    I used lots of the ideas and the xmas meal was very easy as a result. We had chicken and gammon, both done in advance in the slow cooker. I chilled the chicken yesterday and reheated in gravy today - gravy made from the jelly. Gammon cooked overnight in the slow cooker (the coke method), glazed and finished in the oven today. The pre-frozen roasties were brilliant. So I was really only left with the vegetables to sort today and I used frozen sprouts and carrots, and (big cheat) pre-cut parsnips for roasting. My other cheat was the stuffing - used ready to go sausagemeat with cranberries that I only had to form into balls.

    My mum is an instinctive OS-er and she was sooo impressed when she saw me taking the potatoes out of the freezer all ready to go in baking trays.

    For dessert we had Nigella's "massacre in a snowstorm" and a buche de noel. Big cheat there too as I didn't have time to bake the swiss roll so I bought a pretty average one and iced it with the kids. DD2, who is 8, did the tree markings and was extremely proud of herself. In some ways it turned out better than when I did it from scratch as it wasn't nearly as rich. Which meant we could manage seconds!
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