Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    Bens Mom
    Christmas Dinner - Help its my first!!!
    • #1
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:16 PM
    Christmas Dinner - Help its my first!!! 24th Oct 09 at 9:16 PM
    Hi,
    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
Page 1
  • Oldernotwiser
    • #2
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:44 PM
    • #2
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:44 PM
    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.
  • Olliebeak
    • #3
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:56 PM
    • #3
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:56 PM
    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 .
    • Paulie'sGirl
    • By Paulie'sGirl 24th Oct 09, 9:57 PM
    • 917 Posts
    • 2,735 Thanks
    Paulie'sGirl
    • #4
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:57 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Oct 09, 9:57 PM
    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.

    PGxx
  • MrsE
    • #5
    • 24th Oct 09, 10:05 PM
    • #5
    • 24th Oct 09, 10:05 PM
    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.
  • wornoutmumoftwo
    • #6
    • 24th Oct 09, 10:09 PM
    • #6
    • 24th Oct 09, 10:09 PM
    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
    Jan Shopping Challenge: 202.09/250
    Frugal Living Challenge: 534.64/15000
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 25th Oct 09, 5:54 AM
    • 17,087 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    • #7
    • 25th Oct 09, 5:54 AM
    • #7
    • 25th Oct 09, 5:54 AM
    Get a boned & rolled breast (butcher is cheaper than M&S or Waitrose).
    Originally posted by MrsE
    Whatever you do, don't just get breast. It's the least tasty of turkey meat - dark meat has far more flavour

    Penny. x
    Last edited by Penelope Penguin; 25-10-2009 at 6:00 AM.
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
    • dizzybuff
    • By dizzybuff 25th Oct 09, 5:59 AM
    • 1,396 Posts
    • 2,302 Thanks
    dizzybuff
    • #8
    • 25th Oct 09, 5:59 AM
    • #8
    • 25th Oct 09, 5:59 AM
    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
  • MrsE
    • #9
    • 25th Oct 09, 8:53 AM
    • #9
    • 25th Oct 09, 8:53 AM
    Whatever you do, don't just get breast. It's the least tasty of turkey meat - dark meat has far more flavour

    Penny. x
    Originally posted by Penelope Penguin
    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.
  • borokat
    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.
  • kunekune
    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
    Mortgage started on 22.5.09 : 129,600
    Overpayments to date: 3000
    June grocery challenge: 400/600
  • valk_scot
    No1 tip? Make the things your family like, not what the M&S/Asda/Iceland etc adverts tell you you should make. And in sensible quantities rather than cook for 12 to feed three and a half. My lot love stuffing, pigs in blankets (can imagine your toddler will LOVE these), Yorkshire puds, roast spuds and gravey in industrial quantities and frankly if I dished up these plus a big bowl of broccoli and roast carrots, no-one would even register there was no roast meat of any sort in there! Turkey is a bit blah imho unless it's a really good free-range bronze bird, which costs megabucks, so I go for a large free range chicken instead and spend the money on pigs in blankets instead, lol.

    Incidentally if your MIL is famous for her Christmas trifle or pud or Mairie Rose sauce, ask her to make some to bring. Helpful for you and a tactful compliment.
    Val.
  • skiTTish
    Firstly and most importantly DONT PANIC!!
    Xmas dinner is blown out of all proption ,its only a bloomin roast dinner and you probably cooked that loads
  • valk_scot
    Firstly and most importantly DONT PANIC!!
    Xmas dinner is blown out of all proption ,its only a bloomin roast dinner and you probably cooked that loads
    Originally posted by skiTTish
    Yeah agreed...when I was typing out my above post it all sounded suspiciously like today's roast dinner, lol!
    Val.
  • ubamother
    I go with the 'don't panic' advice! The trick I find is to get ahead. If you parboil your winter veg - big chunks of carrot,swede,quartered onions, parsnips or whatever you like and then par roast them in a bit of oil and some thyme or whatever herb you've got, they freeze really well and you can finish from frozen. This way you've got lots of types of veg all cooked together without maxing out your saucepans.
    My mother always cooked the turkey on Christmas Eve when she was feeding hordes - freed the oven up for the day itself and took all the stress out of getting it carved and gravy made on time. She either reheated in the oven with a bit of gravy for moistness or served cold - as long as the gravy and roasties were good and hot it didn't seem to matter. If you want to go for a smaller roast like a chicken, having extras like pigs in bacon (chipolatas wrapped in bacon) and sausagemeat stuffing add special extras and can all be prepared in advance and frozen and then cooked on the day with the roasties.

    • cyclingyorkie
    • By cyclingyorkie 25th Oct 09, 3:41 PM
    • 4,198 Posts
    • 59,581 Thanks
    cyclingyorkie
    we did that when kids were small!

    now i do it on Christmas day...but as others say it is just a big roast!

    I do go for free range turkey...but we just have mas/baked potatoes. I do sausages and the adults love stuffing. I steam the veg - frees up the hob.

    Oh and i always put a carrot and onion inside the turkey - makes smashing gravy.

    Biggest tip - DONT start to drink whilst you're cooking!
    • Patchwork Quilt
    • By Patchwork Quilt 25th Oct 09, 4:00 PM
    • 1,837 Posts
    • 11,056 Thanks
    Patchwork Quilt
    Get a large chicken - they don't dry out the same. Roast in a big pot with a couple of inches of water in the bottom to make up the gravy (with granules and stock from the veg). Steam the sprouts so they don't go soggy. Steam the carrots too. Roast the potatoes in chicken fat saved from a previous roast and do lots of pigs in blankets.

    Get a Christmas pud you can microwave. Serve with thick cream or custard. Remember the brandy and matches
  • kim85
    I had the same predicament last year, doing my first ever christmas meal - i ended up going with chicken which was just as nice as turkey, lots of pigs in blankets mash, roasties, stuffing various veg and califlower cheese.
    Found it really easy to do as pre-pared most day before- as long as you do that is all easy.
  • Bens Mom
    Wow, Thanks so much everyone for a great response...

    As a lot of you have pointed out its not that different from a sunday dinner so I think maybe I was a bit overwhelmed at just the thought of it adn what has been done previously... Im actually really looking forward to it, Just need to make sure I get the timings right now

    Thank you for all your encouragement,
    I think I will be doing turkey, boiled ham (requested), pigs blankets, mash, roasties, stuffing and then loads of veg, parsnip, carrot, broccoli, cauli, sweet potatoe (requested), sprouts, cabbage, swede - I know that sounds a lot but I will only make enough for what ppl want...

    Im really excited now hehe...
    • Penelope Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 25th Oct 09, 7:45 PM
    • 17,087 Posts
    • 132,754 Thanks
    Penelope Penguin
    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.
    Originally posted by MrsE
    But then you have no carcase for stock :confused:

    And I'm lucky enough to have a Victorian pantry, so only have Champagne in the fridge over the Festive season
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

53Posts Today

3,569Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the weekend, it's the weekend, yay. It's that moment, when as usual, to sign off for family time. So I bid y? https://t.co/2RYRnz3fEe

  • Actually the BBC was set up to "educate, entertain and inform" so I think it is one of its responsibilities and cle? https://t.co/HMP4Q2Uptu

  • Today's FRI twitter poll: Puritanical new laws by Tories/Labour/EU/Trump/Putin (pick ur own scapegoat) dictate mode? https://t.co/3LW55tFGJ9

  • Follow Martin