Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; Get Ahead

The menu is planned, your shopping is ordered, and timetable is complete, so now is the time to start getting ahead. For every minute you spend getting ahead, it is one more minute you can spend relaxing and enjoying your company on Christmas day.

Many parts of your meal can be prepared beforehand, stuffing can be made and then frozen, or stored in the fridge for a couple of days, your cranberry sauce can be made the week before, or even weeks before and then frozen. This will free up time and oven space on Christmas day, just remember to take everything out of the freezer with enough time to let it thaw.

Over the next few days I will share with you some of the recipes I have used for the last few years which I have successfully prepared in advance.

So what are you waiting for, get those cook books out and start planning.

The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Timetable

You’ve completed your menu, made your list, checked it twice and filled your refrigerator, cupboards and freezer to the max. Life is peachy, all you have to do is wait for the big day and cook away… right?

Perhaps if you are a Christmas dinner veteran, very lucky, or super organised you could get away with it. If however, you are like me, than it is better to quickly jot down a timetable, to make sure everything runs to plan. Afterall, the last thing you need is the stress of your little ones asking over and over if dinner is ready on Christmas day, because you forgot to put the roast potatoes in the oven.

Of course I am not saying you have to get out a clipboard and a stopwatch, my timetable is pretty basic, but it works. I simply decide (or am told) what time dinner is to be served and then work backwards. Then I add an extra half hour to cover any mishaps, and I end up with something that looks like this:

Continue reading “The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Timetable”

The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Menu

Christmas is just over a month away, for some of us, this means a slight nagging panic is starting to settle into your bones over preparing the Christmas feast. The rest of you, fortunate enough not to have swerved the responsibility of preparing your Christmas feast; congratulations, you are free to go put your feet up and watch It’s A Wonderful Life. The rest of us have work to do.

For those of you. who have followed this blog since the beginning, you will know that I began this blog when, for reasons I am still unsure of, I agreed to prepare my families Christmas feast a few years ago. Thinking back, it was a bit of a chaotic experience, probably with a soundtrack that would consist of a series of high-pitched bleeps, and Domesticated Mum saying “calm down dear” repeatedly.

It must have been a success though, as I have been asked to repeat the task every year since. It has also become the one meal, I increasingly enjoy preparing every year. The panic and the swearing is gone (mostly), because I have learned the secret to the perfect Christmas… PLANNING!

Now I know it may sound a bit obvious, but in order to create a panic free Christmas feast, planning really is the key. Don’t leave anything to chance. Plan every detail, and follow that plan, and a stress free Christmas dinner will be yours.

Of course not all of us know how to make a plan, which is where I come in. Follow my instructions, do as I say (not as I do) and Christmas dinner bliss, is just over a month away.

Continue reading “The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Menu”

Top tips for Christmas: Making a list and checking it twice

There is nothing more irritating than going for the weekly shop and getting home to realise you have forgotten something. At Christmas time though this could spell disaster and set you into ‘panic mode’. So my advice to all of you cooking the Christmas feast is don’t rely on your memory! Make a list and check it by cross-referencing the ingredients required for your Christmas menu. Then when you get the shopping home, check the items off the list again while you are unpacking. This should help prevent any last-minute dashes back the shop, or paying over the odds for a pint of milk at your local corner shop.

“I promise to plan all my family’s meals weekly”

Food prices are rising every week, so today I am making a public declaration that I am going to stop wasting food and start planning the meals for my family. This will not only make the weekly shop easier for Domesticated Mum, but will also cut the cost of the weekly shop (no more throwing things in the trolley just in case).

Planning our weekly meals should also mean that less food goes to waste; I can’t begin to tell you how much food my house throws away because it has gone past it’s ‘best before’ date. And as an added bonus, a schedule of meal planning will also mean I can give some recipes that have piled up in my kitchen a whirl because I know I will have all the ingredients to hand.

Making a weekly menu may be  a challenge, not least because I have two children who are very apprehensive to try anything new. Place a courgette in front of them and they look at me as though I am trying to kill them. Still, I promised myself that I will get my kids eating healthy fruits and vegetables if it kills me. So with a bit of practice, and the support of Domesticated Mum our house will soon be one which comes complete with a menu of delicious and nutritious meals.

How about you loyal readers; do you plan your weekly meals?

Any hints, tips or recipe suggestion will be much appreciated.