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First time cooking for Christmas.

  • 22-11-2016 11:44am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Hi guys.

    Ok well this year we have planned to stay at home for Christmas and have some ppl come to us for the big day. It'll be the first time ever for us to stay at home and our first time ever attempting the big one. The Christmas day dinner.

    So I am looking for tips and advice. Still trying to finalise numbers. But its looking like we'll only have 6-8 ppl including ourselves.

    Now I do have some obvious problems. We have 2 sons (7 & 4) so I want to spend some time with them on the day and not be cooking all day.

    Also my 2 darling angels (grrrr) don't eat potatoes, meat in slices or veg. They are the plainest eaters ever. So how do you deal with that???

    Hoping you'd can help. Thanks in advance.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,380 ✭✭✭ chuckles30


    I'd say the key to spending time with the kids is in the prep you do before hand & choosing dishes that can be prepped in advance. You can have your potatoes & veg (if using fresh) peeled and sliced from the day before - also remember that frozen veg is great and requires no prep. Stuffing can be made the day before, so you just have to pop it in the turkey on the morning. Soup (if you're doing it) can be made the day before & just reheated. Same goes for dessert - pudding is made in advance, brandy butter can be made in advance - sames goes for mince pies/christmas cake. We don't do trifle in our house, but again it can be made before the day.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    First piece of advice is prep, prep, prep.

    Prep what you can in advance! Leave as little as possible for the big day itself. If you're doing a starter try doing a cold starter so there's less cooking on the day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Here's what I'm thinking for our menu.

    Starter:
    Veg soup OR melon and berries

    Main:
    Turkey
    Honey glazed Ham (or normal)
    Mash potatos
    Roast potatos
    Carrots
    Parsnips
    Green beans (instead of peas. Hubby loves them)
    Brussel sprouts (for me)
    Stuffing
    Gravy (not sure about cranberry sauce)

    Dessert:
    Trifle
    Homemade apple & BlackBerry tart/crumble
    (Hate Christmas cake)

    Others:
    Fizzy drinks
    Mince pies
    Box of hero's/roses

    I'm gonna ask they bring their own booze as we don't really drink.

    What do yous think???


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    trixychic wrote: »
    I'm gonna ask they bring their own booze as we don't really drink.

    What do yous think???

    Yes if ye don't drink, just advise them its BYOB if they want a drink, it's the least they can do if you're hosting.

    The menu looks spot on, (defo go with glazed ham it's amazing)

    Alot of that veg can be prepped the night before so that will all help ease the pressure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Loughc wrote: »
    Yes if ye don't drink, just advise them its BYOB if they want a drink, it's the least they can do if you're hosting.

    The menu looks spot on, (defo go with glazed ham it's amazing)

    Alot of that veg can be prepped the night before so that will all help ease the pressure.

    Thanks. I'm kind of excited. I love hosting stuff.

    Only thing left will be trying to decorate everywhere downstairs in the house... any ideas of cheap decor?? ;):)


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    Dealz and Euro Giant, will have plenty of cheap decor bits and bobs. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Loughc wrote: »
    Dealz and Euro Giant, will have plenty of cheap decor bits and bobs. :)

    Thanks. Hope your Christmasesgo well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 119 ✭✭ spur


    I'm afraid I can't help with the plain eating situation.

    The first time I ever cooked Christmas dinner was for a bunch of my in-laws. Here's how I approached it.
    I decided what I was serving - starter, soup, turkey, ham, what veg, what potatoes and dessert. I worked out a shopping list from that. I worked out what could be done the day before - soup and stuffing were my main ones. I also had the house clean before Christmas eve and on Christmas eve made sure the kitchen was tidy and the dishwasher empty! I set the table early Christmas eve and I got out all the crockery I'd need and put it on one of the counter spaces - so that I had a kind of assembly line!

    I decided what time I'd serve dinner. Figured out how long turkey was going to take, allowing time for it to rest. I started with a plan and the times next to each task - with putting the turkey in being the first one. I had everything you could think of on that list, each with a time. Peeling veg, putting on potatoes for roasties, heating fat for roasties, taking out ice-cream, whipping cream, opening wine. You could definitely do veg the day before as well and if you wanted to you could peel the potatoes and put them into water. Dessert could definitely be well started the previous day - I'd always steam my puddings on Christmas eve and then it only needs a quick reheat on the day. I'd have something like trifle or tiramisu then - the only thing I'd do Christmas morning is put the cream on top of the trifle.

    As I worked I either washed what I used or put it into dishwasher. I'm not a tidy person normally but I have to have an organised space for something like Christmas dinner - and God help anyone that gets in my way........

    My OH thought it was hilarous and completely OTT - but it worked! I wrote on the page the time we served dinner and the weight of the turkey and put it away so that I'd have it again - and I have used it as the basis for other years.

    Best of luck with it. It is an easy dinner to cook - but you can only see that when you've done it once or twice!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭ pilly


    trixychic wrote: »
    Here's what I'm thinking for our menu.

    Starter:
    Veg soup OR melon and berries

    Main:
    Turkey
    Honey glazed Ham (or normal)
    Mash potatos
    Roast potatos
    Carrots
    Parsnips
    Green beans (instead of peas. Hubby loves them)
    Brussel sprouts (for me)
    Stuffing
    Gravy (not sure about cranberry sauce)

    Dessert:
    Trifle
    Homemade apple & BlackBerry tart/crumble
    (Hate Christmas cake)

    Others:
    Fizzy drinks
    Mince pies
    Box of hero's/roses

    I'm gonna ask they bring their own booze as we don't really drink.

    What do yous think???

    Menu sounds lovely. I've done it numerous times in the past and the most important thing is to prepare in advance. This will give you plenty of time on the day. Once you have the turkey in on time, everything else will flow after that.

    Don't worry about the kids, if they don't eat the dinner they will be busy eating other stuff. I used to just give the kids whatever we were having and tell them not to eat what they didn't want to. It's only one day so doesn't really matter if they eat rubbish all day. Or just have a load of cocktail sausages done the night before and heat them up, kids usually gobble them up, hot or cold actually.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 671 Shoe Lover


    I did my first Christmas dinner last year & it was grand! You defo spend more time worrying about it then actually cooking it!

    I did as much as possible on Christmas Eve & will be doing the same this year so:

    Turkey & Ham were cooked on Christmas Eve, then just sliced up and put on to a baking tray with water over them, covered in tinfoil and let reheat by steaming them in the oven.

    Spuds & all the veg were peeled & sliced on Christmas eve. Spuds I left in water overnight, veg I put into sandwich bags in the fridge.

    For starters, I did prawn cocktail or melon which only took 20 mins on the day & my OH made the marie rose sauce.

    Pudding was made weeks in advance & just whipped up the cream after the main course.

    I did cheat a bit by asking my mam to do the sausage meat stuffing & she made the gravy on the day as well. I know how to do that now so will do it myself this year :D


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,886 ✭✭✭ bennyc


    Few roast Parsnips and Carrotswhile your at it, the Jamie Oliver method I have been using for years, roast carrots Spuds and Parsnips, basically add spuds and carrots to a pot of boiling water, after 5 mmins add the parsnips, take off after another 5-7. drain , seperate the carrots and the parsnips, give the spuds and tumple in the collindar. bake in goosefat and add honey around ten mins to the end. There is a DVD somewhere that breaks the whole cooking down and has a timetable of everything you can do the day before, simple stuff like peeling all your veg and storing it in a covered pot of water out in the shed the day before as it is generally cold enough that time of year (not the parsnips though as they float).


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,130 ✭✭✭ dee_mc


    You could make stuffing balls now and freeze them, uncooked, on a tray, then transfer into a freezer bag - 25-30 minutes in hot oven with the roast potatoes (if you're doing them) while the turkey is resting and you're done.
    You could glaze and cook the ham on Christmas eve and slice and serve it cold, or heat it through if you have the time and oven space.
    Mince pies could be made or bought and frozen now, same for brandy butter.
    Your veg, except greens, can be prepped and even parboiled the day before.
    Re the kids, what do they like to eat? If you're doing soup anyway, would soup and bread and some nibbles like sausage rolls etc do them?
    My best tip is to appoint a commis chef - someone who will look after keeping the washing up under control, maybe lay the table, help with plating up (I find it easier just to fire everything into warmed serving dishes and help themselves, less waste too), make the gravy, make sure nothing burns or boils over etc. Share the stress!
    Above all, enjoy it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 259 ✭✭ SteJer


    What's the difference between Christmas Day dinner and doing a roast dinner any other time of the year? It always amazes me how stressed people get over cooking Christmas dinner. I think all the chef shows about it don't help as people think it's a difficult task only an experienced chef can manage. A roast dinner is a roast dinner regardless of the meat being cooked.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    SteJer wrote: »
    What's the difference between Christmas Day dinner and doing a roast dinner any other time of the year? It always amazes me how stressed people get over cooking Christmas dinner. I think all the chef shows about it don't help as people think it's a difficult task only an experienced chef can manage. A roast dinner is a roast dinner regardless of the meat being cooked.

    Usually it's the quantity of people that increases at Christmas, we go from cooking for 2 to 6 at Christmas. The extra load and demands do add an extra level of pressure over a normal Sunday roast.

    But I do take your point and it's a good way of looking at it. It's only a roast dinner and they're very easy to manage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Mother in law just informed me she has a Turkey ordered so I can have that one.

    But she wants a beef roast for her daughter's (22 & 23). Hmmm.

    I'm gonna do the kids some saus rolls or something nice like that.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 619 Advbrd


    The one thing I cheat with is Lidl frozen roasties which are pre-coated in goose fat.
    As said before, do as much prep the day(s) before.
    Cooking a turkey is pretty easy, the oven does it all. I stuff it, cover it in rashers and pop it into a turkey bag. I tend not to follow the cooking time guides as with my oven, it leads to dried out turkey. I check it after a couple of hours to see how it is progressing. I prefer my turkey moist.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    dee_mc wrote: »
    You could make stuffing balls now and freeze them, uncooked, on a tray, then transfer into a freezer bag
    Mince pies could be made or bought and frozen now, same for brandy butter.

    I was thinking of just buying stuffing and mince pies. I don't eat either of them.
    dee_mc wrote: »
    Your veg, except greens, can be prepped and even parboiled the day before.

    Why not greens?? Like the green beans??


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 619 Advbrd


    trixychic wrote: »
    Mother in law just informed me she has a Turkey ordered so I can have that one.

    But she wants a beef roast for her daughter's (22 & 23). Hmmm.

    I'm gonna do the kids some saus rolls or something nice like that.

    Isn't that nice of her to be demanding a beef roast.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    Advbrd wrote: »
    Cooking a turkey is pretty easy, the oven does it all. I stuff it, cover it in rashers and pop it into a turkey bag. I tend not to follow the cooking time guides as with my oven, it leads to dried out turkey. I check it after a couple of hours to see how it is progressing. I prefer my turkey moist.


    A Turkey bag!!! Fantastic. And I'll defo do the check the Turkey thing. I hate dry turkey.


  • Registered Users Posts: 469 ✭✭ Mrs cockett


    Anyone have ideas for a simple starter, rather than soup


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 619 Advbrd


    trixychic wrote: »
    A Turkey bag!!! Fantastic. And I'll defo do the check the Turkey thing. I hate dry turkey.

    Yeah, they are great. It tends to be a bit paler to look at but 10 mins with the upper element on sorts that (bag removed). It does also cook a bit faster so again check to see if its cooked to your liking.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    Anyone have ideas for a simple starter, rather than soup

    Prawn Cocktail?

    Mango?

    Light Salad?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 619 Advbrd


    Anyone have ideas for a simple starter, rather than soup

    The world is your lobster.
    Prawn Cocktail.
    A simple melon based fruit cocktail with whatever fruit you want to add with a bit of mint to freshen the palate.
    Stuffed mushrooms, I like feta cheese with a bit of garlic and olive oil.
    A simple melon and parma ham salad with some nice fresh greens.
    As the world is your lobster, a nice simple lobster salad.
    It's time for lunch. After all this foodiness I am getting a bit peckish


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭ pilly


    Anyone have ideas for a simple starter, rather than soup

    Pate on toast? You can buy some gorgeous ones readymade, very simple and delicious.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 619 Advbrd


    pilly wrote: »
    Pate on toast? You can buy some gorgeous ones readymade, very simple and delicious.

    That's it, I'm off to lunch.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,130 ✭✭✭ dee_mc


    trixychic wrote:
    Why not greens?? Like the green beans??


    You can prep them in advance but don't parboiled, or they'll end up overcooked. You can parboil root veg though to save a few minutes on the day.
    The most popular starter I ever did was a baked camambert (comes in a wooden box) with homemade mulled wine cranberry sauce, salad leaves and lots of crusty bread. Pretty much no prep involved and it tastes fantastic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,138 trixychic


    trixychic wrote: »
    But she wants a beef roast for her daughter's (22 & 23). Hmmm.

    Guys is it sad that this is bugging me so much. I just don't want to do a beef on the day (again we don't eat it) and it feels like I already have enough to do.

    I know that the girls eat ham and Turkey. And they are adults. Shouldn't they just take what they want and eat it?? I don't know. Maybe it's just cause its the first yr.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 21,326 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Loughc


    trixychic wrote: »
    Guys is it sad that this is bugging me so much. I just don't want to do a beef on the day (again we don't eat it) and it feels like I already have enough to do.

    I know that the girls eat ham and Turkey. And they are adults. Shouldn't they just take what they want and eat it?? I don't know. Maybe it's just cause its the first yr.

    No you're right to feel annoyed, I'm not cooking your dinner and that has annoyed me.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭ pilly


    trixychic wrote: »
    Guys is it sad that this is bugging me so much. I just don't want to do a beef on the day (again we don't eat it) and it feels like I already have enough to do.

    I know that the girls eat ham and Turkey. And they are adults. Shouldn't they just take what they want and eat it?? I don't know. Maybe it's just cause its the first yr.

    No, I'd be bloody well annoyed as well. It's not like it's a simple or cheap request either. Some people have the cheek.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭ pilly


    trixychic wrote: »
    Guys is it sad that this is bugging me so much. I just don't want to do a beef on the day (again we don't eat it) and it feels like I already have enough to do.

    I know that the girls eat ham and Turkey. And they are adults. Shouldn't they just take what they want and eat it?? I don't know. Maybe it's just cause its the first yr.

    I wonder did she want to cook it herself if she already had a turkey ordered? Some mothers just can't stand the Christmas dinner being done by someone else. :mad:


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