Hints and tips for stress free Christmas

Three weeks to Christmas! Time to start planning what you will need but maybe first it is worth checking what is already in the cupboards, throw out out of date tins and spices and donate food to charities that is in date you have no intention of eating.

Maybe have a freezer week and eat what is in your freezer and the money saved can go to food for Christmas. It is worth doing an Freezer audit and keep it on the fridge so you know what needs using up. Base meal plans on food that has been sat in there for a long time giving way for space for get ahead food for Christmas.

Sausage rolls (or use  nut roast filling) and mince pies can be made up and frozen uncooked. Just pop them in the oven to cook.

Gravy – make a nice gravy from  this weeks roast chicken, add a dash of white wine for  extra flavour.

Stuffing – make up stuffing and place in a oven proof dish ready to go in the oven.

Sauces – make bread, brandy and cranberry sauces.

Red cabbage – slow cooker is a great way to braise red cabbage.

Gammon ham – Use a slow cooker and cook in spices and cider.  When cold slice and freeze in portions.   Strain the stock and freeze, use as a base for soup.

Yorkshire puddings – freeze after cooking they only take 10 minutes  warm through.

Potatoes –  par boil and freeze, they will only need to be to roasted on the day.

Turkey – cook and slice when cold.  Freeze the slices and reheat in gravy on the day.

Sausages – wrap in bacon, cook and freeze.  Reheat from frozen.

Make a stock from the turkey/chicken/duck giblets (cats and dogs enjoy the cooked giblets too!), which can be used for the gravy or kept in the fridge for a soup after Christmas.

Leftover cooked vegetables are great for adding to a pie with leftover roast meat – keep a pack of puff pastry in the fridge or freezer to make a quick pie topping.

Buy a whole salmon and ask the fishmonger to cut into steaks and fillets and freeze in portions – much more economical than buying already prepared.

Keep a few simple meals in the freezer for days when you don’t fancy rich food.

Most importantly don’t stress, it’s only a roast dinner with a few extra sides, which can be easily made in advance.