Can you really make your Christmas dinner ahead of time, and enjoy the day with your family?
Not only is it possible, but it’s necessary if you want to enjoy the day along with your family.
Do yourself a favour and take steps now with these make ahead Christmas dinner ideas. (if you are in the US and just recovering from Thanksgiving dinner, this may sound like just what you need right now to avoid the ‘Christmas turkey crunch’)
Let’s get started.
One good reason?
Because although it just doesn’t seem right, for many, the biggest part of the day on Christmas is spent in the kitchen.
After the gifts are unwrapped, the children have squealed with joy and are having lots of fun with their new toys, the fun is just starting for the chief cook and bottle washer – usually mom or dad.
There are dishes to prepare, meats to cook, and desserts to make.
When the cooks finally get to sit down it is at the Christmas dinner table to join their family and friends in devouring the meal he or she has worked so hard to put together it’s no wonder they don’t fall face down in the mashed potatoes after all that time and effort.
What ever can be made ahead will be a blessing that you will give thanks many times over come Christmas day.
Here are some ideas for meal planning this Christmas season to help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time actually enjoying the holiday festivities.
- Begin early. Most people work up until almost Christmas Day so they buy groceries and let everything sit until the night before at the earliest. This year, create a list of the food items that will be on the Christmas dinner table at least a week before the actual day. If it is not on the list, it doesn’t go on the table.
- Cook ahead and freeze. Casseroles, macaroni and cheese, and rice dishes are wonderful candidates for freezing. Be sure to let them completely cool before refrigerating them or it will cause condensation to form. Once the dish is evenly cooled, cover it with an airtight lid or in freezer bags and place in the freezer until Thanksgiving morning when you can pull them out and reheat.
- Bake your pies before hand and go buffet style for dessert, letting guests heat their single pieces up after dinner when they’re ready to enjoy them, the kids will love it. Or reheat them in the oven while dinner is on the table for the fresh baked feeling with the fresh baked chaos and mess on Christmas day.
- Buy a fresh turkey instead of a frozen one. For one thing, a frozen turkey needs to thaw in the fridge for four to five days before preparing. That means your refrigerator won’t be available to hold too much else. It also means that raw, thawing meat will be right next to other foods for the big day. Not a good idea if you’re trying to save time and energy and start early. A fresh turkey can be bought later without the space worries. Even if it has to be cooked a day or two before, the entire bird can be reheated in the oven on Thanksgiving Day before meal time.
- Purchase or make appetizers. For some of us, these are the best part. Christmas day just wouldn’t be the same without them. You can provide some special Christmas goodies throughout the early afternoon and then, if dinner is a little late getting to the table, a tray of raw vegetables with ranch dip or a fruit salad will be just the right thing to hold everyone off for a bit longer, and it’s a great time to get the kids to munch on some power packed healthy snacks – while their hungry.
Do you usually plan for the big turkey day or do you usually just wing it?
A little planning can go a long way to make your Christmas dinner stress free and even fun, there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment from a good dinner on the table and the sight of family and friends enjoying your efforts.
Take a deep breath, enjoy Christmas and a feeling of peace with your family this year.
What better start to the New Year just around the corner.
Try Saving Dinner – Christmas for the Freezer for a complete make ahead Christmas menu.