Four weeks to Christmas! Here are my top food freezer tips for stress free Christmas dinner!
It’s 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to start planning what you will need but maybe first it is worth checking what is already in the cupboards, throw out out of date tins and spices and donate food to charities that is in date you have no intention of eating.
1 Have a freezer week and eat what is in your freezer and the money saved can go to food for Christmas.
2 Dedicate a freezer drawer to Christmas Day ingredients and pre-prepared food so they are easy to find.
3 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.
4 Sausage rolls (or use nut roast filling) and mince pies can be made up and frozen uncooked. Just pop them back in the baking trays and pop in the oven to cook.
5 Gravy – make a nice gravy from this weeks roast chicken. Boil up the bones with a lemon for an hour or so to make a nice stock and add a dash of white wine and the juices of the cooked chicken for extra flavour.
6 Stuffing – make up stuffing and place in a oven proof dish ready to go in the oven.
7 Sauces – make bread, brandy and cranberry sauces ahead of Christmas day. Store in old yoghurt pots in the freezer.
8 Red cabbage – slow cooker or pressure cooker is a great way to braise red cabbage. Store in the freezer and reheat in the oven.
9 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.
10 Yorkshire puddings – freeze after cooking they only take 10 minutes warm through.
11 Potatoes – par boil and freeze, they will only need to be to roasted on the day. You can even roast and freeze and then simply pre heat.
12 Turkey – cook and slice when cold. Freeze the slices and reheat in gravy on the day.
13 Sausages – wrap in bacon, cook and freeze. Reheat from frozen.
14 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.
15 Leftover cooked vegetables are great for adding to a pie with leftover roast meat – keep a pack of puff pastry or filo pastry in the fridge or freezer to make a quick pie topping or puff pastry pizza.
16 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.
17 Keep a few simple meals or soup in the freezer for days when you don’t fancy rich food.
18 If short on space in the freezer remove packaging and wrap food well in freezer bags with air removed.
19 Packets of pancetta, bacon, sausages and smoked salmon are useful to have in the freezer. don’t take up much room and defrost quickly
20 Most importantly don’t stress, it’s only a roast dinner with a few extra sides, which can be easily made in advance.
NO FREEZER?….NO PROBLEM!
Prepare as much as you can up to 48 hours before hand, don’t over plan or make over complicated.
Organisation is key, write a list and a timeline. Work backwords from when you want to serve Christmas dinner.
Get the family to help you! Pop on some music and get everyone involved in the veg prep…many hands make light work of this. Potatoes can be stored in water in a pan with a lid on outside in the cold. Root veg and brussels do not need to be stored in water. Store somewhere cool.
Other blogs you may find useful:
If the thought of cooking a roast dinner fills you with dread why not book a private cooking lesson. In two hours you will have a plate of roast chicken, roast potatoes and vegetables along with fabulous Yorkshire puddings and thick home made onion gravy. Plus a host of cooking hints, tips and hacks!