Christmas dinner action plan for busy mums
Cooking Christmas dinner can be a stressful business. Particularly if you are cooking for a larger number of people than you are used to.
The thing is to try to keep this meal into perspective. It really is just a roast dinner.
Having said that personally I find roast dinners a little on the tricky side. – Not because they are complicated but just trying to have everything ready at the same time and hot on the table isn’t very easy until you have some sort of system in place.
Other problems you may encounter cooking Christmas dinner are relatives hanging around chatting along with the constant interruptions from the kids. All this can mean that you lose the plot – either with the dinner or with everyone else.
So here are a few tips to help you cook Christmas Dinner and have a little more fun and a little less stress.
Take note of the following rules.
- Get ahead
- Delegate as much as possible.
- Pace yourself.
Get ahead with prepping your Christmas Dinner
Of course your personal circumstances and the ages of your children may make delegation difficult. But getting ahead of yourself and pacing how much you pack into the last twenty-four hours before Christmas may well help you enjoy Christmas just a little more.
So if at all possible prepare all the vegetables the day before. Have a team effort and make this an event that is fun not a chore. Get the kids involved. Open a glass of wine. Ask for guests to join you for a bevy in the kitchen to help. Put on some Christmas music and make it a bit of a party. Or if everyone is glued to the telly bring the vegetables into your living room and sit and watch the telly with them and while you peel the veg and get them to join in.
If you are making giblet gravy, stuffing or sauces for your Christmas Dinner prepare these the day before and keep them in the fridge.
Don’t worry if you can’t cook everything from scratch
Buy what you don’t have the time or the inclination to prepare and don’t feel guilty about it.
Have a simple, light and quick supper on Christmas Eve. One that means there is not too much prep or washing up.
This maybe almost impossible but try to avoid spending all evening wrapping up Christmas presents. After all this is your holiday as well.
Confirm with friends and family what time you are going to be eating Christmas lunch/dinner.
Do a Christmas dinner action plan. Just like a professional chef would do.
Grab a pen and paper and working backwards from this time include everything that you will need to do Christmas morning/ day.
When you have finished making notes create an action plan of what time you will need to do things to get your dinner on the table. For example if you are eating your dinner at 2pm write down at what time will you need to put the turkey, potatoes, and different vegetables on to cook.
Include when you are going to lay the table – or even better delegate someone else to do this. And schedule it a couple of hours before dinner is due to be served. (In case they forget to do it earlier).
Remember to include any other family activities that will be happening Christmas morning in your action plan
Other general timing tips to include in your Christmas action plan.
Allow thirty minutes prep time for getting your turkey or Christmas roast ready before you put it into the oven. Work out the time you will need to allow it cook for, and make a note of when it should be cooked, and removed from the oven.
Also include when it will need basting. This may sound a bit over the top – but it really does mean that if people are chatting to you or you get interrupted – you will know what needs to be done next.
Allow two hours for roast potatoes from start to finish. This may sound a long time – but there is really nothing more annoying than everything else being ready apart from the roasties.
Allow up to an hour for resting and carving time after your turkey/ roast is cooked. The turkey/or roast will keep warm by being kept in tinfoil.
Personally, I find it easier to cook the turkey and take it out to rest and then attack the roast potatoes and vegetables that need cooking – this gives you more flexibility with timings and cooking of vegetables, as well as allowing plenty of time for carving the meat.
Prepare the finishing touches to the gravy as soon as you remove the turkey from the roasting dish.
Put serving dishes and plates in oven to warm twenty minutes before serving the dinner.
Wash up, clear up and load the dishwasher as you go along. Again delegate and enlist help.
Finally enjoy your day – don’t sweat the small stuff and keep your sense of humour.