Your Guide to a Great Christmas - 28/11/2016
While shepherds watched their flock by night...

Your Guide to a Great Christmas

THERE ARE JUST 3 weeks to go... Christmas cards are written, the tree is top of your list to buy and you will soon be rummaging through last year’s Xmas decorations to see what can be salvaged!

With just over 21 days to go until the big day the shopping begins in earnest now. Try to remember everything you forgot last year... and add them to the list - here's just a few things we forgot... kitchen roll, loo rolls, foil, gravy powder, extra bread and milk, the stuffing, cranberry sauce, pickles, serviettes and repeat prescriptions for medication through until the new year!

If you're cooking Christmas Dinner this year, remember it’s just a big Sunday dinner, here's a few tips we think might make it easier:-

Make your lists now and start buying some "extras" each week with your usual shop (remember to hide them and don't be tempted to use them).

Order the turkey and meat from your Butcher or Supermarket in plenty of time so you just need to collect it the day before (as a general rule, you should allow approximately 1lb (453g) of turkey per person).

Consider buying foil dishes for the turkey and potatoes... it makes the washing up much easier! Remember though that they MUST be put on a baking tray or they collapse.

Make sure you've got enough glasses, cutlery, serving bowls, serviettes etc. plus foil, baking paper, kitchen roll, bin bags and oven trays.

Don't forget extra milk, bread, pickles, cheese etc. for sandwiches later on in the day

Clear out and defrost the freezer so you can easily fit in all the ‘extras’ you buy...another tip is if you buy food in boxes, transfer the contents to freezer bags and just cut out the cooking instructions etc. and stick them onto the bag...this reduces the amount of space required.

Before shopping, work out your oven and fridge space... turkeys can take up a lot of room which limits what else will fit in at the same time.

With this in mind, pick vegetables and sauces that can be cooked on the hob or in the microwave.

Organise the fridge so there's plenty of space for the leftovers – you can always keep wine in a freezer bag with ice blocks for a few hours.

Christmas Eve

To spend more time with the family, plan Christmas Eve Dinner to be a relaxed one and have it on your lap.

Set the table and make it look a little special... a few flowers, festive serviettes, candles etc.

Prepare the potatoes, vegetables etc. and cover with water. On Christmas Day, just change the water if you could actually par-boil the potatoes the day before and leave in the fridge ready for roasting.

Prepare the *turkey, stuffing etc, cover with foil and leave in the fridge so it's ready to put in the oven at the appropriate time. Don't forget to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before it's due to go in the oven as it's best cooked when it's at room temperature

Write down exactly what you're serving and how long each dish takes to cook then decide exactly what time you will be eating. From this, you can plan what time everything needs to be switched on and off/go in and out of the oven.

Have a written schedule then you won't forget anything... we've all found something in the fridge the following day! A timer comes in very useful here too and doesn't cost much if you don't have one already.

Decide which serving dishes you are going to use and leave handy in the kitchen with a little note in each as to what goes in... this serves two purposes... if someone is helping you they don't have to keep asking which dish to use and secondly, if there's a dish left, you've forgotten something!

Sit down and relax with your favourite drink whether it is a calming camomile tea or a glass of wine... you deserve it!

*One problem everyone seems to have is judging when the turkey is ready... not enough time in the oven and it's dangerous to eat... too much time and it's dry... with this in mind, an inexpensive solution is a Meat Thermometer. After the specific cooking time for your turkey, test it as follows :-

Internal Temperature - The internal temperature should reach :-
165 degrees F to 170 degrees F in the breast
or 175 degrees F to 180 degrees F in the thigh and
165 degrees F in the centre of the stuffing.

Meat thermometers, which can usually be used for several different types of meat, can be bought quite cheaply now... average prices are between £4 and £7 from supermarkets and department stores and they're a great investment.

Christmas Day... Enjoy! 


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