You can say anything you like about Christmas but one thing is for sure – it’s hectic! What with running around buying gifts and attending all those parties, it’s a wonder that we manage to find any time to cook at all. If you are like me, who prefer a home-cooked feast during Christmas (because I know our restaurants are really expensive and crowded during the festive season, and I would personally prefer to enjoy a cozy Christmas by cooking for my loved ones), then it’s important to start preparing.
Here are 10 easy Christmas cooking ideas for you to consider so you can spend more time enjoying the holiday and less time cooking!
1.Set a budget
Don’t get stuck in a whirlwind of Christmas spending and put a strain on your wallet in the new year, by setting and sticking to a budget. This is the best way of determining how much you really can allocate, and prevents any headaches close to the big day. Be realistic and prudent by recycling some of last year’s decorations or centrepiece.
2. Plan in advance
Be sure to set your menu, guest list and more well in advance. You can even get a head start on the meal itself. You can prepare make-ahead dishes like mashed potatoes or soup. It’s likely that there will still be some day-of surprises but prepare as much as you can.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you could use a hand setting the table, drying dishes, peeling potatoes or with any other task, wrangle up some helpers. You may also ask your guests to bring some after dinner desserts, wines or fruits; or better still do a pot-luck party where everyone contributes a dish.
4. Stick to tried-and-true recipes
Christmas dinner is not the time to try a brand new recipe,don’t stress yourself over new ingredients or cooking methods. Sticking to simple, classic dishes that you already know how to make will boost your kitchen confidence. Palate Sensations Culinary School offers a wide range of hands on festive cooking and baking classes for you to pick up new recipes easily and familiarise yourself with the festive menu before Christmas. View the classes here.
5. Take a few shortcuts
Not every menu item on your table needs to be made from scratch. Before you start cooking, evaluate your menu and determine what elements can be bought pre-made such as gravy or breadrolls, or consider ordering the dessert from your favourite bakery!
6. Adapt, don’t stress
If Christmas traditions have become a source of stress instead of joy, consider scaling back. Instead of the traditional turkey, why not consider something easier to prepare such as roast pork or roast beef?
7. Keep it simple
When making fewer dishes there’s less room for error, so keep your menu simple. An entrée, two or three sides and dessert is a perfectly acceptable Christmas feast. If your table is full of picky eaters or guests with dietary restrictions, do your best to accommodate them, but don’t be afraid to ask them to pot-luck too.
8. Lower your expectations
The real secret to a stress-free Christmas dinner? Lower your expectations. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make a nice meal for your family. But as soon as you come to terms with the fact that your dinner isn’t going to look like Matha Stewart’s, the happier you’ll be. Remember the true meaning of Christmas is spending quality time with your loved ones.
If you’re in need of some ideas for your Christmas celebration, let Palate Sensations help you out with our festive menu, curated with items that can be made easily. Our Christmas menu is designed to be enjoyed communally, therefore the dishes make an eye-catching centrepiece in the middle of your table. Sign up for the Christmas Celebration Cooking Class here.