I have been making notes over the last few days in order to write a post about preparing a Simple Christmas Dinner, and then out of the blue I met (in the digital sense) Robert Wall.
Robert’s post over at So Much More Life blew me away! I love a bit of meal planning! I then hot footed it across to Robert’s blog Finding Frugality and found ‘a second helping’ of advice on a Simple Christmas Dinner.
So at this point I’d like to hand the floor to Robert (my first ever guest poster), to share his words of wisdom!
Christmas dinner is a source of stress for families the world over, and it doesn’t have to be! After reading my own post and a guest post I wrote on the topic, Jo asked me to boil down my Christmas dinner ideas to a short message. I’m proud to say that if you can only read one of my Christmas dinner posts, this is the one to read. Read it, and really chew on it. The other posts are great, but this is the intellectual foundation of it all.
It all boils down to a set of rules that will both save your sanity and give you perspective this holiday season.
Here they are:
Make it do-able by one person
Plan on not having any help; that way you have a nice surprise if they show up (instead of a crisis if they don’t). Make a plan in advance, setting a dinner time and working each recipe backwards and forwards a couple of times to plan a rough cooking schedule. For example, a meat dish that cooks in 2 hours needs to go in at 10:00 to be done at noon. Make sure there’s time for everything!
Make it low-stress
Pick simple recipes. Reject elaborate preparations. Limit your side dishes. Consider making less of certain items if you know you’ll have relatively few guests, such as making a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.
Make it with clean-up in mind
Think all of your recipes through – can you bake the dressing in the same skillet you used on the burner? Can you cook the meat and veg in the same pan? Can you rinse a dish in the middle to save you clean-up later? Saving one dish per course adds up quick!.
Make it with what you have
Don’t make dishes that require you to buy tools you’ll never use again. Anything that requires special shapes, molds, or utensils is a prime candidate for cutting.
Make it worth the effort
I call this the “cranberry sauce principle.” I personally buy cranberry sauce made by the friendly folks at Ocean Spray rather than making my own, because I don’t feel my effort would produce a dish that’s enough better to warrant the time.
Make it memorable
Remember, food is temporary; family and good friends are forever. The difference is the most-forgotten thing in the hustle and bustle – don’t forget it this holiday season! Invite somebody new to Christmas dinner, and ask them to bring a favorite dish. Get some of the children or grandchildren cooking with you. The experiences can be richer than the richest food, I promise you.
Whatever you do this holiday season, here’s wishing you a big, overflowing cup of holiday cheer!
To round up – There are some fantastic tips here, many of which I myself will be taking on board in my planning. Do take a look at Robert’s blog post . There’ll be a Saturday post here at simplybeingmum on how I am planning Christmas Dinner and incorporating it into my simple weekly meal plan.
Do share your tips for a stress-free Christmas Dinner in the comments below…