Preparing a Christmas dinner can be challenging. Find out how you can make your dinner preparations perfect and stress-free right here.
Traditional Christmas dinner presents a big challenge to many households that even experienced chefs can be overwhelmed when preparing and making it. But stress can be eliminated or reduced if you prepare some of the complicated or elaborate recipes way ahead of time. Here are some of the tried and tested tips on how to make a worry-free Christmas dinner.
Forget ready mixes when it comes to gravy. Make your own delicious gravy without the hassle by preparing it ahead of time. Just freeze it and defrost on the day you have your Christmas dinner. You can even add the juices of your roasted meats just before you serve your gravy.
You may pre-boil and then freeze potatoes to give yourself a considerable headstart on the big day itself. Wash, scrub, peel, and chop potatoes the night before and keep them in a container filled with enough water to keep them from browning before use.
Your family may have another traditional poultry for Christmas dinner but if the turkey is the centerpiece dish, you may want some tips on how to roast one as easily as possible. Here are the basic ones that you should do to ensure doneness and safety:
· Pre-heating the oven is really not required but make sure that your oven is set at a 325˚F temperature and no lower than that.
· Thaw your turkey completely. Remember that the time for complete thawing of frozen birds is based on the refrigerator’s temperature of 40˚F (or even below).
· Put turkey breast-side up in a shallow roasting pan with a flat wire rack at a depth of between two and 2½ inches.
· Don’t forget to add a cup of chicken stock or broth to the pan’s bottom before cooking your turkey to keep it moist while it cooks.
· Remember to brush your turkey with either vegetable oil or butter before you start roasting it; this helps brown the turkey’s skin without drying it.
Cook your turkey stuffing before freezing it so that it will only need a quick warm up on the Christmas dinner day itself, albeit some freeze it, defrost it, and then pop it into the oven when it has to be used.
Most people devote their time and energy preparing and cooking the main course that by the time they’re done they have little or neither of both for the rest of the items on the menu. This is when side dishes come in handy:
· Have fresh ham sliced and handy, whether it’s store-bought or homemade, for some easy variety on your menu.
· Bite-sized toasts topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese: these can serve either as appetizers or a light addition to the Christmas meal itself.
Advance Your Baking
Bake what you can in advance. Look for recipes that you can cook ahead of time, freeze or refrigerate, and thaw, heat or warm before serving. Puddings can be made a few months before Christmas and stored in the farthest part of the freezer.
Some cakes and pastries, in fact, taste better when made several weeks or months in advance and continuously infused with a liqueur-like a marzipan, fruit cake, and cupcakes. Take note that these concoctions should not have to ice when they’re frozen.
Overhaul the Menu
It’s impossible to make the perfect Christmas dinner if you are pressed for time and this usually happens if the recipes on your menu are complicated or elaborate to make. One sure way to that dinner perfection is to overhaul your menu. If the turkey is a traditional staple in your family, retain it by all means. This means trying out new, less complicated and easier to cook recipes to replace those which take up time.
This doesn’t mean you will eliminate those recipes that have become a family tradition, though.What you can do is replace the Baked Alaska with Tiramisu or the Osso Bucco with beef brisket in red wine sauce. Introducing new recipes to your family also means encouraging them to try different kinds of food that, hopefully, will become part of your family’s treasured heirloom dishes.