Christmas should be a time of joy rather than stress! Anyone who’s hosted Christmas day, or even a party of some sort at their place, knows the stress of catering to a hungry crowd.
There’s so many more important things to do on Christmas than stress about serving food. You should be giving and receiving gifts, singing carols and spending quality time with your family.
By following some simple tips and recipes, you can simplify your life, such that you might even enjoy the preparatory process as much as you enjoy indulging in the fruits of your labour.
Here are some recipes from experts, who will help you stay organized and merry this upcoming Christmas day.
Pick Menu Items That You Can Prepare In Advance
From sauces to meats to desserts, there is always an element of the dish you can prepare at least a day before hand. There’s no reason to be rushing on Christmas Day itself when you can have your gravies, mince pies and potatoes done and kept cold or frozen until just before mealtime! Perhaps think about planning your menu to include items you know can be made in advance, so you can stress less on the day itself.
Fussy kids and happy mealtime specialist Simone Emery runs a blog entitled Play With Food, and has ideas for elements of the meal that can be prepped beforehand.
“Prepare ahead some roast chicken, serve it cold and team it with a fresh cherry salsa, iceberg lettuce and Persian feta. To make the salsa (up to a day ahead) combine 300g pitted fresh cherries, 1tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp extra Virginia olive oil and 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley. It also works well with leg ham off the bone or cold sliced turkey. A tip for serving it to fussy kids, keep all the elements in the middle of the table and let everyone serve up the ratio of chicken, lettuce, salsa and feta that they prefer.”
Check out more of Simone’s helpful tips on her colourful Instagram page.
Consider Options Besides Doing All The Cooking Yourself
If you don’t fancy yourself a masterchef in the kitchen, then it might be time to call it quits and order in this time round!
Whether you have a favourite restaurant you want to order from or a catering service you want to try out, there are plenty of options besides slaving away in the kitchen alone. Just remember to pick a place and book early, as you can be sure you won’t be the only family with this idea.
One exciting option you can consider this year is specially designed christmas boxes! The Team at Aussie Farmers Direct, explains how this can make your Christmas a convenient one this year.
“I may have just the thing you're looking for! Australian Women’s Weekly has partnered with Aussie Farmers Direct to create luxury Christmas meal boxes that have everything you need for an entree, main meal and dessert - even the recipes! There are boxes available to suit every family size, from intimate Christmas for two through to an indulgent family feast for eight or more.
These boxes are fast and easy because you don't have to do any of the shopping yourself (braving the Christmas shopping chaos is not for the faint of heart!), nor do you have to deliberate over what you should cook. The box is delivered straight to your door in the lead up to Christmas - all you have to do is unpack the items and cook the dishes using the included step-by-step recipe cards.”
Consider Making Your Homemade Cooking Health-Conscious
If you do decide to go to the lengths of making a home-cooked meal, you may as well ensure your home-cooked meal includes fresh, healthy elements. There are a plethora of Christmas dishes in which you can incorporate fresh vegetables or cook your dishes in a healthier style. That means you can indulge in more with less guilt! Love Beets is one organisation that provides recipes in which you can do just that.
“The team at Love Beets have a great variety of recipes that would be handy to create delicious and healthy Christmas lunches. Just a few that might come in handy:
• Radish & Beet Chutney
• Beet Stained Smoked Salmon with Beets and Walnuts
• Beetroot Salad with Wild Rice and Chicken
• Broccoli and Beet Salad
All perfect for an Aussie Christmas Feast! Love Beets® are simply 100% beetroot, no added sugar, salt or additives- just naturally sweet ready to eat beetroot peeled, cooked fresh and vacuum packed offering longer lasting freshness. Beetroot is virtually fat free and low in calories, and has a low GL (glycaemic load) which means it is converted into sugars very slowly and therefore helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Love Beets® is produced by the Australian family-owned and operated OneHarvest, whose experience in delivering fresh produce to major retailers has spanned 30 years. The Love Beets® Australian grown beetroot is now available in major supermarkets, independent supermarkets and greengrocers, RRP from $3.00 for a 250g pack.”
You can find out more about Love Beets on their Instagram account.
Choose Simple Dishes Over Elaborate Ones
Sometimes an elaborate meal plan can backfire, while a simple barbeque out in the garden would keep your guests just as satisfied! So maybe head outside this Christmas and enjoy the summery weather, tossing a few items together on the barbeque in true Aussie fashion.
Australia’s leading executive chef, Paul Leete, provides plenty of simple ideas that you can incorporate into your BBQ Christmas this season!
“Come on Aussie Come On throw another shrimp on the bbq This is without a doubt a very quick and simple garlic prawn recipe which will be the perfect addition to every Christmas meal. While the prawns cook on the bbq the family can enjoy pool time keeping the heat out of the kitchen. Wowing your family and friends with the presentation and fresh flavours, dining alfresco is always a great option for our hot Australian Christmas.
Check out our Facebook post dated 8 November where I just happened to whip up this BBQ Garlic Prawn recipe & created a video of the steps involved. The "Chef and i" seafood addition cookbook is packed full of easy recipes like this one and includes tasty salads to make your festive feast complete in the chapter "a little bit on the side". We'd love you to join our Chef and I community where we consider "seafood - the ultimate fast food". Until then, happy healthy cooking!”
You can find out more about “The Chef and I” on Chef Paul Leete’s social media accounts including Instagram.
There is no shortage of ways to keep your Christmas savvy and stress-free, so that you can spend time with your loved ones, rather than stressing over what to put on the table! Consider your options now, so that by the time Christmas day comes around you’ll be prepared and ready. Remember, there is more to planning Christmas day than just food. Make sure your bar fridges are stocked with drinks, decorations up around the house and any other appliances you might need set-up and ready to go. Have your food keeping warm in the oven and wine keeping cool in your wine fridges so that you can be relaxed and join in the merriment on this special holiday.