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It’s the best part of Christmas – Christmas dinner.
But making a good Christmas dinner plan is (obviously) no picnic, and it can create a lot of Xmess to deal with! There are also many ingredients and accoutrements to remember... After all, no Christmas roast is complete without that epic Christmas cracker tug of war! Make sure you have all the elements you need and take some pressure off by using our helpful Christmas dinner checklist!
Your Christmas dinner shopping list
Every Christmas dinner plan should start with the shopping list.
Chef Lisa Marley suggests writing down exactly what you need to buy. ‘This way, you won’t be distracted whilst shopping or forget something essential.’
From parsnips to placemats, your guests will expect all the trimmings, and the last thing you want on Christmas morning is to realise you’ve forgotten the pigs in blankets!
1. Christmas dinner essentials
- Foil roasting tins: if you want to save time on washing up.
- Tin foil: the only thing you should be burning is logs on the fireplace or some scented candles!
- Kitchen roll: although cooking is a messy process, Plenty Original will help sort out any Xmess quickly and can be used over and over for maximum value. Check out our guide to cleaning your home for Christmas for more nifty insights.
2. The main meal
- The main attraction: Traditionally a turkey takes pride of place on the dining table; but some people opt for a large ham or vegetarian options instead.
- Homemade roasted potatoes: Obviously you need a bag of potatoes, and Maris Pipers are best for roasting! For the ultimate crispy Christmas roasties use beef dripping, and keep some Handy Towels on hand to catch any that goes astray! Yum.
- The veggies: Sprouts may give you gas but they're also a popular choice at Christmas. Other great additions to your Christmas dinner table include broccoli, carrots, and parsnips.
‘Braised red cabbage can be made in advance and frozen,’ notes Chef Lisa.
3. Extra trimmings
- Stuffing: Stuff your bird or make a stuffing side dish with onion, sage and breadcrumbs and egg. Another Lisa tip: the stuffing can be made three days in advance!
- Pigs in blankets: They're the best part, right? You'll need streaky bacon and sausage meat.
- Make or buy your sauces: Cranberry sauce, apple sauce and mustard are popular choices, so don't forget to add them to your list. Alternatively pick up ingredients to whip up your own homemade sauces.
- Gravy: No Christmas dinner is complete without it, and for those who like to drown their dinners in it, make sure to keep some kitchen towel nearby to quickly mop up!
- Christmas pudding: Traditional, fruity Christmas pudding is an obvious choice. Don't forget the brandy!
- Alternative dessert: If lighting blue flames on fruity puds isn't your thing, why not pick up an alternative option such as trifle, or even make your own?
Top tips on how to make Christmas dinner easy
Give yourself time to roast chestnuts on an open fire with these top tips for making Christmas dinner easy.
- Plan ahead. This includes:
- Writing up your shopping list.
- Reducing the Xmess by clearing space and cleaning out your fridge – ready to fill it up again!
- Set out your cooking times.
- Consider having a practice run and cooking up your meal ahead of time, to check your timings. And also, so you can have Christmas dinner twice. Yum!
- Beat the rush and shop early in the morning. Don't leave it until the last day either as all the good food will be sold out. And always check expiry dates go beyond Christmas day. You can’t blame the smell of off-food on grandad having too many sprouts!
- Involve the whole family. Each and every member of your family can take part from prepping the veg to setting the table or making a start on cleaning up the kitchen Xmess.
- Simplicity is key. You don’t need to create a banquet. Choose your family favourites and cook them up.
- Prepare in advance. Not everything has to be prepared and cooked on Christmas day. Chop your carrots, peel the sprouts and make up your stuffing in the days leading up to Christmas. Check out our guide to preparing your festive feast ahead of time for more tips.
- Cheaters DO win. There is nothing wrong with picking up some things premade. Choose what you want to make from scratch and what you're happy to purchase ready to go.
- Make sure to recycle as much of your Xmess as possible while cleaning up! Tin foil is widely recycled, and so is Plenty product packaging! Learn more about our sustainability and packaging recycling efforts.
From a Christmas food checklist to getting your family involved, there are plenty of ways to make any Christmas dinner Xmess disappear in no time, especially when using Plenty! Check out our guide to DIY festive decorations too, if you're feeling creative!
Lisa Marley (@lisamarleychef) is a chef trainer, content creator and columnist for @veganfoodandliving.