ith all the stresses of day-to-day life, the constant juggling of busy work schedules and, of course, all those after school activities for the children it can be easy to get stuck in a rut with meals. There is something about Christmas though that seems to bring out the cook in all of us. Therefore, it can be a great time to not only cook some of those Christmas favourites but also try out a few new recipes. With that in mind we have put together a selection of fantastic Christmas recipes that are not only incredibly tasty but also not too difficult to tackle. So bring out your best pots and pans, and get ready to really impress your visitors this Christmas.
CHRISTMAS MAINS: TURKEY AND OTHER STORIES…
These Christmas dinner recipes will ensure the main event is a meal to remember for all the right reasons!
The most popular main meal for Christmas is of course Turkey, however it can sometimes be a little bit dry and bland. Take your turkey to the next level with the addition of a few extra ingredients like mixed herbs and garlic. This will really give it a boost in flavour whilst keeping the meat nice and moist. A good gravy, like the one mentioned in this recipe is a great accompaniment!
THE PERFECT ROAST POTATOES
There is an art to making a great roast potato which can often take a few practise attempts to get right, however if you want fluffy inside and crispy outsides to your potatoes this recipe is well worth following.
ALL THE TRIMMINGS
To save time, think about things that can be made in advance, perhaps weeks before and frozen. Use our VacPack Fresh to store your veggies for four times longer – they’re even freezer-safe! For many people, the vegetables that accompany Christmas dinner need nothing more than to be cooked simply the way they have always had them, and this is fine. However if you fancy doing something a little different this year then why not grab your chopping board and copper pans and try Red Cabbage with Redcurrant jelly. For ease, make this a few days ahead and then reheat. And did we mention it tastes fantastic?
If you have guests coming to Christmas dinner who are Pescatarian, Vegetarian or Vegan then it is important to have a think about an alternative main course that you can offer them. Remember if you are cooking this alongside your turkey, you will need to consider how much time you have and perhaps more importantly how much oven space you will have available.
FOR THE PESCATARIAN: SALMON EN CROUTE
A Salmon en Croute makes a spectacular fish main course and this recipe can be made in advance, frozen and then cooked straight from the freezer. It goes fantastically well with all the traditional veggie trimmings, or for something a bit different, how about serving with dauphinoise potatoes? For the sauce, we love a simple white wine cream sauce.
FOR VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS: SWEET POTATO PARCELS
If you are cooking for vegan or vegetarian guests your first thought might be to look for a nut roast recipe, and whilst they will be happy to have been catered for there are some much better recipes out there that are just as easy, if not easier, to make. Unless you have a significant number of non-meat eating guests, it may be better to opt for vegan Christmas recipes that will suit everyone. These Sweet Potato Parcels are easy to make and great for both vegetarians and vegans.
Remember, if you do have vegetarian and vegan guests you may need to adjust your vegetables accordingly. That means no bacon in the sprouts, and for vegans no dairy or honey. However, with a bit of careful planning there is no reason you couldn’t just serve up the same vegetables to everyone.
When there is so much to do in terms of the main event and all the side dishes of your Christmas dinner it can be a good idea to look for simple ideas for starters that will need little preparation on the big day. Or, opt for things that can be prepared a couple of days before as this will really help to reduce your workload and stress levels.
CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP
Soup is a great starter to any meal. This Mushroom Soup can be made in advance, frozen, thawed out quickly and then finished off on Christmas day. Use a good quality vegetable stock to make it suitable for all of your guests and if you have vegans, simply swap the crème fraiche for a vegan alternative.
SMOKED TROUT PATE
If you want to serve a fish starter and want something as easy as smoked salmon, but a little different then why not try this Smoked Trout Pate. This can be made in advance and served with either the pitta crisps the recipe suggests orhomemade Melba Toast, which is very easy and cheap to make.
CRUDITES AND DIPS
If you want to serve something lighter for your starter but prefer to steer clear of the more traditional and unseasonal melon, then why not serve up a selection of crudites, bread sticks and homemade dips. This Roasted Pepper and Walnut Dip is perfect for vegans, and really easy to make, as is this Hummus. Tahini is a sesame paste which you can find in any larger supermarket in the world foods aisle. You can make both in advance.
BRIE AND CRANBERRY TWISTS WITH CRACKERS AND CHUTNEY
If you prefer to serve finger food instead of a sit down starter then these Brie and Cranberry Twists, Carrot and Caraway Crackers (perfect for your vegan guests) and a homemade chutney on mini toasts – we have opted for a fish pate as these are quicker and easier to prepare than a meat one – would offer something for everyone. Remember, Christmas recipes do not have to be complex in order to impress your guests.
After a big Christmas dinner, not everyone wants to eat a Christmas pudding which can be quite a heavy dessert. So, why not ring in the changes with something a little different.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING CHEESECAKE
This Christmas Pudding Cheesecake is sure to wow with its nod to the traditional in an altogether more modern form. This will keep for three days in the fridge, so it’s ideal if you’re having people over for Boxing Day, or just fancy some more indulgent treats yourself!
FESTIVE FROZEN CHOCOLATE PARFAIT
You can make this festive Chocolate Parfait in advance and serve it straight from the freezer, so it’s the perfect dessert if you feel a bit snowed under (no pun intended). Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche. Who doesn’t love a bit of something chocolatey?
VEGAN-FRIENDLY POACHED PEARS
Finding a dessert for vegan guests can be a little tricky as you need to avoid dairy, eggs and honey but this Poached Pear recipe is sure to prove popular. It may also be a great option for people who prefer something a little lighter after their Christmas dinner.
BLACK FOREST CHRISTMAS FOOL
For a really easy dessert that looks more complicated than it is this Black Forest Christmas Fool will really wow your guests. And it’s ready in just 10 minutes, so it’s ideal for a lazy Christmas day treat.
Snacking is an almost obligatory pastime over the Christmas period and these recipes for Christmas biscuits should ensure that you always have something on hand for those guests who always have room for just a little bit more food.
We love these traditional Finnish Spoon Biscuits. Filled with jam and flavoured with brown butter, they have a great nutty flavour. Enjoy them with a nice cuppa or glass of mulled wine. Bliss!
It wouldn’t be a complete Christmas snack list without mince pies! These Unbelievably Easy Mince Pies rather incredibly do not require a rolling pin which is handy because its often tricky to find one when you need it! Enjoy with some brandy cream, custard or of course, on their own!
When it comes to Christmas recipes, we often think in terms of the elements that make up our Christmas dinner. However, there are some fantastic Christmas drinks that you may want to think about serving up to your guests over the festive period as well: