Wishing you a stress-free Christmas dinner

If the responsibility of Christmas dinner rests on your shoulders this year, we’ve put together a handy guide to make you feel cool, calm and collected as soon as you put your chef’s hat on. Whether it’s a quiet dinner for two or you’ve a crowd to please, we’re serving up inspiration for every element of Christmas dinner.


Impress your guests from the start with simple but oh-so-scrumptious bites.

Your aim is to not overface your guests before they’ve even touched the turkey, so you’ll want something light. A fish dish is always a good place to start - from smoked salmon salad, to prawn cocktails. Then there’s the option of a comforting winter soup, a classic starter that will warm up your guests for the rest of their meal.

What’s more, most starters can be prepared ahead, so you’re not rushing on the big day.

Find inspiration to kick-start Christmas dinner here:


Whether it’s finding the perfect consistency of your homemade sauce or ensuring it’s packed with enough flavour, getting your gravy right on the big day can be a challenge.

From fruity mixtures to spirited sauce, here are some ideas to help you get ready for ready for the task ahead…


Once you’ve picked your gravy of choice, why not prepare it a few days early? Then freeze it and defrost on Christmas day – another easy way to get-ahead in the kitchen.

Christmas dinner


Sage and onion, chestnut or sausage… Christmas stuffing is a great chance to play around with flavours. Whether you prefer to stuff the turkey, or keep it separate from the bird, no Christmas Dinner should be without a yummy stuffing. You’ll find a range of savoury stuffing recipes at http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/tag-1954/stuffing-recipes.aspx


For a stress-free Christmas dinner, less is more. If you stick to three vegetables, instead of overloading plates with mountains of veg, you’ll reduce waste and have less washing up!

Your tasty three could be festive red cabbage, roasted parsnips and Brussel sprouts. Love them or hate them, Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without a sprout or two. You can prepare your Brussel sprouts ahead of time by blanching and refreshing them. This is where the sprouts are boiled, dropped in cold water to stop them cooking and then reheated the next day. This technique will save you time and keeps the sprouts full of flavour until they’re served.

For more vegetable ideas visit:


Brighten up your dinner table this Christmas with golden, roast potatoes. Spuds are best cooked from fresh, yet if you peel and chop them on Christmas Eve it could be a life-saver when you’re pushed for time on the big day.

For potatoes that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, follow this recipe from cookery writer and broadcaster, Mary Berry: http://www.maryberry.co.uk/recipes/christmas/roast-potatoes


Whether it’s your first attempt or you’re an experienced Christmas cook, when it comes to the turkey – the pressure is on!

The good news, a lot of the work can be done the day before, to relieve any stress when you’ve got hungry guests waiting on you. But if you’d prefer to cook on the day, this recipe from Chef Jamie Oliver, is simple to follow and best of all, will help you cook a turkey that’s golden and delicious. https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/turkey-recipes/jamie-s-christmas-turkey/

Alternatives for turkey

Who said turkey had to be the star of the show? If don’t eat meat or you simply fancy something different, there’s lots of exciting options out there.

Why not make a beef wellington or slow-roasted lamb? Or for a vegetarian substitute, try a shallot tarte tatin or a chestnut, spinach en croute.

Find show-stopping alternatives to turkey here: http://www.redonline.co.uk/christmas/christmas-recipes/alternative-christmas-dinner-recipes#image=5


Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without something sweet.

If you’re taking on dessert too, make sure what you’re cooking is simple and doesn’t take up too much time in the oven or fridge. From trifles to tarts, you’ll find lots of recipe inspiration to satisfy your sweet tooth at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/festive-dessert

Prefer to buy your desserts ready-made? Why not serve your guests a few options, like a chocolate log or frozen cheesecake?