Get prepared this Christmas with our tasty Christmas meal plan. We’ve even worked out how to plan your days in the lead-up to December 25 to make Xmas Day special. Once you sort out the menu, share the load and allocate some dishes to your guests. Make it easier by also including a link to the recipes.
Christmas Day can be hectic, so moving most of the food prep to the days before the big event can really reduce stress.
We’ve designed a tasty menu with something for everyone. The important thing is to ask other family members or friends to do some of the cooking for you. A great way is to send them the recipes, so you don’t double up on salads or meats.
If you have a large group of people, then a glazed ham is a great option for feeding a crowd. If you are a smaller group, you can buy a half bone and simply serve it at room temperature. Oven space is also at a premium on the day, so if you are planning on glazing the ham, cooking a turkey breast and roasting potatoes, you’ll need to think through how to manage multiple items over the day.
When planning for the volume of food, most people notoriously over cater and throw away a lot of food. If you work on the basis of allowing about 200–250 grams / ½ pound of protein (meat/seafood) per person, there should be plenty without leaving too much to waste.
We also recommend a more substantial canapé rather than multiple dips, antipasto, and nuts. Offer it early enough to buy some time to prepare for serving the rest of the meal.
Our showstopper dessert can be prepared up to a week in advance and frozen, or you can simply offer beautiful fresh stone fruit and cheese. Nothing says Christmas like fresh cherries, so a beautiful bowl filled with cherries can sit happily on the table as a decoration and for consumption all day.
- Caramelised onion and goats’ cheese tarts
- Seafood platter
- Glazed ham
- Christmas turkey breast
- Roast potatoes
- Salads: Radicchio and oak leaf salad, Asparagus, salted ricotta and nectarine salad
- Bread rolls
- Condiments, such as mustards, chutneys, cranberry sauce and pickles
- Chocolate hazelnut semifreddo
- Cheese platter
TWO WEEKS OUT
- Order your ham and/or turkey in advance.
ONE WEEK OUT
- Purchase the seafood for the seafood platter, the pantry items (condiments), ingredients for the tarts and the cheese platter, and semifreddo ingredients.
- Make the dessert and leave in the freezer until ready to serve on Xmas day.
TWO DAYS BEFORE
- Shop for any remaining ingredients for the salads, watercress, bread, berries and fruit for the cheese platter.
- Pick up the ham and/or turkey. Measure your oven before you go to check you can fit the glazed ham into it. If it is going to be a tight squeeze, ask the butcher to saw off the knuckle so the ham will fit in your oven.
- Once home from the butcher, check whether you can fit the ham and the turkey into the oven at the same time or not. It will mean you might have to allow time on Xmas Day to cook them separately.
- Caramelise the onions for the tarts. Cut the pastry rounds and refrigerate.
THE DAY BEFORE
- If having roast potatoes, par boil the potatoes the day before.
- Make the stuffing for the turkey.
- Score and stud the ham.
- Steam the asparagus for the nectarine salad.
- Collect up glassware, cutlery, crockery, platters, chairs you need to borrow for the event. A great job for a teenager.
- Work out how you are going to chill any drinks. Get the esky out and clean it off.
- Set the table the night before (or first thing on the day).
ON THE DAY
- If needed, go the service/gas station for ice to chill the drinks.
- Put the condiments and any flowers in vases on the table.
- Roast the potatoes first up, as oven space will be at a premium close to serving. You’ll need to heat them again just before lunch to reheat.
- Assemble and cook the caramelised onion and goats’ cheese tarts. Set aside and serve at room temperature.
- Cook the glazed ham and the turkey in the oven together or separately, based on space.
- Assemble the seafood platter.
- Assemble the salads when you return the potatoes into the oven.
- Put half of each salad and put one out a time. Only dress the portions of the salads you are serving.
- Stand at the table and slice the ham for the guests if serving.
- Clear the table and stack in the dishwasher if you have one.
- Have a kris kringle or some other break after mains before serving dessert.
- Place the dessert in the centre of the table or on the buffet or kitchen island bench and serve individual portions.
- If serving the cheese platter and fresh fruit, place on the table alongside the dessert.
- Ham and bean fritters with leftover ham
- Pasta carbonara using diced ham
- Pea and ham soup with the bone
- Vietnamese chicken salad using any leftover turkey
Gift the PlanBuyCook meal planning app to your friends and family this Christmas, available for iPhone and iPad. See how below: