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Thread: 1st Time Cooking Christmas Dinner!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    :tree: 1st Time Cooking Christmas Dinner!!

    Hi all,

    I wonder if anyone has any advice on best practice and best recipes for cooking Christmas dinner for the first time?

    I am very soon to move in with my partner and it will be both of our first christmas' away from home and I somewhat naively offered to cook dinner for us and 6 other family members, so 8 in total. I have never cooked a christmas dinner, but am not a complete novice either, the kitchen in our house is rather small too, so i don't have a lot of space for preparation and only one oven!

    I want to cook a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings (having been a vegetarian for 20 of my 25 years i am not 100% of what 'all the trimmings' includes) so please do post any help or suggestions you may have, it would be most appreciated.

    Thanks x

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Use a cooking bag for your turkey! then you can make stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans , yams, and cranberry sauce. It is not hard just time consuming!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    The Holiday Worlds of Old
    I'm not sure what the traditional trimmings are in the UK, but here is an article about what to cook for Christmas dinner:

    The foods are divided into sections (Main Course, Sides, etc.) and there is a link to each recipe. Best of luck with your entertaining!
    Bob, Forum Moderator

  4. #4
    A cooking bag for the turkey makes it soooooooo simple and worry free, plus all your juices are contained. I always use a cooking bag.

    Also to be able to make some dishes that need to be in the oven and it's not possible when the turkey is in the oven, I use my Crock Pot. I put my green bean casserole in the crock pot and if I'm having another veggie like corn, I put it in my other crock pot. (I love my crock pots) I have put my mashed potatoes in the crock pot to keep them warm while I'm preparing the rest of the dinner.

    Don't forget the Pumpkin Pie or if you are not into making pies, you can make Pumpkin Bars or
    Pumpkin Roll. And the whipped topping for the pie topper.

  5. #5


    I'm from the UK
    We have: Turkey, Stuffing, Roast potatoes, Brussell sprouts, pigs in blankets (sausage wrapped in bacon with a sage leaf) Winter mash & peas, I also love bread sauce.
    Turkey crown is the easiest option, easy to carve and they are in all the supermarkets. They also don't look too much like a bird so easier for you to handle.
    For your roast veg get a tin of goose fat, it makes amazing roast potatoes.Tescos have it in already for £2.99 and it lasts for 2 months in the fridge once opened so you can use it again.
    Brussel sprouts are not everyones favorites but if you panfry bacon bits and poor over they are yummy. (you can do them on the hob)
    I make winter mash with carrots, swede and a small potato, very yummy.
    Hope that helps

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Columbia-South Carolina
    I use my own recipes & alot of them I've posted on "ALL RECIPES" it's a great site that uses a rating search for the easiest & best recipes to below for thier christmas page with everything you'll need to know..If you need anything let me know......

    Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. Merry Christmas from my home to yours.
    Theresa, Ron & Nolan & Misty the cat

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Back home again in Indiana
    I'm not traditional about Christmas menus, but my mother was. She made a roast turkey with bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, peas or green beans, jellied cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray), fresh celery hearts with the leaves attached, and a couple of pies (always Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie --- recipe on the can of pumpkin; and sometimes mincemeant pie).

    Basic Bread Stuffing
    1/4 cup finely chopped onions
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1/3 cup butter
    4 cups bread cubes
    1 teaspoon pepper
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground sage (go easy the first time you try it)
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    turkey or chicken broth
    Sauté onion and celery in the butter until softened. Combine onion mixture with bread, pepper, eggs, salt, sage and poultry seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Stir in broth until well moistened. Enough for an 8 to 10-pound turkey. Or, bake in a greased covered shallow casserole at 325° for about 35 to 45 minutes. Take the cover off the last 5 minutes to brown.

    My mother served the same thing every year. She didn't use a recipe for the stuffing so some years it had too much seasoning and some not enough. But the rest of her meal was always excellent!

    HINT: There are two bags inside the turkey --- one at each end. Take both of them out. You can discard them if you're not interested in the giblets and the neck. Otherwise, you'll want to boil them to make broth.

    Look up online at to see how long you need to thaw the turkey in your refrigerator. DON'T THAW IT ON THE COUNTER! It isn't safe. It takes several days to thaw if it's a large turkey. So you won't want to wait till the very last minute to buy your bird.

    I hope all goes well.

    "Hail him who saves you by his grace,
    and crown him Lord of all."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Arlington VA USA (Across the bridge from Fantasyland)
    I'm new here, so for all I know I'm replying to a two year old post, but here I go.

    I've never made a whole Turkey, just the breast. (I've got a recipe for orange glazed Turkey breast if you want me to post it)
    Make as much ahead as possible. If you don't have a crockpot, I would invest in one (or 2).
    I found this recipe on another board for make ahead Turkey gravy. I haven't tried it myself, but it got rave reviews, and not having to worry about making gravy at the last minute is a huge plus.

    Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

    Planning Tip: Make up to 3 months ahead and freeze in an airtight container. Refrigerate 2 days to thaw. Reheat in a saucepan, whisking often.

    4 turkey wings (about 3 lb)
    2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
    1 cup water
    8 cups chicken broth
    3/4 cup chopped carrot
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 Tbsp stick butter or margarine
    1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

    1. Heat oven to 400°F. Have ready a large roasting pan.
    2. Arrange wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1 1/4 hours until wings are browned.
    3. Put wings and onions in a 5- to 6-qt pot. Add water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrot and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.
    4. Remove wings to cutting board. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.
    5. Strain broth into a 3-qt saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; skim fat off broth and discard (if time permits, refrigerate broth overnight to make fat-skimming easier).
    6. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until blended and smooth.
    7. Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3 to 4 minutes to thicken gravy and remove floury taste. Stir in butter and pepper. Serve, or pour into containers and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.

    Your guests will probably ask if they can bring anything. If they ask say yes.
    You probably know of a good Pastry shop where you can pick up cookies and dessert. A good Christmassy make ahead desert is trifle. I'm still not sure if I'm making a big dinner this year or not. I have to work Christmas day, but I'm thinking of making a nice dinner the Monday before. Im in Washington DC, and alot of the people I work with have no family in the area (myself inculded) so sometimes I host a Christmas dinner if I'm in town.
    Good luck with your dinner.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Freeze your Christmas meals!

    Good tip: some meals can be made in advance (3-4 weeks) and be frozen (they are as good as just made ones).
    You say you have a small kitchen so prepare them in advance, save the place and save time! It also permits to try your meals first and not take the risk to ruine one!
    Here are some examples of Christmas meals that can be frozen: pies, casseroles, pastry...

    Find the complete lists and the way to make them and freeze them on:

    Happy cooking!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Columbia-South Carolina
    The recipe site ALL RECIPES has a way to find fool proof recipes by looking for the highest rated on the site. I highly recommend it as I have my own recipes on there as well. Good luck!! I am going to post a few recipes on here for you in a bit.
    Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. Merry Christmas from my home to yours.
    Theresa, Ron & Nolan & Misty the cat

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