Have you left the planning for your Christmas menu as late as I’ve left this post?? Well here’s a stress free Christmas menu for you! 7 dishes for a Christmas Feast that takes just 1 1/2 hours to prepare. Everything can be prepared in advance and reheats wonderfully, without compromising on crispiness or the meat drying out! I’ve included steps for the order in which to prepare each dish, how and when to reheat etc.
I love to host parties because I love spending quality time with my family and friends plus (this will surprise you…..) I love to cook. But no matter how good my intentions are to plan ahead, I always end up changing my mind at the last minute and scrambling to get organised. People think I’m an organised person – I have lists and lists of lists. But I always end up changing those lists at the last moment!
Such is how this menu evolved. Though I was not hosting an annual Christmas get together with my friends this year, I offered to provide the mains and sides. I told my friends I would keep it simple – something to slap on the BBQ and a few salads. But then the festive spirit hit me.
“Though the cook time for some of these is long, it is low maintenance – no basting and no turning is required.”
No matter how much festive spirit I had, the fact was that it was the day before the party and I had limited shopping and preparation time. And every dish had to be “make ahead” without compromising on flavour or losing crispy skins!
I like this menu because there’s a nice flow to making it. The total active prep time is only 1 1/2 hours and the baking time is very low maintenance – no basting, no turning.
“I was very deliberate with my selection of ingredients to make this cost efficient.”
Here’s a snapshot of what I made. If you scroll down you’ll see photos of each of them.
- Easy Maple Sticky Glazed Ham (15 min prep, 1 – 1 1/2 hrs inactive baking, can be made ahead)
- Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (5 min prep, then set and forget, reheats well but best slow cooked overnight on the night before serving)
- Festive Duck with Apple Cider Drizzle (5 min prep, 1 1/2 hr inactive baking, reheats very well)
- Pork Apple Stuffing in Pancetta Cups (20 min prep and worth every second. Reheats extremely well)
- Julia Child’s Potato Dauphinoise Gratin (15 min prep, 45 min baking, reheats very well)
- Red, Green and White Christmas Salad (10 minutes prep)
- Warm Red Cabbage and Spinach with Garlic Herb Butter (10 minutes prep)
“You just need to commit yourself for 1 1/2 hours. Your kitchen will look like a hurricane swept through it. But I promise, it’s worth it!”
Step by Step Work Flow
Day Before (Active Prep 1 hr 15 min)
- Prepare and bake the Easy Maple Sticky Glazed Ham first. (15 min prep)
- Prepare the Potato Dauphinois Gratin (15 min) and the Pork Apple Stuffing in Pancetta Cups (20 min), ready to pop in the oven.
- When the ham is done, bake the Potato Dauphinois Gratin, then the Pork Apple Stuffing in Pancetta Cups. You can do them at the same time (the stuffing will come out first) but it will increase the cooking time.
- Blanch the vegetables for the Red, Green and White Christmas Salad and make the dressing. (10 min prep)
- Cut up the vegetables for the Warm Red Cabbage and Spinach with Garlic Herb Butter and make the garlic herb butter, ready to sauté just before serving (which only takes a few minutes). (10 min prep)
- Evening – season the Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and set the slow cooker to cook overnight. (5 min prep)
- Rinse the duck, pat dry and place in the fridge (uncovered) to dry so you get really crispy skin.
On the Day (Active Prep 15 min)
- Prepare the Festive Duck with Apple Cider Drizzle (5 min) and roast.
- Remove turkey from the slow cooker and place onto a heatproof serving dish. Cover loosely with foil.
- Make the Turkey Gravy (5 min) and Apple Cider Drizzle for the Festive Duck (5 min).
- Take the salad dressing, ham and potato dauphinois out of the fridge a few hours before serving to bring to room temperature.
- Take the stuffing cups out of the fridge about 30 minutes before reheating.
Prior to Serving
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Cover the potato dauphinois with foil and place in the oven with the ham.
- Cover the turkey with cling wrap and microwave on LOW per recipe instructions.
- Dress and finish the Red, Green and White Christmas Salad.
- Sauté the Warm Red Cabbage and Spinach with Garlic Herb Butter.
- When the potato and ham are warmed through, pop the stuffing cups in the oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
- Depending on when you roasted the duck, you can pop that in with the stuffing cups to reheat / recrisp the skin.
- When the stuffing cups are crispy, switch to the grill/broiler. Place turkey breast under the grill/broiler to crisp up the skin.
- Warm up the Turkey Gravy and Apple Cider Drizzle.
SERVE, EAT AND BE MERRY!!
Easy Maple Sticky Glazed Ham – insanely easy to make and cost efficient with a super sticky and glossy skin. A fantastic centrepiece for any festive gathering!
Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast – a surefire way for your turkey breast to come out juicy and moist. Only 5 minutes prep! Plus how to make an incredible, rich gravy using the slow cooker juices.
Festive Duck with Apple Cider Drizzle – just 5 minutes to prep a duck to roast it to crispy perfection! Reheats perfectly, juicy inside with crispy skin. Far easier to roast than chicken!
Pork Apple Stuffing in Pancetta Cups – this was by far the star of the Christmas party I catered for. Everybody went nuts over these – the men, the women AND the kids!
Julia Child’s Potato Dauphinoise Gratin – creamy potato bake by the Queen of French cooking. A great alternative to roast potatoes because it’s perfect for making ahead.
Red, Green and White Christmas Salad – all the colours of Christmas! This salad is perfect for making ahead.
Warm Red Cabbage and Spinach with Garlic Herb Butter – I love the bright colours of this salad! The garlic herb butter makes the humble cabbage irresistible.