I’ve cooked and frozen Christmas dinner for my family a month in advance – it saves time on the big day and I’m convinced it tastes better
- Claire Gillies, 45, from Harpenden, has cooked her Christmas feast already
- Read More: Marion Grasby shares her tips for a easy budget Christmas dinner
A mother prepared for all eventualities has revealed that she’s prepared her Christmas feast over a month in advance – meaning that she only has one thing to cook on the big day.
Claire Gillies, 45, from Harpenden, has already prepared everything she needs bar the turkey for Christmas Day so she can spend as much time as possible with her loved ones – and she reckons some of the elements taste even better when they’re prepared in advance.
Claire revealed she’s made and frozen her gravy, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, homemade cranberry sauce, as well as pigs and blankets and even mince pies. And it’s a tradition she’s been following for a while.
Claire explained: ‘It started when my husband and I got our first house, we had a very small kitchen, and I didn’t have enough space to cook everything on Christmas Day – then I just realised how much easier it made my life.’
There’s another benefit to Claire’s ultra-slick preparation – as it leaves her with significantly less washing up to do on December 25.
Claire Gillies, 45, from Harpenden, has revealed that she’s cooked her Christmas feast over a month in advance – meaning that she has nothing to make on the big day
While people questioned how good her potatoes would be cooked from frozen, Claire has found that in her experience it makes absolutely no difference to their quality.
Claire said she’s reaped the rewards of being ahead of the game at Christmas and said it meant she got to spend more time with her children when they were younger.
The mother, who helps others meal plan through her business Delicious and Real, said: ‘When the children were little, it meant that I wasn’t tied to the kitchen – I could be there opening presents with them and we could go for a dog walk on Christmas morning.
‘I write down all the timings too. I make a list, which saves me time when it comes to defrosting everything I need.
‘So the turkey just goes in the oven and it cooks. Then I’ll take the turkey out and let it rest. While it’s resting, I will cook everything else. So there is actually no prep to do on Christmas Day. It is just a case of heating up and cooking things.
‘I think with some things like mince pies and cranberry sauce, they actually taste better when they are prepared so far in advance.
‘As for potatoes, it’s the same kind of concept as when you have triple-cooked chips. You stop the cooking process when you freeze them. I can’t tell the difference between roast potatoes that I have done this way and those I’ve made on the day.
She has already prepared everything she needs bar the turkey for Christmas day so she can spend as much time as possible with her loved ones (Brussel sprouts prepped for Christmas dinner)
Pigs in blankets ready for the festive season that she will freeze on the runup to Christmas day
Claire even par boiled the potatoes before freezing them and she said she can’t tell the difference between normal or frozen roast potatoes
Claire even prepped the mincemeat ready for Christmas and she separated them out into jars
Pastry ready to go for Christmas day, so all Claire has to do on the day is scoop the prepared mincemeat into the cups
Claire even prepped her gravy ahead of the big day and froze it in a silicone container
‘I’ve been cooking Christmas dinner in this way ever since I began entertaining at Christmas.
‘I’m very lucky that my mother-in-law makes a starter and my mum makes a dessert. I’m just in charge of the main dinner.
‘With the exception of the turkey, everything else I literally just heat up so there’s no peeling, chopping, or boiling, so there’s less washing up to do as well at the end of Christmas too.’
Claire’s top five tips for anyone looking to be a super prepper this Christmas:
1. Free up space in your freezer so you have room for your feast – use up everything in the lead-up to the big day
2. Label everything because some things might end up looking different once they’ve been frozen
3. Invest in good quality-containers and bags
She advised: ‘I would invest in some good containers and bags to to put your food in in the freezer.
‘I’m a big fan of silicone bags because I found that when I used free takeaway containers, they shattered when I dropped them on the floor – they’re not necessarily freezer-safe.
‘But with good quality bags, you can literally squish them into a space in your freezer in a way you can’t with containers.’
4. Cook your potatoes and carrots in a hot oil
Claire said: ‘If you want them to be really crispy, make sure your oil is hot before you add your potatoes and carrots to it.’
5. Make a list of timings
Claire added: ‘Just spend a few minutes writing down your timings for the day. That way you won’t realise that you’ve left something in the microwave or you’ve forgotten to get something out of the fridge to cook.
‘You want to serve the food that you’ve spent all that time preparing!’
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