CHRISTMAS time can drain our bank accounts, but you don’t have to spend a fortune making a festive lunch to remember.
I’ve devised a delicious three-course menu that costs just £5 per person, or £20 for a family of four, and this feast scrimps on nothing so you will be stuffed as full as a turkey by the time you have finished.
Christmas time can drain our bank accounts, but today I’ve devised a delicious three-course menu that costs just £5 per person, or £20 for a family of fourCredit: Shutterstock
Even better, everything on my menu can be made ahead of time and froze1 n ready to go, meaning less time in the kitchen and more time with the family on the big day.
Give it a go – I promise you will never have to slave away in the kitchen on December 25 again.
Check out my weekly column next Tuesday for even more festive recipes you can make ahead of the big day.
Follow The Batch Lady on Instagram and Facebook @thebatchlady.
Give it a go – I promise you will never have to slave away in the kitchen on December 25 again, says The Batch LadyCredit: Ryan Ball
STARTER: Carrot and parsnip soup with French bread
MAIN: Roast chicken, pigs in blankets, carrots, potatoes and parsnips, shredded sprouts with onion and sage, Yorkshire puddings, gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce
DESSERT: Cranberry and mincemeat plait with double cream
SHOPPING LIST (for four people)
- 2 x 500g pack parsnips – 78p
- 6 carrots – 24p
- 2 cloves garlic – 8p
- 150ml tub double cream – 75p
- 1 French bread stick – 80p
- 4 medium white potatoes – 80p
- 4 chicken breasts – £3.60
- 400g Brussels sprouts – £2.50
- 2 onions – 20p
- 12 chipolatas – £1.74
- 12 rashers streaky bacon – £1.80
- 1 pint whole milk – 55p
- 1 sheet puff pastry – £1.10
- 1 egg – 15p
- 8 frozen Yorkshire puddings – 66p
- 100g frozen cranberries – 50p
- 6 tbsp olive oil – 30p
- 4 tsp dried sage – 28p
- 2 vegetable stock cubes – 10p
- 4 tbsp cranberry sauce – 30p
- 1 sachet bread sauce – 50p
- 170g pack sage and onion stuffing mix – 40p
- 3 tbsp chicken gravy granules – 15p
- 350g jar mincemeat – £1
- 1tsp demerara sugar – 5p
TOTAL: £19.33 (or less than £5 per person)
CARROT AND PARSNIP SOUP
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of double cream, before serving with French breadCredit: Alamy
- 500g parsnips
- 4 carrots
- Olive oil
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5litres vegetable stock (using 2 cubes)
- Splash of double cream
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Peel the parsnips and carrots and roughly chop.
- Add to a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season and sprinkle over the sage. Roast for 30 minutes, turning half way.
- Meanwhile, add a splash of oil to a large saucepan and add the diced onions and garlic. Cook until soft then remove from heat.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, remove from oven and add to the saucepan. Add stock and bring to the boil. When veggies are soft, remove from the heat and use a hand blender to blitz smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of double cream.
Ready to freeze: Leave soup to cool completely before adding to freezer bags and storing in the freezer.
Ready to cook: Allow to defrost. Reheat in a saucepan or microwave until piping hot. Serve with French bread.
Preparation time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Take out on Christmas Eve to defrost and cook on Christmas DayCredit: Getty
- Four chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Place the chicken breasts on a large sheet of tin foil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover over the top of the foil to create a parcel. Crimp the sides and place in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes, until cooked through.
Ready to freeze: Place the raw chicken breasts in the freezer.
Ready to Cook: Take out on Christmas Eve to defrost and cook on Christmas Day.
PIGS IN BLANKETS
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Wrap a bacon rasher around each chipolata to make pigs in blanketsCredit: Shutterstock
- 12 chipolatas
- 12 rashers streaky bacon
- Wrap a bacon rasher around each chipolata to make pigs in blankets, then put them in a freezer bag.
Ready to freeze: Place the bag in the freezer.
Ready to cook: Remove from the freezer and fully defrost, then place them on a baking tray and cook in the oven at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 20-25 minutes.
ROAST POTATOES, CARROTS AND PARSNIPS
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Add to a large baking tray, cover with oil, salt and pepper and mixCredit: Shutterstock
- 4 medium white potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 4 parsnips
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Wash and peel the potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Cut them all into similar sized chunks.
- Add to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Part boil the veg for 6-7 minutes until slightly cooked but not soft.
- Drain, then put them back in the saucepan and place on the heat for a minute or two to allow them to dry out.
- Add to a large baking tray, cover with oil, salt and pepper and mix.
Ready to freeze: Leave the veg to cool on a baking tray, then place it in the freezer to flash-freeze for one hour. Afterwards place the veg in a large freezer bag.
Ready to cook: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove the veg from the freezer, place on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes.
PAN-FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH ONION AND SAGE
Preparation time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Sprinkle in the sage and season, then cook for a further 2-3 minutesCredit: Shutterstock
- 400g Brussels sprouts
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried sage
- Remove the sprouts’ outer leaves and stalks and shred using a sharp knife. Set aside. Peel the onion and finely slice it.
- Add oil to a large, deep-sided frying pan and allow to heat.
- Add the shredded sprouts and onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Sprinkle in the sage and season, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Ready to freeze: Once cooled, place in a freezer bag and freeze.
Ready to cook: Defrost, then reheat in a microwave or saucepan until piping hot.
- Yorkshire puddings, gravy, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and stuffing should all be cooked as per packet instructions.
CRANBERRY AND MINCEMEAT PLAIT
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Place in the oven at 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4 for around 25-35 minutes until golden and serve with dollops of double creamCredit: Getty
- 1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
- 350g mincemeat
- 100g frozen cranberries
- 1 egg, beaten
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- Double cream, to serve
- Roll out the puff pastry on greaseproof paper. Spread mincemeat along the middle and sprinkle over cranberries, leaving a 2cm gap at ends.
- Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts every 2cm along the length of the pastry either side of filling.
- Fold in the ends and use them to secure the filling at top and bottom.
- Brush pastry edges with a beaten egg then start bringing the pastry strands into the centre, alternating sides so the pieces overlap to create a plait.
- Slide the plait (still on the paper) on to a baking tray. Brush all over with beaten egg and sprinkle over a little sugar.
- Bake at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 20-25 minutes.
Ready to freeze: Bring up the sides of the greaseproof paper to encase the uncooked plait and wrap in cling film. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze flat.
Ready to eat: Cook from frozen. Unwrap plait and place on a baking tray. Brush the top and sides with beaten egg. Place in the oven at 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4 for around 25-35 minutes until golden. Serve with dollops of double cream.
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