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Simply Veg saves Christmas!

Claire Wright

Veg Power Communications Manager and recipe creator Claire Wright shares our top tips to save you money, stress and time (and add a little more veg) this Christmas!

Food at Christmas is about so much more than Christmas lunch. If you’re not careful, you can be a slave to the kitchen conveyor belt and so much food can go to waste.

Simply Veg is all about eating a little more veg in a simple, affordable way. We’ve gathered some seasonal tips to show you how to save time, effort and money when it comes to Christmas food this year.

“How do I get the amount right so I don’t overspend or end up throwing food away?”

The single most important step you can take to be more Christmas savvy is to plan for it. Ask yourself:

How many people am I feeding?

Are there any dietary restrictions?

What are the foods I must have on my Christmas dinner table? What can be cut to save money and stress?

What is a portion and how many do I need? WRAP have a great guide on this here!

Check recipes to see how many servings it lists – most recipes can easily be halved if it’s too much! Order or go out and buy only what you need, and keep costs down. Over-ordering can lead to food waste and money in the bin, so a list is your best friend here!

“I feel like I miss so much of Christmas Day as I’m stuck in the kitchen!”

A delicious Christmas dinner is a lovely thing to share, and there are a lot of expectations wrapped up in it, but the first thing to remember is that a lot of it is hype and you don’t necessarily have to make 3 different sauces, stuffing, 4 different sides and all the trimmings. So don’t heap pressure on yourself and just pick a few things you will be able to make well.

Next, think about where you can cut corners. Perhaps you can save the hassle of loads of separate dishes and washing up with a one-tray Christmas dinner (or 2 trays if doubling) like this one or this one. Or perhaps you just want to take the stress out of sides with a one-tray trimmings dish.

Ask for help. If you have guests coming, ask them to bring the pudding, or a couple of sides, or drinks. It means less to think about, spend on and do on the day.

Finally, keep it simple! Veg sides are the easiest bit to simplify with options like pre-cut fresh or frozen veggies you can just pop on a tray with a little oil and salt to roast, picking just the simplest of sides that have barely any prep, or prepping in advance by trimming sprouts, cutting root veggies, or slicing cabbage.

“I’ve barely finished tidying up Christmas lunch and the kids are already asking what’s for tea!”

After all the kitchen stress of Christmas dinner, it is best to have a simple tea. Either prep ahead or buy some ready prepped crudités veg and dips. Maybe put out a little cheese and crackers as well. Keep it light, minimal in prep, and easy. Something you can pull out of the fridge and put straight on the table.

“After a day of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Boxing Day is get back in the kitchen!”

Boxing Day kitchen stress is best avoided one of two ways: prep ahead or use your leftovers. Prep ahead by batch cooking one of your favorite meals you are making in the few weeks before Christmas. Just double up and pop one in the freezer to pull out for thawing and cooking through.

Leftovers from Christmas Day can be served as is (most are just as good cold as reheated to piping hot), or popped in a sandwich. Or you can grab a roll of puff pastry and put some leftover turkey, gravy and root veg in a pie dish with a sheet of puff pastry over and bake to create a simple leftovers pie if you like variety.

What to do with leftover turkey

Got more turkey than you know what to do with? Here are some of our favourites:

  • Wrap it – Try this leftover turkey wrap – it even uses up leftover veg and sauces, perfect for a Boxing day lunch.
  • Layer it – Who doesn’t love nachos? Try these turkey ones and serve with some shredded lettuce or avocado over the top for a little extra veg.
  • Mix it – Use up leftover turkey and veg with this turkey casserole to make a simple, but tasty (and different!) turkey meal of Christmas leftovers later in the week.

Find more ideas here.

“What if people pop round over the Christmas period and I need to offer them food?”

Try simple snack platters like crudités veg and dips, cheese and crackers with raw veg and fruit, or similar pre-prepped or minimal prep snack foods. If you need something more, Christmas leftovers or batch-cooking a couple of dinners in the weeks before Christmas just by doubling and freezing food makes it a cinch to feed people at short notice without needing to get back in the kitchen for ages!

“I made too much food – how do I avoid it going to waste?”

If you have a freezer, you can freeze cooked meat, root veg, stuffing and most sauces for a couple of months if you don’t want to throw away food but also can’t face eating the same food for the next week!

Make use of leftovers by shredding leftover meat and popping into sandwiches, salads, tacos or anywhere you would normally add cooked meat; re-use root veg in salads, reheated as a side to a new meal, or served with dips or chopped into sauces and stews; or pop mixed leftovers into a pie if you are feeling a little more creative.

Other tips for a veg-packed, smart Christmas:

1

Check use-by dates

2

Plan for after Christmas as well as the day itself

Swap with friends or neighbours

Pick veg that cook in similar times

Simple Sprouts

Sprouts don’t have to be boiled until soft and pungent – convince the sprout skeptics with one of these simple sides:

Sprout slaw

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Simple roasted sprouts

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Pan-fried sprouts and bacon

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Find more tips here, here and here.

What are your favourite ways of saving time, money and stress over Christmas? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
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