Christmas Dinner That Won't Break the Bank

·5-min read

There's no denying the past year has been incredibly difficult for everyone and we all deserve to celebrate this Christmas time.

However, Christmas can also be an incredibly expensive time of the year.

And we know there might be some who won't be able to spend Christmas this year with loved ones due to having to isolate or trying to keep vulnerable people safe. You may be cooking a Christmas meal for the first time which could seem daunting.

We have therefore created a menu to cater for those that are budgeting or cutting back, are complete beginners, or both!

Our easy and fail-safe menu, clocks in under £4.50 per portion, meaning that everyone can enjoy the Christmas that they deserve this year.

Our prices were calculated week commencing 7th September, from tesco.com, however prices may be subject to change

The starter

For our budget friendly starter we have developed a Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Rye Crackers that costs only 86p per portion.

Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned

Starter Tips:

To make it as easy on yourself as possible, choose a starter that can be served cold or pre-made and then re-heated just before serving.

The cheapest starter options would be vegetarian recipes. Salads are a great option as a flavoursome dressing can be created by using minimal amounts of ingredients. If you do decide to use a cheese crumbled on top of you salad, choose a pungent one such as a blue cheese as you won't need to use much.

Soups are also a great choice as they are incredibly economical. Rather than serving with a slice of bread or bread roll, top with croutons instead as a little amount of bread goes along way when transformed into a crouton.

However, if you do choose to serve a fish or meat starter, try bulking out the recipe with a salad leaf or vegetable like we have in our smoked mackerel pâté.

The turkey

Avoid the daunting task of cooking an entire turkey by preparing our flavoursome Apricot and Sage Stuffed Turkey Breasts instead that costs only £1.49 per portion.

Photo credit: Mike English  - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned

Turkey Tips:

It's no secret that Turkey prices skyrocket over the festive period, especially if you're buying your turkey whole. Ordering a whole turkey from the butchers also requires organisation and forethought, often having to order at least 1 month in advance.

Cooking a whole turkey can also be fraught with issues. They take up lots of room in the oven, leaving little space for other dishes. They can easily dry out and are often overcooked for fear of serving raw meat to your guests, and are tricky to carve.

However, there are cheaper and easier options. Turkey breast portions or rolled turkeys are more economical as you're paying for the weight of just the meat rather than the carcass too. They take up less space in the oven, require less cooking time and have far less scope for going wrong.

The potatoes

No festive plate is complete without a potato. For ease, in our menu we have developed crispy potato stacks that get cooked in a muffin tin, meaning that they don't need basting so can just get left to do their thing in the oven. Plus they come in at just 26p per portion.

Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned

Potato Tips:

For a cheaper option, try using tinned potatoes rather than fresh, which might sound strange, but trust us, these buttery potatoes are cooked in a much shorter time.

The choice of fat you cook your potatoes in will also impact the price. Cooking your potatoes in sunflower or vegetable will be the cheapest, but you can also do 50/50 oil and butter or oil and duck fat to keep the cost down.

The vegetables

For our easy, budget friendly vegetable sides we have a jazzy Brussels Sprout and Cranberry Gratin, costing 77p per portion and a creamy, sweet and earthy Swede, Carrot and Apple Mash at only 45p per portion.

Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned

Vegetable Tips:

Vegetables will always be cheapest when they're in season. Around Christmas time carrots, Brussel sprouts and cabbage are all in season so would be a great choice to serve to your guests.

To make your veggies go a little further to feed more people, try a mixed vegetable mash instead of roasted vegetables. This will also leave more room in your oven as it's done on the hob. There is also no risk of over cooking your veg and serving a floppy green bean!

If you do want to roast your veg, try a root veg traybake. This means you only need to keep your eye on one set of vegetables that all cook at the same rate and only uses one tray to maximise space in your oven.

The dessert

Dessert can still be decadent on a budget and we have proved this with our delicious Meringue Nest Wreath with Plum and Mascarpone that costs only 53p per portion.

Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Mike English - Hearst Owned

Dessert Tips:

For ease and speed, try using shop bought dessert bases such as pastry cases or meringue nests. Adding citrus zest to dairy products such as mascarpone or creme fraiche will easily elevate a topping with minimal ease. For added flavour on a budget, use jarred spices or a drizzle of chocolate.

A no-bake dessert will also make it a lot easier on yourself as you can get it ready ahead of the big day and present already prepared.

To keep the cost of a dessert down, fruit based recipes are the way to go and to make sure they're even more budget friendly, use tinned fruit. If using tinned fruit, don't waste the syrup or fruit juice they're preserved in. Heat the liquid in a pan to reduce slightly, leave to cool and use as a syrup.

The gifts

To keep the cost down on presents, why not try making your gifts this year. They feel so much more personal and heartfelt.

Edible gifts can also be batch baked or made ahead, making it very easy for you to always have a gift ready to give away to a loved one at hand.

We have a whole host of DIY festive gift ideas, from stollen crinkle biscuits to gingerbread cream liqueur!

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