Affordable Christmas dinner guide
Published 16 December 2014 by Hayley Cox
Don’t spend more than you have to on your Christmas dinner. We’ll show you ways you can save money, without compromising on taste.
There’s just days to go before December 25th, and while you may have been organised and finished all your Christmas shopping, put up your tree and even wrapped all your gifts, there’s still one thing to sort – Christmas dinner.
The thing is, turkey and all the trimmings can be expensive – especially when you add the starters, desserts and drinks too. But while you may want to save money, that probably doesn’t mean you want to scrimp on taste – this is a meal many people look forward to all year, after all.
Good Housekeeping recently revealed that, providing you’re willing to shop around, it’s possible to buy Christmas dinner for the equivalent of £2.66 a head. This is quite the bargain – especially if you’re planning to host a feast for your extended family and friends.
However, some Christmas food items are not yet available in store, and others have already sold out – or are going fast. We’ve compiled a list of the ingredients we think add up to one of the most economical AND tasty Christmas dinners going.
(All prices correct at time of writing, 12/12/2014)
Christmas dinner is renowned for being on the heavy side – but that’s no reason to forgo a starter! If you’re on a budget, a simple slice of honeydew melon is a good choice – and it’s light too. We found this whole one priced at just £1.39 at Aldi – and there may even be some left over to chop up into a fruit salad for your Boxing Day spread.
Another cheap and cheerful starter option is soup. Covent Garden Soup is usually on offer in the run-up to Christmas, so why not get a carton of a flavour you fancy for £1 at Morrisons? You can then add some chopped up parsnips and carrots to bulk it out.
For the main
To save money you could go small and buy a chicken or small turkey. You might even find your family prefers chicken to turkey, as often turkey can be a little on the dry side.
If you would prefer to splash out on a large turkey, you could have food for a week if you keep the leftovers. Bernard Matthews have 25 great turkey leftover recipes for you to try, including turkey spring rolls with cranberry dipping sauce and turkey stroganoff with soured cream. The recipes also use up leftover potatoes and veggies, so make sure you don’t throw them out on the big day!
And if your family aren’t keen on turkey or chicken then you could consider having beef, lamb, pork or duck instead. Frozen joints tend to be cheaper, but don’t forget to defrost them in advance.
When it comes to roast potatoes, you could make your own or opt for pre-packaged. If you’ve got better things to be doing on Christmas morning than peeling potatoes, a pack of roast potatoes in goose fat from Aldi (£1.99) might be just up your street.
To save money on your pigs in blankets, rather than buying them premade, have a go at making your own using full size sausages and streaky bacon. You could decide to cut each sausage in half to make them the traditional size or, if your family love pigs in blankets, serve them full sized.
Veg-wise, don’t feel under pressure to have every vegetable under the sun. If you bought bags of parsnips and carrots for your soup starter you can use the leftovers, alongside one or two other vegetables. Don’t be afraid to choose family favourites over ‘traditional’ Christmas vegetables. If your kids hate sprouts why not opt for sweetcorn or peas instead?
If you have the extended family coming to you for Christmas why not ask them to bring the condiments, like apple sauce, cranberry sauce or bread sauce? You are providing the main meal so it is only right that they contribute something.
Gravy-wise you could make your own or Asda have packets of premade gravy for £1. This year’s Christmas taste tests by Good Housekeeping Magazine declared the best stuffing to be Asda’s Extra Special Honey and Rosemary Parcels (£3 for 6), with Morrisons’ Signature Festive Fruit (£2.99 for 6) in second place.
If you want to be traditional, Tesco Finest* 9 month Matured Cherry Topped Christmas pudding (£4 for 454g) was named the best Christmas pudding by Good Housekeeping Magazine, closely followed by the Co-op Truly Irresistible Christmas Pudding, (£5 for 454g.) If you want to serve it with brandy sauce then it’ll cost at least £1.85, but serve Tesco’s Everyday Value custard (17p) instead and you’ll save £1.68.