In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is nearly upon us. I do have a festive meal plan, but it gets awfully loose after Boxing Day as I will need to factor in leftovers at that point.
I hate food waste, so I want to make sure everything is either used or portioned up and frozen.
As I am intending to have an extremely frugal January (in fact, I am doing a no spend month) using up food in this way will enable me to stick to my minuscule budget.
It’s all in the planning
I planned for Christmas and set a budget. However, I have gone over my expected spend on food. This is because I don’t usually have a big gathering here at Shoestring Cottage and think I under-estimated the cost.
I have kept track of everything I have spent on my Christmas spreadsheet. This will help to plan for future Christmases and means that I know the real cost of the season.
Although I don’t go as crazy as many folk do, looking at the what I have spent has made me determined to trim it down a bit next year. I think I can do this by starting a bit earlier with food prep and maybe shaving a little off the amount I spend on each person’s gift. In the end it is only a couple of days and I truly believe you can have a brilliant time without breaking the bank.
I have decided not to kill myself trying to make everything from scratch. Life is so busy at the moment so I have cut corners all over the place. I want to have as relaxing a Christmas as possible.
This is our festive meal plan for the week:
We have been invited to our friends’ house, so no food needed . As I am late with my festive meal plan, this has been and gone. We had a lovely time and Mr S ended up a little the worse for wear. He is getting too old for tequila slammers, followed by sloe gin and then port!!
I was designated driver, so I am bright-eyed and bushy tailed (smug face).
DD3’s vegan boyfriend is paying us a flying visit on his way up to see his mum in Northumberland. Tonight we will be having Nigel Slater’s casserole of chestnuts, parsnips and mushrooms.
I have made this a few times before and it’s really delicious. The butter can easily be replaced with oil or vegan margarine. Mashed potatoes with this and maybe some peas.
I am cheating on the pudding. The Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix is so reliable and speedy that I often make it when I don’t have a lot of time. I have read that if you replace the eggs with cola it works just the same, so I am going to give it a go.
We have some Oatly creme fraiche to go with the cake.
Some kind of pasta meal, possibly tuna penne with black olives with broccoli.
Tuesday: Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve! I had intended to do an easy and comforting dinner of sausages, mash and veg – with lots of gravy, of course. However, I think my daughters have other ideas so might just leave it to them and see what appears.
We have any left over chocolate cake or mince pies and Oatly creme fraiche for dessert.
Incidentally, I bought Aldi’s sloe gin mince tarts and had to go back for more. They are delicious! I really recommend them if you can’t be bothered to make your own, like me!
Wednesday: Christmas Day
We were seriously considering a vegan nut roast of maybe Sarah Brown’s cashew and mushroom roast for our Christmas dinner. It is only me and Mr S as the girls are at their dad’s.
However, as I am doing a big buffet for my meat eating family on Boxing Day and will need some cold cuts anyway, we decided on a turkey. So a traditional Christmas dinner for us: turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, broccoli cheese, roast root veg and Yorkshire puddings.
Dessert will be, -you guessed it – Christmas pudding and mince pies with custard.
The girls will all be around for breakfast. We always have a big fry up so will go with tradition. If anyone wants food in the evening, we will get out some salads, cold meat and bread.
I know from experience that we won’t eat much at all in the evening and will probably munch on a few chocolates whilst watching Gavin and Stacey!
Thursday: Boxing Day
A buffet day for all the family – 21 of them. It’s going to be a squeeze as our house isn’t very big, but after a few sherries no one will care.
Items planned for the buffet: cold roast turkey, cold roast ham (I am going to cook it using this recipe with a honey and mustard glaze), green salad, pasta, feta and mozzarella salad, jacket potatoes, coleslaw, winter carrot salad, baguettes, various cheeses and dips, crackers, vegetable pasta bake, pickles, etc.
Desserts will include: Nigella’s chocolate rocky road (these are divine!), a ‘Nanny trifle’, made by my mum, a fruit pavlova, mince pies, the delicious looking chocolate and salted caramel sticky toffee sponge I found in Aldi and various cakes that are likely to be hanging around.
My family are all bringing a contribution for the buffet and some drinks, so that will help to keep the cost down.
Off to Mr S’s nieces house for dinner, so no need to worry about food. We will try to sneak in some of our leftovers as a contribution if possible…
I will make sure we portion up and freeze any left over cold meat on Boxing Day evening and then plan how to eat anything else within a few days. As I said, I don’t want any food waste!
So that’s my festive meal plan for the week. No huge surprises or controversial choices here! What are you planning for the Christmas week? Are you going for broke or staying within budget?