This week for Thrifty Christmas Thursday I am focusing on the vegetables. Vegetables can often be forgotten, but on any Christmas dinner they also take centre stage.
We all know about the traditional Christmas vegetables and have all seen the Christmas cook spending all Christmas morning in the kitchen preparing the big meal. So today I am going to give you my top tips on how you, the cook, can leave the kitchen and enjoy Christmas day with your family safe in the knowledge that all of the food is prepared and will be easy to cook.
The vegetables which I am going to feature today are...
On the run up to Christmas Aldi will be stocking plenty of pre prepared vegetables and trimmings to make life easier such as...
But if you are trying to save even more money a lot of dishes can be pre prepared and even cooked before the big day! Let me give you my tips for all of the vegetables and trimmings that are on the menu above...
Roast potatoes are a must have for Christmas dinner. To make them extra special for the big day my family always ask me to cook ours using goose fat. Goose fat gives the potatoes extra flavour and makes them super crispy! Roast potatoes can be made in advance and frozen until they are needed. Simply boil the potatoes until they are starting to soften, then drain. Return the potatoes to the pan, over a low heat to remove any left over water and move the potatoes until they start to fluff up a bit. Place the potatoes into a pre heated oven at 200C in goose fat and roast for 45 minutes or until golden brown. These can then be frozen until needed. To reheat place in the oven at 180C and heat for about 30 minutes or until thoroughly thawed and hot.
If you would like to make life even easier you can simply buy a bag of Aldi's Goose Fat Roast Potatoes. These potatoes have been an instant hit in our house. Since I first served them a couple of weeks ago I have been asked for them again and again! They really are a delicious potato and they only require 45 minutes in the oven! Priced at just £1.29 they will be a great addition to your Christmas dinner. As they are frozen you can buy them in advance and keep them for when you want to use them.
Potato and Pea Mash
Potato and pea mash is a great way to get some added goodness into your children. As the peas are mashed into the potato you will find that you will have no worries about them leaving the peas on their plates. I like to add peas but most vegetables can be added as long as they have been cooked until soft enough to mash. You can find my potato and pea mash recipe here.
I will admit to not being a fan of Brussels sprouts. But I have created a dish that will convert even the children. I wanted to add a few different ingredients that I knew would compliment the Brussels sprouts and make them a little sweeter to the taste. I don't know about in your house, but in ours Brussels sprouts always seen to be the vegetables that end up left in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. That is why, this year, I have gone for frozen Brussels sprouts. I can simply get out the sprouts that I need and keep the rest in the freezer for another meal! What is even better is the price, you get 1kg of Brussels Sprouts for just 89p!
With our sprouts this year I will be adding in red onions, bacon, chestnuts, cranberries and topped it with pomegranate seeds. I will be telling you exactly how to make this delicious dish, that even our 3 year old daughter would not leave alone, next week, so keep an eye out for it!
Broccoli and Cauliflower
The easiest way and healthiest way to cook broccoli and cauliflower has to be by steaming it. You simply leave it in the steamer to cook and while it is cooking you can spend time with your family. You can also add a little cheese sauce to revamp the classic cauliflower cheese.
Peas, Sweetcorn and Carrots
Forget sitting and peeling and chopping carrots for everyone on Christmas day. Aldi have a great range of frozen foods and I selected this microwave steam tub of peas, sweetcorn and carrots to feature. To cook all three vegetables all you need is 5 minutes in the microwave! Yes that is all! It is cooked from frozen so there is no need to take it out to defrost. There is plenty to go round for everyone and the vegetables were so sweet and delicious.
Honey Roasted Parsnips
I love honey roasted parsnips, how the honey caramelises along with the sweet root vegetables flavours are just perfect. To make honey roasted parsnips really are not that difficult. They are prepared the same way as the roasted potatoes. Par boil until they are starting to soften then placed in an oven pre heated to 200C and left to roast, drizzled in honey for 45 minutes. However if you prefer the easier option, Aldi will be stocking fresh, pre prepared honey and mustard roasted parsnips on the run up to Christmas!
Now on to the trimmings. Sauces are an essential part of Christmas dinner.
I adore fresh champagne infused cranberry sauce. This is a sauce that my mum makes and I will have to share how she makes it closer to the time. The sauce is perfect and with the added champagne before serving it still has a slight fizz to the tongue. Aldi have created their own Specially Selected Cranberry Sauce with a sweet and tangy taste containing lovely plump cranberries.
A good stuffing goes hand in hand with a good roast dinner and Christmas dinner is no exception. However, do not worry, you do not need to splash out on expensive, speciality stuffing. I am going to tell you how you can make a regular stuffing into a festive stuffing. All you need to do is add some cranberries and chopped chestnuts to your stuffing mix!
Before my first Christmas with my husband I will admit that I had never had bread sauce before. But now it is an essential sauce for Christmas dinner. I must also admit that I have never made bread sauce before that is why I always buy it. I was delighted to see that Aldi will be stocking a Specially Selected Bread Sauce from 19th December and it will be priced at just £1.49!
Pigs in Blankets
When it comes to pigs in blankets we always go for small cocktail size sausages wrapped in bacon. I always cook more than I need and I can guarantee that by the end of the day they will be all gone! After Christmas dinner they make the perfect finger food for nibbling when you are not hungry enough for a meal but want to snack. Aldi now stock their own Specially Selected Pork Sausages Wrapped in Bacon for just £2.29.
So now we have the meat and vegetables sorted. Next up it has to be the puddings and sweet treats! I have already got a pile of cakes, chocolates and puddings ready to share with you next week! I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you then!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.