Planning Christmas Dinner for One, 2017!

Xmas Preparations Tree Chocolate Santa

Planning Christmas for one brings the harsh reality – you can’t eat everything you like the look of 🙂  You can’t have all the chocolates, all the crisps, every cake on the adverts, all the side dishes, the desserts, the party food, the nibbles, the drinks, the treats ….  not ALL of them.

If you’re planning Christmas for more than one person, especially if you’ve a crowd of 4-12 to plan for, it’s easier as you can just buy loads of great food, treats, nibbles ….. everything everybody wants – because there will always be somebody to eat it, or somebody to thrust leftovers at.

Inside my head is a myriad of options, choices, old favourites and new adverts, swirling around … and my experiences from last year to draw upon.  Last year I did my first Christmas for One, I thought I’d nailed it, but I realised I’d made some mistakes!  This year I’ll further hone the list of food and treats etc, working towards “the best Christmas for one” I can treat myself to!

Already I’ve told myself “no” to a chocolate Santa and a chocolate reindeer and swerved round the liqueurs … because I can’t eat everything just because it looks nice!

It’s All About ME!!

“It’s all about me!” – in an unselfish way … it’s a fact. Christmas for one means that YOU get to choose what’s important.  Everything from what you eat, to how you cook it.   There will be compromises along the way and you do have to rein in your ideas of “everything”, so you need to make a list and think/re-think and think again about everything!  Last year I was still eating frozen Brussels sprouts in mid summer!

What is Important?

The trouble is, all food at Christmas is important – and you can easily make a list as long as your arm of foods you’d love to have…. the reality though is that you’re going to have to buy the ingredients, then prep it all and cook it all, for what might be “just a taste” or “just a spoonful” – leaving a raft of leftovers in your wake.   For this reason you’ll have to choose to drop some foods off your list.

In all honesty, it’s not until an hour before I serve dinner that I’ll have finally decided exactly what I’m cooking!  I’m indecisive, that’s an understatement.

  • Turkey is important.  It’s Christmas, so it has to be turkey.  I’ve been toying with the idea that maybe I could “make do” with a £2.49 Frozen Chicken Breast Joint as they are “tasty enough” and smallish.  But I really DO like turkey, so I’ll accept that I’ll buy a turkey breast again this year.  Last year I bought Asda’s Frozen Turkey Breast Joint, 800 grams was close to the maximum size that would fit into my 3.5 litre slow cooker.  I will be cooking the turkey in the slow cooker again this year.
  • Roasties are important.  For me, though, they’re not “THAT important” – I like a good roast potato and I love roast parsnips …. but roast potatoes do take awhile to cook and I’ll be cooking all this in my toaster oven/mini oven, so it’s a question of how long I’m prepared to stand and watch 2-3 potatoes roast 🙂
  • Vegetables are important – but which ones?  Last year I did “veg overload” and I decided that this year I’d not have broccoli or cauliflower, although I am toying with the idea of a small cauliflower cheese, but there’s still time to decide. Brussels sprouts and carrots are compulsory.  I’ll might do the swede mash again, but I don’t have to decide until 5 minutes before I eat as I’ll make that early and freeze it.
    This year the vegetables will definitely be fresh and not frozen!  I made a big mistake last year choosing frozen; I thought it was a smart move – I didn’t realise the shops would reduce fresh vegetable prices down to pennies at the last minute!  I’m banking on Aldi and/or Lidl offering Xmas vegetables cheap again this year and I’ll buy them 1-2 days before Xmas.  The shops won’t run out … (famous last words there!)
    All the vegetables will be steamed.
  • Nut Roast: I LOVE a good nut roast – but one particular one that used to get cooked every year at my parents’ house, for over 20 years!  It’s the Cranks Cashew & Brazil Nut Roast with a Chestnut Puree layer.  Last year I didn’t make it – it’s a huge overhead in ingredients, time, effort – but this year I do hope to make one, made much simpler with a ton of “food cheats” to cut down on all the cutting, chopping and buying of the vast swathes of fresh ingredients the original recipe asks for!   But, to make this, I need a 1lb loaf tin…. which I haven’t found yet.
  • Side Dishes – yep, important…. I don’t eat pigs in blankets, but I do have cocktail sausages.  These are something I don’t need to finalise until 5 minutes before I dish up though as I’ll have either bought some, or will have bought/frozen them ahead of the day.  I’m one of those people who wants Yorkshire puddings with Christmas dinner.  Last year I bought frozen Yorkshire puddings, but I think this year I’ll make my own.
    I do like stuffing mixes and when I was growing up we’d typically have 3-4 different flavours of stuffing on the table at Christmas…. this makes it hard for me to choose what to do and how much to make.  Last year I just used one box of cheap stuffing mix, but this year I think I want to try something a little more festive – so should I buy stuffing mix, or make it?  I’m leaning towards making it.
  • Gravy: It has to be Bisto granules for me.  I was quite happy using many supermarket own brand labels, until I recently randomly bought Bisto – and realised it’s so much better, it’s worth the few extra pennies.
  • Starters and Desserts: For me, these are unimportant.  We never had starters when I was growing up; I’d rather just crack on with the main meal 🙂  I could, however, have crab pate and toast for breakfast, a little “starter” before I start cooking dinner.  I do, however, need to work hard at buying the crab pate as last year I tried twice and Asda were out of stock!
    Desserts – unimportant…. I’ll never have room for this!  I was never a fan of Christmas pudding, so I’m not “going without” by not having a dessert.

Well, that’s the main Christmas Dinner thought about – but there’s all the other stuff too!

  • Sweets/chocolates: You can only really choose ONE type, OK, maybe two.  After that you’re just being a pig.  But there’s so much choice!  Heroes are my favourite boxed chocolates at the moment, but I need a little more mulling time to finally decide.
  • Crisps: It has to be Walkers for me, Cheese & Onion or Tomato Ketchup.  It looks like the tomato ketchup crisps are only available from Waitrose though, so I might need to investigate that.  I’ll only “need” a 6-pack, but am likely to get sucked into those “3 for £2” style deals and end up with 18 packets!  Pringles might be enjoyed too, the Cheese & Chive flavour…
  • Nuts: While I like nuts, there’s already more than enough food.  I certainly won’t be buying monkey nuts this year – I bought those last year, the bags are HUGE and they really don’t taste half as nice as they did 30-50 years ago!
  • Drinks: This one’s fairly easy – I do like a snowball, but that means buying in advocaat, lemonade and lime cordial.  The individual bottles are small and rubbish, I drink half pints of snowball.  I don’t like the taste of wine and there’s no point in buying any bottle of fizz “just for me”.  Last year I had a bottle of Schloer and it was amazing, so I had already decided to buy that again this year!
    Fizzy pop is compulsory, I’ll be getting stocked up with lashings of ginger beer.

So I’ve started the planning… but it takes a LONG time as I have to make a choice with every purchase and “only choose one”….

It takes a lot of time and effort to be this indecisive 🙂