Christmas Food Prep and Planner

Itinerary: What to do and when

Note: Times are based around the cooking of a 4.3kg turkey.

In our early twenties, my sister and I thought that cooking a Christmas dinner seemed a little daunting. We enjoyed a varied spread but struggled with getting everything coordinated and made on time. Plus we weren’t that experienced with cooking in general back then. Over the past 20 years, we’ve pulled our socks up and got ourselves organised! So much so, we now follow the below schedule, which we find works very well for us! Something similar may work for you too. We normally work together but this can also be done by one person.

23rd December

  • 9.30am - Prep Yorkshire Puddings batter, rest in fridge
  • 9.45am - Peel and parboil 1kg sprouts, halved, 5 mins (tub in fridge for Xmas day and Boxing day)
  • 10.30am - Bake bacon x3 packs (24 rashers), cut in to lardons (for waffles, sprouts and vol au vents - tub in fridge)
  • 10.45am - Oven on 210°C, lard in muffin tin wells x10, in oven to heat
  • 11.00am - Cook Red Cabbage with Cranberries (tub in fridge)
  • 11.30am - Bake Yorkshires
  • 11.50am - Yorkshires out of oven, cool, freeze for Xmas and New Years days

Christmas Eve

  • 10.00am - Cook Bread Sauce/Cranberry Sauce/leeks in White Sauce (tubs in fridge)
  • 11.00am - Prep Pork, Fruit and Nut Stuffing Sausage (1 in fridge, 1 frozen)
  • 11.55am - Take turkey out of freezer (cool room temp)
  • 12.00pm - Prep Paxo Sage and Onion Stuffing (11x8" Pyrex dish in fridge)
  • 12.15pm - Peel, chop and boil 1.25kg potatoes, mash with gold top milk/Elmlea (smoky casserole dish in fridge)
  • 12.45pm - Prep trivet veg (1 onion, 2 large carrots, 2 celery - tub in fridge)
  • 1.00pm - Prep Crudités + Onion mayo
  • 1.15pm - Prep Butter for bird (1 block butter + 3rd block lard = soften, mix in salt, pepper, 1 tbsp parsley, 2 tsp garlic - tub in fridge)
  • 3.00pm - Bake and fill Vol au Vents
  • 7.00pm - Tub of butter for bird, on plate, upstairs near radiator to soften

Christmas Day

  • 7.30am - Prep bird on trivet (1 onion, 2 large carrots, 2 celery. Plus, giblets unbagged and in fridge for gravy)
  • 8.00am - Get ready/dressed etc
  • 8.30am - Oven on 160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Plates to warm
  • 9.00am - Bird in bottom oven. Peel/chop/submerge potatoes for roasting in large pan. Chop carrots and onion for roasting. Set aside
  • 9.30am - Baste bird
  • 10.00am - Baste bird
  • 10.20am - Open presents
  • 10.30am - Baste bird
  • 11.00am - Baste bird
  • 11.30am - Baste bird
  • 11.50am - Boil full kettle for roast potatoes and gravy
  • 12.00pm - Bird out to rest, move oven shelf to middle, turn temp to 180°C, stuffing sausage in loaf dish, in bottom oven. Make Gravy in sauté pan with giblets, parboil roast potatoes
  • 12.15pm - Add goose fat to roaster, put back in middle oven
  • 12.30pm - Drain and fluff roast potatoes in seasoned flour
  • 12.45pm - Add fluffed roast potatoes, roast carrots and onions to roaster, baste. Remove stuffing sausage to rest
  • 1.00pm - Prep Clementine Carrots in other 11x8" Pyrex dish. Slice stuffing sausage, cover with foil
  • 1.15pm Clementine carrots in bottom oven. Paxo in bottom oven, covered with foil
  • 1.35pm - Strain gravy. Transfer required amount to tiny pan. Store the rest in tubs
  • 1.45pm - Remove foil from Paxo
  • 2.00pm - Warm sauces in microwave, fry Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts in large frying pan. Warm mashed potatoes in large Pyrex bowl. Reheat gravy in tiny pan. Remove Paxo from oven
  • 2.15pm - Warm Yorkshire puddings in bottom oven. Remove clementine carrots from oven
  • 2.25pm - Remove Yorkshires and all roasties from oven
  • 2.30pm - Serve and Eat