Now here’s a challenge!

Hello Dear Reader,

In a week, I shall have a house full of people to feed. I’m about to start cooking the extras to keep people fed for four days. I shall make sausage rolls (these are a bit different and almost a meal in themselves and something of a family tradition), quiche, mince pies, some desserts and of course a roast lunch. I have set myself the budget of £30 for the day and that’ll include all food and drink.

I already have all the meals I need for the two of us for the following week and some! So, I’m hoping to entertain the family in relative style and on a very tight budget. How do I do it? Well, here’s what I won’t be buying this year. Crackers…………what the bleep is the point of them any way! Cheese. Who needs more than a pound of cheddar in the house? I’m not making cake or pudding as, we ate it into January last year and we all prefer a mince pie. Sweets. We never eat sweets or choccies so why eat them in the middle of December?

Also, you need to take care of portion control so you are not eating turkey for a week, even though I will use up all the meat that I will pull off the carcass. In my days in catering, we knew exactly what constituted a plateful for a roast, so why any more on Christmas day. Here’s how I portion the meal

Per person: 1 large carrot, cut in batons, 1 large potato cut into 4, 1 large parsnip again cut into 4, 1 tablespoon of peas, 5 sprouts, 1 tablespoon of stuffing, 6oz turkey (2 good slices) 2 sausages each wrapped with a slice of bacon. When you have that, you can multiply it by how many people you have for lunch. The shopping list looks like this: oven ready 4kg turkey, 1 bag of carrots, 1 bag of spuds, 1 bag of frozen peas, 30 sprouts, 2 packs of sausages, 2 packs of bacon, 1 bag of parsnips, 1 large box of stuffing, 1 tub of gravy granules, 1 pack of butter.

Again, look at what we don’t do: Yorkshire puddings, bread sauce, cranberry sauce (I have sloe and damson jelly which is fantastic with poultry). I make gravy from the frozen giblets, add the fat from the roasted turkey, the boiling water from the veg and thicken with value gravy granules. For dessert, I’m going to make Key Lime pie (here’s the recipe I use but I omit the expensive bits)and Treacle tart, (again, here’s the recipe I use, but I don’t make the custard as I use instant) both really cheap to make, will be hoovered by the household. I will, of course, share the  frugal but delicious recipes I have for them.

As we eat our lunch at 1 pm and we won’t leave the table until 2pm, we really won’t need an evening meal. We might have a mince pie with a cuppa, but that’s it! The question is dear reader, can I feed six on the day, for £30! I have stuffing already and gravy mix, some store cupboard ingredients for the dessert, but I will have to buy everything else.

Are you frugal at Christmas? I consider what I’m doing to be splashing out, most of the world’s population will be as hungry on the 25th as they are every other day, so in comparison, we’re having a feast! What will your table look like? Do you understand/do portion control so you cook what you need and don’t waste? Over to you……..

As ever,

Love Froogs

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27 thoughts on “Now here’s a challenge!

  1. Cooking for only 2, it's easy to judge the portions, a full chicken, let alone a turkey, would be a waste for us.
    So most of our meals tend to come out of the slow cookers, a small one for meat, just right for a couple of chops, chicken portions, or a mini joint (a normal size joint I cut into suitable sizes); a big one for stews, soups and ham shanks.
    Christmas Day won't be any different, we don't have family who visit.

    I think you'll manage OK on £30 for the day.

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  2. We gave up on turkey a long time ago. I have a small piece of ham. Because it is so hot most Christmases we have a brunch and a meal in the evening. I have food allergies so the emerging tradition of an Australian seafood buffet does not happen here.

    I wish you well with your endeavour.

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  3. We've had our Christmas day which was a buffet, usual sausage rolls, mince pies – both made by me. The sausage rolls are made from sausages with their skins taken off, ready rolled sausage meat, the sausages I try and buy with a quick sell label if I can and usually do! Lots of salad and cheese but only what we like nothing we wouldn't buy or eat our selves. So next week will be just a normal Sunday roast! Roast at lunch the pudding whatever it is cake, pudding, sweet flan for tea! No extras unless someone give us chocs, so if we don't get any chocs as presents we go without!!
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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  4. I have learned portion control here as leftovers are not generally a huge hit. Our dinner will be just for us, a roast, yorkshires, gravy, potatoes, jello salad. No dessert as there will be my baking around as well as a few sweets.
    I think you will do fabulous with your 30 pounds for the day.

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  5. Just the two of us on Christmas day. We get up when we are ready. Will have porridge, crossaint with honey and coffee for brekkie,

    Soup at lunch time and we usually eat around 4pm, roast beef and yorkies, I make a tray full of yorkies and freeze what we do not eat.

    I portion the veg much as you do, but one parsnip, two pieces each and two largish bits of roast spud, brussels, carrot and possibly a small amount of cauliflower,

    We do not have chistmas pudding, I make OH a raspberry trifle which usually lasts us 3 days for dessert.

    Doubt if we will need anything else, possibly a mince pie or a couple of crakers and some cheese with a cuppa in the evening,

    I will slice whats left of the beef joint, enough for boxing days cold supper with some slices of cooked gammon ham I have in the freezer. The rest of the beef will be frozen to be eaten later in the year either with salad or heated up in the top of the steamer as I cook the veg.

    I bought the beef weeks ago, it is sitting in the freezer. I guess the cost per head for our christmas day will be about £5. I just have to get brussels on Thursday.The cauli,parsnips,
    carrots and rasps came from our garden and I froze them in the summer. I bought a bag of potato's this week which will see us through to the New Year.

    The beef will be marinaded in red wine for about 2 days before I cook it and I use the juice to make the gravy. DD brough us a bottle of red wine when she came up, so I will open that and we will have a small glass with our Christmas meal and toast absent friends and family.

    Hope you have a wonderful time with your family.

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  6. we only have one slice of duck each,the duck will last us a week. £9 from sainsburys last week and frozen. 8 brussels (grown in the garden) parsnip from the garden, frozen peas, swede from the garden, runner beans from the garden, (frozen) one whole potatoe each cut up and roasted, gravy granules, like you we dont eat pudding, so mince pies are fine with custard. very frugal christmas.

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  7. Should be grand on £30. My budget includes the booze indulgence.

    Good portion control example!

    We usee our leftovers for soup/boxing day curry!!!

    Jelly sounds great – we don't do cranberry sauce either!

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  8. Hey froogs how are you?
    Well this year its me ,hubby,teenage son and 2 littlies..so it will be a normal meal but with a turkey instead ..i have a christmas pudding and some cream put away..it will be quiet but nice..last year we had 3 older daughters,their partners,3 grandchildren plus me ,hubby,son and 2 littlies..it was a nightmare..as some ate this and some ate that..and it cost a small fortune..
    We don't normally buy crackers either but this my lovely BIL has given us a posh box..
    I have to say i am looking forward to christmas..all my pies are done,sausage rolls made and i am making some of those mincemeat pinwheels..got a small ham and some small cheeses..as for choclates well..we already have been given two tins of Roses..they will last til easter..as we don't eat many..
    My only luxury this year is a bottle of good champagne..but i won't be able to drink it as i have just discovered i am expecting..so thats why i am happy..
    Happy Christmas froogs and to all your lovely family..
    love
    sara

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  9. I will roast a medium to large size turkey with homemade stuffing, cranberries, garlic mashed potatoes, home made gravy for two. Turkey will cost half the usual cost because of coupons collected for a few months, craberry sauce, potatoes, gerkins and pickles purchased on sale as well. Not sure what sides to have yet. Perhaps sprouts, carrots, parsnips. Gravy will be made from scratch as will the stuffing. I bought two loaves of sliced bread on fantastic sale. I'm drying out the slices now to use in the stuffing.

    I doubt I'll make any dessert because I've got little snacks (mandarin oranges, kiwis, bananas chocolates, cheese….all on sale this week). Also I made all kinds of once a year dessert (from my childhood) a few weeks ago and we've already had our fill of it.

    Nothing will go to waste because I'll be making sandwiches and soup for the days following. I always love the leftovers and the turkey soup.

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  10. Here in the States you would never turn up empty-handed for Christmas lunch. A box of chocolates or a six-pack of beer or a plate of homemade cookies is what people usually bring. Very often in families the members do a potluck and bring sides or salads or desserts. We do this as we dont exchange gifts.
    I think $30 is fine as you already have wine but I would add a nice loaf of sandwich bread in case anyone wants a turkey and chutney sandwich in the evening and a bag of crisps to nibble on while lunch is cooking (cheaper than nuts)
    A bowl of satsumas is wonderful also.

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  11. Turkeys are such a waste of money! (Two of us are vegetarian this year, so even more so than ever, haha!) £30 sounds fine as long as you're not drinking too much wine! 🙂

    Sounds nice anyway. Although I would miss the yorkshire pud – very cheap to make.. 😀

    Have a great Christmas!

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  12. for me I could not have Christmas without Christmas pud. I buy mine in January which means I can pick up a nice one for next to nothing. it then sits on the top shelf of the cupboard for the next 11 months. I have made my own as well which works out quite cheap as well.our christmas day will cost a bit more as we will be having a free range bird. another must for us at christmas is red cabbage. I cook a cut up whole cabbage with redwine and leftover chutney or jam. what does not get eaten on christmas day will be polished off the next day as it tastes great reheated. leftover potatoes, parsnips and sprouts will become bubble and squeak. peas and carrots will be put to one side to go into the turkey pie to be made and frozen.

    At Christmas I love having the dishes of food on the table for everyone to tuck in, but nothing is wasted. leftover's will be reworked. we will be eating turkey for the next week, but we do that most weeks with a chicken or a joint of pork. we aim to get 4 meals out of each.

    enjoy your christmas

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  13. I don't think Froog's portions are small at all. You only NEED so much food and I think there is plenty on the photos she shows. We are going to my son's on Christmas day as I don't like cooking for more than us, don't have much room and it worries me so much – anyway my future D-i-Law likes it. As I'm invited, I have made some contributions to the feast (I feel a little guilty).

    I've been out and bought stuff for this week and a few nibbles for Christmas but there's stuff I won't buy yet until a bit closer.

    Your budge of £30 is excellent considering what you're doing.

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  14. Aldi cranberry sauce, with a slug of damson gin [if available] or squeeze of OJ [if I have driunk the gin already] tastes fantastically good and belies its bargain price.

    We don't like sausage rolls so I don't need to make them. And I have a few individual Xmas Puds which cost PENCE from approved foods for any family members who feel deprived if they dont have any!

    But it is basically a 'sunday roast dinner' and then there will be lots of delicious leftover turkey meals to follow.

    £30 sounds a reasonable budget to me!

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  15. We're off to my lovely parents house for Christmas day, meeting up with one of my sons there (he only gets the one day off he works at Sainsburys!!)

    We are sharing the food for a buffet, with Mum providing the cold meats, salads and bread, us bringing the veggie options and some home baked goodies and my son bringing a fancy cake or gatueax (whatever he can get cheaply at the end of Christmas Eve at work).

    The rest of the holidays we will be eating simply as usual but with a few treats thrown in, we have slightly too much chocolate, as usual….but we will cope 🙂

    Stop being a grouch Sara, we're not all meanly frugal we're sensibly frugal, we make it fun doing it….that is the difference.

    And to the other Sara (sl. tudor) CONGRATULATIONS, fantastic news!

    Sue xx

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  16. I forgot to add that this year we will celebrate our main meal with extended family and we will provide every dessert. The pudding is made, most of the trifle fixings are in the house, the makings of the gingerbread are here. I will have to buy some fresh fruit and cream on Saturday.

    I try to plan for Christmas by storing a little each week. It is hard because the kids see the treats as a thing to eat now. We also tend to allow a little over but not too much as I know from long experience leftovers are not very popular here.

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  17. Oh my! I found Sara's comments to be a bit strident. the point that FQ is trying to make is that you CAN have a lovely holiday meal without breaking the bank. Careful selection of ingredients (turkey is certainly cheaper than fillet), not buying what you won't eat even though it may be “customary” or tradition, making items yourself, portion control,wise use of leftovers.
    FQ often posts her dinner plates, I don't feel that they are stingy in the least. Here is the US, many eat/serve way too much meat as a protein.
    For our Xmas dinner, I have a clove studded baked ham with pineapple and a mustard/br sugar , glaze (homemade), mashed potatoes, cold shrimp cocktails (shrimp on sale-only using a lb for the 6 of us), some side veggies to be determined, salad,white wine (sale plus rebate) assorted Xmas cookies. It'll be lovely, on a budget as well.

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  18. I think that it is up to the individual what they want to eat, we all have different appetites. This is a blog about being frugal, live and let live, if it doesn't suit you, don't read it, simple. It's not nice to belittle someone else's choices. Poor you 😦

    I hope your dinner goes well FQ, I am going to my uncle's house for a big family gathering, we are all sharing the cost. Merry Christmas, keep up the good work x

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  19. Hi Froogs, this is pretty much the way we are going for next week too. Who needs crackers with stupid jokes 50 years old! I'm even doing key lime pie, but looking at your recipe, mine has even less ingredients – just digestive biscuits for the base with some melted butter. 1 tin condensed milk, 1 tub of cream, 5 Limes juiced, and the zest of one of the limes.
    Thats enough filling to make two pies, so it works out to about 20-25p per serving if you decide to just quarter it, and is really yummy.
    Have a great weekend with your family. Love, Hugs and Thanks for your posts. Jo x

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  20. We will be having Christmas Eve here, but one of my wonderful D'sIL is doing all the cooking! She loves to cook. I will put on my apron and help. We are having ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies and pie for dessert. After dinner all the leftovers are portioned out so everyone takes home something. Last year we had a taco salad. Every year the menu changes. Christmas morning I will make an egg casserole for my sisters and their husbands and anyone else who spent the night. Have a most wonderful Christmas everyone.

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  21. We do have crackers, to amuse the grandchildren (they love to laugh at grandad trying to get his on without ripping it) but I buy them in January when they are reduced to clear. Same with the Christmas cards and wrapping paper. It can be done on a budget!

    Merry Christmas everyone

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  22. I think you can do it on that! I am aiming to spend under $60, which I think in US$ converts to a simular amount…. For Christmas day I will have 7 for breakfast and 4 for the dinner. For the breakfast I am not sure what I am doing, but it usually is cinnamon rolls, orange juice, fruit salad plus eggs if anyone wants them…

    The dinner will be at 1pm. I believe we are getting a roast of beef and have budgeted $25 for that, $15 for beer/wine and the rest is from what I already have on hand… I do have cheese and crackers, will make “loaded baked potatos”, a salad which I will buy the ingredients for, and for dessert I have all kinds of things already on hand that I can use-probably will make a berry pie and somme gingerbread…

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  23. Froogs, your menu looks delish, and good size portions, we like you, eat what we need,plus a bit, so no stuffing ourselves silly and feeling bloated and liverish for days. Turkey crown in freezer, veg all bought, makings for trifle all ready, special request each year by OH, home made cranberry sauce, any left will be ate with sauted bananas another day-yummy. We do have chedddar, brie and stilton, but now we are retired we eat 3 meals at home most days, cheese and biscuits and cup a soup crop up several times a week. A few sweet/choccie treats will probably last us until about the end of Feb, again we just eat a little at a time. My 79 year old Mum makes each of us (5 grown up kids) a Christmas cake each year, she loves doing it, and she tries to keep herself occupied since Dad died. Have a wonderful time with your family, and I agree that this is your blog, it is not a forum, this is the way you live, it suits your circumstances, and those of many of your readers! Ali.

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  24. This year I am feeding 8 – three families and we have all chipped in on the turkey, which I will brine and cook. Someone will bring a trifle, someone brings pigs in blankets, I have lots of value veg. I'm making pear and chocolate cake for pudding, which is even better cold. Whatever I cook on Christmas day will last us for a while. The best thing I make is the sausagemeat, mushroom and onion homemade stuffing.

    Froogs, would you mind sharing your sausage roll recipe? I'm imagining a sausagemeat cornish pasty?

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  25. Dang! I must have missed all of the fireworks! Although I have to admit, it's no fun being on the receiving end. I “own” a frugalista forum and we eventually had to go to “must be registered to post” in order to stop comments from two people who conspired to destroy the board…and darn near succeeded. Anyway, I saw the little buttinsky guy in tomorrow's post already, and I LOVE him! Oh, yes, and goodbye, Sara.

    Your Christmas dinner plans sound delightful! I must admit this is the one day of the year when I go all out for dinner–my family has always said it's the only good piece of meat they will see all year. We will be having 7 for dinner, including 3 guests. I will be cooking a prime rib roast of beef and I guarantee you that not a morsel will go to waste. The next day we will have French dip sandwiches (thinly sliced beef on French rolls with au jus for dipping) and we will eventually end with homemade soup made from the bones. This is our big splurge meal for the year. Pie for dessert; I don't do a lot of cookie baking or candy making at Christmas. No cheese and crackers, either.

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  26. We have goose rather than turkey because we prefer it. We have some with the dinner but the rest will get used – including the fat for roasting things and the bones to make stock.

    We do spend a bit more over the festive period and have some treats but buy things we like rather than things you are supposed to have “because it's Christmas”. I've never understood those who insist on buying sprouts when nobody in the house likes them. Some consumer behaviour is just weird.

    We do have a variety of cheeses but then I do live with the Cheese Monster and his Dog…

    People should be free to indulge a little but but not overindulge, there's a difference.

    Perhaps part of the problem is that people are generally indulgent (or worse “entitled”) these days so things like chocolate, cake, big meals, meats and other once special and expensive things are a bit too everyday for them to understand they were previously luxuries – and still are for some people.

    Have a peaceful and contented Christmas and a wonderful new year.

    Halfrida X

    Bwahahaha! The word verification is “purge”.

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