If you’re bored of beans on toast, had plenty of pasta and more than enough microwave meals, why not get together with your flatmates and cook up a festive feast?
More and more students are organising their own Christmas dinner before heading home for the holidays, so why not give it a go?
Some students worry about the costs adding up – but we’ve got some great tips for keeping the price down, and a few ideas on how you can add some pocket-friendly games to make your Christmas dinner go down a treat.
Preparing the dinner
Unless you’ve got vegetarians in your group, turkey is the most important part of the Christmas dinner. Of course this can be switched for chicken, which is often cheaper in December.
Using individual breasts makes it a bit easier, however if you go for a whole chicken or turkey, it’s much more cost effective and tastier too! Season the meat with a little salt and pepper and put an onion and a lemon inside to make it nice and tasty. Next, rub the turkey or chicken with plenty of butter to stop it from drying out. If you’ve got herbs in your cupboard, sprinkle them on to help add flavour.
Whatever meat you decide to cook, there’s one simple thing to remember… do not, under any circumstances, forget the pigs in blankets! It’s a real mystery as to why we don’t eat them all year round. The cheapest way to make these tasty treats is to buy a packet of sausages and streaky bacon, and wrap a bit of bacon around each sausage.
Top tip: Make sure you only prick your sausages once or twice. Too many times and they’ll go a bit dry, but give them a couple of stabs so they don’t explode in the oven.
Choose your preferred veg, or see what’s on offer at your local supermarket. The classics include carrots, broccoli, and of course the infamous ‘love ’em or hate ’em’ Brussels sprouts. When boiling your veg, make sure you don’t over do it – no one likes soggy veg! Try and pick up the ‘imperfect’ veg – it’s much cheaper than the regular stuff and tastes just the same.
Top tip: If you’ve gone for carrots or parsnips, hunt around in the back of your cupboard for some honey. Drizzle your honey on and stick them in the oven for a deliciously sweet roasted taste.
Ready to go with the roast potato
Get a big bag of Maris Pipers, chop them into smaller pieces (around four per potato), and boil for around ten minutes – you can add a little salt at this stage. When they’re starting to soften, take them out of the water and place them on a baking tray. Rub in some butter (any cheap butter will do), and pop them in the oven until they’re a nice golden brown colour.
Top tip: Before they go into the oven, stick them in a colander and shake to rough them up a bit – this’ll make them extra crispy. Mmm, this is making us so hungry right now!
Great value cooking equipment
If you don’t have a baking tray, a cheaper option is to buy a disposable foil one. We’ve got a great selection of cheap foil trays big enough for a turkey! Check out our roll of kitchen foil, priced from just 67p. If you’re worried about your meat not being cooked all the way through, our meat thermometer will help put your mind at ease!
Top tip: To make fancy gravy, pick up the cheap granules and add boiling water as instructed on the pack. Then fry a couple of onions and add them to the gravy. You can even add the juices from the meat and vegetables for extra flavour…voila, posh gravy in no time!
Dress the table
Pick up our 12 pack of family crackers – great value at just £4. We also have a wide range of Christmas napkins which start at £1 a pack. Add a garland of your choice and your room will look super seasonal in no time! Grab a pack of LED tealights to create great lighting for your table. With no naked flame they’re safe too. Simply place them around the dinner table or pop them in candle holders for instant ambience.
Top tip: Place a Santa hat on each chair to add a little fun to the festivities.
Add a bit of fun
When it comes to table games, we just love Gizmo face mats – clip them onto your nose and entertain your friends with your new look! After dinner, bring out the legendary beer pong – it’s only £3 and will provide great entertainment. But if you’re settling in for the evening, why not try Game of Thrones Monopoly?
Shop our full Christmas dining range at Wilko.com