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 Xmas dinner before heading home for the Christmas period… and handing the cooking baton over to mum!
Some students worry about the cost 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, with no carving needed. However if you go for a whole chicken or turkey, season it with a little salt and pepper, and place an onion and/or a lemon inside to make it nice and tasty, and to help prevent the meat becoming dry.
If you’ve got dried 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 bacon individually, and wrap a bit of bacon around each sausage.
Top tip: Make sure you prick your sausages just once or twice. Too many times and they’ll go a bit dry, but a couple of times will ensure 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. We’d recommend boiling your veg, but don’t let them go too soggy. And before you ask, yes, you can’t have a proper Christmas dinner without vegetables!
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 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, rub in the 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 pack of 2 vegetable trays and a turkey roasting tray, both at £1. And check out our 3m roll of turkey foil, also at £1. 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… voila, posh gravy in no time! You can even add the juices from the meat for extra flavour.
Dress the table
Our 12 pack of family crackers is great value at just £4, and we’ve got a wide range of napkins which start at £1.25 a pack. Add a silver and red 2.7m garland (just £2!) and your room will look super seasonal in no time!
Top tip: Place a Santa hat on each chair to add a little fun to the festivities – or pick up just one to give to the winner of the after-dinner party games!
Add a bit of fun
Grab a pack of glow corks to create beautiful bottle lights for your table. Simply stick one on top of a bottle to create an instant party ambience.
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 hours of entertainment. It complements spin the shot… take a spin and you’ll really get the party started!
Shop our full Christmas dining range at Wilko.com