$99 Gourmet Christmas Dinner for My Family of 8

Christmas dinner on a budgetI get that Christmas dinner can be hard work, especially when there are extra mouths to feed and you’ve spent all your money on super-fun toys for the babes and forgotten to save some extra coins for the over-priced prawns for Great Aunty Jan. Let me help. I want to share with you the tasty, budget-friendly recipes that I’ll be serving up for the eight of us sitting around my Christmas table this year. Each recipe is super simple, cheap and tastes really, really good!

Starters:

Okay, first things first, the starters. Note that I wrote “starters” and not “nibbles”? Organising nibbles demands a huge chunk of your budget (not to mention your sanity). Sod that and move straight to starters, I say.

I’m making: A platter of smoked salmon served with lemon, cream cheese, a watercress salad and a crunchy baguette.
Cost: $23

Recipe: No fancy recipe needed for this one. I’ll serve the watercress salad in a large bowl on the table, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil from the pantry. Alongside it, I’ll plate the salmon on a platter and serve it with the lemon wedges, cream cheese and the crunchy baguette so everyone can take as much or as little as they like.

Tidbits: Save yourself some time by plating the salmon, cutting the lemons and scooping out the cream cheese the night before. This way you’ll just need to pull together the salad right before serving.

Main Event:

cheap-christmas-dinner-recipe-ideas-stacey-clare
It’s funny that although Christmas in Australia is so damn hot (I’m talking 40+ degrees), many of us are still willing to have the oven running for six hours so that we can sit down to a warm lunch on Christmas Day. That’s cool in my books. I say go for it and enjoy it. I sure do and here’s what I’ll be cooking in my oven this year:

1. Slow-baked free-range chicken
2. Very pretty potato bake
3. Steamed greens with pomegranates
4. Seafood platter
Cost: $55 in total (the chicken: $15, potatoes: $8, greens: $12, seafood: $20)

Recipes:
Chicken – I’ll purchase a good quality free-range chicken and stuff it with lemon, rosemary and brown rice to form a stuffing.
Potatoes – To save cash (and our health), I’ll cook them this pretty way; it will save time, too.
Greens – I’ll lightly steam a whole heap of in-season broccolini and asparagus. I’ll then toss them in butter and pomegranate seeds and plate on up.
Seafood – I’ll buy some of the cheaper, more sustainable seafood options like sardines, mussels, a few prawns and off-cuts of salmon. I’ll lightly grill them with a tablespoon of harissa (Mexican spicy sauce), olive oil and the juice of two lemons.

Tidbits: I’ll get a lot of the mains ready the day before. I’ll marinate the chicken and seafood so that I just need to cook them through on the day. The other bits I’ll do the morning of, I’d say 30 minutes and I’ll be done.

Dessert:

Slow cooker Christmas pudding recipe
I’m a die-hard sweet tooth who finds it pretty hard to resist a super delicious Christmas pudding. It’s all in the spirit of tradition after all, right? I love this recipe because not only does it contain very few ingredients, it can cook overnight in the slow cooker saving me any stress on the day.

I’m makingTraditional Christmas Pudding with Passionfruit Custard
Cost: $21

Recipe: This one here and as for the custard? Well I’ll make a quick version of a custard and stir through the pulp of a few fresh passionfruit to make it zing.

Tidbits: Make this cake the night before or better still, make it a few days before – it will just get better and better.

I’d love to know, what are some family favourites that you’ll be cooking for your family this Christmas Day?

Photos: Stacey Clare