View Full Version : First Christmas dinner for the family went well

12-25-2007, 09:16 PM
Well the wife and I did our first Christmas in our house for the family, about 11people showed up. We put in a lot of good tips to use that we learned from countless previous years of going to other family members houses.

-Stuff the turkey and put it in the oven about midnight and let it cook overnight at about 250 degrees and it's done by about 9am Christmas morning. I got up several times throughout the night to baste it and make sure it was cooking ok and all that but it turned out great' by 9am it was falling off the bone. This works well if you are eating around normal lunch time.

-Use crock pot liners to save on cleanup - We made the mashed potatoes and had them all ready to go about an hour before the meal, then we put them in a big crock pot and put it on low and they stayed super hot and didn't get all stiff and and gross.

-We had a ham also that was precooked so we just put that in another crock pot on high for about 2 hours and it was nice and hot when it was time to eat.

-clean up as you go along. Don't save every pot, pan, plate, and utensil till the meal is over. As you get done each thing clean the mess you made so you use less dishes and you save time so the disaster isn't quite as big when the meal is over. By the time we were done the only thing we had left for the dishwasher were the serving stuff, a few pans, and couple misc items. It all fit easily into 1 load in the dishwasher.

-Use gallon ziploc freezer bags to store left overs. Using plastic containers takes up too much room in the fridge and plus you can't always get the air out so they might not keep as long. Freezer bags hold tons of leftovers and take up way less space.

-the biggest thing, you paper plates and cups. It saves so much time and effort in cleanup. You can get those real nice Chinet ones that are sturdy and festive looking and when you're done just toss them away.

We did have one snaffu though :lol: the turkey was frozen so I put it in the fridge about 3 days ago so it would thaw out but it was still alittle frozen on the inside so we had to run some warm water through it to make sure we could get the stuffing in ok. ;)

Anywho, just thought I'd share some things from our first experience of cooking a big Holiday dinner for a bunch of people. :santa2:

12-25-2007, 09:30 PM
Conrats on job well done! Glad to hear you day went smooth. Will Christmas dinner at your house become a tradition now?

12-25-2007, 09:52 PM
I have cooked a lot of turkeys but never thought to do it overnite. That is one I will remember now

12-26-2007, 05:23 AM
Congrats!!! Glad to hear everything went well...thanks for the tips:tt02:

12-26-2007, 10:19 AM
I wouldn't have thought to do a turkey overnight either. Turkey can dry out so easily. But I bet keeping it at such a low heat makes it work out.

Glad to hear everything went so smoothly for you TG!

12-26-2007, 12:34 PM
Nice stuff TG... we are thinking of having dinner at our house next year so I'll have to keep this little check list in mind :bigthumb:

12-26-2007, 01:50 PM
Another suggestion: Reynolds cooking bags are also good choice for a time AND a mess saver. Turkey is always juicy inside, nice and brown on the outside...you don't have to baste it, and the larger ones cook in about 2 1/2-
3 1/2 hours I think (would have to check the box).

A successful get together is always a nice memory--glad you have one for your first one in your new home :)

12-26-2007, 01:51 PM
Yeah it's really an easy way to cook the turkey and every time we've been somewhere that they made it this way it came out perfect. We started out with the oven at 350 for 1 hour just to get it nice and hot and then dropped it down 250 for there rest of the time and it just slow cooked to perfection. We did baste it as I mentioned to help make sure that the breast meat didn't get too dried out.

You can also put the turkey in the roaster with the breast side down in the water so it gets even more tender...either way seems to work out from we've seen before but we usually just put it in the roaster the traditional way with the breast side up.

Thanks for the tip SW, I never thought of using the bags but that would make sense especially since they always fall off the bones and a lot of the filling can come out and then it gets harder to separate the stuff in the bottom...Thanks !!

We're not sure if we'll start making this a tradition or not, I guess we'll see if my sister wants to do it next year. My parents said since all the kids are grown they won't make dinner anymore, we have to do it now :lol: