Christmas dinner on a budget

Melanie Whitehouse / 23 November 2018

Want to enjoy a Christmas feast without blowing the budget? With some clever ideas and smart tricks you can do just that. And if you want some supermarket showstoppers that won't break the bank, we've rounded up the best of the bunch.



Creating a fabulous Christmas feast on a budget is easy when you know how. Instagram chef and author, Miguel Barclay shares some great ideas for creating a delicious Christmas dinner for less.  


Christmas dinner

Turkey wasn’t always the Christmas roast of choice – swan, pheasant, peacock and boar’s head studded with fruit were on the menu from medieval times. Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey,  and Edward VII made eating turkey at Christmas fashionable.

Today, turkeys are both big and expensive – particularly if you care about animal welfare and opt for a free range or organic bird – but there are lots of other ways to create a delicious Christmas lunch for less.

Miguel Barclay, Instagram chef and author of the One Pound Meals books, has some great ideas for an economical Christmas lunch.

• He recommends the humble chicken as a more manageable and cheaper alternative to turkey. Just add a few accompaniments such as chestnut stuffing and chipolatas, and it’ll feel like a special Christmas meal.

• For something different, try chicken en-croute. Pan-fry chicken breasts, top with sun-dried tomatoes and feta, then wrap individually in puff pastry and bake.

• Visit your local farm shop for seasonal veg such as purple heritage carrots, a great talking point at Christmas dinner; roast them in honey in the oven.

• Pan-fry bacon in a splash of olive oil, adding thinly sliced sprouts as the bacon starts to crisp up.

• Boil peas with a sprig of mint and serve with a knob of butter.

• For a special side dish, make a tasty vegetable gratin. Slice all the veg thinly, pour cream on top and add grated cheese, then bake in the oven until the vegetables are cooked and the top is golden brown.

You can buy Miguel's books, Super Easy One Pound Meals, Fast & Fresh One Pound Meals, and One Pound Meals, at a discount from the Saga Bookshop

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Supermarket star buys

These supermarket buys deliver big tastes on a budget:

Iceland’s Luxury Pâté, from £1.50, has an opulent fruity topping – a perfect starter.

Tesco Finest Mince Pies, £2, are filled with mincemeat containing nuts and infused with Courvoisier VS Cognac and port.

Lidl’s Deluxe Luxury Stollen with Jamaican Rum, £3.99, is a teatime treat – it's packed with festive fruit and marizipan, and topped with sliced almonds.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Korean BBQ Jackfruit Bites, £4.50, are a good idea for vegans and have a puffed rice coating and sweet Sweet Gochujang Dip.

Tesco Finest British Free-Range Heritage Narragansett Turkey, £9/kg (5.26-6.51kg), is a heritage breed, reared slowly with freedom to roam and forage. Traditional farming methods plus a varied, nutritious diet makes the meat full-flavoured and naturally self-basting, so it stays succulent as it cooks.

Tesco Finest 6 Scottish Smoked Salmon Cheesecake canapés, £4, are mouth-watering savoury cheesecakes, perfect if you’re pushed for time.. The creamy watercress mousse with a layer of lobster and King prawn mousse sit on a savoury oatcake base and are garnished with Scottish smoked salmon.

Sainsbury’s Halloumi Fries, with a Sweet Chilli Dip, £3, will go down a treat with guests.

Sainsbury’s Maple Cured Scottish Smoked Salmon glazed with Maple Syrup & Orange, £3.75, is infused with zesty orange and subtle festive spices. Great for a Christmas Day starter or with scrambled eggs to kick off the festivities.

Morrisons Extra Mature Cheddar Star Truckle (green), Morrisons Mature Red Leicester Star Truckle (red) £2 each. The tasty Cheddar won Gold at this year's International Cheese Awards and the Mature Red Leicester is sweet and nutty.

Tesco Finest Port-Infused Aged Blue Stilton®, £3, has the sweet, fruity flavour of the port infused through the cheese.

Marks & Spencer's Italian Panettone al Prosecco £15,  is a moist, hand-finished sweet bread from Italy made to a traditional recipe with juicy sultanas, butter, free range egg and candied citrus peel, encrusted with a sweet sugar and ground hazelnut glaze and crunchy sugar nibs.

Sainsbury's Belgian Milk Chocolate Fudge Yule Log, £4, is deliciously decadent and indulgent.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Brioche, Orange & Almond Christmas Pudding Wreath, £9, is a lighter take on Christmas pud, blending buttery brioche, plump sultanas and almonds with brandy and cider, and topped with slices of candied orange in orange sauce.

Iceland's Luxury Black Forest Layered Pavlova, £6, is a great alternative to Christmas pudding – meringue topped with cherry kirsch sauce and chocolate cream, finished with sour cherries.

And for gluten-free guests, why not try: 

Morrisons Free From Mince Pies 4 pack, £2, won their category in last year's BBC Good Food Christmas taste test.

Tesco Free From Panettone, £3, in a mini gifting size, is full of juicy sultanas and candied orange peel, produced to Italian panettone law with sourdough, 19% vine fruit and 5% candied peel.

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