lifestyle

7 Christmas lunch ideas for people who don't want to be 4am kitchen slaves.

Jo Abi’s kids enjoying Christmas lunch!


I am one of those people who buys and eats Christmas food weeks before the big day. I can’t help myself. I just love it. I’m the same at Easter. I’m the first one purchasing and eating hot cross buns and Easter eggs.

Why not? Life is too short.

I may have gotten a little overexcited by Christmas this year because I am in a bigger house in which I can fit a much large and REAL Christmas tree. Plus, I love Christmas food so much and not just the grown up stuff like plum pudding and baked ham. Give me those marshmallow Santa chocolates and some candy canes and I’m a very happy little elf.

 Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by IGA. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.

When I was asked to write an article for IGA called “7 easy Christmas lunch ideas” I was so happy. I now had the perfect excuse to prepare seven amazing Christmas lunches with all my favourite Christmas foods. The kids have had so much fun. For the past week I have been prepare stunning festive lunches. As soon as each meal was ready my daughter would run through the house yelling, “Another Christmas is ready”.

IGA has a HUGE range of foods to choose from. I could have done 10 Christmas dinners but I’m trying to be good at the moment so I’ll just stick to seven.

When it comes to Christmas lunch I’m all about shortcuts, and why not. Who says I have to cook everything from scratch? I want to be able to enjoy the lead up to Christmas and in particular I want to enjoy Christmas Day. My mum is a machine and cooks for weeks in the lead up to the big day and gets up at 5am to do the rest of the cooking ahead of Christmas lunch. She’s amazing. I don’t take after her at all.

Christmas is about family and friends, about enjoying each other’s company, about watching the kids play with their toys. It’s about eating really delicious food that is affordable and easy to prepare.

Here are 7 Christmas lunch ideas that will take a fraction of the time of a traditional Christmas lunch. You’re welcome.

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 1: Roast beef, root vegetables and fresh apricots

Christmas roast beef.

My mum makes THE BEST beef roast in the world. She buys a really good piece of scotch fillet and marinades it in olive oil and sweet white wine and then adds fried onions, garlic, fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

The smell as it cooks is divine. Throw in some potato and pumpkin pieces, even carrots and you’re all set. It’s pretty funny that I used to be vegetarian and now could happily eat roast every day of the week. My children are little carnivores too.

I set up some fruit with this meal. Apricots are in season. Yay! And don’t forget to save some extra wine to drink while you eat it.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-1.5 kilos of scotch fillet
-One onion
-Two gloves of garlic
-1/2 cup white wine, preferably sweet
-1 tablespoon fresh parsely
-Pinch dry oregano
-2 tablespoons corn flour
-Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Pat the meat dry with paper towels
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a plan. Place the meat in and brown it on all sides
3. Remove the meat from the pan and place on a plate
4. Added the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and fry for 30 seconds
5. Add the wine, parsely, oregano and one tablespoon of cornflour
6. Cook for 2 minutes
7. Coat the inside of a oven bag with flour and shake out the excess
8. Salt the meat and place it in the bag. Pour the contents of the pan into the bag along with a pinch of pepper
9. Seal the bag and poke two holes next to the sealed section
10. Place in a baking tray for an hour at 160 degrees
11. Once cooked allow to rest for 15 minutes
12. Open the bag and poor the meat and the juices into the baking dish
13. Slice and serve with seasonal vegetables

Serves 8

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 2: Marinated chicken, green beans and mince pies

Christmas roast chicken.

IGA has some brilliant marinated meats to choose from and taste better than those you do yourself because they have been sealed in the marinade so the flavour is excellent. The day I bought the marinated chicken a butcher was at the meat section in the store and he helped me choose it. I chose the Mexican marinated chicken and asked if it would be too spicy for the kids. He said it was actually quite mild so it would be a good choice.

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It was delicious and not too spicy at all. I added green beans for the last ten minutes of cooking and used the leftovers to make sandwiches the next day. Love leftovers.

And do you know I’ve never tried a mince pie before? IGA has the Big Sister range. They are so delicious. I can now understand the appeal (of a mince pie) and can’t see why I can’t buy a few bags and freeze them for year-round consumption.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-One packet IGA Mexican Marinated Chicken pieces
-500 grams frozen green beans

METHOD

1. Place chicken pieces in a baking dish.
2. Bake on 180 degrees for 30 minutes
3. Scatter green beans around the chicken pieces in the baking dish
4. Bake for a further 15 minutes
Serves 6

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 3: Seafood, salad and pudding

Christmas seafood!

You don’t have to buy seafood at a seafood store. The lines are so long at Christmas time and it can be expensive. IGA has a really good selection and it is FRESH and affordable. Plus seafood doesn’t just have to be fresh prawns. I love having a selection like some fresh prawns, smoked salmon, a really good salad and crunchy bread. Maybe some grilled salmon..

Plus this is a lighter Christmas lunch so you can eat more dessert.

Pudding and custard it is! The kids didn’t really like the pudding…it had a lot of rum in it…but they ate bowls of custard instead. No worries at all. More for me! Plus they had eaten quite a few candy canes that day and they also ate the chocolate Santa I bought to decorate the table.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

– 2 kilos fresh prawns
– 4 lemons
– 500 grams smoked salmon
– 2 bags mixed lettuce leaves
– 2 medium carrots
– 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– Salt

METHOD

1. Place the prawns on a tray.
2. Cut lemons into quarters and serve on the tray with the prawns
3. Lay out the smoked salmon on a separate dish
4. Mix the lettuce, grated or chopped carrot, vinegar, oil and salt for the salad

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 4: Baked mustard ham, mashed potato, peas and dark fruit cake

Christmas ham.

I have never baked a ham before, for several reasons, the main one being I can’t be bothered. They are so big and plus we’re Italian. We normally have lasagne instead of ham. But I’ve always wanted to try it.

You have to order your Christmas ham at IGA which is great because you can order whatever size you can order from a selection of sizes and make sure it is fresh.

I Googled recipes and most included cloves. I HATE cloves. There was an incident shortly after my sister married a lovely Lebanese man and their house was filled with all those Lebanese sweets and biscuits.

I picked one up and ate an entire clove that was hidden in the middle. I still gag at the thought. So I kept searching for one that didn’t include cloves.

I found one that was made of brown sugar, mustard, maple syrup and honey. You just cut a criss cross shape into the ham fat and then smear it all over. I used a cooked ham so I didn’t have to cook it for hours. The house still smells delicious. Hammy and mapely…yum.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

– One large, cooked Christmas ham
– 2 kilos washed potatoes
– Half cup wholegrain mustard
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1/4 cup honey
– 4 tablespoons butter
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1/2 tablespoon salt

METHOD

1.Cut the fat of the ham in a criss cross pattern, around 1 cm in depth
2. Mix the mustard, maple syrup and honey in a bowl
3. Place the ham in a large baking tray
4. Rub the mixture into the criss crossed fat of the ham. Use half of the mixture
5. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes
6. Rub the remainder of the mixture into the ham
7. Bake for a further 20 minutes
8. Peel the potatoes, cut into quarters and boil them until soft
9. Drain the water
10. Mash them in the pot
11. Add the salt, butter and milk and mash until well combined

Serves 6-8

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 5: Lamb roast with potatoes, carrots, asparagus and fresh cherries

Roast Christmas lamb.

Any roast will do at Christmas. In my family there are clear favourites – my mum loves her beef roast, my sister loves her lamb roast and my brother swears by a good pork roast.

I eat them all so am happy they like different ones. This is my sister’s lamb roast which she does in a slow cooker with rosemary, lemon, garlic, salt…It is so incredibly tender and goes really well with potatoes.

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Serve it with something green. I chose asparagus because it is in season and so quick and easy to cook. And check out the cherries! Aren’t they pretty!

I had to fight my sister for the leftovers. She makes lamb in her slow cooker all the time and eats it for the next three days. She’s like a hungry animal and always calls dibs on the bone. She just chews away at it for ages. Fine by me. I had moved on to the cherries by then.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

– leg of lamb
– 1kg new potatoes
– 2 red capsicums
– 2 carrots
– 2 zucchini
– ½ cup passatta (pureed tomato)
– ¼ cup olive oil
– Salt & pepper

METHOD

1. Put the leg of lamb in a slow cooker on low setting.
2. After 3 hours, chop the vegetables into large chunks and put in a big bowl.
3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and passatta.
4. Mix with your hands then add the vegetables to the lamb in the slow cooker.
5. Cook for another 3 hours

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 6: Pork roast with baked pumpkin and chocolate panettone

Roast pork and chocolate panettone.

This port roast was pre-marinated by IGA. It is called “Smokey Barbeque Pork Roast” and has the cooking directions on it.

We had to bake it form 25 minutes per 500 grams so it took almost two hours to cook but was worth every second, especially because I could use that time to prepare the vegies and crack open my first Panettone cake for the season. Panettone is an Italian cake that is actually meant for Easter but is so popular it is now available all year around.

The traditional Panettone is with fruit but you can get plain or this one, which is choc chip.

This pork roast was so tender and flavoursome because it had been packaged in the marinade. I really love the meat section at IGA. I love anything that has been pre-prepared in some way.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

– IGA Marinated Barbeque Pork Roast
– 1 kilo pumpkin

METHOD

1. Place the roast in a large baking tray
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
3. Bake the roast for 25 minutes for each 500 grams (roast will be approximately 1.5 kilos)
4. In a separate dish place the pumpkin chopped in large pieces
5. Drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt
6. Bake for 25 minutes only

CHRISTMAS LUNCH 7: Barbeque with salad, crusty bread, watermelon and mince pies

It wouldn’t be an Australian Christmas without watermelon.

I love me a Christmas barbeque, especially if it’s hot! Who wants to eat inside sweating? It’s horrible. So get yourself outside and get the barbeque going.

The great thing about a Christmas barbeque is that you can cook so many different cuts of meat and everyone has something they love. We normally fry up the sausages first so the kids can eat and then they run off and we spend hours cooking and eating. Bliss.

No barbeque is complete without lots of salads and other sides like crunchy bread, fruit which is amazing at the moment with so many stone fruits in season and just because its outdoors, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for dessert!

For barbeques I love something refreshing like ice-cream cake, a good trifle and some bits and pieces like mince pies, short bread and chocolate.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

– 1 kilo sausages
– 1 kilo chicken breast
– 1 kilo thinly sliced steak
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 sprig rosemary
– 2 lemon
– 2 large cos lettuce
– 4 tomatoes
– 2 avocado
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt

METHOD

1. Combine the garlic, olive oil, rosemary and lemon
2. Pour over the chicken breast
3. Let sit for 2 hours
4. Cut into pieces and place on skewers
5. On a barbeque that is hot fry first the sausages, then the skewers, then the thinly sliced steak
6. Lay on a platter
7. Chop the lettuce, tomatoes and avocado
8. Add the olive oil the juice of one lemon and salt
9. Mix until combined
10. Serve with crusty bread

Jo’s sons, full and happy after 7 Christmas lunches.

Okay, so that was the 7 days of Christmas in my house. I have put on 2 kilos…it was always going to happen but gosh was it fun.

Have an amazing Christmas and don’t forget, you’re allowed to make it easy on yourself. Why not? Christmas is about food yes, but it’s mostly about family so free up some of your time with these simple ideas.

Merry Christmas! xx

 

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