CHRISTMAS day is fast approaching and Brits are no doubt gearing up for a fun day filled with festive feasting.
And while the annual celebration can set you back a pretty penny, budget chef Miguel Barclay has revealed some easy Christmas dinner swaps that'll help you keep the cost down.
But that doesn't mean skimping on your favourite foods either, as the dad-of-one, who's known for his popular One Pound Meals cook books, has shared how you can have it all for a fraction of the cost.
The chef, whose new budget-friendly book Storecupboard One Pound Meals is available now, shares his penny-pinching tips with Fabulous.
1. Clucking good
There's nothing quite like a roast turkey on Christmas day, but Miguel said to swap the festive tradition for a chicken instead.
He said: "It costs a fraction of the price of a whole turkey and why put yourself under such pressure."
He even said that "chicken is way easier to cook and almost impossible to mess up."
But if you're dead set on turkey, there is another way – and you might want to take a stroll down the frozen aisle.
"Buy a frozen one, most fresh turkeys have been frozen anyway, so don’t be fooled by 'fresh is best'" he added.
2. Veg out
Alongside your roast turkey is usually a delicious selection of baked vegetables.
And with a lot to prepare on Christmas day,it's certainly tempting to take the more convenient route – that is, pre-chopped, store-bought veggies.
But by doing this, you're actually spending way more.
"You’re actually paying someone else to chop them up for you," Miguel warned, and said: "You can totally do it yourself, it’s easy."
3. Stuff that
Stuffing is essential for your Christmas meal, the budget chef said, but you don’t need meat to get it right.
"The flavours you’re after are earthy herbs and spices like sage and onion. So why add expensive meat.
"If you want to jazz it up throw in a handful of dried fruit like apricots to give a contrast in flavour."
It's easy to get carried away with tasty sides to go with your perfectly roasted turkey (or chicken, if you take Miguel's advice), but scale it back and consider using cauliflower.
You can pick up a whole one for incredibly cheap and it can really go a long way.
"If you want a show-stopping side dish that’ll be the fist to go, my absolute favourite is a cauliflower cheese," Miguel suggested.
"This dish is so simple and delicious, just melt some butter in a pan, mix in flour, and slowly add milk while you stir, when you’ve got a creamy sauce finish with grated cheese, pour into an ovenproof dish with cauliflower and bake."
5. Piggy bank
Pigs in blankets are the ultimate Christmas treat in our opinion – but there is a way to indulge without the added cost.
"If you want the cheapest option, then you’ve got to make them yourself," Miguel says.
And according to the chef, they're super easy to do – just "buy a pack of frozen cocktail sausages and wrap them in half a rasher of streaky bacon".
There's absolutely no need to buy the ready prepared packs.
6. Duck, duck, goose
Many people assume goose fat is the answer to perfectly golden roasted potatoes, but according to Miguel there's another way.
"I don’t use expensive goose fat, I use olive oil!" he said. Adding "it’s all about the technique not the fat."
Sharing his go-to method, he said: " Just boil them, drain and let them steam dry for 15mins before coating in olive oil and roasting."
7. Freeze frame
While you're in the freezer aisle picking up your turkey, swing past and grab some prawns, too.
According to Miguel, frozen prawns are just as good as fresh for your mouthwatering prawn cocktails – and SO much cheaper, too.
He said: "Don’t buy fresh prawns for your prawn cocktail, frozen prawns are the exact same thing! In fact, they’re better."
8. Say cheese!
If you're known to enjoy some cheese and crackers throughout the day, definitely make a cheeseboard yourself instead of buying one that's already been prepared.
"Don’t buy a cheeseboard," the money-saving chef said. "Make your own with exactly the cheeses you like, that way you’ll limit waste."
9. Cheers to that
A celebration isn't complete without popping some champagne, but you CAN still do it on the cheap with cava or Prosecco.
Miguel suggested making the swap to help save a few quid, and try watering it down with orange juice to make it go further.
He said: "A vibrant orange fizzy glass of Buck’s Fizz looks so pretty on such a special day."
Miguel’s 96p Christmas dinner
- 1 chicken leg, de-boned (50p – four for £1.99 at Aldi)
- ½ red onion, finely diced (2p – 11 for 85p at Asda)
- 1 tsp cranberry sauce (5p – 200g for 75p at Asda)
- Small handful of breadcrumbs (2p – grated stale bread)
- 1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped (12p – 2.5kg for £1.85 at Lidl)
- 3 tbsp dry stuffing mix (6p – 170g for 34p at Lidl)
- Approx 20ml water (free)
- 1 rasher of smoked streaky bacon, cut into three (10p – 14 rashers for £1.39 at Lidl)
- 3 brussels sprouts, separated into leaves (6p – 500g for 90p at Asda)
- 1 tsp gravy granules (3p – 170g for 60p at Asda)
- Olive oil (store cupboard)
- Salt and pepper (store cupboard)
Total cost: 96p
Storecupboard One Pound Meals is published by Headline Home (available now, RRP £16.99)
Miguel previously told Fabulous how to slash your weekly food shop to £1 per meal by making these simple swaps.
And we revealed the supermarket secrets YOU need to know to save money and time – and why you should always weigh your veg.
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