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Hectic Christmas Ahead? Try Our Useful Cheats

Do you find yourself running around the shops last minute to pick up essentials for the holiday dinners? Do you feel like Christmas comes and goes without having had a minute to sit down with the family, or even open a present? A bit of know-how and some thought into buying frozen ready prepared food in advance for the big day can go a long way to helping you relax out this Christmas time. The Fresh from the Freezer team shares some tips for preparing frozen and freezing festive food, and nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston has some suggestions for easily making the day a little healthier.

Hot list for a cool Christmas


  • First things first buy ready-made ice ready for serving drinks to visitors; you may also be inclined to help yourself to a cheeky glass whilst cooking!

Yvonne says, “Try adding frozen fruit such as berries into drinks instead of ice, it will cool them down when you are short of room in the fridge and add some flavour and nutrients too.”

  • If you create a menu that you can buy pre-prepared from your local supermarket freezer aisle, you will only have to worry about roasting the turkey on the day.
  • Buy ready to go dishes like Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and baked red cabbage. This will cut out no end of extra fresh ingredients, waste, mess and washing up, and ultimately save you time and money.
  • Stocking up your freezer with frozen dishes in the lead up to Christmas, cuts out the mad rush to the check out the days before, and the cost can be spread across multiple shopping trips. Everything from buffet food to Christmas pudding can be bought frozen.
  • All kinds of vegetables can be bought from frozen; this cuts out a huge amount of work. Think of the endless parsnips, carrots and potatoes you have peeled and chopped in the past. They are also par-cooked which speeds up the cooking process.

Yvonne says, “There is often so much focus on the main part of the Christmas dinner that the vegetables get forgotten and over-cooked. Cutting out some of the preparation means you can cook the veg at the last minute and not over-do them. It is also a great opportunity to add more variety of vegetables.”

  • Even roast potatoes can be better straight from the freezer. They will maintain their freshness from the day they are frozen. Make them extra special and as crispy and delicious by roughening up the edges and coating them in cornflower, about half way through roasting. This is the secret of the crispy edges.

A healthy tip from Yvonne: Try frozen sweet potatoes mixed with your regular ones to add extra cold-busting vitamins.

  • If you are looking to get that just baked taste with things like mince pies and pastries, you can defrost and roll out ready-made pastry, if you make too many these can be refrozen once baked and cooled.

Yvonne suggests, “If you make mince pies without their tops on you can reduce the amount of calories and fat-laden pastry and even add a layer of fruit on top to ring the changes.”

  • Having all these things done, dusted and safely tucked away in the freezer means there is ample room in the fridge for the main event: the defrosting of the turkey!

The buffet buffer

Buffet food is no longer as simple as sausage rolls or cheese on a stick; most supermarkets now have frozen buffet platters containing food from around the world.

Yvonne says, “Mix frozen party foods with fresh vegetable crudités to liven up the colour and add nutrients.”

  • Party platters often come up on 3 for 2 offers – make room in the freezer and you will always be ready for guests.

Yvonne says, “All you need to do is add a salad and you have an easy feast.”

  • Keeping party platters in your freezer allows you to produce hot food at the very last moment. This also offers the flexibility to use as much or as little as you need, saving waste and there may be some left over for the next special event.

Yvonne says, “Include party platters with fish and prawns to give your guests a lighter choice.”

  • Apart from the turkey, there is an abundance of original things to do with leftovers so that nothing goes to waste and you don’t get tired of eating the same things.


A festive tip from Yvonne, “Stock up on herbs and spices so you can easily bring a whole new flavour to left-overs, frozen herbs keep their flavour well and keep better when you are having to shop in advance.”

  • To reinvent your turkey and cranberry sauce, Yvonne suggests to add nuts and rocket leaves to make a nice light salad.
  • Ham and turkey is also always good in a good winter bake or pie.
  • Left over mince pies can vamp up a tub of vanilla ice cream. Crush them up and sprinkle over ice cream when having cosy winter nights in front of the TV.

Now all that’s left is for Fresh from the Freezer team and nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston to wish you a Happy Christmas!

For more information on defrosting turkey, check out our guide on how to defrost turkey.


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