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Hacking the housemates Christmas dinner

Maximum taste. Minimum spend. YULE thank us later!

Table set for Christmas dinner with Christmas tree in background

Hacking the housemates Christmas dinner

The flatmates festive feast. A rite of passage and a fixture in just about every student’s academic calendar. But pulling off the perfect Christmas dinner is most definitely an art. Whether it’s creating the perfect roasties, feeding everyone for less than £30, timing everything to perfection, or simply ensuring nobody ends up arguing over the washing up, it’s a task that sometimes seems more challenging than any university assignment!

But set your festive fears aside and get ready to roll up your sleeves, because we’ve created the ultimate Christmas culinary guide filled with hacks to help you pull off your halls no.1 going-home get-together. And the best part? It won’t break the bank.

Close up of a shopping list

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! The key to pulling off the ultimate festive feast is all in the planning.

Before you even think about picking up a single kitchen utensil, there are three main questions you and your flatmates need to answer:

 

  • What do you need to buy?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • Where are you going to shop?

 

Take stock

Start by making a list of everything you need, then check your supplies to see what you already have. Chances are, you’ll each find some of the basics already in your cupboards, saving yourself some unnecessary spending. Once you’ve identified what you need to buy, split the list equally between the group, with each person responsible for a set number of ingredients.

 

Divide and Conquer

Forget decking the halls, you need all hands on deck! Assign everyone a different job such as cooking, prepping, washing up, decorations and games. The key is to make sure each job is well aligned with your flatmate’s domestic abilities. You don’t want the person who can’t cook toast without setting off the smoke alarm anywhere near the oven, so stick them on clearing up duty or decorations, unless of course you like your turkey burnt?

 

 

Shop smart

Want maximum taste for minimum spend? Save yourself some serious cash with these smart shopping tips.

Check out Olio, the site dedicated to sharing surplus food. Whether it’s food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables or bread from your local baker, with Olio all you have to do is browse listings available near you, request whatever takes your fancy and arrange a pick-up via private messaging. It’s basically Gumtree for groceries!

Cutting corners won’t cut costs. Unless Olio have them, back away from the Aunt Bessie’s! Sure, it will be a bit more effort but cooking from scratch will save you some serious cash over pre-made alternatives.

Consider chicken. Ok, yes Turkey might be the traditional choice, but how much do you really like it anyway? Chicken breasts, or even ham will work out considerably cheaper and probably fit in your halls oven a lot more easily.

Save yourself up to 30% with My Supermarket which compares prices across all major supermarkets showing you where you can find what you need for the cheapest price. And the best part? You don’t even need to get off your arse and venture out, simply order online and they’ll deliver direct to you. Amazing!

Gordon Ramsay screaming

The veggies

A few mulled wines in and you’ll be extremely grateful for this easy one dish hack. Peel and chop all your usual Christmas veggies, carrots, parsnips, swede, throw them together in a roasting pan with 5 tbsp of vegetable oil and a little seasoning and simply whack them in the oven at 190 for an hour and 15, tossing regularly. EASY!

 

The roasties

Ok, yes technically potatoes are vegetables, but they are simply too delicious to fall in the same category! There’s much debate over what makes the perfect roast potato and no doubt every one of your flatmates swears hands down their mum’s are the best! While your roasties might not live up to your mum’s standard (that takes years of practice) this simple and cheap recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. All you need is one or two bags of potatoes and a packet of butter. Peel and chop the potatoes to size then boil until just soft. Drain, dry and add in looooads of chopped butter, then simply roast in the oven at 180 until golden brown. No faffing with flour, just simple and delicious.

 

The meat

Once you’ve identified what meat you are going to serve, head down to your local butchers not the supermarket. At the butchers you’ll get quality meat and top cooking advice.

 

The gravy

Ahhh Bisto might be best but if you’re on a budget then it’s super simple to make your own, you just have to go old school. Simply add one pint of boiling water to a stock cube along with a couple of teaspoons of flour. Add the meat juices and whisk together. Sorted!

a selection of Christmas baubles on white marble counter top

Cooking done! CONGRATULATIONS, you did it! Now for the fun part, the PARTAAAY. That means music, tacky tinsel and good old-fashioned games (obvs with an alcoholic twist)

Pick your party tunes

Make things simple for yourself with Spotify. Why spend hours agonizing over the perfect Christmas playlist when technology can take care of it for you. You’ll find all the classics right here.

 

Deck the halls – literally!

When it comes to a student Christmas there’s one simple rule… the tackier the better! Nothing says Christmas like an explosion of cheap fairy lights and brightly coloured baubles, which is great because your local pound store sells them for peanuts!

 

Get your game face on

Not so much of a game but Secret Santa is an obvious must! Stuck for ideas? You’ll find some great ones here.As for the usual rounds of charades why not swap for one of these?

 

And that’s it! Your guide to the perfect student Christmas. Follow these tips and you’ll have this whole party thing wrapped up like Boxing Day leftovers!

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About the Author /

kate.dunston@vitagroup.com

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