We love a Christmas cook-up, with so many traditional dishes making the season special. We also love to keep our costs down, and we know you do too – so we’ve taken our festive favourite recipes and tweaked them to make them more budget-friendly. From ingredient hacks to energy efficient tips, we’ve got you covered.
First up we have Jamie’s Bloody Mary beef, which takes five to six hours in the oven, but you can also do it in the slow cooker, which means you can pop it on and leave it ticking over, without worrying about the cost. Then there’s beautiful Mulled-wine glazed ham, where we’ve swapped out the gammon for the cheaper cut of ham hocks. We even have great budget-friendly ideas for your turkey.
Then we have some great side dishes that are perfect for your microwave – not only will it save you money on your energy bills, it will save your sanity when the hob and oven are full!
Bloody Mary beef
It’s so easy to make Jamie’s famous festive centrepiece in the slow cooker. Frying off the meat quickly in the pan before you pop it in the slow cooker means you get all of those beautiful caramelised flavours without having to turn on the oven.
Mulled wine glazed ham
A Christmas feast wouldn’t be complete without beautiful ham, simply delicious alongside all those leftovers. This favourite recipe usually uses gammon, but you can also use the cheaper cut of ham hocks, keeping costs down but still keeping all that delicious flavour.
Jamie’s easy turkey – 2 ways
Try something new this Christmas with Jamie’s totally flexible turkey recipe – you’ll end up with something really special, without breaking the bank. Choose between a cost-effective golden crown or beautiful stuffed legs (or go for both!) They’ll cook in the same amount of time. Plus, you can easily swap in a frozen bird here, which is often cheaper than fresh turkey. Winner, winner, turkey dinner!
Sprouts ARE the taste of Christmas. And when you can cook them in the microwave, there’s no reason not to include them in your Big Day dinner. Trim 500g of Brussels sprouts, peeling away any tatty outer leaves, then halve any larger ones, keeping the rest whole. Put in a microwave-proof bowl with 50ml of water. Cover the bowl with a lid or a side plate and cook in the microwave on high (800W) for 6 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave) or until tender, then carefully drain in a colander. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl and toss with 50g of unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of black pepper, to coat. Delicious.
Easy steamed carrots
The microwave is your best friend on Christmas Day morning, when the hob and oven are as full as they get!. And this is a great recipe for carrots. Place 450g of baby carrots, ½ a teaspoon of cumin seeds, 80g of unsalted butter and 175ml of white wine in a microwave-safe bowl. Strip in the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then cover the bowl with a lid of a side plate and cook in the microwave on high (800W) for 5 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave) or until tender. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl, and serve.
This energy-efficient version of Jamie’s classic recipe serves 4 people and is made entirely in the microwave, so you won’t need to turn on your hob at all – result!
Finely slice ½ a red cabbage (500g) then pop it in a large microwave-proof bowl. Peel, core and finely dice 1 apple, then add it to the bowl with 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds and 50g of torn-up dried prunes. Finely grate in the zest of 1 clementine and squeeze in the juice, then add 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a splash of water and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and mix together. Cover and cook in the microwave on high (800W) for 10 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave), then remove and give everything a good stir. Return to the microwave and cook for a further 15 minutes, adding splashes of water, if needed, then transfer to a serving dish. Place 3 sheets of kitchen paper on a microwave-proof plate and lay 2 rashers of streaky bacon on top. Strip the leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary over the rashers, place another 2 sheets of kitchen paper on top, then cook in the microwave for 3 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave and leave to rest for 30 seconds, then crumble over the cabbage, to serve.
After more budget-friendly Christmas ideas? Check out our top tips for cooking on a budget at Christmas