9 cooking tips to bring the festive cheer for Christmas this year.

We all want to delight our loved ones with a delicious Christmas spread, but it’s not so easy meeting expectations on a shoestring.

Follow these cost-cutting tips and you won’t have to compromise on quality, flavour or abundance.

1. Find cheaper alternatives to old favourites
You can often find tasty substitutes for Christmas classics with just a little imagination. Smoked salmon might be a regular on your Christmas table but it’s an expensive treat. Make your own smoked salmon pâté using trimmings, which are about half the price. Smoked mackerel is even cheaper and works just the same.

Similarly, readymade canapés save you preparation time but won’t be kind to your shopping bill. They’re very simple to make but time-consuming to assemble. So take advantage of helping hands and use anything with a pastry or bread base to keep costs down.

2. Variety is the price (not spice) of life
More choices mean extra preparation and added cost. Try to avoid excess variety by sticking to just a few recipes that you’re confident your family and friends will love. There will be less wastage too.

3. Don’t fall into the meat trap
Meat is usually the most expensive item on the Christmas table. Instead of serving a turkey, ham, chicken (where does it end!?)… Buy one type of meat, like a large leg of ham and prepare it in few different ways.

4. Whip up your own gravy
It’s tempting to buy pre-made gravy for your choice of meat, but it’s tastier and really satisfying making your own. The giblets and roasting juices provide all the delicious flavour. Just add a spoon of flour, chicken stock, and a splash of wine…

5. Make plenty of salads
The beauty of salads is they bring variety to your table without having to prepare more meat and vegetables. Besides, December is the hottest time of year, so a few refreshing salads will go down a treat. Here are some you might want to add to your Christmas spread: http://www.all4women.co.za/857750/money/money-matters/winning-salads-make-braai-heritage-day

6. Know your crowd

A little planning goes a long way in cost-cutting your Christmas lunch, so get your portion estimations right. Also, if you remember that aunty what’s-her-face eats like a mouse and uncle what’s-his-name always comes back for seconds, it’s easier to work out how much food to prepare.

7. Ask your guests to for a small contribution
If you aren’t comfortable asking people to bring pre-prepared dishes to your Christmas lunch, rather ask them to bring condiments or alcohol to save costs. It’s the season for giving after all!

8. Check your cupboards!
There’s no set menu for a Christmas lunch, so take advantage and be creative. Instead of buying things you’ll never use again, rather give traditional recipes your own unique twist. Your guests will be impressed and you’ll finally see the end of that tinned asparagus you knew you were keeping in the pantry for some reason.

9. Snapnsave
Before stocking up for your Christmas lunch, remember that by using SnapnSave (South Africa’s No.1 Cashback shopping app) you’ll get tons of cash back on your Christmas shopping. It’s totally free to download and use! Get onto the app to see all of their digital coupons available & then book them. Once you’ve been shopping, all you have to do to prove you bought the items is take a photo of your till slip…SO easy! The cash will be deposited straight into your SnapnSave wallet where you can use it to get cash off your next shop!

Article posted on www.all4women.co.za

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