With all the last-minute shopping, festive film watching and preset wrapping, the idea of cooking up a Christmas meal for your loved ones is pretty daunting. It's the most wonderful time of year, and that calls for the most wonderful meal of the year. The pressure is on. Unless you prep, that is... It's easy to associate meal prep with healthy lunches and staying on track with your fitness, but the concept of batch cooking ahead of time can be applied to most meals. So why not peel and chop some simple sides ahead of the big day to avoid the usual rush? That way, Christmas Day can be all about the cooking and reheating - easy!
Making your own stuffing is so much easier than you'd think - and it can be done ahead of time with ingredients you probably have in the cupboards. Fry onions in butter and stir in 50g of roughly chopped hazelnuts until the mix is golden. After that, remove from the heat and add 140g of chopped dried apricots, 175g of fresh white breadcrumbs, 20g of chopped parsley and a hint of lemon zest. Mix in a beaten egg to bind it all together and shape the mixture into balls. Pop in a single compartment Igluu meal prep container and into the fridge.On Christmas Day, put the balls in a buttered baking dish and drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 minutes and serve!
Brussels with a twist
Few people will tell you that sprouts are the best part of Christmas, but there's no denying that they're a festive must. Serve up sprouts with a difference this year and see how many people you win over! To start, fry 100g of butter and 100g of peeled, chopped chorizo in a large pan on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Boil a large pan of salted water and cook 800g of trimmed Brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry. Pop the Brussels and chorizo into a double compartment Igluu meal prep container and into the fridge.On Christmas day, re-fry your chorizo in butter and toss in the Brussels. Cook together over a high heat until tender. Mix with 100g of roughly chopped almonds, and voila!
Easy braised cabbage
Round off your festive colour palette with a side of red braised cabbage, cooked to perfection with cider and apples. Make enough for leftovers the next day for the ideal accompaniment with cooked meat. Peel the leaves from a large red cabbage to get started. Quarter it and remove the stem before thinly slicing. Place a layer of cabbage in the bottom of a large saucepan, add two chopped onions, four peeled, cored and chopped Granny Smith apples, the zest of an orange, two teaspoons of ground mixed spice, 100g of light soft brown sugar and some seasoning. Build up the layers until all the ingredients are in the pan. Pour over three tablespoons of cider vinegar and 300ml of dry cider. Pop in 25g of butter and bring the pan to the boil, then simmer with a lid on a low heat for an hour and a half. Once the mixture is tender, leave to cool and pop into an Igluu container of your choice! It will keep for two days in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer. Simply re-heat in a pan or microwave on the big day.