Belfast Telegraph

A festive feast... on a budget

With only days to go, some people will be getting into a festive flurry as they check their Christmas Day 'to-do' list.

But if you're not among the super-organised who ordered the turkey way back in June, don't panic: there's still time to prepare a family feast without breaking the bank. Indeed, with a little clever shopping, it's possible to get a four-course Christmas dinner for six people with all the trimmings for under £50.

To make it easier, we asked supermarket giant Tesco for some cheap and cheerful suggestions for serving up a December 25 banquet:

1 A simple starter of smoked salmon and wheaten bread is quick and easy. Smoked Salmon is on offer at Tesco with two £100g packs for £5. Serve with a Tesco Wheaten Round 400g (£1), Tesco Everyday Value Butter 250g (98p) and a wedge of fresh lemon (30p).

2 Have some soup while the turkey and vegetables are cooking. Country Kitchen Fresh Vegetable Broth is made by a company in Lurgan and tastes as good as homemade (£1.59 a pot).

3 The main expense of Christmas dinner is the meat. But do you really need an enormous turkey? Tesco has a range of sizes of ready-basted frozen turkeys, which cook well and are easy to carve. Opt for one that weighs 2.6-3.8kg to serve between five and seven people (£12). It will cook in around two hours.

4 A 2.2kg Tesco Northern Ireland boneless smoked or unsmoked gammon will be more than plenty (£10).

5 Shop local for vegetables. Tesco Everyday Value potatoes (2.5kg for £1.40), carrots (1.5kg for 89p), parsnips (750g for 90p) and Tesco sprouts (500g for £1) are all grown in Northern Ireland.

6 Aunt Bessie's Frozen Crispy Potatoes (£1.95 for 907g) are quick, hassle-free roasties, which are oven-ready in minutes.

7 Finishing touches needn't be complicated: Castlewellan-based TS Foods basic Breadcrumb Stuffing is £1.39 for 283g. Bisto Turkey Gravy is an essential at £1.25 for 170g and Tesco Everyday Value cranberry sauce is just 50p for a 185g jar.

8 To finish off, Tesco Christmas Pudding, 454g, is just £1.35. Serve with a tin of Tesco Everyday Value Ready-to-Serve Custard 385g at only 17p.

9 And, finally, if you get peckish later on, Tesco Mince Pies are £1 for six.

Thanks to our top tips the total bill for six people comes to just £46.25, which means you have enough left over to buy some crackers. Merry Christmas!

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