Wednesday, 06 December 2017

Christmas with Kathrine Lynch: How to put on Christmas dinner for eight for $160

Cooking for a crowd at Christmas doesn’t have to be an all-day drama that leaves you feeling frazzled. Nor does it have to be a drain on your finances. 

If you’re smart about how you spend your Christmas food budget; get organised early; plan your menu and do as much preparation as you can in advance, you can entertain on Christmas Day and still have time to relax with friends and family, Kathrine Lynch says. 


Kathrine is the Hamilton mother-of-two who made 62 meals from only $100 worth of groceries, by shopping at PAK’nSAVE. She followed that up with 50 school lunches for less than $100 – and her bill came in at $97.45.

Kathrine runs the Facebook page Busy Happy Kids NZ, which she started as a way to encourage families to be more active. She included a few recipes to begin with, but over time her focus has turned towards food.

“After I did the 62 meals for $100, the Facebook page really took off. I found that people had lots of questions about how to cook simple meals,” she says. Kathrine’s page now has more than 14,000 followers, and she takes time to personally answer all of the questions she receives.

“The thought of entertaining a crowd on Christmas Day can be stressful, but I want to show people that you can cook a simple, nutritious Christmas lunch or dinner for eight people for $160. Or just invite friends to come over for brunch, which you can do for as little as $55 for eight people.

“The trick is that you need to be organised and plan your menu in advance. Think about what you can achieve in the time that you have available, and how much you want to spend. Then make a detailed shopping list.

“When I was planning this menu, I tried to come up with simple, affordable ways to jazz up what I’d usually do. For my Christmas lunch menu, I’ve added avocado, dried cranberries and sliced almonds to a simple green salad. I got some fresh herbs so that I could garnish the vegetables and roast meat, to make them look beautiful on the table.

“Another tip is to include dishes that you can prepare in advance to save yourself some time on Christmas day – like the cheesecake I’ve included in my Christmas lunch menu, which you can make a day or two ahead and tuck away in the fridge until it’s needed.
“You can save yourself some time by buying a pavlova from the supermarket and just topping it with whipped cream and fruit. Don’t feel you have to try and make one from scratch if you’re not confident doing it.

“If you’re working to a budget, look out for simple ways to reduce your spend. I put honey on my shopping list, which was just for the glazed carrots for my Christmas dinner menu. But I could have easily used the brown sugar I had at home instead.

“People may well have some of the ingredients for this menu at home, so they’ll be able to cook these meals for even less than I did – leaving a little extra to spend on things like nibbles or drinks to go with the meal.”

Kathrine’s $55 Christmas brunch menu for eight people 

  • Bagels with salmon, cream cheese and capers, served with a rocket, avocado and cherry tomato salad
  • Hotcakes with maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh strawberries and banana

Kathrine’s $160 Christmas lunch menu for eight people 

  • Glazed Ham with maple syrup, orange juice and mustard
  • Moroccan rolled BBQ lamb with avocado and garlic dressing
  • New potatoes with butter and mint
  • Green beans with garlic, lemon and butter
  • Oven roasted vine tomatoes with rosemary and chives
  • Cranberry, avocado, almond lettuce salad
  • Boysenberry cheesecake with whipped cream and ice cream

Kathrine’s $160 Christmas dinner menu for eight people 

  • Glazed ham with maple syrup, orange juice and mustard 
  • Roast chickens with sage and onion stuffing 
  • Roast chicken with apricot and orange stuffing 
  • Honey glazed carrots 
  • Roast vegetable medley 
  • Hassleback roast potatoes 
  • Lemon butter asparagus 
  • Pavlova with strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream 
  • Fruit salad with ice cream

Go to for Kathrine’s recipes. 

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