How to cook a Christmas feast for under $100

How to cook a Christmas feast for under $100

Christmas Day drums up images of smiling, happy families, tucking into a beautifully cooked feast that kings and queens would happily raise their glasses to.

But the reality for many of us is one of culinary chaos. Stoves boiling over, thirsty turkeys over-crisping in a jam-packed oven and a Christmas pud that isn’t quite what it was in Grandma’s day.

Not to mention the cost of it all, which by itself would threaten to send any money-conscious family into financial stress.

But what if we told you, you could whip up a decadent Christmas lunch for under $100 that will have you leisurely sipping champagne by the pool instead of sweating it out in the kitchen?

This seven-dish Christmas feast, prepared by Australia’s number one food blogger Nagi Maehashi from RecipeTin Eats, ticks all the boxes.

The secret is that most dishes can be prepared ahead of time without losing any flavour or moisture.  We guarantee you’ll have a crisp, fresh, mouth-watering Christmas lunch that will leave the most officious aunt you have speechless.

Succulent Roast Chicken

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $20
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 1 hour cook
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-6


  • 1 roasting chicken (around 1.5kg/3.3lbs), rinsed with water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 4 litres/ 1 gallon water
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • Half a bunch flat leaf parsley
  • Half a bunch thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup of honey
  • ½ head garlic, skin on, cloves smashed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: Chicken should never be seen as the poor man’s turkey – especially not when it comes out looking like this! The skin is thin and crispy and the meat is bursting with both flavour and moisture. The only problem with cooking this chicken on Christmas Day is that it will be so popular, you’ll probably need a couple.

Easy maple sticky glazed ham

  • Cost: $31
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins, 1 hr 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 30 (!)


  • 1 leg ham (4.5kg), cooked (or smoked) bone in and skin on
  • Cloves (for studding the ham)
  • 2 oranges, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I used to be petrified of cooking ham but this glazed ham couldn’t be simpler to make. No basting or turning, just lather it up with glaze and bake it until it turns golden and sticky. The best part? Putting it on the table. What used to intimidate me now impresses my guests.

Potato Dauphinois Gratin (Potato bake)

  • Cost: $9
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 45 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4 – 6


  • 2 lb /1 kg starchy potatoes
  • ½ clove unpeeled garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ cups grated gruyere cheese (or cheddar)
  • 1½ cups cream
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves (optional)

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This is my absolute favourite potato recipe – with cream, cheese and garlic, how can you go wrong? Potato bake is one of those sides that you can cook one or two days ahead.  In fact, I actually think it makes it better as it gives the potatoes plenty of time to suck up the cream. Just before Christmas lunch, stick it into the oven to make the top crispy and golden, and everyone will think it is as fresh as the champagne.

Red, green and white Christmas salad

  • Cost: $12
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 8


  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 10oz / 300g green beans
  • 5oz / 150g snow peas
  • 4oz / 120g feta
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I don’t actually know what a Christmas salad is meant to look like but I figure anything with red, green and white has to pass muster on the day. If you blanch the green vegies the night before, they’ll still be perfectly crisp when you put them on the table, as long as you keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Glazed stove top carrots

  • Cost: $4
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-5


  • 6 carrots, peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise then halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅔ cup water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley, finely chopped

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: On Christmas Day, when there’s a queue for the oven that runs out the door, I find it hard to make carrots a priority. But since I found this stove-top recipe, no one actually has to know this because these carrots come out looking like they’ve been cooked to perfection in precious confines of the oven.  Carrots look great on the table and they barely cost a cent, so they definitely have their place in the Christmas lunch line-up.

Zucchini fennel ribbon salad with mint

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 10 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4


  • 1 medium fennel, or 2 baby fennels
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly torn
  • Salt and pepper

For directions, click here

Nagi says: This is a really simple salad that literally takes 10 minutes to throw together. It lightens up the Christmas table and is bursting with flavour.  Don’t be scared of the fennel – it’s the perfect counterpart to the parmesan and if you slice it thinly it won’t overpower the dish.

Salted caramel brownies

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins prep, 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 16



  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Salted caramel

  • 14oz / 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 oz / 60 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This Christmas, I’m ditching the classics and going with my all-time favourite: salted caramel brownies.  Words fail me to describe how good these are but here’s a few to give it a crack – indulgent, gooey and silky-smooth.  Unquestionably the perfect way to cap off a day of indulgence.  Just be sure to hide the recipe from yourself after New Year’s.


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What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.