Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Christmas Dinner Ideas!

5 Christmas Dinner Ideas
Author: Whitney Hollingshead

Eating great food is one of the best parts of the holiday season.  Maybe your family has a running tradition for your Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day dinner.  However, if you are looking to try something new or even start a new tradition, here are some great alternatives to consider.

Traditional with a Twist

Traditional Christmas dinner often consists of ham, roast beef, turkey, or duck.  You can keep up your family tradition by serving your meat of choice with new sides.

Here are some other side dish options to include on the table this year:

Potato salad
Wild rice blend
Baked macaroni and cheese
Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes
Steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.)
Spinach and berry salad
Broccoli salad
Fruit salad
Garlic cheese biscuits

If your family members are very tradition bound, this may be the best mix up option to try.  You can make the traditional meal and add one or two new dishes to the lineup.  Who knows, your new dishes may become the new family favorites!

Italian Feast

Consider switching things up this year with an Italian feast.  For example, you can serve lasagna or chicken fettuccine alfredo with salad and garlic bread.  

If you have more people involved, consider setting up a pasta buffet bar.  A buffet bar is a fun way for everyone to socialize as they create their own dinner.  Will you have some picky eaters in your group?  Letting each person build their own custom plate is the perfect way to meet everyone’s unique tastes.   

Offer multiple options in each category:

Pastas (all pastas should be cooked, drained, and served promptly)
Angel hair
Frozen cheese ravioli
Frozen tortellini
Tri color rotini
Marinara sauce
Olive oil
Alfredo sauce
Garlic cream sauce
Fresh spinach
Fresh tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes
Crumbled bacon
Grilled chicken
Diced ham
An empty table, counter, island, or bar works the best for serving food buffet style to your guests.  How you place the food on the surface can greatly impact the overall experience as well.  Check out these additional helpful hints for serving dinner buffet style.  

South of the Border

If you love Mexican food, try one of these menu alternatives:

Salsa Roast
Beef roast
Salsa (red or green, heat level of choice)
Canned sweet corn
Canned black beans
Corn tortillas
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Place beef roast in slow cooker.  Cover with entire bottle of salsa.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Shred meat with forks.  Add sweet corn and black beans just before serving.  Serve with corn tortillas.  Top with sour cream, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime.  

Salsa roast is a delicious and simple recipe.  You can also use the meat to make enchiladas or burritos.  

Mexican Lasagna
Corn Tortillas
Ground beef or chicken
Enchilada sauce (red or green)
Shredded cheese
Kidney beans
Refried beans
Sour cream

Cook the ground beef or chicken.  Cover bottom of 9x13 pan with corn tortillas.  Cover tortillas with ½ of cooked meat.  Sprinkle meat with cheese, salsa, and kidney beans.  Cover with another layer of corn tortillas.  Spread a layer of refried beans.  Top refried beans with ½ of enchilada sauce.  Cover with corn tortillas.  Repeat the meat, cheese, salsa, and kidney bean layer.  Cover with corn tortillas.  Spread remaining enchilada sauce on top. Cover with cheese.  Bake in oven at 350 until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.    

Mexican lasagna is a fun way to serve the best of Mexican flavors in one simple dish.  While this meal may require some prep time, clean up is relatively quick!

Taco or Nacho Bar
Tortillas or tortilla chips
Ground beef (browned)
Chicken (cook in slow cooker with salsa of choice)
Black beans
Refried beans
Fiesta rice
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Chopped onion
Ranch dressing
Sour cream
Avocado or guacamole

Serve all of the ingredients in individual bowls buffet style and let your guests build their own dinner.  A taco/nacho bar can be especially festive if you serve the individual ingredients in fun holiday containers.

Dinner Activity

Turn your Christmas dinner into a fun activity for everyone involved.  Each person can make their own dinner by setting up a pizza making factory in your kitchen.  

Individual Pizzas
Frozen roll dough, pizza dough, refrigerated biscuits, sandwich thins, or pitas
Pizza sauce
Alfredo sauce
BBQ sauce
Ranch dressing (use as sauce)
Pesto sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Ricotta cheese
Grilled chicken
Fresh tomatoes
Green peppers
Black olives
Red onion
This dinner activity usually works best with smaller groups of people, unless you have a giant kitchen and multiple ovens.


Consider serving the big meal of the day in the late morning.  Brunch is a great time to serve incredible breakfast foods without feeling rushed.  You can even consider serving brunch in the late morning and then serve your traditional Christmas dinner, or one of the other alternatives above, later in the day.  For something a bit unconventional, but very fun, serve brunch on Christmas Eve night!

Here are some suggestions of delicious and festive brunch foods.  You can serve a few as a meal, or make several options and serve a brunch buffet:

Chocolate batter pancakes with crushed peppermint
Pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes or muffins
Cranberry muffins
Breakfast casserole (eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, cheese, peppers, onions)
Mini fruit pizzas (use sugar cookies as the crust)
Baked orange french toast
German pancakes with berries and whipped cream
Gingerbread waffles
Cinnamon Rolls
Ham, bacon, or sausage
Fresh fruit
Various juices
Hot cocoa  

Get ready to break out of the box and try something new this holiday season.  One of the ideas above is sure to be a hit with your family.

Disclosure: Mami's 3 Little Monkeys blog has not been compensated for this post nor am I the author of the post. This is a guest post.

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