Happy Holidays!! At our house, we love to really throw down for the holidays. This year will be no different! But you have to remember that it's not all about the food... it's about spending time with friends and family! With that in mind, we have put together this "Make Ahead Christmas Dinner Ideas" recipe roundup to help moderate your time in the kitchen during the holidays.
CHRISTMAS DINNER IDEAS
Over the years, we've enjoyed Christmas dinner a lot of different ways. I can remember way back to when I was really young my Aunt cooking huge roasts with so many sides you could sink a ship. My Papa would always get the charred end bits that smelled divine. It was a delicious but stressful affair. But I also remember fondly that she used to make Jello Fluff which was my absolute favorite dessert in the world. It's funny because I haven't thought about that in probably 25 years now. It still makes me smile from ear-to-ear. I might have to dig out that recipe somewhere.
When I started to cook Christmas dinner for the family about a decade ago, we went through various themes (French brasserie style, Simply Seafood, Lamb Delight etc) which was really fun... for a while. It was a lot of work, but to see the enjoyment on the faces of the people I love was worth the investment of time. Then it started to become really stressful with timing needing to be "just right" to get everything plated and on the table. I found myself shoveling through my food so I could get back in the kitchen for the next course. I was missing the experience.
Now that our kids are old enough, I find that I want to spend as much time with them throughout the day as possible. The kitchen has taken a back seat to making memories and being present in their lives during a special time. Instead, I try to make as much of the food for Christmas dinner ahead of time. All I have to do now is reheat and serve. This is why we put together this list of Christmas Dinner Ideas (including some starters, mains and sides) that you can make ahead of time. Eat delicious food, but spend time in the moment with the people you want around you.
ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS
Over the last several years, we have changed our holiday tradition for Christmas Eve. For years, we would feast on delicious ham that my mother-in-law makes along with family side dishes that we only experience one time a year. The carrot souffle is fantastic. We found that with a huge Christmas Eve dinner and another rich Christmas Day Dinner that we were really overdoing it.
So, we decided to open our house to friends and family on Christmas eve for a Mexican Fiesta. Sounds strange, right? That's the point! It's different and unexpected. People love to come and spend the evening sampling salsas, noshing on guacamole and homemade tortilla chips. You can make taco salads or create a burrito like no other. And don't even get me started on the margarita bar!
We love opening our house for everyone to congregate, meet new people, catch up with old friends and enjoy a light and satisfying meal. Even for our Fiesta, I'm able to make everything ahead of time... so I can spend time catching up. This year is particularly important because we have been gone from the States for almost seven months. The last thing I want to do is be running around the kitchen like a madman.
I hope that this quick list of Make-Ahead Christmas Dinner Ideas will give you some inspiration so you can spend more time enjoying the holidays and less time in the kitchen!
MAKE AHEAD RECIPE ALTERATIONS
You'll notice that I have included some things like my Ultimate Iceberg Wedge Salad and might be thinking "how do I make that ahead of time?" Well, it's easy. Go ahead and slice the wedges, cover with cellophane and store in the fridge. Make the dressing ahead, the bacon bits, the candied walnuts. Store and then simply assemble. To make 10 of these salads on Christmas day will take about 10 minutes total if you plan ahead.
The same can be said for any of the chicken dishes. Make the chicken ahead of time, allow to cool and then store properly in the fridge. When you need to reheat, allow it to come to room temp and reheat with a bit of chicken stock or water. If the chicken has a topping, make that in advance and reheat in a non-stick pan. If it is a creamy topping, plan to thin with just a touch of water or milk.
If you have any questions on how to make any of the Christmas Dinner Ideas ahead of time, please comment or contact me! I'll get back to you just as soon as I can.
Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!!
Butternut Squash and Sausage Appetizer
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAUSAGE WITH FRIED SAGE APPETIZER THIS BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAUSAGE RECIPE IS: PALEO, PRIMAL, LOW CARB, GLUTEN FREE AND WHEAT BELLY FRIENDLY. I love birthday parties. Who doesn't love a birthday? For Caroline's 35th birthday, she asked me to create all paleo small plates for the party. I didn't
Creamy Mashed Potato Recipe
If you're looking for a special mashed potato recipe... you've found it. We're going to make mashed potatoes like you've never had before. They are so yummy you will wonder how life has been so good without them! This mashed potato recipe is: Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Light and Fluffy! HOLIDAY MASHED POTATO
Lemon Artichoke Chicken
I love when a recipe is both creamy AND light. This lemon artichoke chicken recipe satisfies the soul with its luscious creamy onion, garlic and lemon sauce. At the same time, the zippy artichoke hearts and lemon zest add lightness which is both surprising and welcoming at the same time.
Low Carb Meatball Recipe
If you are looking for a low carb meatball recipe, you have found the right spot. We are going to use both ground pork and ground beef in these meatballs, mixed together with delicious spices, onions and sweet red peppers. THIS LOW CARB MEATBALL RECIPE IS: GLUTEN FREE, PALEO AND WELL...LOW
Oven Baked Chicken Legs with Creamy Mustard Sauce
This creamy mustard sauce is just so versatile: it's delicious on these oven baked chicken legs, but is equally as good on pork chops, steak, white fish and more. We are going to learn how to make some delicious oven baked chicken and the most simple mustard sauce. We'll then
Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe
What if I told you that the perfect roast chicken only needs three ingredients, is incredibly juicy and ready in under an hour? Seems impossible...right? Well, it is completely possible right in your own kitchen. All we need is a good roaster, some duck fat and seasonings. That's it. Check
Roasted Carrots and Fennel Puree
Dappled with hues of starburst orange and muted greens, this roasted carrots and fennel puree looks as good as it tastes. Roasted fennel brings out a sweet, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the earthy goodness from the roasted carrots. THIS ROASTED CARROTS AND FENNEL PUREE RECIPE IS: GLUTEN FREE, PALEO,
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Veggies
If you are looking for an incredibly flavorful, juicy and tender roasted pork tenderloin recipe, you're in the right spot! We are going to add in some wonderful aromatics including garlic, parsley, rosemary, carrots and onions. What a wonderful way to make pork tenderloin. This roasted pork tenderloin recipe is: Gluten
Rustic Provencal Ratatouille Dish
If you have been searching for the easiest, most satisfyingly delicious ratatouille dish... you've found it. This recipe is so simple that it will collectively blow your mind and make you scratch your head at just how so few ingredients can make so much flavor! Stay for a minute and take a
Saucy Beef Stroganoff Recipe
You've just found a fantastic, fast and filling beef stroganoff recipe! In under 30 minutes, you can have this incredibly tasty and rich dinner ready for the table. Serve it over rice, polenta, noodles or even cauliflower rice to keep things low carb! Authentic old world cooking in a modern timeframe...Yummy.
Loving the iceberg wedge idea for Christmas. Totally doing that. Totally make-ahead!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Have a fantastic day!
Iceberg wedge is still my father's favorite salad! Great to be able to get stuff made up ahead of time so you can enjoy the leisurely morning and still have a special meal. Will share this out!
Whatever can be made up ahead of time among my favorites. It saves me a lot of time.
Thank you for posting.
Have a lovely day!