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Christmas Dinner

Hello All,

My FI and I are about to close on our first home and  graciously offered to have Christmas dinner at our home this year. Well with that being said, I have NEVER cooked a big meal like that for anybody and I need help. Do any of you ladies have advice on Wines, snacks, main dishes, and desserts?? I considered making a Honey Baked Ham, but lets be honest, I dont know if I can.


Re: Christmas Dinner

  • First: Don't panic. You can handle this.

    Second: Be realistic. You aren't going to be Paula Deen in 6 weeks, but you CAN fake it.

     How many people are you planning for? What part of the country are you in? Sometimes holiday meals are regionally specific, so that might make a difference in our answers. I will post a run-down of all that we have (I'm in the south), and will be happy to supply you with any recipes/instructions you mgiht want from my stuff.

    • Roasted Turkey & gravy 
    • Dresing
    • Honey & brown sugar glazed ham
    • Cranberry Sauce
    • Sweet potato casserole
    • Yeast Rolls
    • Greenbeans almondine
    • Corn casserole
    • Ambrosia
    • Cran-Apple Casserole
    • Stuffed eggs
    • Pecan Pie
    • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
    • Mulled Cider & Mulled wine
    • Various appetizer dips
  • Relax.  You can do this.  First off, a ham is nothing to be afraid of.  They usually come fully cooked and all you have to do is warm it up.  It's almost impossible to mess up.  You can even do it in the crockpot if you need to free up your oven.

    On top of that, I would do mashed potatoes, some sort of veggie, candied yams (if your family likes them) and some rolls.  Mashed potatoes are super simple.  If you are really concerned, you can get frozen veggies with sauce, cook them in the microwave and serve them in a fancy bowl.  No one will know unless you tell them.  Find a good bakery to get the rolls.

    Do you bake at all?  Pies can be tricky, so stick to cakes, cookies, brownies, etc.  I would set down and draw up a timeline for when you need to start what and you'll be just fine.

    Good luck!

  • My mom hates turkey and ham, so she does a surf 'n turf meal: she boils lobster tails, and my dad grills small medallions of filet mignon.

    We also have at least 2 vegetable side dishes (usually heated-up frozen corn, carrots or broccoli), as well as mashed potatoes (Ore Ida recently introduced "Steam and Mash" -- real potatoes, cooked and frozen that you steam in the microwave, and mash yourself). Pillsbury dinner rolls.

    And couple of store-bought pies for dessert.

    Don't panic -- you don't have to make every single thing from scratch. It's more about being with your family than having a 4-star, gourmet meal, anyway.

  • How many people?

    You can buy a honey baked ham and you should just have to get it hot

    Think of the things you liked having at holiday dinners growing up and see if you can find simple recipes for them.

    Is anyone offering to bring something? If they do, say YES!

    We host Easter every year and I either do a turkey or Cornish game hens, something green, some bread/rolls (you can get store bought), and a few random sides depending on what I'm good at and what I have time for. Desseret is often a chocolate cake.

    Good luck.

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  • Is it possible to have anyone bring one or two dishes to dinner? This is what we do in our family so that the hostess doesn't get stuck in the kitchen for days trying to do everything herself. Each family usually brings 1-2 side dishes or dessert and the host house makes the turkey or ham.
  • Thank you all for your advice and suggestions, I love you ladies! We are having a total of about of about 15 people, which actually is not a lot, but I am used to serving 4 people and cooking sloppy joes and tater tots! :)

    Sorry, I get really overwhelmed sometimes when it comes to my soon to be in laws. They are all the perfect mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives so I hate to look like the one person who cant cook while hosting a party at our house..... 

    If you have any great recipes for Holiday meals, please send them my way! Thank you again! 

  • I agree with the ham since you really just warm it up.

    Mashed potatoes are a must for us :)

    I have a good green bean recipe.  In a large sauce pan pour a little veggie oil. Cook some chopped onions and cut up bacon pieces. Once they are brown (about 5 minutes) add a box of chicken stock and about 1lb of green beans. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Simmer for about 45 min.

  • Buy a Honeybaked Ham (from the actual store, then all you have to do is heat it!)


    one word:  Stouffer's Mac & Cheese.  Kids love it, its good and easy.  If you have a Sam's or Costco membership, you can buy a very large pan of it.

    Green beans:  cut up an onion, chop some bacon or ham, add one large can (very large can from sam's club) of green beans and put all of that in the crock pot in the am, let cook all day.  Or, do green bean bundles (strip of bacon wrapped around 4-5 green beans).

    Ask the ladies on the WC board- their food blogs and suggestions are always awesome! 

    Here are some recipes I have bookmarked:

    appetizers:  you could do a small cheese plate (they sell cheese cubes now!), veggies and dip,  a hot dip (serve it in a mini crockpot if you have one), cheeseball, crockpot meatballs...these look so good!:

    Good Luck! 

  • i'm hosting my first christmas this year! i did host Thanksgiving last year and did a big write up...

    i'm not big on ham so i probably won't do a ham. but ditto everyone else about buying one and just taking care of the sides. one thing that will help tremendously is to plan everything out. i made an excel sheet of when everything needed to go in the oven, etc. it was so much less stressful that way instead of running around the kitchen! 

    good luck!

  • During the holidays, the Costco in our area sells spiral-cut, on the bone, honey hams that are so good and so easy! A bit more expensive than most, but well worth it. I just pop it in the slow cooker (to save space in my oven) 4  hours before dinner with 1/2 cup water, put the lid on and let it sit. Turns out great.

    We also do turkey, stuffing (stove top with fried ground pork sausage - the Johnsonville mild, loose ground, not made into sausages, add peppers, mushrooms, and celery, easy and looks like made from scratch), whipped potatoes with garlic and parsley with gravy), a vegetable (usually either peas or corn), homemade dinner buns (but from the breadmaker), and a salad. Then the guests usually each bring something, typically a different side dish. Then for desert I usually check out Martha Stewart's website for something that looks unique, usually something that's a time and money sucker though, but has great presentation. And usually a guest or two will bring a dessert, cupcakes, or something.

    As for wine, I'm not a wine drinker, but we'll usually have a bottle of domestic red and a bottle of white, but my folks always bring their own wine.

    Snacks for after dinner (we don't usually do appetizers): spiced nuts, boxes of homemade or store-bought chocolates out, nothing fancy.

    Simple dishes (at least from my own experience) for dinner are usually the best, and people aren't wondering, what's in that?? Plus, they are uusally the easiest to make - i.e. plain veggies, potatoes with a few spices, etc.

    I always take my in-laws and parents up on their offer to bring a dish, and when they host, I always bring something too, it always helps. Good luck and have fun! The first time hosting is so much fun!

  • Congrats on the new house!!!

    And dont worry about the meal, you can do it!!!  My family's holidays usually average around 15 people, and they are all picky eaters, so we usually go way overboard on the food. Think making a turkey, a ham, frying chicken, baking Tofurky, and having 3 different types of mashed potatoes, 4 different types of stuffing, and 6 different pies. However, I was responsible for last Thanksgiving dinner, and I completely did away with everyones finicky requests. 

    I LOVE turkey, and although I had never made one, I googled an easy recipe and used a counter-top roaster to roast it.  I stuffed the turkey with sliced onion, thyme, sage, rosemary, and bay leaves, then basted the turkey with a mixture of orange juice, black tea, and maple syrup until the bird reached the recomended internal temperature.  For sides, I cut whole acorn squash into slices, placed on a bakingsheet, and topped with butter, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey, and baked for about 25 minutes.  Then I heated up a pack of pre-cooked asparagus, served pillsbury rolls, and made stovestop stuffing (in the oven). For dessert, I baked a storebought pumkin pie, and served with whipped cream. It was all super fuss free, and tasted like I made everything homemade. 


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