Cooking at Christmas time either brings joyful thoughts or thoughts of dread.
Maybe it’s a combination. We all love the food at Christmas and the smells wafting through the house. But, it also puts a lot of pressure on whoever is the main cook of the house.
Most of the issues with cooking at Christmas can be solved by making Christmas cooking simple. The truth is, we tend to complicate food production for the Christmas cooking making too much food, too many different types of food, and not involving the family to help cut down on the host having to do all the cooking.
Mixing the Old and the New
Every family has its traditions, and it’s always good to keep and pass these on. But, it’s also fun to add in something new. If you find out that no one in the family likes something, just stop doing it. Even if it was tradition, there is no point in continuing.
There are many traditional foods that you can serve at Christmas, but there are also some foods that you can add to make the celebration newer. Let’s look at some traditional foods and how to incorporate something new to contribute to ? Christmas cooking made simple.
* Potato Salad
This is a common dish served at Christmas celebrations all over the world. There are many ways to make it. If you’ve always made it one way, why not try a new way. For example, if you make mayonnaise-rich potato salad, you might want to try one that doesn’t have mayonnaise just to shake it up a little.
It might seem odd to you but not everyone eats turkey at Christmas. Many people today are now enjoying plant-based diets so they want something else. Others are just tired of the same old thing each year. Why not have a pizza party, or try some traditional dishes from around the world – like Chiles en Nagoya, which is enjoyed during the holidays in Mexico, as your main dish:
* Feast of the Seven Fishes
This is an Italian tradition. You can change the theme of your holiday depending on what you normally do and still be fully traditional, while also trying something new. If you want to try Feast of seven Fishes, click here.
* Go German
There are many rich traditions for food in Germany. Instead of your normal turkey, why not roast a duck instead? This can be a good way to shake up your Christmas dinner, keeping it traditional while adding something new click here for the recipe.
Christmas Breakfast and Brunch Ideas
If you’re feeding a crowd, then you might want some Christmas breakfast or brunch ideas to help you make everyone happy. But remember – you don’t have to fix Christmas breakfast on Christmas Day. You can do it anytime during the holidays. If you have a large crowd in your house for Christmas morning, you can offer easy-to-grab food like muffins, donuts, and even cereal if you prefer.
* Overnight Casseroles
These are perfect for making everyone satisfied with breakfast, while not putting too much work on your schedule. These ten recipes are simple to follow and delicious to eat, and you can choose from sweet or savoury casseroles. Don’t be afraid to sub ingredients in these ideas if you don’t eat or like something in the recipe, Click here for recipes.
* Easy-to-Grab Food
Often the morning is full of opening presents and thinking about what you must do to get dinner ready. So, if you want to, you can make a variety of finger foods so that everyone can wake up and grab food as they will. Muffins, individual quiches, oatmeal, cereals, and even pop tarts are fine for Christmas brunch. If you want to be creative, make cinnamon rolls in a Christmas tree-shaped pan and add red, green, gold and silver sprinklers, Click here for some recipes.
* Christmas Ham
A great way to use that Christmas ham is for breakfast. You can provide rolls, the spiralled ham, chutney, and other toppings to enjoy with the ham. Everyone can make their own. All you do is put out the ham and rolls and maybe some fruit, and let people grab and go at will.
* Breakfast Quiche
This is a great way to prepare breakfast fast and to fill people up. You can make a quiche with all sorts of ingredients. You can also make mini-quiches if you have a lot of people with different dietary needs at breakfast – even vegans. Note: You can also buy prepared mini-quiche at Supermarket. Check out these recipe ideas.
* Bread Pudding
You can make a breakfast bread pudding. Most of the time, you can start this overnight and then finish in the morning. Try this blueberry-pecan pancake bread pudding to brighten up your Christmas brunch breakfast.
* Go Out for Breakfast
That might seem strange, but you can make it super-easy by going out for breakfast. Yes, many places are open on Christmas for brunch. You’ll have to call around for your area, but it can be fun to turn tradition on its ears and go out for breakfast and then even maybe go to a movie.
* Don’t Forget the Punch
A great thing to make for your Christmas brunch is a fun special punch just for grown-ups. Martha Stewart has a great Bloody Mary punch recipe, but you can make any type of punch you want to that means Christmas to you, click here for the recipe.
Whatever you want to make for your Christmas brunch, and whether you make it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or even the day after, doesn’t matter. Enjoying yummy food with people you love is what it’s all about.
Sources of Inspiration for the Perfect Christmas Dinner
Everyone loves to get inspiration. Today it’s easier than ever to get inspired due to the internet. You can find everything on the net today, but you can still call mom or grandma to get ideas as well. Don’t overlook any source of inspiration from magazines to books, to your friends and extended family. Ideas and inspiration are literally everywhere if you are looking for them.
Do a quick search for Christmas Dinner Ideas and you’ll get a plethora of videos to watch. You can refine your search and ask for quick ideas, or vegan ideas, or different ways to cook a Christmas turkey. The sky is the limit with YouTube.
This might seem a strange choice, but everyone asks all sorts of questions on their wall and in groups, and they get great answers. Just ask what other people do during the holidays, and you’re sure to find out a lot of great ideas that you can incorporate into your holiday celebration.
Everyone who loves Pinterest will make special Christmas dinner pin boards which you can browse at your leisure. You can search using the right keywords for your desires. You can search menu ideas, for example, instead of just turkey ideas.
Don’t discount what Grandma knows for Christmas cooking. She likely has recipes that she’ll be more than happy to send you that she’ll make if you ask. Grandmas like sharing what they know and yours is probably not much different. In some cases though, she may not have a recipe and you’ll need to learn in person.
Your mom still has some good ideas about the holidays and can easily share her recipes with you. Even someone else’s mom will have good ideas if you ask them. If you have a guest who is coming to visit for the holidays and can’t be with their own family, you can always call their mom to find out what makes Christmas for your guest.
Ask your friends about what they like to cook on the holidays. They will probably post a lot of variations of the traditional things you make for Christmas cooking , but they may also have ideas that you never thought of – especially if you have a group of friends who come from all walks of life.
Don’t forget cookbooks for Christmas cooking. They’re still good ways to get ideas. You can go to a book store and make an afternoon of looking through various cookbooks to get inspiration. Then you can find out if your local library has that cookbook before you purchase it.
At some point, the magazine section will be overrun by holiday ideas, but you might want to look at last year’s magazines at the library to get your ideas sooner. Libraries often have older magazines that you can look at. They also usually allow you to copy pages or take a smartphone photo from the magazine so you can take recipes home. Christmas cooking will be easier.
You can find inspiration in a lot of places. But the main thing not to do is overload yourself with ideas so that you get overwhelmed. It’s better to consider what your goal is for the dinner, choose a theme of some kind, and then limit the amount that you cook to that so that you don’t overcook or undercook for this important holiday dinner.
Eight Great Twists to the Traditional Christmas Dinner
Tradition is all well and good. It’s fun. It feels like home. We humans like rituals; it makes us feel grounded. But, when it comes to food, there is no reason you can’t still be traditional but add a little twist to it by changing up the traditional recipes to make them a little different – and possibly even better than the original. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Many people enjoy turkey at their Christmas dinner. Typically, it is just a regular roasted turkey with stuffing or dressing. But back in 2016, Rachel Ray Every Day posted six flavour twists for the traditional turkey. These recipes are awesome to keep it traditional but with a little extra flavour that your family will love:
2. Stuffing Dressing
There is always a lot of discussion about whether you should fix stuffing or dressing. Either is fine, but you can really switch up the ingredients and make it extra special if you want to. There are so many amazing flavour combinations. You might want to try this Holiday Turkey with Rice Stuffing recipe.
3. Go Vegan
It might seem impossible, but you can add a huge twist to your holiday meal simply by going vegan. Look no further than your Whole Foods Market website for great recipe ideas. If you don’t have a Whole Foods, you can still find ingredients at your local supermarket for the most part click here for some recipes.
4. Holiday Ham
Many people enjoy spiralled glazed ham on Christmas. It’s wonderful for that day but also for leftovers. There are many different recipes that are almost the same for this traditional dish. Why not shake it up with this Holiday Ham with an American Twist. You don’t even have to live in Texas to enjoy it:
5. Pumpkin Pie
You may think you’ve seen all the variations of your beloved pumpkin pie, but there are so many that they can’t be listed here. However, you can go to the Community Table website to view these wonderful 12 twists on traditional pumpkin pie. Be ready to get super-hungry.
6. Green Bean Casserole
Many people hate it, but many obviously love it because it seems like it’s part of every Christmas holiday meal. There are many ways to make it that you may not know about. Here you can find a list of seven different ways to make this traditional holiday side dish extra special, click here for the recipe.
7. Giblet Gravy
The traditional recipe is delicious but you can spice it up. For example, this recipe is the traditional one, but you could do variations on it. You could stir in some sour cream to make it super-rich and creamy with a tangy kick. Another option is to spice it up by adding some hot sauce, or smoked paprika.
8. Christmas Pudding
Many people enjoy classic Christmas pudding at some point during the holidays. If you come from England then you know all about it. But it’s also in America and other countries due to immigration. Here’s a great recipe.
If you’ve never tried it, making the traditional recipe will be a great twist in itself, but if you have, consider trying this version. If you like dried fruit, eggs, and bread, you’ll love it.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. You can even throw out tradition altogether and have a Christmas pizza if you so desire. Don’t feel constrained to do the same thing every single year if you don’t want to.
Nine†Delicious and Simple Dessert Ideas
Simple dessert ideas for Christmas cooking are all around you. You can find them on Pinterest in droves. But, how do you know which ones are good? Well, if you can find a bunch of variations on one type of dessert, then you probably found the one you want to make. Just look up the recipes and decide on the one that’s easiest for you to make. There are from-scratch recipes as well as partially homemade recipes to choose from.
1. Chocolate Fondue
Having a fondue party is a fun idea for any time of the year, but it’s so festive that it fits in perfectly with Christmas. Some families love doing this on Christmas Eve with a good movie. Here is a simple slow cooker fondue recipe that you can use. You can also dip whatever you want into the chocolate, so make lots of dippers for people to try. Hint: buy pre-made dippers and cut them up to make it easier, click here for some recipes.
2. Cake Mix Cookies
These cake mix cookies are easy to make, festive in appearance, and delicious. That’s all you need in a holiday cookie. Since it uses cake mix, it’s a soft cookie that almost melts in your mouth. When you put these on the table for dessert, your family will squeal and ooh and aah in delight. Your entire family will love them.
3. Yule Log
This wonderful and traditional dessert can be made in a variety of ways. The traditional recipe will blow the entire family away. It’s chocolatey and delicious and beautiful too.
4. Almond Roca
This also makes a great addition to any food-related gifts that you create. A lot of people like to have little bags or tins of gifts ready for those who drop by for the holidays. This recipe for Easy Homemade Almond Roca is even easier than you may think.
Everyone loves a good trifle. They look so festive and taste so creamy and delicious. There are many recipes for trifles out there. A trifle is a layered dessert typically served in a see-through glass container so that everyone can see the layers. Here are ten trifle recipes you can try from Taste of Home:
6. Mince Pie
Often called “minced meat” pie, this delicious pie has a combination of fruits, spices, like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg which we all enjoy during the holidays. This recipe from The Food Network will cross all the Tis and dot all the Ins for you in a delicious version of mince pie that uses a cornmeal crust:
7. Dump Cake
This is a super-easy dessert to make. They call it a Dump Cake because you literally dump the ingredients in a pan and bake it. You don’t have to do a lot of prep and you really can’t mess it up, Click here for the recipe.
8. Slow Cooker Brownie Pudding
Want a dessert that is not just easy to make but will make everyone warm and happy too? This Slow Cooker Brownie Pudding is the answer to all your problems with cooking dessert, including having space for it. Add some mint ice cream to make it extra festive.
9. Pumpkin Cobbler
This is a wonderful twist on a pumpkin dessert that everyone will love. It’s warm, gooey, pumpkin filled and just simply delicious. Since it’s made in your slow cooker, it couldn’t be any simpler or tastier than this. Want more pumpkin slow cooker desserts? Just go here.
Making dessert for your Christmas cooking doesn’t have to be hard. Christmas cooking made simple by even going to the store and buy dessert if you prefer. No one is going to notice or care, to be honest. Of course, making desserts at home does have the added benefit of making the house smell very festive, so do give one of these ideas a try.
Drink Ideas for Christmas
It’s fun to try new drinks during the holidays. You can make both kid-friendly and adults-only drinks easily and simply if you set that goal. Just don’t choose difficult recipes. You can have homemade and premixed combinations to make everything much easier.
* Mint White Hot Chocolate
This is a nice variation of hot chocolate and looks super-festive in clear mugs. Your kids and the adults will love this. For adults, you can use a shot of peppermint schnapps instead of the peppermint extract.
* Ice Cream “Egg” Nog
This is not a real eggnog because there are no eggs, but it’s super-delicious. Instead, you’ll use ice cream (which is often eggless) to make it. This is a fun way to make egg nog that is safe and won’t accidentally make your guests sick from raw eggs.
* Homemade Non-Alcoholic Eggnog
This is real eggnog. The recipe is simple even though you may think it’s hard at first. It really is just mixing ingredients in a pan and cooking it so that you don’t harm your family and friends with raw egg. This one is so easy and delicious it’s not likely you’ll want to use store bought again.
* Mulled Wine
This is a very popular drink in Germany. If you ever get a chance to go to Germany, go to the Christ Kindles Market in Nuremberg to enjoy many wonderful Christmassy things, including the best mulled wine served right on the street from street vendors. If you can’t go, that’s okay; make this slow cooker spiced wine recipe instead.
* Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
You can look for a recipe but really you can just use packaged hot chocolate mix, and then add spices such as pumpkin pie spice to the mix to bring out the flavours that you desire. But, this recipe is really good too. For adults, consider adding spiced rum for a nice kick:
* Cherry Bomb
This cherry drink is great for kids and adults and is non-alcoholic. Just mix grenadine, club soda, and cherries. The recipe here serves six. If you did want to make it more adult, you could also add a couple of ounces of vodka, gin, or rum. Because of all the cherries and red colour, it makes it look super-festive. You could even add a green candy cane as a garnish.
Creating amazing holiday drinks doesn’t require a full bar. Choose a theme and then stick with that so that you can spread yourself around without getting too tired (or tipsy) during your holiday celebrations.
What’s On In Bromley team