How to Cook a Great Christmas Dinner
It is Christmas morning, the gifts have be unwrapped, the stocking looted, and all of the family is gathered around watching the kids play and enjoying good conversation. What would be the perfect way to finish the perfect day? The perfect Christmas dinner!
Cooking a great Christmas dinner can be a bit overwhelming. After all, there is a lot of pressure in creating the perfect meal that everyone will enjoy, and all that pressure can remove the joy of the holiday from any cook. Here are some tips on how keep everything stress free and delicious.
The smell of dinner in the oven can build anticipation – which can be a good thing if you are a great cook – but nerve-wracking if you are unsure of the results. Consider using snacks as a way to help ease the hunger pangs of your guests so that they aren’t beating down the kitchen door after the food. Roasted nuts, cheese trays, bread baskets, or even fresh fruits and veggies can give your guests something to nibble on while they are waiting for dinner.
Consider Skipping the Turkey
If you are not a traditionalist, you might consider skipping the turkey dinner this year. Turkey is time and labor intensive to prepare, meaning that you are spending more time in the kitchen and less time with the family members that you only get the pleasure of seeing during the holiday season. Considered roasted salmon, a ham or Cornish hens as an alternative – all can be turned into easy, flavorful dishes that cook much more quickly than a turkey does. If you must do a turkey, make sure that it is fully thawed before Christmas morning so that it will cook quicker.
Go Easy On the Sides
Side dishes can take as much, if not more, time to prepare as the main course. Shaving some of the preparation time there can mean an easier Christmas dinner for you! Consider offering an amazing salad instead of the traditional stuffing and mashed potatoes. Splurge on the fancy baby lettuces and a killer dressing, and you may find this to be a tastier alternative that is healthier too! Plus, a salad is a great way to get in some veggies and fill up guests without giving them that overstuffed and bloated feeling.
If you are going to do the traditional side dishes, consider asking family members to help out. If they are willing to bring over the yams and the cranberry sauce you will find that you have less work to do on Christmas day.
Keep Dessert Simple
If your star attraction this Christmas dinner is the turkey, you can keep the dessert simple to help save time in the kitchen. Pies can be made the day before and refrigerated. Christmas cookies can be baked ahead of time and frozen (just remember to defrost them ahead of time). Baked apples stuffed with fruit and nuts are a warm and juicy treat that are easy to make.
Enlist Help from Your Family
Christmas is about sharing time with family and friends. If you must be in the kitchen on Christmas, why not have them join you? Even someone with minimal culinary talent can help peel potatoes, mix stuffing, or decorate the cookies. And while more hands will often mean more mess, it can also mean more hands to help with the clean-up as well! That way, you can still enjoy the bonding and conversation that accompanies the holiday.
The best Christmas dinner is the one that is prepared with the least amount of stress for you. If you can relax and enjoy the day you can make any meal fantastic!