It's the holiday that many of us wait for all year. It brings together family to relive old memories and create new ones. At Christmas dinner we reconnect with our loved ones, and through them recall our family's old traditions while creating new ones. We celebrate the new family members who have joined the table that year and reminisce about the ones who are no longer there. Just like no two families are the same, no two Christmas dinners will ever be the same. But the one thing they all have in common is that the meal should be as special as the people sitting down to enjoy it. Merry Christmas!
Setting the Stage
It's a special meal and deserves a beautifully set, formal table, using the china, crystal and flatware that are reserved for these special occasions.
Add a festive centerpiece or two to the table to help create the mood for celebration.
As you plan your menu for Christmas dinner this year, why not mix in a few new recipes with your family's tried and true, must-have dishes? With that in mind, I've set up a menu from which you can pick and choose each course.
Just like there are special food recipes that we anticipate all year, there are holiday cocktails that are savored during this special time.
Egg Nog - For some people it just wouldn't be Christmas without egg nog. Choose from this selection of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic variations.
English Christmas Punch - Here's another classic holiday beverage that is sure to catch your guests' attention. Just be careful!
White Christmas Dream - Serve this tasty cocktail, made with vodka, amaretto and cream, with your desserts after dinner.
Begin by choosing an appetizer to whet everyone's appetites or hold them off until the main meal is ready.
Paige's Hot Peppered Candied Walnuts - Candied nuts like these or other nuts are always a good way to hold off appetites until the main meal.
Deviled Eggs - Deviled eggs are always a popular appetizer, no matter what the season is.
Maryland Crab Cakes - Form these into mini-sized crab cakes to serve them as an appetizer and not a main dish.
Stuffed mushrooms - Stuffed mushrooms are always a popular, "special occasion" recipe that are anticipated at a holiday feast. Choose your favorite from this variety of vegetarian, cheesy or meat filled varieties.
Select the Starring Main Dish for Your Meal
Baked Ham with Champagne - A festive preparation for a worthy main course.
Pork Roast with Winter Fruits and Port Sauce - This elegant dish makes life easier for the host since it can be prepared up to two days ahead.
Herbed Roast Beef Tenderloin - Beef tenderloin is a classic main dish served only for special occasions like this one.
Czech Baked Salmon - This simple, elegant recipe will take little time to prepare, leaving you to focus on your other dishes.
Pomegranate Honey Roasted Game Hens - While these game hens create a dramatic impression on your guests' plates, they'll be easy for you since they require an overnight marinade before popping them in the oven.
Side Dishes for Add Flavor, Color and to Keep the Palate Sharp
Sweet Potato Casserole - This delicious mashed sweet potato recipe is made perfect with its crunchy pecan topping.
Make Ahead Baked Stuffed Potatoes - Here's another dish that is more than the ordinary, but easy for the cook since it can be prepared a day ahead.
Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts - This is my favorite preparation for brussels sprouts. It's easy to prepare but gives the often scorned vegetable a new personality.
Easy Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots - This one is for all of your guests who feel less than loving toward vegetables.
Triple Garlic Mashed Potatoes - The garlic in this recipe is prepared in three different ways, sure to be please the garlic lovers at your table.
Roasted Green Beans - As long as you have a large baking sheet, this is an excellent way to prepare green beans for a crowd.
Mixed Belgian Endive Salad - The slightly bitter salads in this recipe will help to refresh the palate after eating the rich dishes at your table.
Finish Off With a Few of the Best Sweets All Year
Cheesecake Pops - Cake pops are all the rage now. This recipe shows you how to use a prepared cheesecake to make this fun dessert. Use holiday cake decorations on the coating.
Chocolate Buche de Noel - This classic French dessert will stand out on your holiday dessert table, and will even serve as a centerpiece until it's devoured.
Trifle - Trifles are wonderful desserts because they offer so many possibilities. No two need to be the same when you combine your personal tastes with seasonally available ingredients.
Serve an assortment of Christmas Cookies that you've baked and saved throughout the preceding weeks.
Peppermint Bark - Add some homemade candy sweets to your dessert table, especially with this easy recipe that showcases a favorite seasonal flavor.