Christmas Dinner Recipes
December 4, 2007 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Help me make Christmas dinner. I'm looking for recipes to serve 8-10 people that could be basically prepared the day before* and then just put on the stove or in the oven a few hours before dinner. We're a pretty traditional family without significant dietary restrictions, living in the Twin Cities suburbs. I'm an adventurous cook and am pretty willing to try new and challenging dishes (as long as the tough part is preparing them the day before).

* A new tradition in my family is for me, the youngest grandchild (age 26) to spend the day preparing Christmas dinner with my grandma. We'd prepare everything Christmas Eve, and she'd cook it all Christmas day, while I'm at my girlfriend's family's dinner, before heading to my family dinner....
posted by pithy comment to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
most anything can be made the night before and reheated. you can make stuffing, puree some butternut squash, boil some ears of corn in a combination of milk and water, and bake any bread products the day before. this is a good time to prep whatever meat you are planning (like roast beef or turkey) with salt and pepper, a schmear of olive oil or butter, and whatever crushed herbs you like. wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge overnight. wash and trim a pound or two of green beans, but don't cook them.

an hour before cooking, pull out the meat and allow to come to room temp. then pop the roast into the oven according to your recipes. take it out about half an hour before dinner and let rest, with foil over it (if the house is chilly, put the pan over a low flame on the stove to keep it warm). about an hour before the roast is due to come out, pull your sides out of the fridge and allow to come to room temp. then when you take out the roast, put your sides into the already-hot oven to warm through.

you can also set the table the night before.

then boil some salted water, toss in some green beans, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until just cooked through. while that's going, toast some almond slivers. toss the cooked green beans with butter and almonds, plus salt and pepper.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2007

This meets all your criteria:

savory lobster bread puddings with vanilla chive sauce

Both the pudding portion and the sauce portion can be prepared a day ahead of time. Christmas day is just prep, heat and eat. I made this a few years ago and it was challenging & excellent.
posted by mikepop at 12:10 PM on December 4, 2007

If you want turkey a smoked one only needs to be heated for a couple hours.
Same with a lot of hams, too, actually.
Not necessarily prepare-before stuff, but it is something you won't need to worry about much the day of.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2007

Butternut squash and goat cheese gratin -- easily made ahead. I sub sliced almonds for the hazelnuts. Can double the squash and leeks (I use 2 3 pound squashes and 2 large leeks for this and it would easily feed 8 to 10)

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (8 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place butternut squash cubes and olive oil in large bowl; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and ground pepper and toss to coat. Spread out squash cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until just tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Coat 11x7-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spread half of leek mixture over bottom of prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of squash and half of cheese. Repeat layering with leeks, squash, and cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour cream evenly over gratin. Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously chilled).
posted by chickaboo at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

You can make these roasted onions a day ahead -- this has been a holiday staple in my family for years.

roast "chrysanthemum" onions

Gourmet | November 1995

Servings: Serves 8.
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16 small yellow onions (each about 2 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450°F.

With a sharp knife trim root end of each onion flat so that it is still intact but will stand on end. Standing each onion on its root end, cut parallel vertical slices at 1/4-inch intervals into but not through onion, stopping about 3/4 inch above root end. Rotate each onion 90 degrees and cut parallel vertical slices in same manner to form a crosshatch pattern, keeping onions intact.

In a lightly buttered shallow baking dish large enough to let onion open, or "flower," put onions, root ends down, and sprinkle with sugar and salt to taste.

In a small saucepan heat broth and butter over moderately high heat until butter is melted and pour over onions. Cover onions with foil and roast in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove foil and roast onions, basting occasionally, 30 to 45 minutes more, on until golden. Onions may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat onions before serving.
posted by chickaboo at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2007

wild rice and bulgur with braised vegetables -- this whole dish can be made a day ahead. Very good!

Gourmet | January 2005

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 2 hr

Servings: Makes 8 side-dish servings.
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2 qt water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 cup wild rice
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup diced (1/4 inch) carrots (about 2)
1 cup diced (1/4 inch) celery (about 2 ribs)
Bring 2 quarts water with 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Put bulgur in a large bowl, then pour half of boiling water over it and soak, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour. Add wild rice to water remaining in pan and simmer, covered, until tender and grains are split open, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Drain bulgur and wild rice together in a large colander.

Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating leeks, then lift out and drain in a sieve.

Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart wide heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add leeks, onion, carrots, celery, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in rice and bulgur and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cooks' note:
Bulgur can be soaked and rice can be cooked 1 day ahead. Drain and cool, uncovered, then chill, covered.
posted by chickaboo at 12:32 PM on December 4, 2007

posted by Mach5 at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2007

Lasagne is generally popular, and it's not hard to make excellent vegetarian varieties. Jacquilynne sent me a fantastic mushroom lasagna recipe last year, email me if you want it.

Ham can be prepped ahead and baked the next day. Serve with potatoes au gratin or corn pudding, a big salad, and start with curried squash soup.

Make apple pies the day before.
posted by theora55 at 2:51 PM on December 4, 2007

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