The sounds of warm laughter mixes with inviting scent of nutmeg and cinnamon. The holidays are here. If you have plans to meet with friends and family for a Christmas dinner, then there’s probably a lot going through your mind. What are the best Christmas dinner ideas? What are the best Christmas dinner sides, and what types of main dishes do your guests expect?
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place to get inspiration for everything from your table decorations to what’s good to cook for Christmas dinner. You can find everything you need to make this day a special one at Ashley—from cookware sets to the best kitchen gadgets. We can’t wait to make your upcoming Christmas dinner one of the most memorable and stylish ones you’ve had yet.
How Many Side Dishes Should Be Made for Christmas Dinner?
When you begin to make your Christmas dinner plans, the menu is of utmost importance. The traditional Christmas dinner typically has four sides: a starch, something sweet, a vegetable, and a type of bread. A show-stopping main course and dessert are also expected on this list. Here are some examples of some traditional side dishes that guests love:
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
- Cranberry sauce
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Sauteed green beans
- Roasted Carrots
Getting all the right ingredients requires a bit of strategy and some shopping while the stores still have a good stock of ingredients. Don’t wait until the last minute or when the spiral hams and turkeys are sold out. Even essential items like heavy cream and butter can be in dangerously low supply if you wait until the day before the holidays. When you have a menu, it’s easy to know which ingredients to buy so that you have everything stocked up in your fridge for a day of cooking.
Best Christmas Dinner Main Dishes
While turkey (or a vegan substitute) is the traditional meat of Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner can be more flexible with its main protein choice. You can serve up anything from a delicious slow-roasted prime rib to a platter full of cornish hens. Just make sure all the flavors make sense with your sides. Here are more ideas for excellent main dishes:
- Roast beef
- Pork chops
- Roast chicken
- Ribeye steaks
- Vegan meat alternatives
- Your favorite casserole
- Baked ziti
- Fried chicken (yum!)
- Turkey (why not?)
- Shakshuka (to make it vegan, use an egg alternative)
- Barbecue ribs
These main dishes bring people together, offering plenty of flavors and lively conversation to follow. You can match these main dishes with various drinks and sides to keep everything in sync with the cuisine that you and your guests love the best.
- Tip: Serving your meat in style is much easier when your blades are sharp. Be sure to update your cutlery with efficient kitchen utensils and silverware sets. This will ensure that you don’t spend too much time cutting.
What to Cook For Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinner follows some general rules, like requiring a main dish and festive sides, but it also offers more freedom than the traditional Thanksgiving meal. As you can see, you can stay traditional and serve a large turkey with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, or you can go off the beaten path and serve prime rib with baked beans, salad, and coleslaw. As long as it’s a hearty, festive meal that’s made from the heart, your Christmas dinner can be whatever you’d like.
How do you know what to cook for Christmas dinner, though? The best way to decide on the menu is to consider what everyone likes to eat. Do they expect traditional meals or are they the kind of people who love a little adventure? Is a honey spiral ham acceptable or should you stick to roast chickens for an overall crowd-pleaser? Should you focus on the quality of your cocktails on your bar cart and make dinner more like regular party fare? Everything depends on who you’re inviting and what will bring everyone together in the most meaningful way.
Best Christmas Eve Dinner Recipes
If your family tradition includes a Christmas Eve dinner in the dining room, then you have double the fun and double the dinner prep in store. Thankfully, Christmas Eve dinners are not as grand as Christmas dinners, so you can scale back on the number of side dishes, desserts, and appetizers. For ideas, all you have to do is Google Christmas Eve recipes.
For example, Taste of Home has compiled an excellent list of recipes that will enrich your next Christmas Eve dinner. Of all these, we love the idea of a one-dish meal served with a side salad and a small dessert at the end. Makeover Traditional Lasagna hits the spot. Here’s how to make it:
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 1 package (14 oz) breakfast turkey sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
- 3 cans (8 oz each) low sodium tomato sauce
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups 2% cottage cheese
- 1 carton (15 oz) of reduced-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 6 slices of provolone cheese
- Additional minced fresh parsley
- In a large skillet, cook beef and sausage over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, then drain. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan, and parsley. Spread 1 cup meat sauce into a 13×9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with 3 noodles, half of the cheese mixture, 1 1/3 cups sauce, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce.
- Cover and bake at 350 F for 55 to 60 minutes or until bubbly. Top with provolone and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 15-to-20 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with additional parsley.
What Appliances Should I Have to Make Christmas Dinner?
Once you have a menu, it’s easier to determine what appliances you need to make a delicious Christmas dinner. For example, if you want to whip up a yummy homemade cake, then a retro mixer will help you prep the batter quickly. Here’s a quick list of other valuable appliances you can find at Ashley. Each of these small kitchen appliances can help you prep and cook food, and save you a lot of time:
- Air Fryer
- Coffee Maker
- Cordless electric kettle
- Panini Maker
- Cupcake maker
Whipping up staple dishes like fluffy mashed potatoes is a thousand times easier when you have efficient kitchen gadgets like food processors and sturdy whisks. Grill meats inside with an indoor electric griddle, keep food warm in a warming tray, and even get fresh juices for pre-dinner cocktails with a fancy juice extractor from our small metallic appliances collection! This is just a preview of all the fantastic tools you can find at Ashley to make dinner prep easier.
Share all your Christmas dinner inspo by tagging us on social with the hashtag #MyAshleyHome. We can’t wait to see what you served on this special day!