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Dec 5, 2004 12:04 AM

Foolproof yet festive suggestions for Christmas dinner?

  • k

I am a really inexperienced, not-so-good cook. Yet, I need to do a Christmas dinner for our (small) family. We are tired of the ham, mashed potatoes and peas ritual. I would highly appreciate any suggestions for a main and a couple sides that are low-stress preparation yet holiday-ish and tasty.

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  1. Well, there's prime rib of beef which you could serve with creamed spinach, sauteed cherry tomatoes, and garlicky mashed potatoes or a potato gratin. Or a crown roast of pork with stuffing in the centre, braised red cabbage and mashed white and sweet potatoes. Someone was asking a similar question a few days ago if you want to look back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Athena

      I agree with the standing rib roast suggestion...but please make sure you have a good meat thermometer to use so that it is not overcooked. Such a delectable cut of meat deserves at least that! You'll do just fine with either roast! Enjoy.

      1. re: Val

        Standing rib roast for sure, it makes you feel like a real chef and all you do is keep an eye on the thermometer.

        Boneless is easier to carve but don't be scared off the bone-in, and if you do it bone-in don't fall for that nonsense where you cut off the bones and then tie them back on. Carving it English-style takes nothing but a decent carving set and it's so impressive! Like I said it really makes you feel like you should be wearing a big toque and a white coat.

        Traditional accompaniments for this are Brussels sprouts and Yorkshire pudding. The YP is a little tricky and last-minute but it's worked fine every time I made it. Between the gravy and the YP and the Brussels sprouts you stay pretty busy from when the meat comes out until when everybody is served but other than that it's a relaxing meal to prepare.

    2. Leg of lamb is always good for Christmas. Just cut slits in the lamb all over & insert some garlic cloves and rosemary (fresh is best). Cook at 325 deg. for about 25 minutes per pound. This is really good with some minted peas and mashed potatoes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MzMaggie

        I roast a leg of lamb for Christmas also and add potatoes to the pan for the last hour or so. I also serve mashed butternut squash, with grated ginger and orange rind, that is simple and delicious. The whole meal is simple and delicious and the leftovers are great too.

      2. How about a couple perfectly roasted chickens (Marcella Hazan's lemon chicken is a standard for ourfamily/company recipe.) Add redskins roasted with olive oil, rosemary and garlic, green beans with lemon butter and a great salad. You're good to go. Good leftovers the next day. For added festiveness, lightly dust the chicken with paprika.

        When I was young and sung in choir for late service, we always had a very hefty siloin steak--with spuds, salad and app. of creamed herring. Easy, luxurious and minimal work.

        Beef Stroganoff is also a good option, cut a tenderloin in chunks , sear, saute onions and mushrooms in butter, add a bit of beef broth and simmer slightly, take off head and add sour cream and dust with fresh parsley. Serve over egg noodles with green salad.

        Let us know what you decide and if you need more info/details!

        1 Reply
        1. re: berkleybabe
          La Dolce Vita

          Can you tell me in which of Hazan's cookbooks is the lemon chicken recipe? How are the other recipes in that same book? I've been thinking about buying her cookbooks for awhile now. Is her stuff worth adding to my collection?

        2. Many thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I like the idea of a leg of lamb, since we've never had that before. I might do one the week before Christmas too, just for practice.

          1. Many thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I like the idea of a leg of lamb, since we've never had that before. I might do one the week before Christmas too, just for practice.