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Dec 5, 2008 10:18 PM

Christmas Dinner Menu Help/Modifications/Suggestions?

Hello All,

After a successful Thanksgiving dinner that I cooked completely from scratch, I volunteered myself to make the dinner on Christmas night. I was hoping that you, my fellow hounds, could give me any recommendations on how to improve the Christmas Day Dinner menu that I am planning to prepare. Here is an outline of the menu:

-Roast Pork Loin/Tenderloin: I am looking for a good recipe that doesn't require too much fuss and prep work. I have no problem brining the pork; but don't want to spend an hour on Christmas Day in the kitchen prepping it.

-Roast Fingerling Potatoes: To be done with a mixture of garlic, EVOO, shallot, and herbs (especially rosemary).

-Red Wine Braised Red Cabbage: Found a good-looking recipe for Rotkohl on Cooking Light that I am planning to use.

-Spiced Cinnamon Apples.

-Vegetable: This has been my biggest problem so far. I was thinking of broiling some asparagus drizzled with EVOO, salt, & pepper for dinner and artichokes for an appetizer. If someone can suggest a better vegetable alternative it would be greatly appreciated!

-Pan-Fried Mushrooms: My sister is a creature of habit and needs to have mushrooms.

-Whole Wheat Rolls.

-Desert: Pear-Cranberry Pie or Bread Pudding.

All suggestions are welcomed and thanks in advance!

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  1. I don't know how sold you are on your cabbage recipe, but I made this one for Thanksgiving, and it was one of the first things gone.

    This post has four recipes on it and you have to scroll down a little to get to the cabbage, but it's worth it.

    1. Your menu sounds wonderful! If I were making this dinner for my family, I'd not make any other vegetable. You already have potatoes, cabbage, plus spiced apples, plus mushrooms. Another vegetable isn't necessary, and IMO, is too much food.

      Regarding the pork, we are quite fond of Julia Child's Roast Pork Loin. It's not too much trouble, doesn't take all that long to roast, and no brining necessary. Here are the ingredients, with paraphrased directions following:

      One 4-pound boneless pork loin
      1 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
      2 tablespoons butter
      1 tablespoon vegetable oil

      Preheat oven to to 360 degrees F. Sprinkle the S&P and herbes de provence on the pork, rubbing them in all over the pork so they adhere. Heat a small, shallow roasting, fry pan or skillet over medium high heat with the butter and oil, and when it sizzles add the roast and brown it over med high heat, turning it so all sides are well colored, about 8 minutes total. Roast in the oven for one hour, until internal temp is 150 degrees F. I start checking the temperature after 50 minutes.

      A heavier roast will cook in the same amount of time, as it is just cut longer.

      I like to serve this roast with Balsamic Onion marmalade, a nice sauce accompaniment:

      In a small saucepan, combine 1 medium onion that has been thinly sliced with 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons sherry or any white wine vinegar, 2 and one-half tablespoons sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, and cook the onions, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup and the onions are soft, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate or leave at room temperature. This can be made ahead and stored in a jar in the refrigerator for several days.

      1. Thanks for the input so far. I have decided to do the cabbage either according to the recipe on the blog that lulubelle linked me to or do the Rotkohl; I will see how my family feels. Additionally, I have changed my mind and will now be cooking fresh brussell sprouts instead of asparagus.

        The mushrooms aren't going to be a main part of the meal, they are more of a "fail-safe" in case there is something that my sister doesn't like in the meal. If we don't eat them on Christmas night they will be good leftovers.

        Now to find the ultimate pork recipe; I don't know if I want to do a whole loin or two tenderloins. However, lulubelle's recipe sounds good if it can be adapted to tenderloins.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gmk1322

          Yum - definitely sub brussel sprouts for asparagus. There is a great recipe on epicurious for sauteed sprouts with lemon and pistachios. I'm going to do the pork loin too!

        2. I think the menu is perfect, especially with the revision of the Brussels sprouts. (I love asparagus, and that would have been great, too. I just love Brussels sprouts more.)

          With many recipes for pork, if you can steal a little time on Christmas Eve, there should be no reason you can't do at least most of the prep then.

          Well done. That sounds like it's going to be another special holiday celebration.

          1. I think it sounds great as is! My family is a bunch of brussel sprout haters, so if I were cooking this, I'd probably do carrots of some sort, but if your family likes the sprouts, go for it.
            Is there a particular recipe you use for the Pear-Cranberry pie? I was thinking of making one this weekend.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CeeBee

              Thanks for the positive responses! I hated brussel sprouts for the longest time and refused to eat them (childhood trauma). A friend who liked them told me that it was like eating broccoli (the bitterness) so I figured why not. I wound up getting a serving at WF this past weekend and they were excellent! I think it all comes down to how they are cooked, if done properly they are amazing!

              Regarding the pie, I am going to try the recipe provided by Cooking Light magazine this weekend. I may wind up pre-cooking the pears (like how I do my apple pie) if they are too juicy. I will post the link to the Cooking Light recipe below:

              Good luck, if you do end up baking it let me know how it turns out so we can do a comparison.