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Christmas Day menu. Any suggestions?

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I am having about 12 for dinner. I only have Saturday to cook and prepare.
You will notice I picked items that are rather easy to prepare so I can do it in 1 day, but need some feedback.
I am stumped on what to serve with the chicken and dumplings. Does that dish even need a side dish?
And maybe the soup is not a good idea because is the chicken and dumplings is almost a "soup"?
The menu is currently:
apps:
spiked spiced apple cider with green apple toothpick skewers in martini glasses and passing asparagus roll-ups served with fresh tomato-basil coulis
crab cakes with remoulade sauce
Sit down to:
Butternut squash soup?? ( I can do the soup a night or 2 ahead, but not sure it fits menu that well.) What else would you suggest instead of soup that can be prepared ahead a day or 2?
Main:
chicken and dumplings (but with a side dish?) Do I need a side as there are lots of veges in the chicken dish?
Pecan pie and brown sugar vanilla bean homemade ice cream (ice cream is done today)
(I will make the crust and prepare filling in a zip-lock bag and make maybe friday evening, as you'all suggested, and I very much thank you)
So how would you change this up, or would you leave it as is?

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  1. Chicken and dumplings sounds good--never had it myself. I was thinking maybe a green vegetable. I just bought a stalk of brussels sprouts so I'm thinking they are totally seasonal and no big deal to roast in the oven. Simplest is to just toss with olive oil, s&p and roast until brown. I may fry mine tonight, shredded, but that's because there are only two of us.

    1. I'd add something crisp...how about homemade sweet or white potato chips?

      1. Chicken and dumplings needs no sides, but I think a soup is redundant, as you thought it might be.
        I'd really like a salad of some kind rather than roasted brussels sprouts.

        7 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom

          Something crisp is the answer and, yes, soup is redundant. No soup.
          A salad would be so quick and easy but these people don't eat lettuce (yes, strange but true).
          Maybe a tomato and endive salad on a platter with balsamic dressing? I wonder if tomatoes would be any good this time of year.
          What else crisp could I serve, sans lettuce?

          1. re: hungryinmanhattan

            tomatoes are not good this time of year. How about watercress, endive, shallots and pomegranate seeds? You can make a quick lemon juice and olive oil dressing .
            Or shredded raw brussels sprouts with walnuts or pecans and a light vinaigrette?

            1. re: magiesmom

              I will do a salad and the brussel sprouts. Maybe brussel sprouts with sauteed onion and some crisp bacon, halved. maybe some toasted slivered almonds (because pecan pie is dessert!)
              I will do a salad with endive- no tomatoes, no lettuce (hard to please all)
              Maybe endive, radicchio, and shaved fennel with shaved parmesan slivers on top, with that lemon dressing.
              perfect. Thanks so much.

              1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                I second the no soup but a salad suggestions. I frequently make a winter salad of room sliced roast beets with poached pear slices or orange segments. the pears & beets are particularly nice with a balsamic drizzle and sprinkles of blue cheese. If you are looking for additional color how about a cranberry relish with the chicken and dumplings?

                1. re: Fiona

                  I was going to suggest a beet and fruit salad also. I love to make one with sliced roasted beets of different colors paired with supremes of orange and/or grapefruit. I'll usually top the salad with some toasted walnuts or pecans and a shallot-y vinaigrette made with orange and/or grapefruit juice that I squeeze out of the remains of the supreme process, some salt, pepper, sherry vinegar and olive oil. It's always been a big hit and looks gorgeous on the plate.

                  1. re: agoodbite

                    These are all very good suggestions and I really appreciate the ideas so much.

                    1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                      Another non-lettuce winter salad with some crunch can be made with blanched broccoli florets, red onion, maybe some dried cranberries, and almonds. Make a dressing like for coleslaw depending on if you like creamy or vinegary.

        2. The first thing I noticed about your menu is that your appetizers don't go with your spiked cider cocktail. Neither tomato-basil nor remoulade is a good match. I get how the cider goes with the chicken and dumplings and pecan pie. I'd suggest changing the apps. Just about anything with bacon will go well with cider. Country ham...cheddar...I wish I had more concrete suggestions, but maybe someone else can pitch in with a recipe.

          Bacon-wrapped dates are nice, but they might actually be too sweet with a cider cocktail.

          2 Replies
          1. re: CathleenH

            They wont eat ham. I have to use turkey bacon, etc...
            What about just champagne? Easier anyway!
            Would that go better?

            1. re: hungryinmanhattan

              Yes, champagne goes better.

          2. I think your asparagus app would be fine...you could make your coulis using roasted cherry tomatoes (they may not be in season but roasting will add flavor), don't know if you have a Walmart near you but here (in NC) I picked up three pints of beautiful grape tomatoes over the weekend that I plan on using in some part of my Christmas menu and they'll likely be roasted. Drizzle with olive oil & season with s & p before roasting.

            The soup would be good too, IF you serve as a shooter for an appetizer...I suggest a salad. Plenty of choices online for winter salads, one being my Harvest Salad with Pear Vinagrette, recipe found here on Taste of Home website: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Ha... Try it with smoked Gouda or cheddar and since you are doing pecans in your pie, you can leave off the nuts in this recipe.

            Finally, what kind of veggies are you using in the chicken & dumplings? A side of steamed fresh greens with shallots & garlic would go great alongside.