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Christmas Dinner Menu Help

  • k

I'm unsure about my Christmas Menu. I am entertaining friends who do not eat beef and cannot have shellfish. Typically I serve prime rib or lobster for Christmas dinner.

I had thought about making a leg of lamb but I am not enthused. I do not care for pork so a crown roast is not high on my list. They also have children who are picky eaters so I fear that fish would not go over well. I have also considered making a turkey but that is hard to stomach this close to Thanksgiving and it's not a favorite of mine either.

I'm hoping that you will come up with a great holiday main dish that will work for us all!

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  1. We always have duck breast. Its unusual, or at least not daily fare in our house, but kids love it and you can cook the small ones and only as many as you need. Not sure what to do about the folks who don't eat meat, but maybe its better than looking at some huge roast. We serve with wild rice, mixed vegetable (carrot, parsnip and turnip in orange sauce) and some sort of brussel sprout salad or roasted.

    This is the recipe we love (use tea bags instead of loose tea and you wont have to strain).

    1 Reply
    1. re: waver

      that is a good idea though I haven't cooked duck in a long time. I could do a practice run beforehand!

    2. I have to ask....if they don't eat meat, why are you considering serving lamb?

      2 Replies
      1. re: sandylc

        oh my goodness! They do not eat beef. I don't know what I was thinking, I just fixed it.

        1. re: Kater

          O.K., thanks! Recalibrating....

      2. What about chicken saltimbocca. There's certainly a wow factor there. Would be awesome with a beet salad with goat cheese and roasted delicata squash with reduced balsamic.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dcfoodblog

          oh that is a good idea, I wasn't thinking chicken but as you point out, saltimbocca could definitely work for an occasion!

          1. duck is a good suggestion, or you could do Cornish game hens. and there's always goose, though i wonder if the children might have a problem with it. do they eat veal?

            2 Replies
              1. re: Kater

                kinda figured, but i thought i'd make sure!

                okay, so roast duck & chicken saltimbocca are both great ideas. you could also do a really good roast chicken served with a hearty mushroom sauce and rich, cheesy polenta.

            1. How many people? Roast chicken or hens is great, unless you have more than six people.....

              What about vegetarian lasagne like wild mushroom? Butternut squash? Or turkey bolognese?Or manicotti? Spaghetti & meatballs made with turkey & pork meatballs?

              You could do a shrimp scampi on linguine, or a baked stuffed shrimp dish. I wouldn't worry about what the kids will eat, you can take care of that with sides and desserts.

              3 Replies
                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  There will only be seven of us but I am not wild about the roast chicken idea.

                  Lasagne might work and mushroom would be great. I would not mind making two versions because I don't know if they eat mushrooms and that is something that some people hate.

                2. I usually do ham for Christmas. But everyone in my group loves my ham and I have been making it for a few years in a row now, so it's a becoming a bit of tradition.

                  My mom would often make homemade lasagna for Christmas when we had a rather large group of people coming over for dinner. You can make multiple pans of it, (perhaps one with traditional beef sauce and a vegetarian version for those who don't eat beef?), put it together ahead of time, and bake it the day of the party. A salad "bar" or build your own salad table, along with some Italian bread or breadsticks, makes for an excellent meal.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Maggiethecat

                      Ham is a very logical choice but I really don't care for it. Still I am considering making it because I think I am the only person who doesn't like ham!

                    2. How about coq au vin? It's familiar enough b/c it's chicken but not typical fare so it's special enough for Christmas. You could also do paella, which has something for everyone.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: annabananaoc

                        A very good suggestion: cpq au vin can be prepared ahead (it actually gets better) and if you follow Julia Child's recipe, nothing can go wrong.

                        1. re: annabananaoc

                          I really wanted to do paella but I can't stand the idea of making it without shellfish. I will consider the coq au vin!

                          1. re: Kater

                            There are some lively paella made with poultry or make arroz con pollo for similar flavors without saying the paella doesn't have shellfish.

                        2. What about a "build your own" mac and cheese? Prep the mac and cheese, then allow each person to add their own stuff. I did this to much love from all. I had caramelized shallots, pulled pork, shrimp, broccoli, taco meat, etc.? Shredded duck would be good, let your imagination go.

                          Then you put each person's mix in a ramekin, add cheese and panko to top, bake and serve.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: hambone

                            This sounds like such a fun idea. I am going to have to try it with my group of friends, I'm sure they'd love it.

                            To the OP, you could also do something similar with pizza.

                            1. re: hambone

                              I love that idea but I do not want to do anything that interactive for Christmas dinner. I really want a pretty manageable menu that can be done ahead so that I can enjoy as much of the day as possible.

                              1. re: Kater

                                I wondered about that. But there can be that lag after the gifts are opened and before everyone is puckered out... And this would allow you to do everything but mix and bake ahead of time.

                                But that said, a lasagna would be a good choice, too.

                                Throw in a nice salad and some garlic bread and who can't be happy!

                              2. re: hambone

                                Sounds like fun, but also a lot more prep work involved to make or purchase the guests different mix ins.

                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  True, but who can't be happy having a cup of shredded duck laying around? (For example, I make a variation on Susan Spicer's duck and cashew butter sandwich and have never had trouble getting rid of "extra" pulled duck.)

                              3. Consider a capon- much nicer than a roast chicken. Also in the spirit of the Chowhounnd DOTM ... gratin. Barefoot Contessa has several that work well for me at Christmas with 6 to 8 people, Spinach gratin was a big hit recently.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Berheenia

                                  Now I am sort of thinking rack of lamb and a gratin would be great with that. I will look for the spinach one!

                                  1. re: Kater

                                    Rack of lamb is very nice. For seven people to get two chops each, you would have to get at least three racks. Not a lot of meat on them either, but if you have a first course like a soup or salad, then some filling sides like a vegetable gratin and a starch, you will be fine. Where I live, even at my Costco, racks of lamb go for about $25 a lb.

                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                        thank you - I looked it up before and was happy to see that she uses frozen spinach. I love fresh for many things but for this... well it would be pretty cumbersome!

                                  2. A lot of good suggestions here, but what about an Italian theme? We alternate among the beef, game hens and Italian.

                                    Antipasto to start, people buld their own......then maybe Laz or stuffed shells with homemade sauce, meatballs, sausage etc. could be available to those that want them but the meatless folks can have at the pasta etc.

                                    Just a random idea there....