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Help with Christmas dinner please!

I am hosting my first Christmas dinner this year and need some help with menu planning. There will be 2 kids and 8 adults, 2 of which are vegetarian and the rest are meat-eaters who enjoy their veggies too.

I like the idea of having a main dish that I can prepare ahead of time. I'd also like something that can be served family-style -- not too fancy but celebratory for the occasion. My first thought was lasagna, but I'm not sure how to appease both the meat-eaters and the vegetarians. Perhaps a spinach lasagna with meatballs in marinara on the side? I'm definitely open to any and all suggestions!

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  1. I like to make Melanzane Parmigiana for Vegetarians. You can prepare the roasted eggplants and the tomato sauce, even assemble the whole thing with mozzarella and parmigiano and then just pop it in the oven. But it is important to serve this not piping hot, kind of lukewarm is perfect.
    For the meat-eaters you could prepare Boeuf Bourgouignon the day before. It gets better when reheated.
    Both dishes would go well with Malfatti: http://www.delallo.com/recipes/malfat... , made without the tomato sauce in this recipe. They should be cooked à la minute, but you can prepare the mixture and form the dumplings ahead of time. Store in the fridge and then just cook in batches. Not much work and time. I have even cooked them in advance and then reheated in sage butter, but they are better fresh.

    1. Those look yummy -- thanks for the suggestions! I've never made Boeuf Bourgouignon before, so I'm hesitant to try it for the first time on Christmas.

      Any other suggestions?

      4 Replies
      1. re: lpandey

        I'm going to urge you to trust yourself with Boeuf Bourgouignon. You can do it, you really can.
        Braises are so, so simple and easy. They basically need a little tlc up front, and they do the rest of the work almost by themselves after that.
        And of course, they just get better after time.
        I hear where you're coming from in not wanting to to serve a first time dish to company, but you can do it!

        1. re: monavano

          If you want to go with the Boeuf bourgouignon, I suggest you follow Julia Child, like here: http://www.food.com/recipe/boeuf-bour...
          I use meat from the shank (better) or shoulder. If you prepare this one day ahead you can braise as long as it takes, without having to time it exactly. It is really very easy.

            1. re: ZoeLouise

              Ina Garten's beef bourguignon is outstanding and a little less trouble.

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

        2. We do a meat lasagna and a stuffed shells ,,,between the two everyone is happy...some people are double happy!

          1. I have no thoughts on your menu, but I would choose a vegetarian menu for everybody. There are great dishes without meat and truly I think they can be wonderful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: escondido123

              As a meat eater invited to a meat eater's house for one of the biggest feast dates of the year, I would be disappointed to be served a vegetarian dish. I would eat it and quite possibly enjoy a vegetarian meal, but I would nevertheless be disappointed in my host.

            2. Unless you have mushroom haters, I'd make smitten kitchen's mushroom bourguignon over egg noodles. It is very hearty, vegetarian but meat eaters love it, andit is easy and can be made a day ahead.