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How does this sound for Christmas dinner?

I will have about 15-16 people here for Christmas dinner. I'd like to keep in simple and casual since we can't all cram into my dining room. I was thinking about doing several easy make-ahead appetizers and a Honey Baked ham, Cook's Illustrated Scalloped Potatoes and some kind of vegetable or nice big green salad and rolls.

How does that sound? Would I just put the appetizers out and then a little while later set out the ham, potatoes and veg and/or salad? Do you put the appetizers away first? Or should I do something different?

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  1. Sounds good to me! Any dessert?

    Depending on the ages of folks and how much they are eaten/space needed you could leave the appetizers out.
    If it is something that no longer looks good once people ahve moved on or they aren't being eaten much, bring them back in the kitchen.

    5 Replies
    1. re: melpy

      Thanks!

      Yes, I am serving dessert. Chocolate bundt cake with ganache, and I'm trying to figure out one or two other desserts.

      1. re: anniam

        I agree with what melpy said about the apps. I would personally also be sure to have either a green vegetable or salad. I know you mentioned salad, but if you served a veg I'd make sure it was a lighter one such a asparagus/broccoli/etc.

        1. re: ludmilasdaughter

          Yes, I agree. I found this on Food tv:

          Thin asparagus, red onion, and grated pecorino dressed with olive oil, wine vinegar and kosher salt. It's supposed to marinate for at least an hour. Does it sound good?

          1. re: anniam

            That sounds tasty, though I'm not a raw onion fan. I'd sub in garlic for onion, or omit altogether (or use lemon juice/zest?) for something really fresh and light.

            But anyway most people like onions. I'd do a salad too, and rolls.

            As for desserts, throw in something spice-y. Not spicy, but cinnamon/nutmeggy. New word, nutmeggy! Christmas dinner isn't Christmas dinner until I've had some spice-laden dessert. Sweet rolls, profiteroles with cinnamon-caramel sauce, pumpkin pie, spiced sugar cookies, whatever.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I'd also do a salad too and rolls. Other than that - everything sounds very good!

              Edit - after reading all the posts I agree with the poster who said 3 vegie dishes plus a salad and rolls would be good. That is a lot of people - and some people really like the vegetable dish selection at Thanksgiving, etc. (like me!)

    2. Menu sounds good. I would do both a veggie side and a salad with that number of people, plus rolls because carbs equal good and helpful if there are secret picky types in there.

      As far as serving, I would have the apps out as people arrive. So they can nibble, have a drink, and mingle. Then at dinner time, set them aside and put out the meal. If some people are showing up right at diner time, then I would leave the apps out.

      6 Replies
      1. re: autumm

        Any good make ahead salads or partially made ahead salads?

        1. re: anniam

          These are two of my favorites, this one you can chop and prep everything the day before and just assemble at dinner time:
          http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/1...

          And this one i make constantly- massage/rub the dressing into the greens- it's even better the next day. So make the whole recipe day before, just add the parm before serving
          http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale...

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            That salad looks delicious! Could I substitute any other green for the chard, just in case I can't find any decent chard?

            1. re: anniam

              Of course! I would just use a more hearty green if you prep ahead of time like nappa cabbage or kale. Otherwise just use the softer greens and prep jut before serving

            2. re: Ttrockwood

              I think I'm going to make the second one for Christmas dinner, it sounds wonderful!

              1. re: anniam

                I'm making it for xmas too! :) the directions don't say this, but its important to really rub/massage the dressing into the greens and they get much softer and flavorful. I'll probably sprinkle on some pomegranate seeds for xmas

        2. it sounds like a fine menu. It makes things more festive if you remember the small things: good mustard, a chutney of some sort, maybe spiced crab apples or a pickled fruit. These dress up the table. I'd add a cookie you particularly like and a platter of pretty fruit to the desert. Both of these complement your cake which sounds great and are easy to eat without being at a dinner table.

          1 Reply
          1. re: teezeetoo

            Can you just come to my house?

            I am bad at small things. I never even considered mustard or chutney let alone spiced crab apples or pickled fruit, but I will now. (-; Cookies and a fruit platter are an excellent suggestion, thank you.

          2. You could make some gougeres and serve them with drinks but they could double as rolls to eat with the ham. They are easy and always look very impressive.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
            I always serve candy cane ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. I pulverize candy canes and mix it with vanilla ice cream and serve it with the fudge sauce.http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0...
            I like the idea of everyone eating at their own pace so would not put apps away. I would definitely serve a green veg to lighten up the dinner. What kind of appa were you thinking about?

            1 Reply
            1. re: DowntownJosie

              if gougeres sound too difficult, make brazilian cheese bread - it's made in mini muffin tins. you can get any number of recipes on the web, and i just blend everything together in my vitamix and pour into oil-sprayed tin... supper quick and perfect every time.

            2. Another veg side idea is to just make a mix of roasted seasonal veggies. I made this version last year for the holidays, but with just assorted carrots, parsnips and some yellow beets- whatever you like. The gremolata topping can be made a day ahead and i roasted the veggies that morning and just warmed thru before serving:
              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. I think with a casual, buffet-style meal, people generally expect more options, not less. In addition to the appetizers, ham, scalloped potatoes, I would do two or three vegetables and a salad. Along with an assortment of bread and rolls.

                The vegetables don't need to be fancy. If you want to stick to basics, green beans, (boiled, steamed or roasted), glazed baby carrots, and a bag or two of frozen corn. (Of course, you could dress these up if you want.) If you want something more impressive, choose other veggies as sides. Asparagus and broccoli both go really well with ham. Or a "green" like kale or swiss chard.

                For salad, I would do a basic lettuce/green salad (expect maybe 8 people to eat it, so it does not have to be all that large) and something like Cole slaw or broccoli slaw.

                As somebody else already mentioned don't forget the small things like mustard, chutney, spiced fruit. That could also mean things like sweet or dill pickles. There are some great simple recipes for homemade quick refrigerator pickles available online.

                1. Sounds very nice to me if I were a guest.....as a host, depending on the crowd attending...I would consider adding another dish...doesn't have to be expensive....I know many families, Italian and not, that serve Pasta...like Baked Ziti or Lasagna. I suggest this only because not everyone may like ham...and I wouldn't want a guest not to eat , or eat only sides for a Christmas Dinner...because they were being polite.