If you’re in charge of cooking for anyone besides yourself this Christmas, it’s time to make a game plan. How many people are you feeding? What time are you eating? How exhausted will you be? Let’s talk Christmas menus, friends… I won’t make everything listed here, but wanted to give you several ideas to choose from. Have a question? Leave it in the comments section below and I’ll get right back to you!
I have one word for you: Chili. Make a batch early in the morning and cook it on low in a slow cooker until dinner. Just be sure to sauté the bacon, veggies and ground beef (or turkey) in a sauté pan on the stove before transferring it to the slow cooker. Assemble all the toppings ahead of time: Grated sharp cheddar or jack cheese, chopped red onion or sliced green onion, pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced radish, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and hot sauce. When I was growing up, chili was always our Christmas Eve meal. Old habits die hard.
If you’re not a chili fan, make slow cooker chicken tortilla soup or pork chili verde. Weeknight lasagna would also work, make it in the morning and bake it off at night. If you prefer a more formal meal on Christmas Eve, scroll down to my Christmas dinner menu for ideas.
Breakfast bread is easily made a day or two ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before serving, or warm it in a 200 degree oven. Try my gluten-free almond bundt cake or Ina Garten’s sour cream coffee cake. Ina’s recipe can be made gluten-free by using Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. We usually have coffee cake (and LOTS of coffee) during the excitement, and once the dust settles we sit down to a real Christmas breakfast. Trader Joe’s frozen croissants, set out to rise before going to sleep on Christmas Eve, would be another perfect Christmas morning treat.
For something slightly virtuous, what about gluten-free pecan and cranberry granola to nosh on during gift opening? Set out a variety of toppings for a make-your-own parfait bar: Yogurt, coconut chips, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, hemp hearts and fresh fruit.
For brunch, it’s savory breakfast bread pudding with garlic roasted potatoes and sparkling apple cider and pomegranate mimosas. The potatoes can be prepped a couple days before and spread out on a sheet pan while the oven pre-heats.
If a sit down breakfast sounds stressful, create a “serve yourself” lunch buffet of sliced ham, store bought rolls or biscuits, mustards and jalapeño jelly.
We sit down to a big family Christmas dinner, and my favorite part is the Christmas crackers on every plate filled with cheesy jokes and cheap toys. To keep everyone happy while the dinner comes together, make a cranberry baked brie a couple hours before you plan to eat. For dinner, it’s herb-crusted beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce, au gratin potatoes, balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts or oven roasted broccolini and popovers. For dessert, a big platter of Christmas cookies and easy peppermint bark.