Holidays

Food ideas for Christmas dinner

By Nancy Livingstone
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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roasted turkey on a platter
With a little planning, you can prepare the perfect holiday meal.
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Organize now so you can enjoy Christmas dinner too

Do you want to prepare the perfect holiday meal? If you're looking for food ideas for Christmas dinner, there are plenty of options. By planning a menu early on, you can save time and stress when Christmas arrives.

A Traditional Ham Just as turkey is found at a traditional Thanksgiving, ham is often used in a traditional Christmas dinner. Serving ham can be quite simple. Many grocery stores sell fully cooked ham. All you need to do is heat it up. You can make a glaze to serve with the ham for extra flavor.

To heat up the baked ham, place the meat cut side down in a roasting pan. Cover the ham with foil. Remove the foil for the last twenty minutes of baking. Fully cooked hams need to bake about ten minutes for each pound in order to reheat thoroughly.

Rather than purchasing a fully cooked ham, you may want to buy one that is partially cooked. Partially cooked hams need to bake around twenty minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature of the ham before taking it out of the oven. When it reaches 160 degrees, it is ready to be served.

Most supermarkets offer bone-in and boneless hams. You may find bone-in hams to have more flavor; however, they take longer to carve. Boneless hams are easier to cut. Plan that each person will eat about 1/2 of a pound for boneless ham. If you purchase a bone-in ham, plan on 3/4 of a pound per guest. Don't worry about baking too much ham – leftovers are always tasty!

Variations of Potatoes Potatoes make a nice addition to Christmas dinner. There are many varieties of potatoes that can be served over the holidays. Consider making scalloped potatoes if your guests like them. Mashed potatoes are also a good dish. Add cheese, cream and onions to enhance mashed potatoes. Twice-baked potatoes are time-consuming to prepare, but make a tasty treat. Your family may choose sweet potatoes. Prepare them with marshmallows or nuts and butter to enhance their flavor and presentation.

Add Color with Side Dishes Meat and potatoes may fill up the plates, but leave them looking a bit bland. Consider a green bean dish for a side to add color to the meal. Jell-o and fruit salads can also add a splash of color to the meal. For an easy side dish, toss together chopped apples, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries together. Add a little olive oil and lemon juice. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Tips for Planning You need more than food ideas for Christmas dinner for a perfect evening. Planning is key. Make a list of the guests you expect will come. Then create a menu of what to serve. Try to stick with foods and recipes that you have successfully made in the past. This is not a good time to try many new dishes. Then create a grocery list of all the items you need. Go to the store at least one week in advance to purchase any needed goods.

If possible, bake desserts and dinner foods ahead of time. Set the table or buffet the day before Christmas. Clean the house ahead of time also.

Being organized is helpful, but don't let it take away from the fun. You want to enjoy Christmas dinner too! Plan as much as you can, but don't get caught up in the details. Let the dishes stack up or clean the kitchen later if it will allow you more time with the guests.

Christmas dinner can quickly become a stressful event. In order to save your sanity, start planning early. Think of different food ideas for Christmas dinner and select the menu. Then go shopping and start cooking days before the big day.

You may want to ask a relative or friend for help. Together you can create a memorable Christmas meal. Keep things simple and remember to have fun while cooking. The holiday meal will not only be a manageable task, it will be an enjoyable one.

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