Christmas Eve dinner ideas

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A light but luscious Christmas Eve dinner can be finished in fine style with ripe berries, ice cream or cake
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Think light when considering Christmas Eve dinner ideas.

What's for dinner? Holidays sometimes present some difficult cooking challenges. There's too much of this. There's not enough of that. Twenty people will be at the table tomorrow for a traditional Christmas feast. But some of them also will be dropping in for dinner on Christmas Eve. What in the world can you prepare that is enough—without being too much of a good thing.


Chances are good that a dinner held the evening before Christmas will be one consisting of fare that's light but luscious. Save the heavy meats and gravy and the stuffed bird or big, juicy ham. Go for a dinner menu that is a mix of an easy-to-digest main course and some side dishes of fruit and veggies. There are many choices that won't leave guests feeling stuffed like a Christmas goose.


Appetizing encounters


• Pasta salad with spring peas and mayo dressing

• Hummus drizzled with olive oil, served with pita

• Scallops wrapped in bacon strips and grilled

• Seafood salad with celery, crab and lobster bits

• Broiled tomatoes stuffed with spinach and cheese

• Hot pepperoni dip made with creamed cheese


Most cooks have their own recipes for the appetizers mentioned here. Newcomers may find it convenient to consult online sources of free recipes. Some of these kinds of foods can be enjoyed on crackers or thin slices of toasted party breads. Some wedges of cheese and a decorative bowl of strawberries or grapes will find other takers. Guests can nibble at their leisure as they reminisce about Christmas holidays of long ago—or last year's festivities.


It's a good bet that the people in your home on Christmas Eve have been in several other homes on recent evenings. Some may have come from another gathering earlier in the day. Not everyone will be inclined to eat heartily on the evening before Christmas. Make a few dishes you can serve from oven to table in your choice of festive, colorful cookware. Mostly, light and digestible is the way to go but dinner can be more substantial than the appetizers that preceded it.



Dinner done well—and well done


• Quiche with mushrooms and cheese

• Meatballs on a buttered bed of egg noodles

• Shredded chicken breast on buttered rice

• Chili served over buttered, toasted bread

• Baked sausage rounds with mashed potatoes

• Crock pot stews and chops cooked with tomatoes


Most kitchen queens—and kings—have a favorite recipe for the main courses mentioned here. A glass baking dish serves well for making recipes that include an assortment of moist ingredients such as vegetables, noodles and chicken. Anything mixed with a liquid such as milk-thinned cream of celery soup or cheddar cheese soup looks quite appealing when brought to the table bubbling hot.


Don't forget about your crock pot if making a version of lamb stew, chicken stew or beef stew. Each of those three stewed dishes is amenable to hunkering down on a bed of buttered rice or egg noodles. And both are light enough to digest long before gourmands return for another go-round at the next day's Christmas dinner. But there's always room for dessert.


Delightfully dessert


• Pumpkin or banana muffins

• Pound cake with ripe strawberries

• Rice pudding or bread pudding

• Banana cream pie w vanilla wafers

• Any kind of ice cream cake

• Make-your-own ice cream sundaes


Sweet temptations persist after all present declare they couldn't eat another bite. If that's the truth, perhaps everyone repairs for a while to the den or living room. A cool beverage or a hot cup of tea coaxes evening into night. A holiday atmosphere reigns as friends and family members hobnob over their drinks.


Conversation flies. Laughter rings out among the guests. Nevertheless, an inevitable lull coincides with the last sip of coffee. That lull needs to be filled with…dessert. Soon, it's everyone back to the table—or kitchen for a last round of goodness. There are the plates. And here is the pleasure.


Sometimes pleasure has a ripe red color and the shape of a plump berry. Cake and strawberries or the rolled-up ice-cream cake will do nicely as a light but satisfying dessert that will calm folks' appetites until tomorrow's feast. The options are endless.


Think about desserts that you have enjoyed at other people's homes. Serve something you liked during past holidays. Treat your guests especially nice on Christmas Eve. Then, see them to the door and bid them adieu. Tomorrow is almost here.

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