christmas dinnerby Info Guru Terri Wallace

Foods are powerful. They hold fragments of the past and even a whiff of a familiar food can transport you to your youth.

Certain dishes evoke images Norman Rockwellesque images of warm family meals around a food laden table, and this is especially true around the holidays. As you roll out pie crusts and cookie dough, loosen your belt and save a little room on your plate for some of these beloved Christmas dinner dishes.

10. Cinnamon Apples

Cinnamon Apples

The aroma of cinnamon and apples cooking is one of the beloved scents of the holidays, and no holiday table is complete without this classic comfort food. This is a simple way to keep all the flavor of the all-American apple pie while skipping the gluten-laden crust.

9. Green Beans

Green Beans

Green beans, in some form or other, make an appearance at nearly every traditional holiday feast. Whether you prefer Green Beans Almandine, Green Bean Casserole, or Scalloped Green Beans, this festive bit of green on the Christmas table stands out as one of the healthier dishes among the candied, pralined, and sugared side dishes.

8. Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Nothing screams Southern Christmas like a sweet slice of pecan pie. But if you want to go for a more dramatic flair, consider a Bourbon Pecan Pie, Maple Pecan Pie, or Chocolate Pecan Pie for a decadent desert that your guests will crave for years to come.

7. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are like sweet potatoes’ under-appreciate older brother. Perhaps less flashy and dramatic than its marshmallow or praline topped kin, mashed potatoes are the reliable and stead-fast regular on the holiday table. Mashed with cream cheese and sour cream, and then toasted in the broiler, this standby becomes stupendous.

6. Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli Rice Casserole

In an effort to counter the high calorie indulgences, consider adding a bit more green to your holiday table with a broccoli rice casserole. Long grain and wild rice, paired with broccoli, onion, and hints of sage, bring savory decadence to the Christmas feast.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

The beauty of sweet potatoes is often hidden under a cloying pile of marshmallow cream. Instead of concealing the natural sweetness of these potatoes, enhance it with a praline topping of brown sugar, coconut, butter, and pecans.

4. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

There are many accompaniments to pair with your poultry—relish, chutney, and mustards to name a few—but perhaps the most festive of holiday condiments is cranberry relish. Unlike the ruby hued blobs that spurt from cans, consider making homemade cranberry sauces. Simple to make and delectable to eat, cranberry relish adds a tart zing to leftover turkey.

3. Dressing


This savory combination of cornbread, onion, celery, spices, and perhaps some sausage, chestnuts, or wild rice is the perfect accompaniment to a roast turkey or goose, and lends itself well to mile-high sandwiches compiled of leftover meats and cheeses.

2. Ham


Ham is another festive favorite. Topped with a brown sugar crust, a candied glaze, or smoked to perfection, a holiday ham can be made into a rich and savory pot of beans and ham, or paired with eggs and cheese for a scrumptious Boxing Day Brunch.

1. Turkey


No holiday table is complete without a roast bird, golden brown and stuffed with cornbread dressing, in the center of the Christmas buffet. Spiced with rosemary and sage, its juices glistening, the turkey provides more than just a special meal—it also provides plenty of leftovers for days to come and ensures that the holiday spirit (and the promise of turkey sandwiches) lingers long after the last of the relatives leave.