Ideas for holiday dinners that everyone loves
The holiday season brings together friends and family to share old traditions and create new ones. This time of year naturally evokes generosity, and what could be more giving than making holiday dinners that everyone loves?
Some families do pot-luck style get-togethers where everyone brings their must-have favorites while others try their best to stay out of the way of the cook who prefers to do it all. Whichever ways your family goes, at some point we all experience how difficult it can be to plan a meal that pleases everyone.
These meals offer a little something for everyone from the pickiest to the most adventurous eaters.
Traditional comfort foods
Going traditional is a safe, delicious choice loaded with comfort foods. Picture a hot honey baked ham smoked, spiral-sliced and ready to be savored. Beside it is a heaping green bean casserole topping with crunchy onions. Add sweet color to the table with candied yams smothered in marshmallows baked to a golden fluff and you’re all set.
Don’t forget the breads. A basket of bread is always a good idea, but especially helpful when there?s more people around your table than usual. Snowflake rolls, rye, pumpernickel, sourdough and nut breads are just a few of the many types that make any table extra special. Plus it?s a necessary component for those oh so delicious leftover sandwiches.
Roasted turkey with all the fixings is one of the classic holiday dinners that everyone loves and for good reason. This is not simply a repeat of Thanksgiving either. With frost on the window sill, this is the perfect time to make a wintry, festive menu.
In addition to tender turkey and rich gravy, it’s all about the sides. Toss Brussels sprouts in Dijon mustard and roast covered until they?re just browned but still crunchy then toss with crushed walnuts. Bring on the starches with creamy, horseradish whipped mashed potatoes. Give stuffing an elegant makeover by adding porcini mushrooms, chestnuts and Italian sausage into the usual mix.
Non-traditional with a colorful twist
Having a vegetarian or gluten sensitive loved one can strike fear in the heart of traditional holiday cooks. Have no fear. There are plenty of vegetarian entrees that lend themselves to small portions so your family can enjoy their main meat course while the more particular eaters happily chomp away on their own version. And most vegetable side dishes are easy to adapt.
Lentil loaf, baked tofu and saut?ed tempeh are a few plant-based proteins that can pack a flavorful punch when marinated, glazed, seasoned well ? in other words made with love. If you?re looking to elevate the dinner, try something brand new like a creamy spinach tart baked in crisp Phyllo.
For the sides, sweeten things up with honey glazed roasted ginger carrots. Try your hand at cranberry chutney with cinnamon, a pinch of sugar and vinegar and cooked down until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. No holiday meal is complete without a little greenery. Sautee green beans with butter, thyme, white wine vinegar and chopped almonds to vary the textures and colors on the table.
If you really want to go all out with the wow factor this year, step outside of your comfort zone with at least one side dish. Winter squash risotto takes time, but it?s worth every bit of effort. The same goes for twice baked veggie stuffed potatoes where you bake until almost done, hollow out the center and fill with chopped, seasoned veggies and cheddar and then finish baking to perfection.
Hungry yet? Clearly the sky is the limit when it comes to making holiday dinners that everyone loves. Consider how the flavors and colors will all play together on the plate and don?t be afraid to try something new.