Every family has its favorite dishes for the holidays, traditions that have been passed down year after year. Maybe it is time to spice things up and introduce some new recipes or at least make some variations to some favorites.
It’s a good idea to incorporate family favorites from your spouse’s family (if you can get them to share the recipes), especially if you can’t get together with that side of the family. Here are a few different ideas to help you find your own groove this holiday season.
Appetizers – Why not have a few appetizers set out, so people can snack while dinner is finishing up? Set out some healthy things to munch on, like fruit and veggies or cheese and crackers. It’s easy to set up a nice tray; even just a foil lined pizza pan covered in clear plastic with Christmas designs on it can dress up the table.
Side Dishes – Tired of the same old stuffing or mashed potatoes? Try some souped up stuffing. Take some precooked chicken (or left over turkey from Thanksgiving), picked off the bone and then mix that with your favorite cream soup (chicken, mushroom or celery) and some sour cream, top with stuffing, add a little water and bake according to the directions on the stuffing box.
Other side dishes can feature different vegetables, noodles or potatoes. You could also have some fruit side dishes, like baked apples. If it’s a family gathering where everyone brings a different dish, then try out that recipe you’ve been wanting to make but haven’t.
Main Dishes – While a ham or turkey may be traditional for Christmas dinner, how about a roast? It’s simple to cook a nice, moist roast using a slow cooker. Place the meat in the slow cooker, add some broth or au jus, some favorite spices and let it cook while you are enjoying the family. Add some vegetables; simply select ones that cook well in the slow cooker and there is one less dish to make.
Desserts – Everybody loves desserts, especially at the holidays. We tend to overindulge in them. Try to find some desserts that are still delicious, yet a little less filling. Gelatin, especially if you make red or green, is always a hit around the holidays. Add fruit or make it into squares or even fun shapes with cookie cutters.
Instead of having very heavy desserts try having an angel food cake. Adding red and green candy or sugar sprinkles gives it a festive look. Have a variety of bite-size desserts, such as mints, chocolate covered nuts or peanut butter balls. This will give guests a variety and help curb the need to overindulge as well.
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