Friday, December 16

Christmas Menu Planning

Braised meats are prepped in advance and then cook slowly, allowing you more time with your guests. Pictured: Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Christmas dinner is a big deal in my family, but since I know that not everyone starts menu planning six months ahead (yes, that’s typical for us), I’ve assembled some great last-minute ideas for this year’s holiday table. Smaller groups can get away with one big main course and a couple sides, but for a large group of family and friends it’s best to have a range of dishes that can accommodate everyone. We make a few starters, some vegetarian side dishes, a couple of meat dishes, and pasta for our group of fifteen-twenty and ask our friends to make dessert. I’ve followed that same logic in this menu guide, but dishes can certainly be served individually or brought as potluck items.

Salads are a great first course because they can be made in advance. Pictured: Arugula, Goat Cheese, & Butternut Squash Salad
Soups are another make-ahead dish and are an elegant start to the meal. Pictured: Roasted Carrot Soup with Thyme

Roasts that can be sliced and served are perfect for entertaining a crowd. Pictured: Mustard-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Rich cuts of meat, like leg of lamb and short ribs (pictured top), will wow your guests. Pictured: Braised Leg of Lamb

Cheesy gratins are a must-have on your holiday table. Pictured: Potato-Gruyere Gratin
Round out the table with a hearty green veggie. Pictured: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecorino and Lemon

A creamy pasta will be sure to satisfy the vegetarians (and carnivores) on your guest list. Pictured: Truffle &Wild Mushroom Pappardelle
Do as the Italians do and serve a seafood-packed dish a la Feast of the Seven Fishes. Pictured: Seafood and Meyer Lemon Fettuccine

Simple fruit pies are a nice, light way to end a large meal. Pictured: French Apple Tart with Whipped Cream
Individualized desserts are a show-stopping finish to your celebration. Pictured: Vanilla Creme Brulee