Friday, October 21, 2011

Best Menu for Christmas Dinner

photo by Celeste Hutchins

Tired of traditional roast turkey and ham for Christmas dinner? Try fixing chicken in a different way that's sure to be a winner with family and friends. Along with a cheese dish, mandarin salad, roasted potatoes, date nut bread and best ever apple pie, holiday guests will feel like kings.

Party Food Ideas for Christmas

The festivities begin with a healthy and colorful appetizer before dinner, like an attractive fruit platter. Place strawberries, cantaloupe and pineapple on a bed of ruffled red leaf lettuce for an eye catching dish. In some areas, however, fruit can be pretty expensive during the winter, so a great alternative would be a cream cheese and salsa dip with tortilla chips.

To make it, put an 8-ounce block of cream cheese onto a small serving plate and spoon some salsa over it, letting it drip down the sides. Microwave for one minute, and then serve it with tortilla chips. For larger groups, two blocks of cream cheese can be stacked, and then the microwave cooking time is doubled to two minutes. This very simple appetizer is extremely popular at parties.

Colas and other sodas can be boring and take no thought, while a delicious fruit punch livens any party. The punch bowl can be garnished with floating orange slices, each topped with a maraschino cherry. Or straddle the bowl with an orange slice. Another beverage to serve at Christmastime would be Sparkling Apple Cider, which mocks champagne and is a favorite non-alcoholic party beverage for children.

Christmas Dinner Menu
  • Rolled Cheddar Chicken (click here for the recipe)
  • Herb Roasted Potatoes
  • Mandarin Salad
  • Sourdough or Garlic Bread
  • Relish Tray, with mini or sliced dill pickles, olives and marinated artichoke hearts
  • Best Ever Apple Pie or Birthday Cake for Jesus for dessert
Balsam Hill LLC

Christmas Dinner Recipes

How to Make Herb Roasted Potatoes:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
  • 30 small new potatoes, quartered
  • 1 small onion, cut into rough chunks
  • Ranch dressing
  1. Place the olive oil, rosemary leaves, thyme, black pepper and Kosher salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix well, and add the potatoes and onions. Toss and mix well again.
  3. Put the coated potatoes and onion chunks on a shallow roasting pan.
  4. Bake at 425* for 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375*, stir potatoes slightly so they don't stick, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Serve the potatoes with Ranch dressing on the side.
Rolled Cheddar Chicken and Herb Roasted Potatoes have different cooking temperatures and times, so if two ovens are available, use one for the chicken and one for the potatoes. If only one oven is available, change step 4 of the potato recipe to "Bake at 425* for 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350*. Stir potatoes slightly so they don't stick, and then put the Rolled Cheddar Chicken on another shelf in the oven. Cook the potatoes (and chicken) an additional 40 minutes, and remove only the potatoes from the oven, allowing the chicken to bake another 10-15 minutes. Cover the potatoes with aluminum foil to keep them warm."

How to Make Mandarin Salad

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, torn
  • 1/2 bunch Romaine lettuce, torn
  • 4 medium stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 green onions (with tops) thinly sliced
  • sweet-sour dressing (below)
  • 2 11-ounce cans of mandarin orange segments, drained
  1. Cook the almonds and sugar over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and the almonds are coated.
  2. Cool on wax paper and break apart.
  3. Store the almonds at room temperature.
  4. Place the iceberg and Romaine lettuces in a large bowl.
  5. Add celery, onions, sweet-sour dressing and orange segments. Toss well.
  6. Add the almonds and toss again. Serve immediately. Makes 8-12 servings.
The sweet-sour dressing should be made ahead of time: combine 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 4 tbsp. sugar, 4 tbsp. vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. snipped parsley, two dashes of red pepper sauce and two dashes of pepper. Shake all the ingredients in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate.

Dessert for Christmas Dinner

Since Christmas is Jesus' birthday, why not bake him a cake and top it with candles for a child to blow out? A festive white cake for the occasion is Red and Green Christmas Cake. For those who prefer pies over cakes, Best Ever Apple Pie would also be a fabulous encore to the meal.

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