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THIS IS THE CHRISTMAS DINNER MENU THAT WORKS FOR MY FAMILY EVERY TIME
I’m sharing the really easy Christmas dinner menu that I use as a basis when we host Christmas. It’s an easy-to-prepare menu based on traditional Christmas meals that helps keep our Christmas day stress-free.
It can be a daunting task to be in charge of preparing and serving Christmas lunch or dinner for an array of guests on Christmas day.
But there is a way to prepare and serve mouthwateringly delicious Christmas meals without ending up in a stressed heap at the dinner table.
The key is to keep the menu really simple.
KEEP STRESS OFF THE MENU ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Luckily, being in charge of Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be stressful.
You just need to focus on keeping things simple.
Because simple wins the day when the pressure is on.
Just follow this super simple Christmas dinner menu, and you will find yourself feeling a lot more relaxed about preparing the food and with enough energy to sit and enjoy it.
I’ve tried to keep preparation time to a minimum.
The focus is also on recipes that don’t take hours on the day.
The menu runs right from appetisers through main dishes, side dishes, dessert and cheese board.
FREE PRINTABLE PDF CHRISTMAS FOOD SHOPPING LIST AND MEAL PLAN TEMPLATE
Before you dive into the menu, I thought I’d let you know about my latest printable designed to keep your life simple when preparing for Christmas.
It’s a Christmas food shopping list and meal plan printable that you can download for free – no email required. Grab your copy.
Right, what are you waiting for?
Dive into this Christmas dinner menu and start planning your Christmas feast!
EASY CHRISTMAS DINNER MENU:
APPETISERS x 2
We tend to serve appetisers rather than a sit-down starter.
It works well doing this because then everyone is free to mill around until it’s time for the main event.
It also means that you only need to serve the main and dessert at the table, rather than keep getting up and down to serve different courses.
1. Smoked mackerel pâté
Smoked mackerel pâté is a family tradition from my husband’s side of the family.
It makes a totally delicious appetiser.
The pâté is super easy to make and can be made a day or two in advance.
We usually serve it with slices of toasted sourdough bread and carrot crudités
Here’s the recipe: My family’s Smoke Mackerel Pâté recipe
2. Crostini with olive tapenade and goat’s cheese
This is a super simple way to get tasty appetisers out to everyone.
You can either buy crostini – I LOVE Crosta and Molica crostini, which you can buy in most UK supermarkets.
Or you can quickly make your own crostini.
All you do is buy a baguette and let it go stale in the air for a day or so (!!)
Then slice it into angled slices, brush with olive oil and bake at around 200C/180C (Fan)/Gas 6 oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Until golden and crisp.
Then, let them cool before adding toppings.
As mentioned, we like to smear them with goat’s cheese or olive tapenade.
MAIN COURSE INCLUDING SIDE DISHES
1. Roast turkey
We’ve used Jamie Oliver’s Christmas roast turkey recipe and found it to be great.
He’s kept his recipe simple and hassle-free in true Jamie Oliver style.
2. Pigs in blankets
These add a little bit of meaty variety to the plate and make it look interesting too.
There are plenty of places you can buy pigs in blankets, but they are pretty simple to make.
Because basically, they are chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon.
3. Potatoes roasted in duck fat
Duck fat is the key to delicious roast potatoes that aren’t any more difficult to prepare than any other roast potatoes.
You can buy duck fat at most good supermarkets; I really like Gressingham Duck Fat.
4. Honey-roasted parsnips and carrots
I think it’s great to have both carrots and parsnips on the Christmas dinner plate.
But you can make things simple by cooking them in one simple recipe.
I think this Epicurious recipe does the job nicely.
5. Celeriac mash
Many people like to have two kinds of potatoes on the plate.
I prefer to mix things up a bit by having celeriac mash rather than mashed potatoes.
I love celeriac, and it’s a lot lower G.I. than potatoes, so it’s a win-win on both flavour and health.
Recipe: Hello Fresh celeriac mash
6. Braised red cabbage
This dish adds some colour to the plate and a little sweetness and spice.
There are some really complex recipes out there, but I suggest this simple Waitrose recipe.
7. Brussels sprouts with pancetta
These little globes are the Marmite of the vegetable world.
You either love them or you hate them.
I’ve always loved them.
Even as a child.
But I think a lot has to do with how they are cooked.
I don’t just mean whether they are boiled to within an inch of their lives.
What I mean is having a great Brussels sprouts recipe.
This recipe is awesome: Gordon Ramsay’s brussels sprouts with pancetta
What is it about a good gravy that transforms a meal from delicious to out-of-this-world amazingly delicious?!
Well, I think it’s over to Mary Berry, queen of cooking, for a brilliant recipe you can make to splosh all over your Christmas dinner.
9. Cranberry sauce
Now, if you are wanting to keep things simple, you will absolutely want to buy your Cranberry sauce.
My top tip would be to make sure to go for one that isn’t packed full of sugar.
I always go for Stokes Cranberry Sauce.
Mainly because I love everything that Stokes makes, from ketchup to mayo…
If you are feeling like you really want to make your own cranberry sauce, I do have a post that will help.
1. Christmas pudding
1. I know that not everyone likes Christmas pudding.
But it is Christmas dinner, and it is only once a year.
Plus, I adore brandy butter, so this is the perfect excuse to load up my plate with the stuff.
In fact, I often have a side of Christmas pudding with my brandy butter!!
There’s an array of Christmas puddings you can buy everywhere, from Fortnum’s to your local supermarket.
But if you do want to make one and you’ve missed Stir Up Sunday, I’ve found a really great last-minute Christmas pudding recipe over on BBC Food.
I like it because a. you can make it at the last minute, literally the night before and b. it’s got really straightforward ingredients.
2. Brandy butter
I cannot get enough of this stuff.
I think I might have mentioned this fact above.
So, here’s a great brandy butter recipe.
Here is a recipe for brandy butter using both British metric and US imperial measurements:
BRANDY BUTTER RECIPE
- 113g/4oz unsalted butter softened
- 113g/4oz icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons brandy (or adapt to taste)
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth.
- Add the icing sugar and beat again until the butter and icing sugar are fully mixed.
- Add the brandy gradually, beating continuously, until well mixed. Add more brandy to taste if desired.
- Spoon into a serving dish and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours until firm.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature alongside Christmas pudding, fruitcake, or other desserts. Keeps refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
- Don’t like brandy? You can use rum or whisky instead.
- For a lighter version, use half butter and half cream cheese.
- Add extracts like vanilla or almond for extra flavour.
- To make ahead, form into a log shape, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
Olive magazine has got a cracking post about how to make the ultimate Christmas cheeseboard.
Even if you can’t get the exact cheeses mentioned, use them as inspiration to find cheeses that are similar.
How to put together a delicious cheeseboard: The Ultimate Christmas cheeseboard
So there you have it.
A no-brainer Christmas dinner menu.
Simple dishes that work well to create a Christmas feast that will have everyone rubbing their full tummies with glee but won’t leave you shattered.
Now, before I head off, I’m going to mention another thing that can go a long way to making sure you aren’t a complete workhorse in the kitchen on Christmas day…
Mince pies can either be served in their own right with a nice cup of tea.
OR they make a great accompaniment to a cheeseboard.
You can, of course, buy mince pies. But, given you can buy mincemeat in jars and ready-made pastry, mince pies are actually pretty easy to make at home.
MINCE PIES RECIPE
- 350g / 12 oz mincemeat
- 1 sheet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 2-3 tbsp brandy, rum, or whisky / (alcohol-free) 2-3 tbsp orange or apple juice
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7
- Unroll the pastry and cut out circles using a round cutter or glass. Aim for 24 circles.
- Place half the circles of pastry in a jam tart baking tray, like this one
- Place a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry circle.
- For the alcoholic version, mix the alcohol of choice into the mincemeat. For non-alcoholic, mix in the fruit juice.
- Place the rest of the pastry circles on top of each dollop of mincemeat to make pies.
- Brush the tops with more beaten egg.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.
SHARE THE LOAD
Well, that’s the menu ideas, but I also wanted to share another thought on keeping your stress levels to a minimum around preparing Christmas dinner.
You can also reduce the amount you have to do by sharing out the jobs for getting Christmas dinner onto the table.
Whilst it’s true to say that too many cooks can spoil the broth – and lead to arguments.
You can divide up preparation tasks amongst your household, get them washing and peeling fruit and vegetables.
For larger gatherings, do what I do and ask everyone to bring or be responsible for a dish.
Last year went something like this for us:
- Appetisers – Sister-in-law and family, who were staying over with us
- Main course – us
- Dessert – my parents, well my mum to be precise, who makes the most amazing Christmas pudding
- Cheeseboard – my cousin and her family
- Drink – my husband’s parents
You can make suggestions to keep things to a theme or you can let them freestyle!
Good luck however you’re planning to spend Christmas day.
Don’t forget there’s a whole bunch of posts on how to make Christmas magical without frazzling your brain in the Christmas section and don’t forget you can download a free copy of my Christmas food shopping list and meal plan printable.
Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.