I’m sharing the really easy Christmas dinner menu that I use as a basis when we host family and friends for Christmas. It’s an easy to prepare menu that helps keep our Christmas day stress-free.
Easy Christmas dinner menu
It can be a daunting task to be in charge of preparing and serving Christmas dinner for an array of guests on Christmas day.
But there is a way to prepare and serve mouthwateringly delicious Christmas meal without ending up in a stressed heap at the dinner table.
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.
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 then 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 sour dough bread and carrot crudités
Click here for 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 baquette 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.
Find the recipe here: Jamie Oliver’s Christmas roast turkey
2. Pigs in blankets
These add a little bit of meaty variety on 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.
Click here for a quick how-to: How to make pigs in blankets
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 .
Find recipe here: BBC Food potatoes roasted in 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.
Find recipe here: Honey glazed roasted carrots and parsnips
5. Celeriac mash
A lot of 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.
Find recipe here: Hello Fresh celeriac mash
6. Braised red cabbage
This dish adds a bit of 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.
Find recipe here: Waitrose braised red cabbage with apple
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 is 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.
Find recipe here: Mary Berry’s Christmas turkey gravy
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.
Find recipes here: 8 recipes for cranberry sauce
1. Christmas pudding
1. I know that not everyone like 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 straight-forward ingredients.
Find the recipe here: Last minute Christmas pudding
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.
The key is to use unsalted butter and adapt the amount of brandy you use to taste.
Find the recipe here: Traditional brandy butter
Olive magazine have got a cracking post about how to make the ultimate Christmas cheese board.
Even if you can’t get the exact cheeses mentioned, use them as inspiration to find cheeses that are similar.
Find cheese board how-to here: The Ultimate Christmas cheese board
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.
Find recipe here: Easy mince pies recipe
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
- Cheese board – 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.
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