The most wonderful time of the year is almost here and it’s time to start getting excited. There’s nothing quite like having all of your family and friends over, pouring out glasses of mulled wine for everyone to enjoy and breathing in the amazing smells of Christmas dinner cooking away in the kitchen. These are the moments that we all cherish as time pushes on and it’s important to be present and make them as special as we possibly can when special times of the year like Christmas roll around.
Whether you fancy yourself as a serious home cook, you enjoy stepping up to the plate at this time of year, or you have been shoe-horned into cooking the Christmas dinner this year, you need to be sure you are well-prepared. You might decide to go ultra-traditional, mix things up with some dry-aged meat main course options or decide to hunt down some fun new side dish ideas to wow your guests. Whatever your approach might be, you can be sure that with the right prep, planning and plenty of hard work, you will serve up the perfect Christmas dinner when the big day arrives.
Let’s take a look at some simple ideas to keep things fresh and give your family the best Christmas dinner they’ve ever had.
Main Dish: Santa’s Cinnamon-Apple Turkey
Your main meal will take the most preparation time, so it makes sense to begin there. Preparing traditional holiday staple dishes like a turkey is great, but why not try something a little more outside of the box this year?
This Cinnamon/Apple combo doesn’t take much time and will instantly capture everyone’s taste bud cravings by filling the home with delectable aromas of hearty turkey mixed with spice and apple. Go, preheat your oven to 260 celsius and let’s get started.
- One turkey between 14 and 16 pounds
- One sliced apple and one fresh cinnamon stick
- Six fresh leaves of sage and four sprigs of rosemary
- Some extra virgin olive oil or fresh butter
Once the neck and giblets are set aside, and the bird is washed, coat the skin with butter or olive oil. If you like, sprinkle some of the chopped herbs on top of the bird. Now place the apple slices, remaining herbs, and cinnamon into the bird cavity. Roast the bird for half an hour on the low rack. Now lower the temperature to 176 until the internal temp is 73 degrees, which should take about 2.5 hours.
Now remove the turkey from your oven and cover it with foil, letting it sit for 15 minutes while you capture the juices in the pan for gravy. Once the gravy is complete, you’re ready to serve and carve your masterpiece.
Side Dish: Reindeers Creamed Spinach
If you want to impress your guests, try this easy, nutritious vegetable side dish with a spicy Christmas flair.
- 2 pounds spinach, big stems removed
- 1 egg and 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups room temperature whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Fresh black pepper
- Kosher salt
Over medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and mix for one minute, then remove from heat. Now add the milk, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons of salt. While mixing, bring to a boil over medium heat once again, then set aside and cool. In a covered deep skillet, cook the spinach and 1 teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes. Uncover, toss the spinach and continue cooking for 2 more minutes, then drain and cool. Chop the spinach to suit. Now reheat the butter sauce, and add in the yolks and whole egg. Stir until thick, then add the chopped spinach, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Dessert: Mrs Claus’ Berry Cupcakes
Kids will love helping you decorate these tasty, festive cakes. Going the extra mile to source some fresh cranberries for the icing on our cupcakes will truly make them stand out. However, if you can’t find them, feel free to use raspberries instead as they will look equally Christmassy.
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cup flour
- Vanilla Buttercream
- Cranberries or raspberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 176 degrees. Preload muffin pan with cupcake paper liners. In a bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter, then mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Now add the eggs and beat for 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla, milk, and flour until the mix is ready to bake. Spoon in 1/4 cup of the batter into each paper liner, bake for 20 to 25 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
To make the candied cranberry cupcake topping, use 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries or raspberries, 3 tablespoons of corn syrup, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the berries with the syrup, then gently sprinkle in the granulated sugar then let dry for at least 30 minutes. Finally, use a frosting applicator or spatula and apply equal amounts of buttercream icing to each cupcake, then top each cake with one or two of the candied berries neatly arranged into the icing and enjoy.
Make A Christmas Dinner That Your Family Will Still Be Raving About Next Year
The pressure of cooking the perfect Christmas dinner can be a lot to deal with and you want to be sure that you do the best job possible. While Christmas is typically a time of tradition, there’s nothing wrong with mixing things up from time to time either and thinking a little outside of the box. Take some inspiration from the ideas above, or follow them verbatim, and you can be sure that you will produce an amazing meal that everyone will still be talking about this time next year!