Winter has always been synonymous with Christmas, family and celebrations. It is really a festive season with lots of parties, new clothes, shopping for Christmas gifts and friends. A huge part of this season is food – lots and lots of good food. Without these tables of mouthwatering dishes, the season may come up a tad short.
In the United States, Christmas also means delicious food. Most customs in the United States have been adopted from the United Kingdom. Accordingly, the Christmas dinner mainstays are the same for both countries – roast turkey, beef, ham, pork, stuffing, mashed potato and gravy, plum pudding and pumpkin pie. There is always a centerpiece which can vary from one household to another, but there is always ham, roast beef or turkey. Turkey is the mainstay for most American holiday.
Dishes vary from one region to another. Virginia, for instance, has ham pies and fluffy biscuits. The Upper Midwest features dishes from Scandinavia such as mashed rutabaga and lutefisk. In some rural areas, there are game meats like quail or elk that grace the table. Americans with Italian heritage may enjoy an Italian feast.
As the Christmas season comes knocking at your doors, it is time to start planning your Christmas dinner to satiate the stomachs of your family, friends and guests. Whether you are planning to throw a cocktail party or you intend to have a simple Christmas dinner with your family and friends, you would want to select your dishes carefully. You probably want a delicious meal that people will enjoy.
If you are wondering what can make your dinner such a hit, here are fun, easy and simple recipes that you can prepare for your family and friends:
Christmas Pasta (via foodnetwork.com)
This is a Rachel Ray recipe. She combines a variety of meats to create this stomach-filling pasta.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 1/4 pound pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (Italian cured pork, ask at deli counter)
- 1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
- 1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup good quality dry red wine
- 1 cup prepared beef stock, paper container or canned
- 2 (32-ounce) cans chunky style crushed tomatoes
- A handful chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon (a couple of pinches) allspice or cinnamon
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 pounds penne rigate, cooked to al dente
- Grated Pecorino Romano, as an accompaniment
- Fresh, crusty bread, for mopping
- Heat a pot over medium high heat.
- Add oil, garlic, bay and pancetta bits and stir until brown.
- Add meats. Crumble and brown them for 5 minutes.
- Chop carrots, celery and onion and add to the pot as you work.
- Cook vegetables for 5 minutes.
- Add wine and cook the whole mixture for 1 minute.
- Add stock and tomatoes.
- Add parsley, allspice, cinnamon.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Toss pasta with a couple of ladles of sauce to coat.
- Top bowl with extra sauce.
- Top pasta with cheese.
Glazed Ham with Coriander and Fennel (via realsimple.com)
- 17-pound fully cooked bone-in ham (preferably the shank end)
- 2tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1cup apricot preserves
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Cut ham side down and place the ham on the rack placed in the roasting pan.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Crush the fennel, coriander and peppercorns with a heavy pan, and then combine them with your preserves to create a glaze.
- Brush ¼ cup of the glaze on the ham and bake for 20 minutes.
- Brush another ¼ cup of the glaze over the ham and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Slice thinly and serve with the remaining glaze.
Warm Chocolate Eggnog Recipe (via tasteofhome.com)
- 4 cups eggnog
- 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Whipped cream and additional ground nutmeg
- In a large saucepan, combine eggnog, nutmeg and chocolate syrup.
- Heat through over low heat for about 15 minutes. Do not boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
- Pour into mugs.
- Add dollops of whipped cream and nutmeg.
Creamy smoked salmon, leek & potato soup (via bbcgoodfood.com)
This salmon dish is creamy and low fat.
- large knob of butter
- 2 large leeks, halved and finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1kg floury potatoes, diced
- 1l chicken or vegetable stock
- 100ml double cream
- 200g smoked salmon, cut into strips
- small bunch chives, snipped
- Heat butter in a large saucepan.
- Add the leeks and bay leaf.
- Cook over low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes until the leeks are really soft.
- Stir potatoes until coated with butter.
- Pour mixture over the stock and cream. Bring to a simmer until potatoes are really tender. If potatoes are frozen, slightly undercook the potatoes, defrost them and bring them back to a simmer.
- Add 2/3 of the smoked salmon, stir and season.
- Serve soup in bowls. Add remaining salmon and chives on top.
Lamb with Christmas spices (via bbcgoodfood.com)
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 5cm fresh root ginger, shredded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ kg lean lamb neck fillets, cut into chunks
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cloves
- 6 cardamom pods
- good pinch saffron
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tbsp ground almonds
- 850ml beef stock
- 250g pack ready-to-eat dried apricots
- Fry onion, garlic and ginger for 15 minutes.
- Add lamb and stir-fry until brown.
- Add spices until well-stirred and they release their flavors.
- Add almonds.
- Put in the stock and season to taste.
- Cover the pan for 45 minutes until it simmers. Stir occasionally.
- Add apricots and simmer for 15 minutes until lamb is tender.
- Add a little water if the sauce gets too thick.
Christimas Dinner via dailyrecord.co.uk