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easy main (meat) dish for Christmas dinner?


caedmyn
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I’m having trouble coming up with an easy main dish for Christmas dinner.  Googling is giving me a bunch of recipes that do not looking particularly easy.  We had turkey for Thanksgiving.  I’d prefer not to have ham or prime rib.  We have roasts all the time.  What is left?  (I’m not a creative cook as you can probably tell!).  I’ll have stuffing and mashed potatoes with whatever we have.

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I made shepherd's pie last year and that was pretty easy. It doesn't have to be a big roast. Sometimes I just make fancier-feeling dishes like gnocchi with homemade sauce, mozzarella, and a glass of wine. I think I remember my mom making Cornish game hens a few times, if you like that. 

 

This year our church is selling Romanian cabbage rolls 👀 for charity on Christmas Eve so as soon as I find out whether or not they contain wheat, I'm ordering 12 of them. I've been craving cabbage rolls literally all year.

 

Edit: Oooo what about a leg of lamb?? My Italian cookbook has a recipe where you stick garlic in it.

Edited by MoyaPechal
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We usually have leg of lamb for Christmas dinner.  It makes awesome gravy, and I make roasted potatoes with it.

It’s dead easy—rub garlic purée all over the outside, salt heavily, stick on thin slices of white onions with toothpicks, stick in the oven in a big roasting pan on a V rack.  Cook to medium rare.

The drippings gravy is to die for.

I parboil quartered white or Yukon Gold potatoes until almost cooked through (about 12 minutes) and throw them into the bottom of the roasting pan to get marvelously dripped on.

In a perfect world I would serve asparagus with this, but it’s not great in late Dec so I usually have a cold marinated green bean salad with chopped shallots in a Dijon vinaigrette with it.  That’s a family fave and I can make it the day before.  I blanch and chill the beans two days ahead and mix up the salad dressing, then dump them together in one of those Tupperware marinations the day before, turning it in the fridge whenever I think of it.  

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I actually thought today about picking up some fried chicken from a grocery store deli that I would just heat up and would go well with mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing. I never make fried chicken because it is way too fussy and it isn’t something we tend to eat out. So it would still be kind of special in a way in that it is something different.

I will probably make a prime rib Christmas Eve. That is expensive but easy. Then the fried chicken can be on Christmas Day and leftovers.

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27 minutes ago, kbutton said:

If you find mak/prep ahead eaiser, something like lasagna might work. 

 

I used to do that, but now I do the baked frozen ravioli dish instead.  It's so much easier and everyone likes it just as much.  Layer sauce, frozen raviolis, sauce, cheese, do it again starting with the raviolis and pop it in the oven.  

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

Swedish meatballs. They're actually dead easy. I can give you my recipe, if you like. You can serve them with some cranberry sauce on the side - use the recipe on the back of the bag, but swap in apple or orange juice for the water.

Ooo that's a good idea. I love swedish meatballs. There's a recipe for them in my Southern living book 

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Likely not what you are looking for since you prefer no ham but since Thanksgiving is so involved, I always treat the family to a Honey Baked Ham delivered to us every Christmas. Easy peasy and delicious 🙂

I do appetizers Christmas Eve or several fondue dishes and then a special breakfast Christmas morning so I try and make the rest of Christmas day a little less work for myself. 

Edited by corbster98
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Beef tenderloin roasts cook quickly.   It's nice to have something be in and out in less than an hour without hours of babysitting.  You could also just straight up do steaks.  Actually now that I say that, putting DH in charge on the grill outside for a holiday or special meal (we do grill all winter) isn't a bad plan.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

 

I used to do that, but now I do the baked frozen ravioli dish instead.  It's so much easier and everyone likes it just as much.  Layer sauce, frozen raviolis, sauce, cheese, do it again starting with the raviolis and pop it in the oven.  

We call that Notsagna, and it is so much easier!  

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I make spaghetti and meatballs for Christmas every year.  It’s not a day I want to cook.  I pre make homemade marinara sauce and meatballs, and that’s Christmas dinner.  A big salad and some garlic bread, and everyone is happy.

If I wanted to do a meat and sides kind of dinner, I would probably either do thick cut porkchops (crusted with fennel, rosemary, black pepper and salt) or roast a chicken.

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9 minutes ago, medawyn said:

I make spaghetti and meatballs for Christmas every year.  It’s not a day I want to cook.  I pre make homemade marinara sauce and meatballs, and that’s Christmas dinner.  A big salad and some garlic bread, and everyone is happy.

If I wanted to do a meat and sides kind of dinner, I would probably either do thick cut porkchops (crusted with fennel, rosemary, black pepper and salt) or roast a chicken.

Do you have that porkchop recipe?

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We always do salmon.  It cooks quickly so I'm not in the kitchen all day.  Over the years our menu has settled into salads that are prepped ahead of time (a gelatin one and a layered salad), maybe deviled eggs, salmon (in the oven or on the grill, depending on weather), a couple of veggies that cook on the stovetop so aren't much work (peas, corn, glazed carrots...it depends on what people request), and Sally Lunn bread with honey butter.  

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1 hour ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Beef tenderloin roasts cook quickly.   It's nice to have something be in and out in less than an hour without hours of babysitting.  You could also just straight up do steaks.  Actually now that I say that, putting DH in charge on the grill outside for a holiday or special meal (we do grill all winter) isn't a bad plan.  

I second beef tenderloin.  Super easy and very hard to mess up.  Even if you over cook it (which I dont recommend btw) it is still very tender and delicious.  

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We grill steaks. If it's rainy, it means dh has to move the Weber from the back patio to the covered front porch. But no prep needed and they taste even better than in summer because we don't grill in winter other than Christmas usually.

For Christmas Eve, we did chicken cordon bleu from Costco last year and it was good enough to repeat this year. Easy but good.

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This is my Swedish meatballs recipe from Bake Until Bubbly. The cookbook says it makes 100 meatballs and serves six. That must be with no sides whatsoever, because it always feeds us twice.

I will type out the recipe as written, then give my notes:

 

1 medium onion, quartered

1 large egg

1.5 lb ground beef

.5 lb ground pork

.5 c fresh bread crumbs

2/3 cup half and half. Half of this is for the meatballs, half of this is for the sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1.5 teaspoon salt, plus more for the sauce

.5 ts fresh ground black pepper, plus more for the sauce

2 tb unsalted butter

2 tb all-purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

Lingonberry preserves for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Blend the onion in a food processor until finely ground. Add the egg, blend. Add the meat, bread crumbs, 1/3 cup of half and half, spices. Blend until smooth. You may have to do this in batches. Transfer to a bowl, roll 100 small meatballs (not more than 3/4 an inch in diameter), arrange in a 3x9 casserole, preferably a flameproof one. Bake 25 minutes, transfer meatballs to a plate, keep warm.

 

If you have a flameproof casserole, put it on the stove with a medium-high flame. Otherwise, transfer the drippings from the casserole to a skillet. Add butter, melt. Add flour to make a roux, cook for a minute, stirring constantly until smooth. DO NOT LET IT BURN. Lower flame to low, slowly add beef broth and remaining half and half, stirring constantly until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, cook to a simmer, spoon over meatballs.

Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

Notes: When it comes to spice, my watchword is "more". I habitually double spices in everything. Additionally, I consulted google and discovered that various people put nutmeg and/or cardamon in their Swedish meatballs as well, at about 1/4 of a teaspoon of each.

I like to put a little nutmeg in the sauce, just a sprinkle.

Lingonberry preserves are hard to find in the US, cranberry sauce is fairly easy (especially this time of year).

You can cook the meatballs in a skillet, but you'll probably have to do it in batches.

I use Better than Boullion for my beef broth, and I can't spell it. (Don't tell me, I'll google it after dinner.)

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@Tanaqui Thank you!  You’ve just inspired me, that is definitely going to be our main dish for Christmas!  
 

Crazy question, and anyone else can input ... I have to make it dairy free.  I can sub either rice milk (not very thick, might not work) or a coconut creamer for the half n half.  Do you think the coconut would overpower it?  

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6 hours ago, Kassia said:

 

I used to do that, but now I do the baked frozen ravioli dish instead.  It's so much easier and everyone likes it just as much.  Layer sauce, frozen raviolis, sauce, cheese, do it again starting with the raviolis and pop it in the oven.  

Oh, man, youngest just requested lasagna for Christmas week and I really hope she likes this idea 😄

 

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32 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Are they still frozen when you layer them?  

Not Kassia, but yes, the pasta is still frozen.   I don't even bother with layers.  I pour enough sauce in the dish to cover the bottom, dump in frozen ravioli or tortellini, then pour  the rest of the sauce over the pasta.  I fill the sauce jar about 1/4 full of water, put the lid on it, shake, take lid off, and pour the water over the pasta as well.   Top with shredded cheese or put a shaker of grated parmesan on the table and let people add their own cheese.  

 

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9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

Not Kassia, but yes, the pasta is still frozen.   I don't even bother with layers.  I pour enough sauce in the dish to cover the bottom, dump in frozen ravioli or tortellini, then pour  the rest of the sauce over the pasta.  I fill the sauce jar about 1/4 full of water, put the lid on it, shake, take lid off, and pour the water over the pasta as well.   Top with shredded cheese or put a shaker of grated parmesan on the table and let people add their own cheese.  

 

Do you find this tastes different from boiling some ravioli and pouring some sauce on top, or is it less work?  

Edited by BaseballandHockey
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39 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

This is my Swedish meatballs recipe from Bake Until Bubbly. The cookbook says it makes 100 meatballs and serves six. That must be with no sides whatsoever, because it always feeds us twice.

I will type out the recipe as written, then give my notes:

 

1 medium onion, quartered

1 large egg

1.5 lb ground beef

.5 lb ground pork

.5 c fresh bread crumbs

2/3 cup half and half. Half of this is for the meatballs, half of this is for the sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1.5 teaspoon salt, plus more for the sauce

.5 ts fresh ground black pepper, plus more for the sauce

2 tb unsalted butter

2 tb all-purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

Lingonberry preserves for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Blend the onion in a food processor until finely ground. Add the egg, blend. Add the meat, bread crumbs, 1/3 cup of half and half, spices. Blend until smooth. You may have to do this in batches. Transfer to a bowl, roll 100 small meatballs (not more than 3/4 an inch in diameter), arrange in a 3x9 casserole, preferably a flameproof one. Bake 25 minutes, transfer meatballs to a plate, keep warm.

 

If you have a flameproof casserole, put it on the stove with a medium-high flame. Otherwise, transfer the drippings from the casserole to a skillet. Add butter, melt. Add flour to make a roux, cook for a minute, stirring constantly until smooth. DO NOT LET IT BURN. Lower flame to low, slowly add beef broth and remaining half and half, stirring constantly until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, cook to a simmer, spoon over meatballs.

Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

Notes: When it comes to spice, my watchword is "more". I habitually double spices in everything. Additionally, I consulted google and discovered that various people put nutmeg and/or cardamon in their Swedish meatballs as well, at about 1/4 of a teaspoon of each.

I like to put a little nutmeg in the sauce, just a sprinkle.

Lingonberry preserves are hard to find in the US, cranberry sauce is fairly easy (especially this time of year).

You can cook the meatballs in a skillet, but you'll probably have to do it in batches.

I use Better than Boullion for my beef broth, and I can't spell it. (Don't tell me, I'll google it after dinner.)

I made Swedish meatballs a few weeks ago because I was missing IKEA. 🤣 I found lingonberry preserves at Giant. 

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6 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

How is this different from just boiling some ravioli and pouring some sauce on top?

It is a one dish meal that cooks itself while I do something else.    It is part of our regular menu rotation for nights when I just don't have the energy to stand at the stove.    

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34 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Do you find this tastes different from boiling some ravioli and pouring some sauce on top, or is it less work?  

I think it’s different and easier, but I still layer mine sauce-cheese ravioli-meat-mozarella - repeat. It saves the step of dealing with noodles/ricotta/egg and it’s a few notches up from a plate of ravioli. It’s also easy to switch to seafood lasagna if you use the crab ravioli. It’s easy and scaleable enough to do both without ending up with two giant lasagnas. 

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Are they still frozen when you layer them?  

Yes!  So easy.  https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-ravioli-bake/42e1f452-b805-40a7-a2b4-a8e30d23aa4e  

Oh, just saw your other question.  I like the consistency of a baked pasta dish more than boiled with sauce, so I prefer it this way.  

Edited by Kassia
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7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

How long do you cook it?  

Could I use meat sauce?

You can use any sauce you like although if it is a very thick sauce, you will want to water down a bit.  I sometimes make a separate dish for dh and add frozen meatballs and pesto to his.   It takes about an hour at 350 degrees.   

It does taste slightly different than boiled since the sauce seeps into the pasta.  One of my children prefers baked.  The other boiled.  Dh doesn't care.

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i have a recipe for chicken breasts that are coated with bread crumbs, herbs and Parmesan cheese, then baked with a white wine sauce. It's not terribly difficult but it always seems like a special meat dish. I like to make extra sauce and serve it with a wild rice mix. 

I'd have to dig mine recipe out to check, but I think this is it, or close to it. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8529/my-moms-parmesan-chicken/

Jamie Oliver's Chicken and MIlk is easy and delicious. 

https://www.thekitchn.com/jamie-oliver-chicken-in-milk-best-chicken-recipe-all-time-80388

 

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1 minute ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

It does taste slightly different than boiled since the sauce seeps into the pasta.  One of my children prefers baked.  The other boiled.  Dh doesn't care.

Sounds like my family.  DH, dd, and ds1 prefer boiled.  Dd, ds1's girlfriend, and I prefer baked.  Ds 2 likes them both evenly.  So, we always make both.  And my third son is vegan so we just boil up a pot of plain pasta for him.  As always, a simple dinner turns into a huge production with a big clean up.

 

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If you have a kitchen thermometer, this cooks Illustrated roast is virtually foolproof and stress free if you follow the directions. It makes that lovely roast beef that’s perfect for sandwiches. I serve it hot over thick slices of fresh bread/toast. I’d use a top round roast for Christmas, but the recipe works miracles on eye of round. I would advise cooking all the way to medium. It’s still VERY pink. (Like the photo) Don’t be tempted by medium rare. It’s so soft it’s difficult to slice and it might be too red for some people. ALL of the juice stays in the roast so you’re on your own with the gravy making. You do need to salt it the day ahead. https://afeastfortheeyes.net/2011/01/slow-roasted-beef-cooks-illustrated.html

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4 hours ago, Spryte said:

@Tanaqui Thank you!  You’ve just inspired me, that is definitely going to be our main dish for Christmas!  
 

Crazy question, and anyone else can input ... I have to make it dairy free.  I can sub either rice milk (not very thick, might not work) or a coconut creamer for the half n half.  Do you think the coconut would overpower it?  

 

Mmm, the sauce is a pretty mild sauce. I'd go with the rice milk. Maybe mix in some cornstarch first when you do the sauce (not when you do the meatballs). But I have not tried this substitution. Oat milk, if you can get it, might be better.

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5 hours ago, Spryte said:

 

Crazy question, and anyone else can input ... I have to make it dairy free.  I can sub either rice milk (not very thick, might not work) or a coconut creamer for the half n half.  Do you think the coconut would overpower it?  

I make my own evaporated non-dairy milk which becomes thick and creamy when you reduce by half or more. Bring the rice milk to a gentle, rolling boil.  Stir every one in a while so the bottom of the pot doesn't burn or form a crust. Boil until the milk is thick enough for your liking. 

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