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THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS DINNER

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Christmas Dinner


Here's a magnificent meal for a very special occasion! This menu includes Glazed Baked Ham for the meat course, but if you prefer a different choice, any of the following would be a delightful substitute: Roast Goose with Apple Stuffing, Roast Leg of Lamb, Standing Beef Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding or, for the heartiest of appetites, Crown Roast of Pork with Apple-Cranberry Stuffing


Make it Special!

For a stunning centerpiece, arrange small potted poinsettias and garland in the center of the table. Add tiny white lights, if you wish.

Make edible place cards by writing guests' names on rectangular-shaped cookies, using a tube of Betty Crocker decorating icing. Attach small candies or candy decorations with small amount of the icing. Frost the long narrow edge of sugar wafer cookies and press the frosted edge on the back of the rectangular cookies, just below center, so that the rectangular cookie will stand upright, using the wafer cookie as a brace.

Make bright red chili pepper flowers (to carry out the poinsettia theme) for plate garnishes by cutting several slits in each chili about one-half inch from stem end down to the point. Place in iced water for the "flowers" to open.

Wrap a bow of festive fabric ribbon with wire along the edges (available at craft stores) around each napkin and place setting of silverware. The wire in the ribbon helps the bows hold their shape.

Preparation Guide
Note: You can adjust the number of servings for recipes in this menu plan by using the scaling feature. The adjusted amounts conveniently appear in the Grocery List, too. Menu planning's never been easier!

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A Few Days Before Bake:

Corn Pocket Rolls

Corn bread in a jiffy! Sour cream makes these golden corn rolls rich and tender.

1 1/3 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1. Heat oven to 375F.

2. Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Mix egg and sour cream; stir into flour mixture until dough forms. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into 3-inch rounds with floured cutter. Brush with butter; fold in half. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

cool and freeze in tightly covered container.

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The Day Before Prepare:

Blue Cheese Dip with Vegetables

A low-fat version of everyone’s favorite decadent dip. See Tips from the Kitchens, below, for two more flavor variations.

1 1/2 cups small curd creamed cottage cheese

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated onion

3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 medium bell pepper

Raw vegetables, for dipping

1. Place all ingredients except bell pepper and raw vegetables in blender. Cover and blend on medium speed, stopping blender occasionally to scrape sides, until smooth.

2. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to blend flavors.

3. Cut off top of bell pepper and hollow out. Spoon dip into pepper. Serve with raw vegetables.

But do not spoon it into the bell pepper. Cover and refrigerate dip and vegetables to assemble later.

Ginger-Lime Dressing

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3/4 teaspoon grated gingerroot

or

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Shake all ingredients in tightly covered container.

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Raspberry-White Chocolate Cream Cake

Raspberries and white chocolate is a flavor marriage made in heaven. Enjoy them both in this decadent, showstopping cake.

Raspberry Filling (See Below)

3 ounces white baking bars (white chocolate), from 6-ounce package, chopped

2 1/4 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups whipping (heavy) cream

3 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

White Chocolate Frosting (See Below)

1. Make Raspberry Filling.

2. Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour bottoms and sides of 2 round pans, 8 or 9x1 1/2 inches.

3. Melt white baking bars over low heat, stirring occasionally; cool. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; reserve. Beat whipping cream in chilled large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff; reserve. Beat eggs on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored; beat in melted baking bar and almond extract on low speed.

4. Fold egg mixture into whipped cream. Add flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, folding gently after each addition until blended. Pour into pans.

5. Bake 8-inch rounds 35 to 40 minutes, 9-inch rounds 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour.

6. Fill layers with Raspberry Filling. Prepare White Chocolate Frosting; spread over side and top of cake.

Raspberry Filling

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup raspberry-flavored wine cooler

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Red food color, if desired

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Stir in wine cooler. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter, almond extract and 2 or 3 drops red food color. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

White Chocolate Frosting

3 ounces white baking bars (white chocolate), from 6-ounce package, chopped

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons raspberry-flavored wine cooler or water

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Melt white baking bars over low heat, stirring occasionally; cool. Beat melted baking bars and remaining ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and spreadable. If necessary, stir in additional wine cooler, 1 teaspoon at a time.

 

The Morning Before Prepare:

Soft Custard

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix eggs, sugar and salt in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture just coats a metal spoon; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Place saucepan in cold water until custard is cool. (If custard curdles, beat vigorously with hand beater until smooth.) Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Chop and measure the ingredients for Holiday Spinach Salad.

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Glazed Baked Ham (Crowd Size)

No holiday feast would be complete without clove-studded ham baked with a honey-mustard glaze.

6 to 8 pounds fully cooked smoked bone-in ham

Whole cloves, if desired

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1. Place ham, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting. Insert meat thermometer into ham surface at a slight angle or through the end of the ham so tip is in center of thickest part of ham and does not touch bone or fat.

2. Roast 12 to 16 minutes per pound in 325F oven or until thermometer reads 120F.

3. Remove ham from oven. Pour drippings from pan. Remove any skin from ham. Cut fat surface of ham lightly in uniform diamond shapes; insert whole clove in each diamond.

4. Mix honey, mustard and ground cloves; brush on ham. Roast uncovered about 20 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 135F.

5. Cover ham with tent of aluminum foil and let stand about 10 minutes or until thermometer reads 140F.

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As Guests Arrive

Finish and serve Creamy Eggnog.
Creamy Eggnog

A rich holiday classic made even better with a soft custard base.

Soft Custard (See Below)

1 cup whipping (heavy) cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup rum

Yellow food color, if desired

Ground nutmeg

1. Prepare Soft Custard.

2. Just before serving, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Gently stir 1 cup of the whipped cream, the rum and 1 or 2 drops food color into custard.

3. Pour custard mixture into small punch bowl. Drop remaining whipped cream in mounds onto custard mixture. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any remaining eggnog.

Spoon Blue Cheese Dip into the bell pepper and arrange it with the vegetables on a platter.

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About 1 Hour Before Serving Prepare:

Carrots with Rum Raisins

An elegant side dish that is sure to collect compliments.

1/2 cup rum

1/2 cup raisins

8 pearl onions, peeled and cut in half

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 pounds baby-cut carrots

1/3 cup dry white wine or apple juice

3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill weed

or

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1. Pour rum over raisins. Let stand 30 minutes.

2. Cook onions in butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften. Stir in carrots and raisins (with rum). Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated. Stir in wine, dill weed, salt and red pepper.

3. Cover and cook over medium heat 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender.

4. Stir in whipping cream. Heat to boiling. Boil uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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About 40 Minutes Before Serving Prepare

Silky Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Perfect mashed potatoes every time? This recipe will make it happen!

6 medium boiling potatoes (2 pounds)

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Scrub potatoes. Leave skins on, if desired, or peel thinly and remove eyes. Leave whole or cut into large pieces.

2. Heat 1 inch water (salted if desired) to boiling; add potatoes and garlic. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook whole potatoes 30 to 35 minutes, potato pieces 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain. Shake pan gently over low heat to dry potatoes.

3. Mash potatoes in medium bowl until no lumps remain. Add milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. (Amount of milk needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on kind of potatoes used.)

4. Add butter, salt and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. If desired, dot with butter or sprinkle with paprika, chopped fresh parsley, watercress or chives.

 

About 20 Minutes Before Serving (as the ham rests)

Remove Corn Pocket Rolls from freezer. Wrap in aluminum foil and reheat in 350F oven.

Prepare Buttered Green Beans.

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Just Before Serving

Carve the ham.

Toss Holiday Spinach Salad

.
Holiday Spinach Salad

The ginger-honey dressing makes this fruit, cheese and nut combo irresistible!

Ginger-Lime Dressing (See Below)

8 cups bite-size pieces fresh spinach

1 cup sliced strawberry

1 cup honeydew melon balls

1/2 cup broken pecans, toasted

1/2 cup julienne strips Gouda or Edam cheese (3 ounces)

1. Make Ginger-Lime Dressing.

2. Toss dressing and remaining ingredients.

MAIN DISH SUBSTITUTIONS
 

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Roast Goose with Apple Stuffing

Enjoy the flavors of autumn in this hearty, fragrant roast.

1 whole goose, 8 to 10 pounds, thawed if frozen

2 cups water

1 small onion, sliced

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 cups soft bread crumbs (9 slices)

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

or

1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

or

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 medium tart apples, chopped (3 cups)

2 medium celery stalks (with leaves), chopped (1 cup)

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour

1. Remove excess fat from goose.

2. Heat giblets, water, sliced onion and 3/4 teaspoon salt to boiling in 1-quart saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 1 hour or until giblets are tender. Strain broth; cover and refrigerate. Remove meat from neck and finely chop with giblets. Toss giblets and remaining ingredients except the flour in large bowl.

3. Heat oven to 350F. Fill wishbone area of goose with stuffing first. Fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Fold wings across back with tips touching. Fill body cavity lightly. (Do not pack--stuffing will expand while cooking.) Fasten opening with skewers, and lace with string. Pierce skin all over with fork.

4. Place goose, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of inside thigh muscle and does not touch bone.

5. Roast uncovered 3 to 3 1/2 hours (if necessary, place tent of aluminum foil loosely over goose during last hour to prevent excessive browning), removing excess fat from pan occasionally, until thermometer reads 180F and juice of goose is no longer pink when center of thigh is cut. The center of the stuffing should be 165F. Place goose on heated platter. Let stand 15 minutes for easier carving.

6. Pour drippings from pan into bowl; skim off fat. Return 1/4 cup drippings to pan (discard remaining drippings.) Stir in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat

7. Add enough water to reserved broth, if necessary, to measure 2 cups. Stir into flour mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve goose with apple stuffing and gravy.

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Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

Looking for a delicious alternative to your regular Sunday roast? Try a succulent leg of lamb; its easy to season and roast to perfection.

1 leg of lamb, 5 pounds

3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

3 teaspoons dried dill weed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 325F. Do not remove fell (paperlike covering) from lamb. Make 10 or 12 small slits in lamb with tip of knife. Insert slivers of garlic into slits. Mix remaining ingredients; rub over lamb.

2. Place lamb, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of thickest part of lamb and does not touch bone or rest in fat. Do not add water.

3. Roast uncovered to desired doneness: For medium-rare, 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours 5 minutes or until thermometer reads 140F; for medium, 2 hours 5 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes or until thermometer reads 155F.

4. Cover lamb with tent of aluminum foil and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Temperature will continue to rise about 5F (to 145F for medium-rare; to 160 for medium) and lamb will be easier to carve as juices set up. Remove foil.

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Beef Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding

Make your next beef roast dinner extra special by preparing it with this classic English "pudding." Only 20 minutes hands-on prep time required!

1 beef rib roast, 4 to 6 pounds

Salt and pepper to taste

Yorkshire Pudding (See Below)

1. Heat oven to 325F.

2. Place beef, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of thickest part of beef and does not touch bone or rest in fat. Do not add water.

3. Roast uncovered to desired degree of doneness: 135F (rare), 23 to 25 minutes per pound; 155F (medium), 27 to 30 minutes per pound.

4. Thirty minutes before beef reaches desired temperature, remove beef from oven. Increase oven temperature to 425F and heat square pan, 9x9x2 inches, in oven.

5. Make Yorkshire Pudding. Spoon off drippings from roasting pan to measure 2 tablespoons and place in heated square pan. Pour batter into pan.

6. Return beef and pudding to oven. Bake 20 minutes. Remove beef from oven. Cover beef with tent of aluminum foil and let stand while pudding continues to bake.

7. Bake pudding 5 to 10 minutes longer or until deep golden brown (pudding will puff during baking but will deflate shortly after being removed from oven). Cut pudding into squares; serve with beef. Spoon hot beef drippings over carved beef, if desired. Yorkshire Pudding

1 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Mix all ingredients with hand beater just until smooth.

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