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Christmas Dinner Ideas

Patrick Mooney
chrismas dinner ideas

Christmas dinner ideas are usually a mixture of traditional and new recipes served with lots of love and laughter.

Family Friends and Fun

Some holidays sneak up on us, catching us off guard for dinner ideas. But it's kind of hard to not notice when Christmas is getting near. While Thanksgiving is almost always about turkey, Christmas dinner ideas can include whatever you think your guests will like. Christmas dinner is your opportunity to get fancy and try out recipes you've been collecting all year.

Make a List, Check it Twice

When getting your ingredients together for your Christmas dinner ideas, be sure to check a few things before hand.

  • Are all the recipes for the same amount of servings? You may need to increase or decrease the recipe depending on how many guests you are planning to serve.
  • Do you have all the equipment you need? Carefully read through each recipe and make sure that you have all the gear that is noted. If you are making three recipes that call for 9x13 baking dishes and you only have one, that could be a problem.

Christmas Dinner Ideas

A celebratory dinner should have at least one appetizer. Appetizers give your guests time to settle down at the table and get ready for dinner. Consider dips like hummus or salsa. For a flavorful appetizer you might consider spanakopita. But you can also try this goat cheese spread as a tasty treat.

Marinated Goat Cheese

This is best when made the day before and let to marinade overnight. Serves 12.


  • 1 1/2 pounds goat cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 20 baby artichoke hearts (canned is ok)
  • 1 cup of niçoise olives
  • 1 quart of olive oil


  1. Toast the pine nuts in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Using your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the softened goat cheese, pine nuts, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and paprika.
  4. Taste for salt.
  5. Once everything is well blended, scoop the cheese out of the bowl one tablespoon at a time and roll into balls.
  6. Pour a small amount of oil into a large bowl and then add the artichoke hearts and cheese balls. Cover with the remaining oil.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinade overnight.
  8. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

The Main Course

Christmas dinner often has more than one course. Usually a soup followed by a fish dish and then a meat dish, which tends to be a bird of some sort. Some soup ideas can include pumpkin soup, kale, or whatever soup you like.

Tilapia makes a good light fish course.

As far as a good bird course, you can go with turkey, goose, partridge, or, my particular favorite for a Christmas dinner, quail.

Quail Baked with Prosciutto and Herbs

This recipe serves 12


  • 2 ounces butter
  • 4 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 whole quail, boneless
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 2 ounces balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces of chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter with the sage, rosemary, and parsley.
  3. Brush each quail with the herb butter.
  4. Wrap one slice of prosciutto around the breast of each quail.
  5. Place the quail in a roasting pan (you might need two) and cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. When the quail are done, remove from roasting pan and place them on a large serving dish, cover with foil to keep them warm.
  8. Place the roasting pan over a medium heat and add the vinegar. Stir with a rubber spatula, scraping off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  10. Boil for a few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  11. Serve the quail with the sauce.

Keep it Sweet

Dessert seems to be the whole point of Christmas. Everywhere you look, there seems to be cookies, cakes, and sweets galore. For the kids, a nice candy cane cake might do the trick and for the adults a honeyed walnut tart would be a good idea.

Honeyed Walnut Tart



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 5 tablespoons ice water


  • 3 cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flower water
  • 1 egg well beaten with 2 teaspoons water for glaze



  1. Using a food processor, blend the flour and salt.
  2. Add the butter, using the pulse button until the mixture resembles a course meal.
  3. Add the ice water and pulse until clumps form.
  4. If a handful squeezed tightly stays firm, your dough is ready.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place the ball on a large sheet of plastic wrap.
  6. Form the ball into an inch thick disk and wrap completely with plastic wrap.
  7. Let stand for one hour.


  1. Mix the walnuts, brown sugar, candied orange peel, lemon zest, and orange zest together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, lemon juice, and orange-flower water.
  3. Add the wet to the dry and mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Roll the crust out to a 14-inch round.
  6. Transfer the crust to an 11-inch tart pan.
  7. Pour filling into crust.
  8. Fold crust over the filling.
  9. Brush the crust with the egg glaze.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes.
  11. Let cool completely before removing from pan.
Christmas Dinner Ideas