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Thread: Need a menu for Christmas dinner

  1. #1
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    Need a menu for Christmas dinner

    For almost twenty years I had cooked Christmas dinner for my extended family, now about 40 people. I have served the same dishes all this time (baked ham, coleslaw, cheese/brocollie casserole, homemade hot rolls, hashbrown/cheese casserole, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake) I stay away from the turkey/dressing/cranberries meal because by the time Christmas day is here most of my family are burned out with the turkey holiday meals. I could really use some menu suggestions for a "new to my family" meal. What do you serve for a large family gathering?

  2. #2
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    When my whole family comes home I always at least 2 meats, one a 10-14 lb roast which now days I have to order from the butcher a couple of weeks early. The other is usually something easy that the men fix - barbequed ribs- it keeps them all together and talking and keeps them outside out of the way. About 20-30 lbs of ribs.

    A cold slaw made a couple days earlier, and a fruit salad made the night before. Mashed potatoes and canned yams both made the day before. The mashed potatoes are put back into baked potato shells to be heated in the oven and the yams are in a casserole dishs, one with marshmellows and one without. Fresh rolls. Gravy .Green peas with tiny onions, green beans, black-eyed peas, baked beans, then desserts. Usually family members bring cakes and pies.

    It's a very plain, basic menu, but I don't do well with a complicated one with that many people. And, since we retired and downsized I can no longer put up enough tables to have a sit-down dinner for 40, so it is a buffet and people eat where they can. It was much nicer when I could have tables for everyone.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 10-18-2012 at 07:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jeank's Avatar
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    I felt that way one year and did pork loins. I got 2 quite large loins and put them in a cooking bag. Everyone raved over it and it was so easy.
    Jean in MI

  4. #4
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    I'm probably not much help as my family always wants the "ol time favorites. Which is: Turkey/chicken dressing, sweet potatoe casserole, broccoli casserole, Brunswick Stew ( if I have any in freezer) jello salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread and heat and serve rolls.

    Happy Holidays,

    delma

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    A standing rib roast looks lovely on the Christmas table!! You can make Yorkshire puddings (1 large one, or several individual - I have better luck with individual puddings) with it as a nice side dish, and one of my favorite vegetables ... Parsnips!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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  6. #6
    Super Member suebee's Avatar
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    Mexican food is always great....or Italian
    SUEB

  7. #7
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    We do an open house Christmas party each year. Never a clue as to how many people will be here. Isn't that a treat? Anyhow, I usually do a spiral sliced ham 10-12 lbs; baked ziti - usually a no-meat sauce in this as there's a possibility of a vegetarian and a vegan showing up; hot crab dip; turkey breast; tons of veggies/dips; sweet potatoes; bread/rolls; corn casserole; cookies; cakes; shrimp cocktail; chips/dips; garden salad; anything else that strikes my fancy along the way. The baking I usually do a week or so out. The veggie slicing and dicing no earlier than the day before, usually that morning. Ziti I can make up ahead and freeze if need be but I usually don't. Most of the cooking is just popping it in the oven so the only challenging part is coordinating temps and timing. I usually try to come up with a new dish of some sort each year so it's not too repetitious for any of us!

  8. #8
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    We don't always have a sit-down formal holiday dinner, as my son lives three hours away and my daughter also has in-law holiday obligations, as well as needing to have her own immediate family time. I refuse to stress either one, with a written-in-stone dinner time, so try to keep things more flexible.

    There's usually either a beef roast (sometimes w/carrots & potatoes) or chicken breasts, in the slow-cooker. In addition to that, I may have some deli meats (turkey, ham), in the fridge. In the past, we've also had baked fish. I try to have potato salad and fruit salad, in the fridge. Once people are here, I'll bake some yams (my bunch can't stand the marshmallow recipe, so I bake them with cinnamon, a bit of sugar, a dash of lemon juice, a touch of vanilla, and pecans, if I have them). Then I fix (all or some) green beans and/or peas, corn on the cob, broccoli w/cheese. We almost always have a request for Stove Top Cornbread dressing, so that's always in the pantry, just in case (very quick, to fix). Sometimes we have beets (pickled or not).
    Bread is usually French bread type rolls (in case someone wants a sandwich) and Brown & Serve rolls.
    Desserts vary. I usually make almond biscotti, around the holidays, so there's almost always some of that. There's usually a pie of some sort (home-made or store-bought), maybe a cake or cupcakes, usually assorted cookies, and ice cream.
    My daughter & SIL usually bring wine.

    Back when the kids were small (and we lived closer to our families), we had the huge family holiday dinners. I'd bake a humongous turkey, with all the trimmings. Guests would bring casseroles or whatever. The most popular dish was almost always the homemade potato salad (made with 10 lbs. potatoes and at least a dozen eggs).

    This year, I may make finjuna (the Italian grandpappy of pizza). Haven't had that, in a while.
    Last edited by Neesie; 10-18-2012 at 09:31 AM.
    Neesie


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  9. #9
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    Last year, we had a grandbaby waiting to be born, so no plans for a big turkey dinner. I made lasagne and put it in the freezer. A cheesecake in the freezer too. Whenever we could have dinner, all I had to do was salads and garlic bread. Turns out, Brandon was born one hour into December 26! Poor Mom was in labor most of Christmas- but look at our present! We had the dinner on New Years Day.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kensington's Avatar
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    We have Prime Rib, Cheesy Potatoes, Fresh green beans and rolls for Christmas day. I stick to a basic menu so I can afford the more expensive meat. We always have a Chocolate pie, and a fruit pie for dessert. But, my daughter makes those. I don't have 40 people though, we have 15-20.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member ShabbyTabby's Avatar
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    I sometimes do a large pork tenderloin in the oven and serve with gravy from the pan drippings. Serve rice pilaf, yams peeled and boiled like potatoes and mashed with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Make a salad with greens, sliced fresh pears and blue cheese crumbles and a poppy seed dressing. Hot rolls and for a dessert I make either a sour cream chocolate cake or a lemon cheesecake.
    Families are like old quilts....although they tend to unravel at times...each can be stitched back together with love.

  12. #12
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    Definitely time for a change, have you considered a pot luck meal? Buying, preparing and hosting 40 people is a big job and is expensive. I was hosting a full meal for my extended family before I discovered my company really felt uncomfortable always being the guests. They wanted to contribute and with me doing the whole thing, they felt guilty. By dividing up the work, everyone is a part of the big day and everyone is happier. And best of all, the menu varies from year to year!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    I always prepare the same meal: ham, mac and cheese, green beans, scallop potatoes, baked beans, and rolls. For dessert Christmas cookies and applesauce cake.
    Sewflower

  14. #14
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    My crew comes/goes at different times.I.make electric roaster full of Chili and have fresh rolls and a fruit salad. Dessert is.potluck.

  15. #15
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeank View Post
    I felt that way one year and did pork loins. I got 2 quite large loins and put them in a cooking bag. Everyone raved over it and it was so easy.
    My large family has had pork loin for Christmas as well. It was my mother's favorite. Potatoes, carrots and onions were roasted in the pan juices. Creamed baby onions and peas, homemade chunky applesauce. Homemade rolls or biscuits. Four layer chocolate cake with fudge frosting. Christmas morning the first thing to eat was a box of See's chocolates. The two pound size.

  16. #16
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    I am no help with dinner as someone in the family always does turkey.

    I do brunch on Christmas Day. I can have anywhere from 10 - 20 people. I do have one hard and fast rule, no guests can arrive before 10:00 am.

    I make 2-3 wife savers, bacon, sausages, tea, coffee, champagne and OJ, plus a fruit plate.

    I do make make ahead mashed potatoes for big dinners. I make up one to two huge lasagna pans of them. Everyone loves them and they taste really good.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  17. #17
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    My husband is Sicilian....loves Christmas and cooking for all our extended family (we even do Christmas in July). As well as at least 3 roast meats, vegetable dishes and salads he also does Lasagne and Pasta al Forno (which is a baked pasta dish). The beauty of the Lasange and the Pasta is that it can be made ahead of time and just needs reheating just before serving. We also don't always do desert....maybe homemade fruitcake (made a month before) and because it's summer here at Christmas time icecream. One year we did icecream cones (complete with sprinkles)....brought back kiddie memories for all our boys (the eldest in his mid thirties and the youngest 20).

  18. #18
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    Have you tried a mexican menu? or Italian menu ? we try to vary the whole thing up. Ham, Prime rib, german foods, mexican, italian for Christmas to vary things. We try to get various recipes from friends, relatives, magazines etc and try them out before hand then feast at Christmas.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter1 View Post
    Last year, we had a grandbaby waiting to be born, so no plans for a big turkey dinner. I made lasagne and put it in the freezer. A cheesecake in the freezer too. Whenever we could have dinner, all I had to do was salads and garlic bread. Turns out, Brandon was born one hour into December 26! Poor Mom was in labor most of Christmas- but look at our present! We had the dinner on New Years Day.
    I spent all day in labor on xmas and my first born was born on the 26th! It is my favorite xmas memory : )

  20. #20
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    Christmas dinner the last few years has been prime rib, sweet potato souffle, homemade bread, and whatever side dishes people bring and of course Christmas cookies.

  21. #21
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    We have ham or beef roast or pork roast, scalloped potatoes, fordbook lima beans (for DD), macaroni and cheese, turnip greens and corn bread, sweet potato souffle, corn casserole, rice cooked in the meat juice, and green beans. For dessert we just have samplers of the cookies and candies I've made the week before! It hasn't changed in 40 years, and until I a no longer able to do it, I don't anticipate any changes--other then my DS son, who is in the air force, comng home this year. This will be the first Christmas in 10 years that we've been able to have him with us. Yea!

  22. #22
    Super Member Mariah's Avatar
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    Here is our usual Christmas Dinner; they all rave about it!

    Baked Ham with Orang-Pineapple Glaze
    Mashed Potatoes---make ahead-recipe at bottom
    Crabberrt Fluff
    Relishes
    Dinner Rolls with Jelly
    Coffee-Tea.
    Cherry Cheese Cake--have gone to the 8-minute.

    Candy, Cookies, ect, on the buffet.
    ***If anyone wants recipes for the potatoes, salads, cheesecake, let me know and I will supply them.
    Mariah.
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    Have a wonderful Quilting Day, make it your way!
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  23. #23
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    We like ham, sweet potato casserole,fresh green beans, cheesy corn,home made rolls, and Christmas cookies (a variety of kinds) , relishes, cranberry and other salads. Sometimes we have sweet potato casserole and cheesy potatoes depending on the number of people coming.

  24. #24
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    One year I had dinner at a daughters house and she made chili with all kinds of finger plate foods. It was a wonderful repreive from a normal dinner
    A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway.

  25. #25
    Super Member LoisM's Avatar
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    You guys are making me hungry!! My family wants (and expects) the same menu every year. Our crowd is small by your standards...only 10-13. I prepare ham, a green bean casserole (a must), a cornbread casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, home made cranberry sauce, sweet pickles, olives and crescent rolls. For appetizers we have deviled eggs and an assortment of veggies and dip. No room for dessert but there's always plates of cookies and brownies.

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