Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Whether you're cooking for two, for a few, or for a large crowd, planning the Christmas dinner menu can be daunting. With all the excitement and busyness surrounding guests coming into town and presents under the tree, it's easy for the main meal on Christmas Day to get overlooked. Our top suggestions, broken down by how many you're serving this year, will help you nail down the perfect, achievable, and crowd-favorite recipes for your holiday feast.

December 21, 2016

I know I don't have to tell you that the Christmas season is likely the most chaotic and stressful time of your entire year, because you're probably experiencing that reality first-hand right now. So let's all use that to serve as reminder to take a deep breath and relax. We're all in this together--and we're all feeling the pressure. It's easy to allow the busyness of the season to cloud your vision such that you get bogged down in the tiniest details (been there, done that), but if you can widen your scope a bit and realize that all the craziness will be over soon, you'll be able to more fully enjoy the next two weeks and be present, calm, and joyful even during the peak frenzy. After all, Christmas only comes around once a year. 

Whether you're cooking for a large crowd this year or only you and a significant other, picking out what to make can be a real struggle.  If you're still not sure and feeling like you're coming in a little late to the dinner preparation game, don't stress--you're not too late. You still have time to think through a wonderful homemade feast to serve your loved ones that doesn't require hours/days of slaving in the kitchen. Let's be honest, ain't noboy got time for that right now.

 

Christmas Dinner for Two

If you're only cooking for yourself and one other this Christmas, there's no need to go overboard. Instead of preparing all of the traditional dishes and ending up with a refrigerator full of less-than-half-eaten casseroles, focus on simple adaptations of just a few of your favorite Christmas recipes that are easily modified to serve two.

Main

 Photo: Amy Neunsinger

Side

 Oxmoor House

Side

 Photo: Mary Britton Senseney/Wonderful Machine; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

Side

Potluck meals are popular during the holidays because they allow guests to bring their favorite foods to the table.

With just 7 ingredients, this five-star holiday must-have is both irresistible and easy. Plus, it can be prepared a day ahead and baked in your host's oven; it's also delicious whether warm or at room temperature.

 Recipe: Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Side

 Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

Side: Wild Rice Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries

The nutty, delicately earthy flavor of wild rice pairs beautifully with poultry, and this colorful dressing is a consistent crowd-favorite. 

SideSmoky Sweet Potato Mashed Potato Bake

Turn basic buttermilk mashed potatoes into outstanding a Smoky Sweet Potato Mashed Potato Bake with the simple addition of sweet potatoes and chipotle peppers. The peppers lend a smoky kick to this vibrant potato dish. Finishing this recipe in the oven ensures that you can serve the casserole dish piping-hot straight from the oven to your guests.

SideEasy Butter Rolls

There's no better way to round out the plate than with a warm, pillowy, and buttery dinner roll. This recipe is make-ahead friendly, so you can prep the rolls well ahead of time and simply bake them a few hours before eating.

You May Like