Tree Trimming Night

Tree trimming is best done on a full and happy tummy -- try our make-ahead menu for a night filled with cheer and good food.
O Christmas Tree

Just so you know, I am the type who has been forbidden by family members from playing Christmas music until Turkey Day has come and gone. But, oh, happy day, I am now free to put on my favorite cheesy version of "Let it Snow" and strew Christmas paraphernalia left and right. My spouse indulges this behavior for one and only one reason: Tree trimming is best done on a full and happy tummy and is always accompanied by a liberal topping off of the ceremonial eggnog glasses during the actual event.

An easy, mostly make-ahead, yet festive evening meal allows us to recuperate from the stresses of tree hunting and gathering before we move on to actual decorating. Thus fortified, I can demonstrate some of my many Christmas talents, and so can you.


Pork Medallions with Cranberry and Fig Chutney

The classic combination of pork and cranberries gives your mouth an early little taste of Christmas. The entree comes together fast, and you'll be glad to have a hearty meal under your belt before tackling those tree lights.

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Sauce

Nobody will turn up his or her nose to brussels sprouts when they're flavored with a refreshing lemon sauce and dill. Steaming the sprouts in chicken broth helps them keep their holiday green color.

Bulgur-Wild Rice Casserole

Bulgur and wild rice make a winning whole-grain team in this made-in-heaven match for the pork medallions.

Chocolate Pound Cake
Chocolate Pound Cake

It wouldn't be a holiday without a healthy dose of chocolate. Get your fix with this rich, moist pound cake. It tastes even sweeter because you can make it up to three months in advance.


Creamy and delicious, our classic rum-and-bourbon-spiked eggnog is just what you need to reward yourself after creating the world's most perfectly decorated Christmas tree -- again.

Continued on page 2:  The Game Plan: Food Timeline