Rather than worrying about elegant ingredients and fancy platings, opt for a menu featuring recipes with rustic charm and luscious flavors this holiday season. This cozy Christmas dinner will feel like a big hug from the moment you sit down with a warm mug of cocoa to the last bite of apple cobbler.
Drink: Raspberry Cocoa with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream
Cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, and chocolate-hazelnut spread infuse this slow cooker sip with three layers of chocolate goodness. For the 21-plus crowd, spike with raspberry liqueur. For all, garnish with shaved chocolate and fresh raspberries.
Christmas Garnish Tip: In addition to the raspberries, add a few leaves of fresh mint for a festive green and red topping.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Cocoa with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream
Appetizer: Ratatouille with Parmesan Toast
Allow the slow cooker to do almost all of the work (and to keep your oven space free!) for this Italian-inspired toast topper. It features a variety of healthy vegetables so you won't feel one bit of guilt "testing" samples as the rest of the cozy Christmas dinner menu comes together.
Serve with cheesy baguette slices:
- Brush French bread slices with olive oil, then evenly place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 15 seconds.
- Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, then broil 15 seconds more.
Get the recipe: Ratatouille with Parmesan Toast
Soup: Chilpachole (Seafood Stew)
Little feels cozier than snuggling up with a steamy bowl of stew. This seafood-studded version is particularly fitting for the holiday since Italians commonly commemorate Christmas Eve with a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner.
Our recipe calls for shrimp, tilapia, scallops, and clams. Feel free to toss in any of these other options to get to seven, if you like:
Get the recipe: Chilpachole (Seafood Stew)
Pair the soup course with a batch of fresh-from-the-oven bread. Here are 20+ ideas that will convince your guests you're a baking pro!
Potato Side Dish: Cheesy Baked Gnocchi with Kale
With two kinds of cheese, fontina and Parmesan, plus plenty of carbs (by way of potato gnocchi) this baked casserole is comfort food supreme. Sneak in some veggies by boiling kale with the gnocchi during the final minute before draining. You'd never guess by looks -- or by taste -- of this recipe, but each serving includes a cup of leafy greens!
Get the recipe: Cheesy Baked Gnocchi with Kale
Entree: Roasted Leg of Lamb
The moist, tender results of this lamb roast will make you wonder why you didn't make this cozy Christmas entree a tradition years ago. Cut slits in the exterior, then massage the lamb with parsley, mint, and rosemary, and stuff with garlic slivers. While that alone makes each slice taste like a masterpiece, take it to the next level with a drizzle of creamy mustard and white wine sauce.
Get the recipe: Roasted Leg of Lamb
Dessert: Cinnamon Roll-Apple Cobbler
This decadent dessert is two treats in one! Bake the apple filling first, then top with quartered cinnamon rolls and bake until golden brown. For a finish that's as cozy as it is showy (and cost-effective), use the icing from the packaged cinnamon rolls to drizzle on top.
However or whenever you serve this, just be sure to do so while it's still warm!
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Roll-Apple Cobbler
Cookie: Classic Gingerbread Cutouts
The warm spices, including ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, make these cookies taste cozy. The nostalgia of baking these up with grandma will make you feel cozy, too!
Prepare a batch before dinner guests arrive, then decorate with powdered sugar icing and candies after you finish your entree. Allow to dry as you enjoy dessert and package up in cute boxes or bags as a takeaway gift.
Get the recipe: Classic Gingerbread Cutouts
Bonus: Decorate in Cozy Style
To set the mood for this winter warm-up party, follow these home design pointers. Here's the winter refresh your home needs, from knitted crafts to rich colors.