Easy Christmas Menu

You're not destined to a meal of food court fare simply because you saved all your shopping for the last minute. Turn to this easy Christmas menu to enjoy all the colors and flavors of the season—without all of the time and fuss that many holiday recipes typically require.

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No need to roast a turkey all day or sweat over a stove for hours on end. This easy Christmas menu is the ultimate gift! Each recipe is a cinch to pull together, thanks to a quick prep time or make-ahead options.

Ho-ho-ho-ly smokes, these are simple!

Appetizer: Marinated Mozzarella with Basil

Start the meal in leisurely Italian fashion with this easy cheesy appetizer. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, basil, and cheese up to five days ahead, and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator until guests arrive. 

Set out a spread of crackers and toasted baguette slices so guests can help themselves while you put the finishing touches on the other dishes.

Ingredient Exchange: Can't find fresh mozz? Try fresh feta or queso fresco instead.

Get the recipe: Marinated Mozzarella with Basil

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Soup: Tuscan Bean Soup

Canned beans and broth, plus peeled baby carrots and prewashed spinach, make it possible to get this cozy and easy soup recipe on the table in just 20 minutes! If you're feeding a large crowd, simply double the ingredients called for in the recipe, and you'll have plenty for eight.

Topping Ideas: Set out cups of fresh basil, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and oyster crackers so guests can personalize their bowls as they see fit.

Get the recipe: Tuscan Bean Soup

Vegetable Side Dish: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

It's not a big secret—we love sheet pan recipes. There's something pretty magical about tossing together a bunch of ingredients on one pan, popping it in the oven, and coming back after tidying up the dining room to find a spread of caramelized, perfectly cooked bites ready and waiting.

Here, a quick balsamic vinaigrette coats the quartered sprouts, which helps bring out their natural sugars even more during the roasting process. A handful of chopped bacon infuses this side dish with salty goodness.

If you're craving a creamy component, sprinkle on crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese just before serving.

Get the recipe: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Put any leftover uncooked veggies to use in these scrumptious (yes, really!) sprouts recipes.

Potato Side Dish: Fried Smashed Potatoes

Part baked, part boiled, and part fried, this crispy potato side dish mostly takes care of itself in the oven—while you work on the rest of the meal.

To make this recipe even easier, heat the potatoes in the microwave until tender (poking with a fork several time first to allow moisture to escape), then proceed with the baking portion of the agenda.

Make-Ahead Tip: To save time the day of, clean the potatoes the day before, then combine the cheese and herb topping in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day, all that's left is to boil, smash, roast, season, and serve!

Get the recipe: Fried Smashed Potatoes

Entree: Parmesan-Crusted Turkey with Mashed Cauliflower

This might be hard to believe, but we're not fibbing: This restaurant-quality turkey breast dinner comes together in just 20 minutes! Multitasking makes it possible.

Step 1: Microwave the cauliflower while you broil the turkey.

Step 2: Coat turkey in Parmesan and bread crumbs, and broil a few minutes more.

Step 3: As the turkey finishes cooking, add butter and Parmesan to the cooked cauliflower, and mash until smooth.

Get the recipe: Parmesan-Crusted Turkey with Mashed Cauliflower

Dessert: Mini Gingerbread House Cupcakes

Since this adorable dessert is all about the decor, feel free to start with boxed cake mix or prebaked gingerbread cupcakes for the base. Then use frosting for the "foundation" and "cement" to add:

  • A chocolate-covered peanut butter wafer "house"
  • A granola bar "roof"
  • A shredded wheat "door"
  • A candy "doorknob"
  • A crystallized ginger "chimney"
  • A rosemary "tree"

Get the recipe: Mini Gingerbread House Cupcakes

Candy: Salted Dark Chocolate-Almond Bark

All of the cooking required for this splurge-worthy chocolate bark takes place in the microwave! Make it any time in the two weeks leading up to the big holiday dinner, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

On the day of the party, package individual servings in pretty gift boxes or bags, and distribute them to guests as they make their way out the door.

Get the recipe: Salted Dark Chocolate-Almond Bark

Since one sweet is never enough, add one or two more chocolate candy recipes to your preparty game plan. Whether you keep or share the finished products is up to you ...

Easy Christmas Drink Ideas

Add even more holiday cheer to your easy Christmas menu with these super-simple sips.

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