Yes, you could book a table at a fancy restaurant and splurge on a multi-course meal (and drop $$$). Or you could customize your own perfect menu and host an elegant Christmas dinner in your own home. The benefits are many:
• It's more affordable.
• You can control the ingredients and make diet-specific swaps as needed.
• There are no long lines or loud crowds.
• The soundtrack is yours to hand-pick.
• No one will judge you if you wear slippers!
Try these seven just-fancy-enough recipes to make your holiday dinner extra special this year.
Drink: Pomegranate Sparklers
Make your Champagne even more cheerful by adding a splash of brandy! For a festive garnish, toss in a handful of pomegranate seeds -- and if you have extra from other holiday cooking, a rosemary sprig for a stir stick. The red and green combo will give a nod to the holiday color scheme without being overwhelming.
Be sure to mix these up as guests arrive so the fizz stays fresh!
Get the recipe: Pomegranate Sparklers
Wow your guests by sharing details about the difference between sparkling wine, Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. Learn that and more in our complete guide to bubbly.
Salad: Persimmon, Blood Orange, and Pomegranate Salad
Fresh citrus, persimmons, and pomegranate seeds make this colorful salad seasonal, while the pine nut-persimmon vinaigrette makes it feel oh-so gourmet.
Assemble individual plates for each person dining at your table and store in the refrigerator. Come time for the salad course, you can grab the Instagram-ready appetizers, top with dressing, and deliver them straight to the table.
Ingredient Intel: Persimmons are a fall fruit that look somewhat like orange tomatoes. Until they are ripe, expect them to be bitter, but once mature, persimmons are sweet like apricots and tender to the touch.
Get the recipe: Persimmon, Blood Orange, and Pomegranate Salad
Vegetable Side Dish: Winter Greens And Broccolini Tart
Since this is an elegant Christmas dinner, elevate your veggie side dish by serving it inside a flaky, buttery tart shell. By combining Mediterranean (hummus, lemon, olive oil) and Asian (sesame seeds, crushed red pepper) ingredients, you'll impress your dinner crowd with your fusion fare prowess.
Use this sesame spice blend on this tart to top avocado toast:
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Blend in a spice grinder and store in a sealed container for up to a month.
Get the recipe: Winter Greens And Broccolini Tart
Potato Side Dish: Hasselback Potatoes with Seasoned Breadcrumbs
There's a reason why these fanned potatoes are a hit on Pinterest. Since the surface area is increased, each and every bite is crispy and well-seasoned. These spuds taste as amazing as they look!
We suggest seasoning with a mix of Parmesan, chives, and thyme, but feel free to use your favorite herbs -- or a mix that echoes other flavors in the meal like cumin and coriander or sage and garlic.
Get the recipe: Hasselback Potatoes with Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Entree: Apricot-Apple Crown Roast
A cherry, sage, and apple stuffing fills this pork roast for a hearty, elegant substitute for turkey and dressing. It features all the familiar flavors you love from fall and winter holiday meals past, but in a centerpiece-worthy crown roast package.
For perfectly-moist meat, cover the roast with foil after removing it from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Protein Swap: If you don't eat -- or can't find -- pork, try this same recipe with beef crown roast.
Get the recipe: Apricot-Apple Crown Roast
Candy: Mocha Orange Bark
Chocolate bark is good, but you know what's even better? Marbleized chocolate bark (it's way easier than it looks!) speckled with chocolate-covered coffee beans and candied orange peel.
Candied citrus peels make for an easy, elegant holiday gift. Here's how to DIY for this recipe (or for packaging up in little boxes as party favors):
- Slice the peel from 1 large grapefruit, 2 medium oranges, or 3 medium lemons, avoiding the white pith.
- Cut each slice into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
- Combine 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1/3 cup water, and fruit peels in a saucepan and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
- Once the peel slices look almost translucent, transfer them from the pan to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
- After the peels are cool, roll in sugar to coat. Allow to dry.
Get the recipe: Mocha-Orange Bark
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Dessert: Champagne Cupcakes
Start with a Champagne cocktail and end with Champagne Cupcakes to bring your elegant Christmas menu full circle. For a double dose of elegant effervescence, this dessert includes bubbly in the batter and the rich, buttery frosting.
Just like wrapping paper disguises a surprise inside, these cupcakes are hiding a sweet berry jam filling.
Make-Ahead Tip: Bake the cupcakes up to three days in advance, cool, and store in a container at room temp. The morning of your Christmas dinner, fill with jam and top with frosting.
Get the recipe: Champagne Cupcakes