Share this article

print logo


TIMES HAVE changed. We are all too busy for the old-fashioned "over the river and through the woods" holidays.

A more relaxed hospitality is today's trend. The Christmas host and hostess can choose from dozens of tasty, time-saving edibles from all manner of shops -- supermarket to super gourmet. You'll shorten the hours spent in the kitchen while offering great holiday fare.

Following is a plan for Christmas meals that, with some smart shopping and a little advance preparation, will produce a holiday of good eating with a minimum of fuss.

The food is not labor-intensive, and it is sure to win even the grandmother seal of approval. All recipes make 10 servings.

Lemon Chicken With Bulgur

Mixed Vegetable Salad

Raspberry sherbet

Brownies from a mix or from the bakery

Juice, coffee, tea

Cranberry Muffins

Croissants, from a bakery

Assortment of jams

Roast Leg of Lamb With Mustard-Peppercorn Crust

Buttery New Potatoes

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

Lemony Green Beans

Classic Rum Cake

Christmas Eve Dinner


4 teaspoons butter or margarine

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 chickens (3 1/2 pounds each) cut in serving pieces, skinned if desired

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups onion, chopped

4 teaspoons garlic, minced

3 cups bulgur (available in specialty stores)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Grated rind (yellow part only) and juice of 2 lemons

6 cups boiling chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil; add the chicken and brown the pieces on all sides. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and remove it to a large casserole.

Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and saute gently until the onions are translucent. Add the bulgur to the skillet, stirring to coat and brown lightly.

Add the spices, grated lemon rind and juice to the bulgur mixture, mixing ingredients well. Spoon bulgur on top of the reserved chicken. Pour the boiling broth over the chicken and bulgur. Cover the casserole and bake for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. (From "Jane Brody's Good Food Book.")

Note: Dish keeps in the refrigerator for two days or can be partially cooked and then frozen. If the dish is refrigerated, reduce the baking time to 45 minutes. Before reheating, defrost completely and allow to return to room temperature. To reheat, bake 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven.


3/4 cup Vinaigrette Dressing, recipe follows

1/4 cup basil leaves, shredded

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (yellow part only)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 to 5 carrots, sliced in rounds or cut in small julienne strips

1 cup cauliflower florets

4 zucchini, sliced in rounds or cut in julienne strips

2 cups green peas OR 1 package frozen

1 bunch scallions, white part and 1 inch of the green, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, mix vinaigrette, basil leaves, lemon rind and juice. Set aside. Bring 1 gallon of salted water in a large pot to a boil.

Add carrots and cauliflower and boil about 3 to 4 minutes. Add zucchini and peas. Cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.

Drain quickly and shake off as much water as possible. Place in the bowl of dressing; add scallions and toss lightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.


3/4 cup wine vinegar OR half wine vinegar and half balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 cloves chopped garlic

2 1/4 cups olive oil
In blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil and blend quickly. Pour into a storage jar and add the olive oil. Shake well. If refrigerated, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving and shake well. Makes 3 cups.

Christmas Morning Breakfast


3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For muffins, combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in center of mixture and add milk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir just until all ingredients are moistened, batter will be lumpy. Stir in remining ingredients. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a muffin sprigs back when gently pressed. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Christmas Dinner


4 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of black, white and green (divided use)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried

2/3 cup fresh mint leaves

6 garlic cloves, crushed

2/3 cup raspberry vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup dry red wine

1 leg of lamb (8-to-10-pound), boned but not tied (you may leave bone in, and pierce meat to let marinade penetrate)

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
Combine 1 tablespoon of the crushed peppercorns, the rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a pan large enough to hold the lamb. Marinate the lamb in this mixture 8 hours or more in the refrigerator; turn occasionally. Remove roast from marinade and drain, reserving the marinade. Roll the roast and tie with kitchen twine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread mustard over the meat and pat the remaining peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast into a shallow baking pan just large enough to hold it comfortably; pour marinade around it but not over roast.

Bake for about 2 hours, at 18 minutes per pound for medium rare. For well-done meat, cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with pan juices in a gravy boat. (From "Silver Palate Cookbook.")


4 pounds new potatoes, red or white

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (colored part only)

2 tablespoons chives

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Peel potatoes, if desired. If the potatoes are fairly large, cut them in half. Place in saucepan of cold salted water. Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes until done, about 12 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, slice and fan out on a cookie sheet. Potatoes may be left whole or halved.

Melt the butter and stir in lemon peel and chives. Drizzle over the potatoes, add salt and pepper and place under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes to brown the tops. Surround the roast with potatoes or serve separately.


5 tablespoons butter

3 boxes cherry tomatoes, stems off

4 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the tomatoes and cook, shaking the skillet to allow tomatoes to cook evenly. They should just be heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.


3 pounds green beans, diagonally cut

4 to 5 tablespoons butter, melted

Grated rind (colored part only) and juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fresh cranberries (optional garnish)
Boil or steam the beans until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Toss with the butter, lemon rind and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Garnish with cranberries if desired. (From "60-Minute Gourmet" by Pierre Franey.)



1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 package (18 ounces) yellow cake mix

1 package (3 3/4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup dark rum (80 proof)


1/4 pound butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark rum (80 proof)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or 12-cup bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts over bottom of pan.

Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert on a serving plate. Prick top. Spoon and brush glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up. If you wish, decorate with border of sugar, frosting, or whipped cream.

To make the glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

Note: If using yellow cake mix with pudding already in the mix, omit instant pudding and use 3 eggs instead of 4; 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/2 .

There are no comments - be the first to comment