A delicious holiday dinner doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the kitchen. Whether you’re serving a big crowd or celebrating with just a handful of people, every one of these Christmas entrées is easy to make and will look great on your holiday table. Even better, they all call for just six ingredients or less (not including basics like salt, pepper, and olive oil), which means your Christmas Eve run to the grocery store will go that much faster.
1. Roasted Tarragon Lamb with Butter Beans
You’ll put a smile on your guests faces this Christmas when you serve them this tender-roasted lamb with butter beans. It’s perfect for hectic holidays since it’s ready in a little less than 1 hour. Recipe from Real Simple. Serves 4.
- 1¼ pounds top-round lamb
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans butter beans or cannellini beans, rinsed
Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the lamb with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and place in a roasting pan.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, tarragon, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Rub over the lamb. Roast the lamb, 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thermometer registers a temperature 125 degrees Fahrenheit, for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the beans, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the lamb.
2. Balsamic- and Dijon-Glazed Ham with Roasted Pearl Onions
If pork is your Christmas meat of choice, try this recipe for a balsamic- and Dijon-glazed ham from Bon Appétit. The mustard glaze provides just the right amount of sweetness, while roasting the pearl onions alongside the meat produces an instant side dish. Serves 12.
- 2 pounds pearl onions
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (8- to 10-pound) half ham shank, fully cooked, fat trimmed to ½-inch thickness
Directions: Cook onions in large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes; drain. Trim root ends, leaving base intact. Peel. These can be made up to a day ahead.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine sugar, vinegar, and mustard in bowl for glaze. Transfer onions to 11-by-7-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Add ⅔ cup glaze, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ cup water; toss to coat. Cover with foil.
Line large roasting pan with foil. Making ½-inch-deep slits, score ham with diamond pattern. Place ham in pan and roast 45 minutes. Place onions in oven. Roast ham and onions 25 minutes. Uncover onions. Continue roasting onions and ham 50 minutes.
Baste ham with some of glaze. Continue to roast ham and onions until deep brown and glazed, brushing ham with glaze every 10 minutes, about 30 minutes longer.
Transfer ham to large platter. Transfer onion mixture to bowl. Serve ham, passing onion mixture separately.
3. Honey-Spiced Roasted Chicken
For some families, turkey takes center stage on the Christmas dinner table, but if you’re gathering is smaller, that may simply be too much food. Instead, prepare this sweetly spiced roasted chicken, which pairs well with a range of sides. Recipe from Food Network.
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (4-pound) roasting chicken, rinsed, dried and giblets removed
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 lemon, sliced
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust the racks to the center of the oven. Fit a roasting pan with a V-rack.
Mix together the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary sprigs and lemon slices. Place the chicken in the V-rack-fitted roasting pan. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Tie the drumsticks together using butcher’s twine. Brush the outside of the chicken with about half of the honey glaze.
Transfer the chicken to the hot oven. Roast about 30 minutes, and then brush the glaze on the chicken once more. Continue to roast the chicken until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted in the thickest part of the thighs, about 45 minutes longer.
4. 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Lasagna
Non-meat eaters shouldn’t have to pick at the sides during the Christmas feast. To make sure everyone at the table is well-fed, prepare a pan of this vegetarian lasagna, either to serve as your signature entrée or along with meaty mains. Both vegetarians and carnivores alike will be clamoring for a piece. Recipe from Food.com.
- 1 (28-ounce) jar pasta sauce
- 8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese or 1 pound drained and mashed soft tofu
- 3 cups lightly steamed vegetables, such as broccoli or mushrooms
- 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Cover with a single layer of noodles.
Place ricotta or tofu in a bowl. Add about ¼ cup of water and stir until blended.
Spread one-third of ricotta mixture over the pasta. Top with one-third of the remaining pasta sauce. Spread one-third of the vegetables over the sauce, then sprinkle one-third of the mozzarella over the veggies. Continue to layer, in the same order, until you’ve used up all the ingredients. You should end with the mozzarella.
Cover the lasagna and bake until the noodles are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake 5 minutes more, until cheese just starts to brown. Remove pan from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
5. Roast Goose
Everyone whose read A Christmas Carol knows roast goose used to be the meat of choice for a holiday feast. Though the turkey has since supplanted the goose as the preferred poultry on most Americans’ holiday tables, you can revive an old tradition with this recipe from The New York Times. Though the amount of fat in the bird makes cooking a goose a bit more complicated than preparing a turkey or chicken, the delicious results are well worth the extra effort. Serves 10 to 12.
- 1 (12-pound) whole goose
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds small potatoes, ideally red or Yukon Gold, peeled
Directions: Rinse and dry the goose, rub it inside and out with salt and refrigerate uncovered for at least 6 hours, or overnight. The next morning, rub goose well with paper towels, then allow it to sit on a rack in the kitchen for about an hour to come to room temperature. Trim wing tips and excess fat from goose and reserve for another use.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a clean needle or sharply pointed knife, prick the skin of the goose all over, to allow the fat to run when it roasts. Stick the skin at an angle, so as to pierce just the skin and not the meat of the bird. Season the goose with salt and pepper, then place the rack in a deep roasting pan, and cook for one hour.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, then drain and reserve the potatoes.
After roasting for 1 hour, remove the goose from the oven, and pour off the fat from the pan, reserving for another use. Put the goose on its rack back in the pan and add the potatoes. Roast for 1 more hour.
After the goose has roasted for 2 hours total, reduce oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and continue roasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes, about 15 minutes per pound total, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees at the center of the breast. Remove goose to a carving board and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. The bird may be served at room temperature if you like.
Remove potatoes from pan and keep them warm under foil until ready to serve.
6. Oven-Baked Salmon with Parmesan-Herb Crust
If you’ve overindulged on cookies and other treats and are looking for lighter Christmas entrées to serve, try this simple oven-baked salmon from A Spicy Perspective. It’s both healthy and easy to prepare. Simply coat the fish in a Parmesan-herb crust, bake for about 15 minutes, and serve.
- 1 (1½- to 2-pound) whole wild salmon fillet
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the salmon fillet on the prepared baking sheet.
Mix the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, and herbs together in a small bowl. Drizzle with the melted butter and season with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Use your hands to mix the butter into the breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on the salmon fillet. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked through. (If you want a browner crust but don’t want to overcook your fish, place under the broiler for 1 minute.) Remove from oven and serve.