Easy Christmas Dinners

You’ve spent weeks, maybe even months doing your Christmas planning, shopping, and wrapping. Now it’s time for the big day and you want to have a wonderful feast but you just don’t have the energy to spend all day in the kitchen. Never fear, because there are plenty of festive Christmas dinner menus you can prepare that will look and taste fabulous without even making you break a sweat.

Pineapple-Honey Ham

A holiday ham is an easy dinner entrée that looks spectacular on the table. Make the meal feel extra-cozy by serving it with scalloped potatoes and a warm spinach salad.

1 5 to 6 pound cooked bone-in ham
Whole cloves
1 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup pineapple juice

With a sharp knife, score the outside of the ham in a criss-cross fashion. Stick a clove into each diamond segment on the outside of the ham. Place the ham in a foil-lined roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Spoon the glaze over the ham. Bake the ham at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with warm glaze every fifteen minutes or so. Put the oven on broil for the last 5 minutes to finish the top.

Chicken Cacciatore

The beauty of this classic chicken recipe is that you can prepare it in the morning and let it slow-cook all day, enriching its flavor while allowing you to enjoy the holiday. The red and green peppers add a festive holiday touch. Serve this dish with pasta, crusty bread, and a green salad with Italian dressing.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 28-ounce can diced plum tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black Kalamata olives
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, etc.), skin removed
1/2 cup flour

Heat a large sauté pan and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan, sautéing until just barely golden. Add the onions, red and green bell pepper, parsley, basil, thyme, and pepper and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine the pepper mixture with the tomatoes, olives, salt, vinegar, and sugar. Pour half the mixture into the slow-cooker and set aside the rest. Dust the chicken pieces with flour. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining olive oil, and add the chicken pieces to the pan, browning them on all sides (about 8 minutes per side). Add half the chicken pieces to the slow-cooker, then add the remaining pepper mixture, then the rest of the chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for six hours. Serve over your favorite hearty pasta.


Rosemary-Apricot Glazed Pork

A pork tenderloin is one of the easiest cuts of meat to cook, and it looks spectacular on the table. Serve this yummy pork dish with wild rice and a colorful salad of field greens, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts.

2 pork tenderloins, about 2 pounds total
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Several sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup honey
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon butter

Rub the pork tenderloins with pepper, salt, and rosemary. Place them in a foil-lined roasting pan and roast them at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Heat the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and after the 30 minutes are up, spread the glaze over the pork. Return the pork to the oven and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove the pork from the oven and let it “rest” under foil for 10 minutes (the internal temperature should go up to 160 degrees) before slicing and serving.

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