Celebrate the season and create lasting memories this Christmas with all your favorite classic dishes your family is sure to enjoy!
Christmas is right around the corner and you know what that means, delicious FOOD! Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year, full of magic and happy memories, but unfortunately this year has been pretty much the opposite, which is why I wanted to make this holiday extra special for our family. I think we can all collectively agree we’ll be happy to say goodbye to 2020, so what better way to celebrate the season (and the end of the year) than with a beautiful tablescape and some of my favorite holiday dishes!
This year we won’t be hosting our typical big Christmas dinner with our entire family. Instead we plan to keep things small with just our immediate family, which should still be a lot of fun as there is just something so meaningful about small intimate gatherings with the ones you love most. I’m definitely disappointed we we won’t be seeing everyone this year, but on the positive side, this just means we’ll have less to cook! Oh and more leftovers 😉
TIPS FOR HOSTING A SMALL GATHERING
The holiday season is one of the best times of the year, so keep things simple and don’t allow yourself to stress out! Hosting your family should be an enjoyable experience, so crank the Christmas music and have fun with it!
Set the scene. Decorating tables is secretly one of my all-time favorite things as I just love to make things pretty, and Christmas should be no exception. You can easily keep things simple since most of your holiday decor is already up around the house so a festive runner, a few candles and some pops of greenery is really all you need to create a stunning tablescape. I like to set our table near our tree which always feels so cozy and gives such a warm ambiance.
Make a Christmas playlist. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely one of those people that listens to music ALL day long while working or spending time at home, so once Thanksgiving is over, that’s my green light to start playing Christmas music! When hosting I always plan out my playlist, making it nice and long with some classic favorites thrown in, so that I don’t have to mess with the music while visiting with family. Music has the ability of setting the entire tone of your evening and there is nothing better than great food, good music and being surrounded by your favorite people!
Plan the menu. I’m such a traditionalist and there is just something so comforting about serving classic holiday dishes on your table each year that bring back memories of growing up and being around family. We always served the same menu every year growing up, so continuing on with those traditions with my family brings me so much joy! Some of my favorite classic dishes are green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, glazed sweet potatoes, fresh baked rolls and, of course, ham and turkey.
As I get older though, I’m really trying to incorporate more healthier vegetable dishes in with the classic favorites. Some of my go-to vegetable dishes are pomegranate glazed brussels sprouts, holiday glazed acorn squash, and this winter kale and quinoa salad. Mixing in healthier side dishes with more indulgent ones gives a nice balance with the overall meal and always offers something for everyone.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A LOT OF TIME?
If you find that you are short on time and still want to host a small holiday gathering, that’s no problem at all! There is zero judgment when it comes to how you choose to cook for your family this holiday, and sometimes it can be really helpful to mix in store-bought meals with some home-cooked ones. Safeway actually offers the most delicious classic meals perfect for your holiday table right in their deli section. Everything from hot bone-in turkey breast and green bean casserole to mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole! Safeway’s exclusive Signature Cafe® Holiday Sides offer everything you need to create the most delicious holiday meal spread for your family this season.
HOW TO MAKE STORE-BOUGHT FOOD FESTIVE
Taking the time to dress up your store-bought meals really elevates the whole look of your table spread and even adds additional flavor, giving them that cozy homemade feel! Trust me when I say that Safeway’s Signature Cafe Holiday Sides really don’t need much added to them as they all taste incredible, however presentation is KEY when hosting dinner so you want to make them look good. Here’s a few little tips and tricks I did to make each dish stand out:
- Bone-In Turkey Breast – I LOVE that Safeway offers the perfect size bone-in turkey breast since a whole turkey for just our little family would have been way too much. Since I purchased this turkey breast the day before, I wanted to serve it warm and give it some nice color on top so I placed the turkey on a baking sheet and brushed the entire breast with some melted butter. I then sprinkled on some fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage) and popped it in then oven at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, I placed the turkey breast on a platter with more fresh herbs, some cranberries and a couple orange slices to give a really festive look!
- Mashed Potatoes – You guys these mashed potatoes are SO good! They truly taste homemade and have so much flavor so there wasn’t much I needed to do, but because I love using fresh herbs, I topped the mashed potatoes with a little extra butter and some fresh chives.
- Green Bean Casserole – Christmas dinner is never complete without green bean casserole in my book, so to make this side dish more traditional I topped the casserole with crispy onions when ready to serve.
- Cranberry Sauce – To make this sauce more like my grandma’s classic cranberry sauce, I simply mixed in a little orange zest and a pinch of cinnamon and it was perfect!
- Sweet Potato Casserole – To easily elevate plain sweet potatoes, try making a delicious maple pecan crumble to sprinkle over top of your store-bought sweet potatoes. Then just pop them right in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes and serve!
SHOPPING MADE EASY
I purchased everything at my local Safeway here in Warrenton, Virginia, but you can easily find these delicious Signature Cafe products at ALL the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market and Tom Thumb. Safeway also offers convenient Grocery Delivery and DriveUp & Go™. This has made it really easy for me to shop for everything I need without having to actually go in to the store!
MORE HOLIDAY RECIPES
- Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Bourbon Maple Sweet Potatoes
- Holiday Glazed Acorn Squash
- Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs (perfect holiday appetizer!)
- Winter Kale & Quinoa Salad
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