Kitchen

Easy Christmas Celebration Recipes

Attending a family potluck dinner? Here are some easy Christmas celebration recipes to charm everyone’s palates.

Philippine family Christmas parties usually don’t place the burden of the cooking all on one person. By making it potluck, it has three benefits: less cooking, exploring new food, and also makes sure that everyone has something to eat. But with restaurants quickly filling their order list and even turning away new orders to prioritize their regulars or those who ordered early. So if we’re stuck with the DIY group, here are some easy Christmas Celebration recipes to bring.

Balkan Moussaka

Balkan Moussaka - An easy Christmas celebration recipe
Source: Pinterest

If noodles are off the menu because of diabetics or those on ketogenic diets, the Mediterranean Balkan Moussaka can become the protein-loaded alternative. Although the original recipe calls for lamb, some cooks use lean ground beef as an easier-to-source alternative. It may also call for a Shepherd’s Pie approach by using creamy mashed potato as a topper, Balkan Moussaka can also use cream cheese and cauliflower/ squash purée instead because of the mild sweetness the alternatives both offer.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 kg ground meat (e.g. chicken, beef)
  • Marinade
    • 1/2 cup of Worchestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
    • 5 dashes of black pepper (grind)
    • 2 sprinkles of salt
    • 1/4 cup A1 steak sauce
    • 3 teaspoon of granulated garlic
    • 3 teaspoon of onion powder
    • 2 teaspoon of Spanish paprika
    • 2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 10 eggplants
  • 1 can of button mushrooms, sliced

Sauce

  • 1 kg of tomato sauce
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 3 big carrots, diced
  • 3 whole heads of garlic, can be minced or coarsely chopped
  • 2 big red onions, minced
  • 8 native tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning
    • Basil
    • Thyme
    • Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of ground rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Tabasco hot sauce (if not available, 1 tablespoon of red chili flakes works also)

Purée

  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Cream Cheese
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • 500 grams of Cauliflower, 1 kilogram of pumpkin (chopped in small pieces)

Instructions

Marinate the ground meat first then set aside for one hour. While the meat is marinating, steam or roast the squash or cauliflower to soften it up for 40 minutes so it’s easier to process with the blender or the masher. While it’s cooking, soften the butter and chop the carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Once all the vegetables are processed, cook the meat until brown and use the fat that melted out to sauté the chopped vegetables in the following order: carrots, celery, tomatoes, onions, and then garlic. Toss them with the Italian Seasoning and Rosemary and if you’re using red wine, pour it in so the pan doesn’t have any residue stuck to it. Then, add the tomato sauce and tabasco sauce before boiling it for 20 minutes.

By then, the squash or the cauliflower is done. Throw everything into the blender with the milk, cream cheese, butter, pepper, and salt, and process until creamy. After that, layer them with the eggplant first and then the meat sauce. At the top, put the purée on top before adding a sprinkle of pepper on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

Tip: Don’t fill it up to the brim! Leave at least half an inch allowance so that if the tomato sauce boils, it won’t spill inside the oven.

Seafood Pasta Salad

Seafood Pasta Salad - Pretty intuitive for an easy Christmas celebration recipe!
Source: Pinterest

With all the red meat like steak and Lechon being served, seafood and vegetables are a sight for sore eyes. There’s little cooking to be done and can even be done with a rice cooker! Recommended noodles for the salad are fusilli or macaroni noodles so it’s less messy to eat. The vegetables for this Christmas recipe can include broccoli, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, black olives, and garlic while the seafood can include mussels, shrimps, squids, and even cream dory. The best part about this is that a lot of these are frozen goods so it doesn’t take too long to cook.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of fusilli pasta
  • 5 big native tomatoes
  • 1 kg of broccoli (chopped)
  • 1 kg of assorted seafood
    • 500 g Mussels (Tahong)
    • 500 g Shrimp
    • 500 g Squid (Pusit)
  • 1/2 cup of black olives (sliced)
  • 250 grams of alfalfa sprouts
  • 250 grams of arugula
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 3 red onions

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar/ 10 sachets of stevia/ 10 sachets of monkfruit sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil

First, immerse the mussels in a water-salt-vinegar mixture for 5 minutes. The ratio is 2 tbsps of vinegar to 500 grams of mussels.

While disinfecting the mussels, slice the squid into rings and the broccoli into florets and small chunks. Once chopped, boil the squid, broccoli, and pasta in a salt-oil-water mixture for the next 7-9 minutes. While it’s boiling, peel and devein the shrimp. 7 minutes in or if the pasta is already slightly al dente, put the shrimp and the mussels. Those cook for at least 2-3 minutes.

Once cooked, drain the water and let it cool for a bit. While the seafood, broccoli, and pasta are cooling, wash the arugula and alfalfa sprouts. Chop the red onions into thin, half-moon slices, and chop the black olives (if they’re not chopped) and tomatoes. Place everything in a bowl then make the vinaigrette dressing!

Dissolve the sweeteners in the vinegar or juice by heating it for a bit. After that, grate the garlic, and add some salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and olive oil. Mix and then toss the salad.

Tips to shorten prep time:

  • There are frozen broccoli and frozen assorted seafood in supermarkets which cut a lot of the prep and cooking time. S&R, Landers, Metromart — any supermarket that sells in wholesale or bulk will have these on hand.
  • Noodles can be changed for zoodles (AKA zucchini noodles) but that’s extra preparation.
  • Beans like garbanzos (chick peas) and lentils can add more protein to the dish.

Bread Pudding

Source: Pinterest

Although bibingka and puto bumbong are the usual Pinoy Christmas cakes, level Christmas celebrations up with this bread pudding recipe. It takes about 50 minutes to make; all it takes is bread, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract for this delicious dessert. We’re also including a recipe for that rich caramel sauce

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups of bread
  • 1 liter of milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar (optional)

OPTIONAL: Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup of brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose cream
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and vanilla extract and cook until the butter melts. Then, leave to cool. While it’s cooling, cut up the bread slices into cubes and place them in a buttered casserole tray. By then, the mixture should have cooled enough to not cook the eggs. Whisk the eggs in the mixture and once everything’s fully incorporated, pour it over the bread and let it soak for the next 15 minutes. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 30-45 minutes and then dust with confectioner’s sugar.

For the caramel sauce, melt the sugar and the butter before slowly pouring the all-purpose cream over low heat. Then, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Keep mixing it until it thickens so it doesn’t burn.

Tips:

  • Bread pudding can also be served in cupcake-sized servings. Each cupcake tray can hold at least 2-3 cubes of bread.
  • Feel free to dust also cinnamon and nutmeg on top for that extra festive mood.
  • Level up the sauce by copying La Creperie’s Salted Butter Caramel Sauce — the sauce they use for their Salidou crepe! Same recipe but the steps require more attention because the butter needs to be golden brown and the sugar, amber-colored.
  • Air Fryers can also be a good substitute for the oven and can do smaller portions at 15 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).

Filipino Roast Chicken

Source: Pinterest

Since prices of prawns and seafood are going to skyrocket this Christmas season, Lechong Manok is a cheaper and more family-friendly alternative. A great source of protein without the fat, it’s a spice-filled dish that works with multiple dipping sauces from Mang Tomas lechon sauce to the flavorful sinamak vinegar. The best part is, that this dish can either be done with cut-ups or one whole chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chickens of at least 2 kilograms each
  • Marinade
    • 2 whole onions chopped
    • 4 whole heads of garlic, chopped coarsely
    • 1 cup of calamansi juice
    • 6 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons of salt
    • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
    • 2 pinches of dried siling labuyo flakes
    • 12 stalks of lemon grass
    • 1 tsp of fish sauce (patis)
    • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade except the lemon grass together. Massage the marinade into the chicken before wrapping it with the lemon grass leaves. Let it marinate for at least 45 minutes; the longer the better. Then, stick the two chickens in the oven and roast them for 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

Tips

  • Cutting the chicken into pieces may also shorten the cooking time but it won’t look too good presentation-wise.
  • If cooking the whole chicken, cut some gashes into the chicken so that it can cook faster. The parts that usually end up undercooked are the meats nearest to the bones.
  • For diabetics, feel free to remove the sugar and instead use pineapple juice. The pineapple juice will also soften the chicken meat.

Truffle Pasta

Truffle pasta is an elevated favorite among kids and adults, especially if we’re tired of the usual Christmas Carbonara recipe. It’s a simple dish that just uses two kinds of mushrooms: button and shitake, spaghetti noodles, all-purpose cream, and truffle oil!

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of spaghetti noodles
  • 2 tetra bricks of all-purpose cream
  • 2 teaspoons of truffle oil
  • 2 x 284 g of button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 500 g of dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons of white pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Boil the noodles with the shitake mushrooms for 6-7 minutes. While that’s cooking, boil the button mushrooms with the all-purpose cream for 5 minutes. Once it’s lightly boiling, slowly add the truffle oil and sprinkle the white pepper. Drain the noodles but leave around 1/4 cup of pasta water then toss with the sauce. After that, sprinkle the parmesan cheese and serve.

Mediterranean Dip Selection: Tzatziki, Hummus, and Baba Ganoush

From left to right: Hummus, Baba Ganoush, and Tzatziki

If main courses are too difficult a Christmas recipe, how about making chip dips instead? Having a selection of dips for chips after a hearty meal helps guests settle down, especially if they’re plant-based! Most commonly found in Persian restaurants, Tzatziki and Baba Ganoush offer a palate-cleansing effect with their citric flavors while Hummus has more of an earthy approach to refreshing our appetites after all the rich Christmas recipes. These dips can be eaten with tortilla chips or even toasted pita bread.

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 cucumbers: one diced, one shredded
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 sliced red onion
  • 2 stalks mint
  • 2 sprigs of dill

Strain the Greek yogurt and then mix it with olive oil and lemon juice. Shred the mint leaves and dill then toss it together with the shredded and diced cucumbers. Garnish with sliced red onions.

Hummus

Ingredients

  • 3 cans of Garbanzos (Chick Peas)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • salt
  • black pepper powder
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin

Canned garbanzos (chickpeas) usually have water in them. But you only need at least one can worth to salt the garbanzos. Combine the garbanzos, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, cumin, salt, and pepper in a blender and mix until smooth. After that, garnish with paprika and pepper.

Tips:

  • Sesame oil can substitute for tahini but do so sparingly. Test by putting per teaspoon.
  • Garbanzos can be lightly roasted to add a more smoky flavor.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients

  • 8 Eggplants
  • 3 whole heads of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup of tahini

Roast the eggplants, exposing them directly to the fire. Once the skin’s blackened and it pops with steam rising, cool them down and peel them under running water. After that, mix everything in a blender and then serve.

Tips:

  • Best to chill them overnight. That way, the flavors mix more and it preserves them.

Explore the culinary world with these Christmas recipes!

With restaurants already turning away some clients because of their loaded pre-order list, some of us will just have to unlock the kitchen witch in us. Although some of these recipes like the dips, for example, can be found in supermarkets, there’s a sense of achievement in being able to cook for yourself and your family this Christmas. And if there’s still time and places accepting last minute orders, there are party trays to order for our Christmas dinners!

More about Christmas?

Self-Shoot Studios to Style Your Family Christmas Photo
Places Where You Can Order Custom Christmas Cards
Rock Band Aegis to Hold Christmas Concert

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