Surely everybody who celebrates Christmas enjoys the holiday and is beyond excited to finally sit down with the family around the Christmas tree to open the presents and get together for a huge homemade dinner that happens only once a year. But the only part of Christmas you might not love as much is having to waste most of the Christmas Day or Eve in the kitchen to prepare the festive meal for everybody instead of spending quality time with your family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really rewarding to see how your closest people in the whole world can’t wait to the time when they finally get to eat the good food you made and enjoy the feast of a Christmas dinner you may get most of the credit for.
But, if you’d much rather spend these holy days with your family and soak up the last, but definitely the best festive moments, and still prepare a delicious homemade Christmas dinner for your loved ones, these easy and yummy recipes will serve you well.
These are traditional comfort foods everybody expects to see on their plates on the Christmas Day with a special creative note, but they take minimum time or skills to make.
The star of the Christmas dinner table – Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham with Sauce
(Preparation time – 10-15 minutes; total cooking time – 4-6 hours)
This dish is a must on the Christmas table, the main course you may get too anxious to cook. Normally, it takes a lot of effort, cooking skills, time and attention to make. So, why don’t we throw the slow cooker into the game and make it a lot easier on everybody? You’ll have to check on your ham only 3 times during the cooking time and make the glaze after it’s done.
Thus, depending on the time you have to serve it, you may set it up either the evening before and set the timer on the slow cooker, so that by the time you wake up the next morning, the first 2-3 hours of the cooking time are gone. Or, you may totally do it the morning of the Christmas day.
But, before we dig into the actual recipe, there’re a few ‘secrets’ to it you need to know.
Tips and tricks
Firstly, you may use both bone-in ham or boneless ham for it, but it has to be pre-cooked. Secondly, to determine if the piece is enough to feed the number of people that will join you this Christmas dinner, just bear in mind that one serving of the bone-in ham is about ¾ of a pound and one serving of the boneless ham is ½ of a pound. Of course, you serving may be smaller depending on the rest of the food you plan to cook as the sides.
Also, remember that the time this recipe is designed for a 7/8-pound piece of ham. A smaller piece will get cooked faster, so check on the temperature of the meat (it has to be around 1400 when it’s done) from time to time to determine if a smaller piece is ready or not.
To achieve an oven-cooked effect, glaze the cooked ham with the sauce and pop it into the broiler for a few minutes.
Lastly, it’s better to make sure that the piece you’re about to buy will fit into your slow cooker. An average 7/8-pound piece of ham should fit into an average 7-quart oval slow cooker. But, if you manage to get a chunkier piece, a round one will do as well.
Now, when you got all the tricks you need, let’s finally get to the recipe.
Things you’ll need:
- 7/8-pound piece of bone-in fully cooked ham
- 2 cups of pineapple juice
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 2tbsp of cornstarch
- 2tbsp of water
- 4tsp of honey
- 4tsp of Dijon mustard
- 4tsp of balsamic vinegar
How to make:
- Get your ingredients ready and ‘unpack your ham. Make sure to get rid of the plastic thing on the bone of the ham too.
- Grab a medium bowl and mix brown sugar with the mustard, vinegar, and honey until they form a smooth paste.
- Apply that paste onto the ham evenly and pour the pineapple juice into the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Place the meat into the slow cooker on the flat side of the piece. Close the cooker, put in on low and set the timer for 4-6 hours (depending on the thickness of the piece).
- Check on the ham after the first 2-3 hours of the cooking time are gone to flip and blast it a little bit. Flip the piece back on its flat side an hour before the cooking time is over. This step is quite optional, so you may totally miss it if you don’t have time for that.
- Once the meat’s internal temperature is about 1400, it’s done. (If you don’t have the meat thermometer, just make sure that the ham is tender and stick to the required cooking time.) Transfer it from the cooker onto the dish you’re going to serve it on and cover it with the tin foil to preserve the warmth.
- Let’s make the sauce. It won’t take us more than 5 minutes. Pour the juices out of the slow cooker into a small pot and place it on the stove on medium heat.
- Mix the cornstarch with the water and gradually introduce it into the meat juices that’s being heated up while whisking the latter. Keep the juices on the stove for a minute or so until the sauce starts creating bubbles and thickens up.
- You’re ready to serve your ham with the sauce (drizzled on top or on the side).
Yummy mash with mushroom and thyme
(Prep time – 15 minutes; total cooking time 30-35 minutes)
While the meat is basically cooking itself, Let’s spice up or beloved mash and add some mushroomy feel to it to make a total hit out of the regular side dish. Feel free to double, triple the recipe to prepare enough for your large Christmas company.
Things you need:
- 3 pounds of potatoes (Yukon gold ones are delicious
- 1 pound of your favorite mushrooms
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 3tsp of salt
- 1/4tsp of black pepper
- 2tsp of thyme leaves
- 1 1/2tbsp of olive oil
How to make:
- Do all the boring preparation jazz: peel the potatoes and cut them into 2-inch pieces and slice the mushrooms. Throw the potatoes into a large pan, fill it with water to cover the pieces, add 2tsp of salt and place the pot on the stove to boil. Remember to turn down the heat once the water starts boiling and cook for another 20-25 minutes until your tatoes are soft and tender enough to be mashed.
- Meanwhile, grab a frying pan, grease it with olive oil and put on the stove on medium-high heat. Let the pan heat up and add the mushrooms with the thyme leaves and 1/2tsp of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes (or till ready). Remember to toss the mushrooms every once in a while.
- Once the potatoes are well cooked, mash them with the pre-heated milk and cut-up butter. And another 1/2tsp of salt and 1/4tsp of pepper if desired. Stir in the mushrooms and get ready to serve!
Healthy stuff on the Christmas dinner plate – Cheesy Broccoli
(Prep time – 5 minutes; total cooking time – 2,5 hours)
The veggies look a lot more exciting when they’re topped with some cheese, right? So, let’s utilize our slow cooker once again and prepare another Christmas dinner must-have – broccoli.
Things you’ll need:
- frozen baby broccoli florets (2 twelve oz. packs)
- 2 cans of Cheddar cheese soup
- 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/4tsp of salt
- 1/4tsp of black pepper
How to make:
- Take the broccoli packs out of the freezer 1 hour prior to the cooking time to let them de-freeze at the room temperature. Don’t have time for that? De-freeze in the microwave for a few minutes till the veggies are slightly thawed.
- After that, throw the ingredients into the slow cooker, set it on high and cook for 2,5 hours or so.
- Transfer into a pretty dish and serve!
These 3 dishes, along with the appetizers and desserts ordered from the local caterers, will constitute a perfect, yummy and homemade Christmas dinner that takes minimum time to prepare (literally, less than an hour of preparation time), but definitely looks and tastes nothing but ordinary or average.
So, make sure that you have everything you need for the recipes in your fridge, go to HireRush.com to order the appetizers, other snacks, and beverages from the caterers and do your best to enjoy the Christmas Day with your family, as it won’t take long for the amazing holidays to be over.