Guest Post by Jen Malik

I’m looking forward to coming around with a few thoughts over the Christmas holiday while our resident blogger takes a well-deserved break. I welcome your comments and ideas. I love this time of year and hearing about other people’s ideas and traditions.

So let’s get to the heart of the matter here. Christmas is in 3 days (two if you celebrate on Christmas Eve!), so dinner’s gotta get get done. Everyone thinks of the traditional ham or turkey with all the trimmings as the must-have meal, but it’s a lot of work.

You can still have a delicious meal without slaving away all day.  Really!


* Don’t have a lot of guests? Try oven-roasting a whole chicken or even chicken pieces.
* Take a walk on the wild side with a crockpot recipe the family loves. Even a pot roast can be cooked with a Christmas flair by topping the roast with cranberry sauce. Yes, cook the roast with the cranberry sauce on top and sprinkle a little onion soup mix for extra flavor.
* What about a Christmas pizza? A simple idea that can get the family involved. Choose a Christmas-themed pan shape (Christmas tree, bell, etc.) and go for it.
If You’re Still Making The Big Turkey or Even a Ham:

* Choose ready-made stuffing.
* Packaged turkey gravy can help in a time crunch. Just replace some of the water with pan drippings and YUM!
* Packaged mashed potatoes have come a long way. If you haven’t tried them in a while, do a test in your kitchen. You might be surprised.

Of course, if you aren’t into processed foods, things may not be so simple. You’ve just got to get creative with the time you spend in the kitchen:

* Appetizers can be simple. A veggie or meat plate. You can even purchase these fresh items, pre-cut and arranged.
* Don’t go overboard with side dishes. If you’re making them yourself, you don’t have to have EVERYTHING. Just make bigger batches of a few vegetables and other items. They WILL satisfy a hungry crowd.
* But better than making less is getting OTHER people to make it. Enlist all your guest to bring a side dish. Unless they have a specific dish they really want to make, be bold and tell them what to bring. It’s easier for everyone involved.
* Chop vegetables, get the bird ready and do other kitchen prep the night before. Enlist the help of family members and enjoy a glass of wine or a hot buttered rum…or two.
* Don’t be shy about asking for help on the big day. Your guests are perfectly capable of basting, slicing, setting and more.

The important thing is to enjoy the day. Entertaining can be fun, but if you’re running around the kitchen all day, sweating up a storm…it can lose a bit of its lustre.