30 Small-Scale Christmas Dinner Ideas
Skipping the massive turkey and trimmings this year? Choose from these scaled-down mains and sides for a small-but-special celebration.
Small Christmas Dinner Ideas
Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce
If you’re scaling back on the holiday feast this year, these small Christmas dinner ideas are sure to inspire!
“My roasted pork tenderloin is stuffed with two of our favourite ingredients: walnuts and apples. This comforting entree is my family’s most requested pork dish.” —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
Get the recipe for Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce.
Bacon Parmesan Popovers
“This recipe proves that simple ingredients often result in the best-tasting dishes. These popovers are a nice change from ordinary toast or muffins.” —Donna Gaston, Coplay, Pennsylvania
Get the recipe for Bacon Parmesan Popovers.
Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower
“Want an alternative to mashed potatoes? Try cauliflower jazzed up with cheddar cheese and rosemary.” —Chrystal Baker, Studio City, California
Get the recipe for Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower.
Maple and Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts
“For special meals, here’s a fantastic side dish that even children will love. The sweet maple syrup and smoky bacon complement the Brussels sprouts perfectly.” —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois
Get the recipe for Maple and Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts.
“This warm cranberry casserole is a nice substitute for traditional cranberry relish. It’s been a staple on my holiday table ever since my aunt gave me the recipe many years ago.” —Ellan Streett, Clear Spring, Maryland
Get the recipe for Scalloped Cranberries.
Chicken-Prosciutto Pinwheels in Wine Sauce
“We host a large group for holiday meals, and these pinwheels always go over well alongside the regular dishes. I often double this recipe and use two 13×9-in. pans.” —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
Get the recipe for Chicken-Prosciutto Pinwheels in Wine Sauce.
Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
“It sounds silly, but the one thing I miss most in meatless meals is, well, the meat. That is, except for this mushroom shepherd’s pie. It’s a hearty vegetarian dish and I guarantee you won’t miss the meat either.” —Glen Warren, Edmonton, Alberta
Get the recipe for Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie.
French Onion Soup
“My seven-year-old daughter and I enjoy spending time together cooking, but our days are busy, so we appreciate quick and tasty recipes like this one. Hot and delicious, this soup hits the spot for lunch or dinner.” —Sandra Chambers, Carthage, Mississippi
Get the recipe for French Onion Soup.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
“The addition of bacon in this cordon bleu recipe makes it one of my favourite comforting recipes. I’ve made it for both friends and family, and everyone’s a fan.” —Jim Wick, Orlando, Florida
Get the recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu.
“Want to learn how to cook eggplant? Here’s where to start. These authentic eggplant roll-ups may take some time to prepare, but the end result is restaurant-quality. Your family will request this recipe time and again.” —Nancy Sousley, Lafayette, Indiana
Get the recipe for Eggplant Rollatini.
Beef Osso Bucco
“Treat holiday guests to elegant comfort food at its best. Our osso bucco beef boasts a thick, savoury sauce complemented by the addition of gremolata, a chopped herb condiment made of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
Get the recipe for Beef Osso Bucco.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
“My family and friends love the warm, inviting flavours of the luscious citrus butter, smooth cream cheese, sweet dates, fresh sage and toasted pecans that are captured in every bite of these delicious sweet potatoes.” —Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina
Get the recipe for Hasselback Sweet Potatoes.
Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin
“This is one of my favourite recipes. Pasta from Monday plus roasted chicken from Tuesday equals this delicious dish on Wednesday. It’s fast and delicious, and paired with a green salad and toasty bread, you have a meal that’s fancy enough for company.” —Brenda Cole, Reisterstown, Maryland
Get the recipe for Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin.
Orange Pomegranate Salmon
“A colourful, festive salmon dish makes an impressive addition to your holiday table—and it is as delicious as it is beautiful. What will no one guess? How easy it is to cook. I serve this with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for a showstopping meal that is wonderful for special occasions.” —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey
Get the recipe for Orange Pomegranate Salmon.
Citrus Rainbow Carrots
“I grow lots of carrots and I’m always experimenting with ways to serve them. The first time I made this citrusy recipe for my husband, he said it tasted like Christmas! Although he calls them my “Christmas Carrots,” they’re tasty anytime; I especially like serving them at Easter, with the array of carrots available in early spring. It’s easy to prepare, and can easily be doubled to serve a large group. To save time, I sometimes dice the carrots several days in advance.” —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Get the recipe for Citrus Rainbow Carrots.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
“This side always takes my guests by surprise because of the smoky, creamy flavour. No doubt you’ll get major kudos when you place these potatoes on your table.” —Cynthia Boberskyj, Rochester, NY
Get the recipe for Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon.
Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup
“After tasting a similar soup at a restaurant, I created this quick and tasty version. The pesto adds an extra-nice Italian flavour that is often missing from other gnocchi soups.” —Deanna Smith, Des Moines, Iowa
Get the recipe for Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup.
Glazed Rosemary Pork
“A honey-rosemary glaze delicately seasons pork tenderloin in this delightful entree. As elegant as it is easy, the main course is ideal for weekend dinner parties and weeknight suppers alike.” —Barbara Sistrunk, Fultondale, Alabama
Get the recipe for Glazed Rosemary Pork.
Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes
“Take the chill off any blustery day and make something special to accompany meaty entrees. This is the best scalloped potatoes recipe ever, and my family loves when I serve it.” —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
Get the recipe for Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes.
Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent
“My friends and I have been getting together for “ladies lunches” for years. These vol-au-vents are the perfect no-fuss fancy food; they look complicated, but are actually simple and fun to make. Whenever I think of good friends and good company, I think of these savoury pastries.” —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah
Get the recipe for Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent.
Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce
“Don’t be afraid to bring out the roasted Brussels sprouts. Mellowed with mustard sauce, they may just delight even the most skeptical folks.” —Becky Walch, Orland, California
Get the recipe for Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce.
Apple-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
“Carrots seem so simple, but this recipe is something special. Sweet and buttery, this was a favourite my mother always used to serve at holiday time.” —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin
Get the recipe for Apple-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots.
Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash
“We stuff acorn squash with leftovers like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Make as much or as little as you need to use everything up.” —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario
Get the recipe for Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash.
“This is such a simple side dish and also makes a pretty presentation. With just four ingredients, it’s ready in no time for a taste that’s sure to please the entire family.” —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
Get the recipe for Parmesan Fettuccine.
Cider Baked Squash
“I’m a freelance writer who sometimes needs a break from a long session of working on a story. That’s when I escape to the kitchen to whip up something that’s good to eat, yet easy to prepare. This is one of my favourites!”
Get the recipe for Cider Baked Squash.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
“This is the ultimate creamy mac and cheese recipe. It’s saucy, thick and very rich, with wonderful cheddar flavour. Once you taste it, you’ll be hooked.” —Cindy Hartley, Chesapeake, Virginia
Get the recipe for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.
Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes
“This scalloped potatoes with apples dish is delicious with breaded baked pork chops, which you could cook at the same time in another cast-iron pan. We are retired and it’s just the two of us, but you could easily double the recipe.” —Shirley Rickis, The Villages, Florida
Get the recipe for Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes.
Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi
“We had homemade gnocchi frequently while growing up. This creamy pumpkin gnocchi recipe was always my favourite. They do require some time to make, but they’re worth it!” —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
Get the recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi.
Once you’ve added these small Christmas dinner ideas to your repertoire, check out 10 old fashioned Christmas cake recipes that’ll take you back to your childhood.