The tree is trimmed and the stockings are hung. It’s time to start planning your Christmas dinner menu! Turkey, gravy, stuffing and veggie sides will all make an appearance—it wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Although time-honoured family recipes are the highlight, we’ve suggested an ingredient upgrade for each recipe, in case you feel like experimenting.
Turkey: check. Cranberry sauce: check. Veggie side: check. This one recipe simplifies the menu-planning process. Cranberry cocktail, maple syrup and fresh (or frozen) cranberries make an effortless glaze that doubles as cranberry sauce.
Swap it up: Equally as tart, pomegranate or cherry juice—or even apple, if you’re in a pinch—is an alternative fruity stand-in for the cranberry cocktail in the glaze.
A Christmas dinner must, gravy ties the whole meal together. Roasting a turkey yields a pan full of rich turkey drippings, which is the perfect flavour base. First-time gravy makers will want to check out our Classic Turkey Gravy video for simple technique pointers.
Swap it up: Replace the 1/2 cup of chicken broth mixed with flour in the recipe with wine or port for a richer flavour and colour.
Golden acorn squash and vibrant cranberries add seasonal pops of colour and contrasts of flavour to this special stuffing. To keep it moist, whisk together eggs, cranberry sauce and chicken broth and evenly coat the dry ingredients before baking. Save on dishes and bake the stuffing in an ovenproof dish that’s worthy of gracing your holiday table.
Swap it up: Substitute the day-old French bread with day-old brioche, which is known for its buttery, cake-like texture.
Crisp and tender, green beans are beautiful in their simplicity. Thinly sliced sundried tomatoes and slivered almonds add another level of colour and texture to the dish. For a more intense nutty flavour, toast the almonds before using. Save precious prep minutes and buy green beans already trimmed.
Swap it up: Instead of green beans, use slender stalks of asparagus.
Nutty and colourful, these swirled icebox cookies are a holiday lifesaver; the dough can be made in advance and stashed in the freezer. When making on the day of an event, leave time for dough to thaw before baking. By the time guests arrive, the work will be done and you’ll be ready to entertain.
Swap it up: Trade the almond extract and ground almonds for hazelnut extract and ground hazelnuts.
Deep Dish Apple Pie
Our version of this timeless treat calls for a buttery double-crusted pie filled generously with cinnamon and sugar-tossed apples. For a mix of tart and sweet notes, use a mix of different apple varieties.
Swap it up: For a hint of toffee-like sweetness, swap the butter in the filling for caramel bits.
Creamy milk and rich cocoa are whisked together with sugar and vanilla to create this nostalgic childhood favourite. Use a large saucepan and whisk constantly to prevent the milk from burning. Divide into mugs, top with marshmallows and enjoy!
Swap it up: Make it vegan: use almond or coconut milk and top hot chocolate with freshly whipped coconut cream and chocolate shavings. Adults can replace the vanilla extract with coffee or hazelnut-flavoured liqueur.