Christmas side dishes always took a “back seat” to all others when I was a young cook. I would spend weeks making candy, cookies, fruitcakes and special breads. After all that and shopping it was enough to decide on and how to cook the main entrée. Little thought was given to side dishes until that special mealtime. Quite often I would open cans of corn or green beans just like all other meals back then. After my first several years, I decided those needed to be special also.
As I had found from the past years, there is not a lot of extra time when cooking a big meal. I knew if I was to make some special Christmas side dishes, I had to consider the extra preparation time. If you cook holiday meals for your family, I am sure you know what I mean. This is especially true if you have no extra help with the preparation.
I found my best solution to this problem is to make Christmas side dishes which could be made in advance. I have many delicious recipes that can be prepared and then baked before serving. Some can be prepared and cooked a day or two before with only a reheat necessary. Often this reheat can be as simply as placing in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
Here are a few tips for making this preparation of Christmas side dishes even more simple. If you choose to do recipes like casseroles assemble them just like you would normally do in a casserole baking dish. If there are any sauces, crumb toppings, etc. to be added at the end of baking or when serving, prepare them also. Cover the casserole and place the extras in sealed containers. Label everything with all instructions like oven temperature; time of baking, when to add toppings, sauces or whatever. Stack everything together in the refrigerator so they are easy to find. If you choose recipes just needing a reheat, label them the same way.
One thing I have always done since my early years is to keep a complete list of the meal. I am talking “item by item” and I highly recommend this. When I was young I forgot to serve the corn that I reheated in my first microwave oven. With so much food all around, this is easy to do and no one misses one more dish. I was so upset! With my list I learned to check things off as I finished them and rechecked at the end before eating.
If you do make Christmas side dishes which need to be baked right before serving, the time needs to be considered. Most of us have only one oven so the use needs to be scheduled. Most casseroles can be baked for between thirty and sixty minutes. I plan to have my entrée whether it is turkey, ham, roast or whatever done within that time. It can be kept warm by tightly wrapping it in foil and kept on the stovetop or placing on a warmer. Depending on the size of dishes used, several can fit in the oven at the same time. All this and the necessary oven temperature should be considered in advance of preparation.
NOTE: By removing the casserole dish from the refrigerator thirty minutes in advance, warming to room temperature will help a little with the baking time.
I always love potatoes as one of my Christmas side dishes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees; lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
In medium saucepan bring water and next 3 ingredients to a boil.
REMOVE FROM HEAT; stir in potato flakes and next 4 ingredients.
Stir until well blended; pile in center of prepared casserole dish.
With back of spoon make indentations around edge of potatoes (2X1 inch deep).
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until thoroughly heated.
FOR VEGETABLES wash and drain; place in microwave bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons butter; cover and steam until tender crisp.
To serve spoon vegetables around edge of potatoes; serves 6-8.
NOTE: FOR MAKE AHEAD Christmas sides dishes prepare casserole and refrigerate. Cook veggies and refrigerate. To serve bake potato casserole 20 minutes, add the vegetables around potatoes and return to oven 15 to 20 minutes until hot.
Christmas side dishes and other holidays must always include sweet potatoes.
Preheat oven to 375F degrees; butter 8 inch square baking dish.
Arrange sweet potatoes and apples in alternating layers.
Sprinkle each layer with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add pineapple juice and dot with butter.
Cover and bake 15 minutes; uncover and bake 20 minutes.
Garnish with parsley; serves 6.
This is another great potato recipe to add to your Christmas side dishes.
Cover potatoes with fresh water and cook until tender; drain well.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.
Combine potatoes, cream cheese and next 3 ingredients large mixing bowl.
Beat mixture until smooth and fluffy; spread in baking dish.
Drizzle melted butter over the top; bake about 30 minutes.
Your Christmas side dishes are sure to please your diners if you add mushrooms to some.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In large skillet sauté onion in olive oil and butter until transparent.
Add mushrooms and next 5 ingredients; cook and stir over medium heat.
Cook about 10 minutes and add wine; cook 3 minutes longer.
Drain mushrooms and place in large casserole dish; RESERVE juice.
Arrange tomato halves around edge of casserole.
Sprinkle vegetables with the seasoning mix; sprinkle with parsley.
Pour reserved mushroom juice over the casserole; bake 25 minutes.
Green bean casseroles have always been some of my favorite Christmas side dishes and for Thanksgiving.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine green beans and next 4 ingredients.
Place mixture in greased casserole baking dish.
Top with onion rings; bake 25-30 minutes.
Corn is a favorite for Christmas side dishes or side dishes for anytime.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Sauté onion and bell pepper in butter until transparent.
Add eggs and next 6 ingredients; stir until well blended.
Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish; sprinkle with paprika.
Combine ¼ Cup bread crumbs and melted butter.
Sprinkle the buttered crumbs over top of casserole.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes; serves 6-8.
We have Christmas side dishes for all who love asparagus.
Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
Wash asparagus and place in large skillet; add a small amount of water.
Add pinch of salt and bring to boil; cover and cook about 10 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE pour melted butter in a greased baking pan.
Drain asparagus and place in baking pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with grated cheese; bake 5 to 10 minutes until cheese melts.
We all love carrot casseroles for Christmas side dishes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees; butter casserole baking dish.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in skillet over medium heat.
Saute carrots and onions until carrots are tender enough to mash.
Place in mixing bowl; add egg and milk beating until smooth.
Add melted butter and next 3 ingredients; beat until well blended.
Dump into prepared casserole dish; Top with cracker crumbs and melted butter.
Bake for 25 minutes; serves 4 to 6.
Lemon flavored broccoli is pleasing as Christmas side dishes.
Place broccoli in a little salt water; cook just until tender about 10 minutes.
Heat ¼ cup butter in large skillet; stir in breadcrumbs until browned.
With slotted spoon remove crumbs from butter; mix with lemon peel.
Add 3 tablespoons butter to the skillet; add garlic, salt and pepper.
Heat mixture until butter is lightly browned; add drained broccoli.
Turn mixture gently until the broccoli is well coated with butter.
Arrange broccoli in heated dish; pour remaining skillet mixture over top.
Top mixture broccoli with the lemon crumb mixture; serve 6.
NOTE: If you want to prepare a day ahead run cold water over broccoli after boiling for quick cooling. Drain well and place in microwave dish. Continue with the recipe, cover and refrigerate. Set out to room temperature about 20 to 30 minutes; place in microwave until hot.
Cabbage, boiled eggs and cheese is a great combination for Christmas side dishes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees; butter 1 quart casserole baking dish.
Cut cabbage head into wedges; boil 5 minutes in lightly salted water and drain.
Melt ¼ CUP butter in medium saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour until blended.
Slowly add the milk stirring until well blended; add cheese and next 4 ingredients.
Stir until thickened cheese sauce; set off heat.
FOR TOPPING stir together bread crumbs with melted butter; set aside.
TO ARRANGE CASSEROLE place half of the cabbage in prepared dish.
Sprinkle half of the diced eggs over the top; cover with half of the cheese sauce.
Top with half of the buttered bread crumbs; repeat with another layer of each.
Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly; serves 6-8.
Chestnuts and Brussels sprouts together is a good mix for Christmas side dishes.
Make a cut in each chestnut with sharp knife; place in saucepan.
Cover with cold water and bring to a boil; cook for 10 minutes.
Drain the chestnuts and peel off outer and inner skins.
Place in saucepan and cover with the beef broth.
Gently simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
Trim Brussels sprouts; cut a cross in the base of each one.
Cook in lightly salted boiling water until tender 10-12 minutes.
Drain Brussels sprouts well and season with nutmeg.
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.
Add chestnuts and Brussels sprouts to the pan.
Gently shake or toss the vegetables to coat with the butter.
Place in a warmed dish and serve; serves 4-6.
NOTE: This can be made ahead, refrigerated and warmed in the microwave.
Winter vegetables make great Christmas side dishes; prepare this a day ahead, wrap tray for refrigerator and bake right before serving.
NOTE: Cipollini onions are small mild Italian onions. I have never seen these in any stores that I have been in so substitute with another. I use Vidalia onions and cut in quarters.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; set aside.
In a large bowl combine the vegetables, salt and papper.
Add butter and olive oil; toss to coat vegetables.
Place vegetables on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Serve immediately; serves 8-10.
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