Holiday dinner with friends and family

While some people have their holiday entertaining planned out well in advance, many of us pull together our menus as our limited spare time allows. This may mean that you’ve not yet found ideas for side dishes or desserts, or a change in plans has you suddenly hosting guests for a meal or two. Perhaps you’ve decided to invite family or friends over for New Years, and need something to serve that won’t compete with your main holiday meal.

Here are seven holiday meal ideas to help you plan your perfect gathering, and feed your guests in the way that suits you best:


Traditional Turkey

For those who love tradition, a turkey dinner may be the only option that feels right over the holidays. If you love it, do it up right with traditional sides and stuffing, fresh herbs, gravy, and scratch made cranberry sauce.

Maple Glazed Ham

If turkey isn’t your style, a maple glazed or spiral ham can be an excellent alternative. While scalloped potatoes may be a common pairing, don’t be afraid to try something new. Roasted baby potatoes with dijon could offer a new twist, with something green on the side.

Pork Tenderloin

If you have a smaller circle joining you for dinner, or are simply serving immediate family, try something special but smaller like a pork tenderloin. A cranberry glaze might be just the trick to make it feel appropriate for the holidays.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

What if you or your guests aren’t fans of turkey, or will be enjoying a full turkey dinner at someone else’s home during the holidays? You may still want something special for Christmas Eve or another evening, and a salmon dish could be a tasty change from poultry or ham. Try a wild rice or quinoa side to round things out.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

If have company staying with you over the holidays, you may find it difficult to devote time to cooking every day. Keep a crock pot recipe or two handy for those days where you know you’ll be busy or appreciate a hot meal that is doesn’t require a great deal of hands on time. This works well for days you’ll be out visiting other family, traveling, or when some of the family is enjoying outdoor pursuits. Slow cooker pulled pork works well for these days, or try a well loved chili recipe if your family likes the heat.

Stuffed Turkey Breast or Thighs

What if you love turkey but are only feeding a family or four, or smaller? Instead of committing to a full sized turkey, choose just the turkey breast or thighs, and try a new recipe that allows you to enjoy it stuffed with mushroom, herbs, feta, cranberry or sausage. Serve with roasted butternut squash and fingerling potatoes.

Vegan or Vegetarian

If you have vegan or vegetarian guests attending, it’s thoughtful to have a dish that’s hearty enough to act as their main. While they will likely offer to bring something, there’s always the chance you’ll have to provide something. A vegetable lasagna, risotto, or lentil loaf will please those who don’t consume meat, while being interesting and tasty to pass around the table for others to try.

Don’t forget about dessert!

Dessert can be any theme you know your family enjoys, but don’t be afraid to get creative. While many families favour apple pie with ice cream, there’s no reason why you can’t change things up from year to year. If your family loves chocolate, serve up a layered cake or lighter mousse. If you love Christmas baking, pass a platter of your family’s favourite dainties. And for the more traditional types, there is always Christmas pudding, but don’t be afraid to give it a bit of a twist.

This recipe is a bit lighter than most, with more fruit, offering a less calorie laden option than what most of us remember. Even those who are eating healthfully like a little something sweet after dinner, even if it’s a small serving or fruit, so look for alternatives rather than skipping it altogether.

A holiday dinner doesn’t have to be formal, nor does it only have to be family you welcome to your table. It’s become common to ask those joining you to bring a side dish or dessert, and this also makes it easier to feed more than your immediate circle. If you want to open your door to others, simply make adjustments to the main dish as needed, then invite as you please. If everyone brings something to contribute, you’ll likely end up with far more than you need…making it easier to invite an elderly relative you rarely see, or your senior neighbour who is spending the holidays alone.

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Remember, if you notice changes in your senior mom or dad’s health or well-being while visiting over the holidays, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss how we can help keep them safe and healthy. We’re here to support your family with a full range of home care services. 

                                                                                                                ~  Senior Homecare by Angels Calgary team