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5 Course Christmas Dinner Recipes For Your Big Get Together

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's the most wonderful time of the year! Which means it's also the busiest time of the year. You've probably had your hands full with holiday shopping, decorating and planning for the big celebration on the 25th. Save yourself a little bit of time with these simple Christmas recipes. Now you can spend more time with family and less time at the grocery store. Call it an early Christmas present!

Related: 6 Best Cookbooks To Help With Your Holiday Gatherings

Hors d'Oeuvres

Warm up your guest's palate with these easy to make antipasto skewers. This skewer is a sophisticated twist on a classic caprese salad. It's a great small bite for guests to munch on before dinner is served. In addition, you can also serve focaccia bread with olive oil and balsamic or various other meats, cheeses and olives.

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Salami Caprese Skewers
Prep Time: 8 Minutes
Serves 10 to 12

  • 1 package of marinated ciliegini lioni (mozerella balls marinated in extra virgin olive oil, salt, parsley, oregano and red pepper flakes)
  • 1 package of fresh basil
  • 1 salami
  • 1 package of garden cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package of cocktail skewers


  • Start with the marinated cheese followed by a fresh leaf of basil
  • Fold up the salami in half twice and attach to the skewer
  • Add the cherry tomato to finish off the skewer

First Course

When it's time to sit down at the table. Start your guests off with a simple yet flavorful salad that even the pickiest eater will enjoy. You can dress this salad up with even more colorful vegetable, nut, or cheese additions of your choice. Crafty hosts can also create a salad bar where guests can pick and choose what fixings they'd like on their salad.


Mushroom And Pancetta Spinach Salad
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4


  • 1 pound of baby spinach
  • 1 pound of pancetta or center cut bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 baby portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced


  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic oil
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • teaspoon of dried oregano
  • teaspoon of freshly chopped basil


  • Rinse and remove excess stems on baby spinach, set aside
  • In a skillet, brown the bacon bits on medium high heat then transfer to a paper towel lined plate
  • In the same skillet on medium high heat, add the thinly sliced mushrooms to the remaining bacon fat and cook until mushrooms become tender (about five minutes)
  • Add the mushrooms and bacon to the spinach and toss to combine
  • Add any remaining grease to a medium mixing bowl followed by the olive oil, mustard, balsamic oil, chopped garlic, oregano and basil
  • Whisk the together the ingredients until they emulsify
  • In that same skillet, do not wipe clean, add one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the minced shallots and cook until shallots become transparent (about three minutes)
  • Add shallots to the spinach salad and top with dressing, serve warm

Second Course

After the first course, surprise and delight your guests with this simple pasta dish. A European Christmas dinner typically includes a second course with a small protein. Pasta is a perfect example of a second course and a lot less time-consuming to make than soup.

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Linguine Alle Vongole (Linguine With Clams)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound of linguine
  • 3 pounds of small hard shell clams scrubbed and cleaned
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley


    • Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt and cook the linguine according to package directions, al dente
    • In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is slightly golden brown (about 1 minute)
    • Add the clams and white wine, using a spatula toss the clams around to coat and cover the saucepan, shaking the pan occasionally, until all the clams are open (about 1 to 3 minutes)
    • If any clams do not open, discard
    • Once the clams have all opened add them to the pasta along with the sauce, garnish with the chopped fresh parsley and serve with fresh ground pepper

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Main Course

Finally, the main event has arrived! Get ready to wow the crowd with a colorful array of vegetable sides and an old-fashioned glazed ham. To save time and space you can cook the brussels sprouts on the same baking sheet as the potatoes and carrots. Use tin foil to separate each side that can be easily removed from the sheet and onto another tray or sheet after the cooking process. If using the same oven, move the ham roasting pan to the bottom rack and roast the side dishes on the top rack for the last hour of the hams cooking time and adjust the time or heat as needed.

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Old Fashion Glazed Ham
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 Minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 Minutes
Serves 10 to 12

  • 1 (14 pound) smoked cured ham, shank end
  • 1 cup of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup of pineapple juice, plus more for roasting
  • 20 canned pineapple rings
  • 1/2 cup of maraschino cherries
  • 1 package of toothpicks


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with an oven rack placed in the middle
  • In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, brown sugar and chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Add the ham to a roasting pan, fat side up and rub with the mustard glaze
  • Pour the pineapple juice into the bottom of the pan and place in the oven to roast for two hours
  • Every 20 minutes or so brush the ham with the extra pineapple juice
  • After two hours, remove the ham and turn the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • With toothpicks, adhere the pineapple rings around the ham and sprinkle the rings lightly with brown sugar
  • In the center of the pineapple ring, adhere the maraschino cherry using a toothpick
  • Return the ham to the oven and cook until the pineapple rings become a light golden brown
  • After the pineapples have browned, about 20 minutes or so, remove the ham, let it rest for 15 minutes, covered in a tinfoil tent, before slicing and transfer to a serving platter

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Glaze And Dried Cranberries
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 10 to 12

  • 3 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Trim and clean the brussels sprouts, then cut them in half
  • On a large baking tray, arrange the brussels sprouts and toss with the olive oil
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and roast until brown (about 20 minutes)
  • In a small saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low until thick and glaze like
  • Add the glaze to the sprouts, top with dried cranberries and serve immediately
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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes And Carrots
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 pound of red bliss potatoes cut into 1 1/2-inch think slices
  • 3 medium carrots cut into 1-inch think circles
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • On a baking sheet, arrange the cut carrots and potatoes evenly on the sheet
  • Coat the vegetables in a 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Add the oregano, rosemary and thyme to the vegetables
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes
  • Serve immediately or reheat in oven just before serving


Hopefully your guests will still be hungry and ready for some dessert. The best way to serve dessert on the holidays is to creat a buffet style station where guests can help themselves as they please. You can set up this station in advance or after you clean up the main course. For a simple yet elegant dessert try this tiramisu recipe that can be made the morning of or night before. Serve with tea and coffee or dessert spirits.

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Inactive: 2 Hours
Serves 6

  • 6 egg yolks***
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 pound of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of strong espresso, cooled
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum
  • 24 packaged ladyfingers
  • 1/2 cup of milk chocolate shavings (or cocoa powder)


  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until you achieve a thick, pale, and custard like texture (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth
  • Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until combined
  • In a small shallow dish, add the remaining espresso and rum
  • Dip the ladyfingers individually into the espresso for 3 to 5 seconds
  • Place the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the dish
  • Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers
  • Add another layer of soaked espresso ladyfingers and finish off with the remaining mascarpone mixture
  • Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but no more than 8 hours)
  • Before serving, garnish this dish with the milk chocolate shaving or for a more classic tiramisu top with cocoa powder

***Contains raw eggs: Caution when consuming a dish with raw eggs due to a risk of food-borne illness. To reduce the risk, it is recommended you only use fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with shell intact and avoid contact between yolks or whites and the shell. Look for shelled eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

Merissa Principe is a teacher and a freelance travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at for all things travel, beauty, fashion and New York City.
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