Your Complete Christmas Dinner in 7 Recipes (a no-fail guide to Christmas Dinner)

Dec 20, 2019 | Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

Good morning everyone and happy Friday! With Christmas right around the corner, only five short days away, I thought it was about time I acknowledged it here on the blog. Usually, around holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, I share tips and tricks to get you through the holiday. Well, been there, done that. Rather than just keep repeating myself year after year I thought this time I would do something different. This year, I wanted to give you a gift like no other, so I wrote an entire Christmas Dinner worth of recipes, and today I am going to share them with you.

Below you will find recipes for homemade Cranberry Sauce, Gravy, Glazed Carrots, Maple Pecan Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and of course, Turkey. There are seven recipes in total just for you as my way of saying thank you for your support throughout the year and for making this year so great here at How To Not Burn Shit.

Before I jump into this, this is my last post of the year. I’m going to take a little bit of well deserved time off to spend with my 10-week old baby and my lovely wife. I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will see you all right back here on January 6th, 2020!

In the meantime…


Cranberry Sauce

Way back in 1941, there was a former Lawer turned cranberry bog owner who was looking for a way to extend the short selling season for his Cranberries. He decided to make a cranberry jelly, can it and sell it year-round. He did this, though it mostly only sold at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Since its invention in 1941 canned cranberry sauce (jelly) has been a staple on holiday tables across North America. Well, I say 78 years is long enough.

It is only 11 days away from 2020 and if you haven’t already started, it is time to start making your own cranberry sauce. It isn’t hard, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, it’s not expensive, and it tastes way better. What have you got to lose?

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Why are you still buying cranberry sauce in a can? It is so easy to make and way better when made fresh.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Cranberry Sauce, Thanksgiving
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange, Juice and Zest
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 cup Water

Instructions

  • Put all the ingredients in a pot and place on high heat.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes or until thick.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Notes

You can add a little more or less sugar depending on your taste. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Stuffing

First of all, what’s the difference between stuffing and dressing? Stuffing is cooked inside a turkey, dressing is cooked outside the turkey. That’s it.

You may have grown up having stovetop stuffing every Christmas and you may even love it. But, I implore you to just this once make your own stuffing if you’re not already doing so. The recipe below is a straightforward no BS stuffing recipe that you will be happy you tried.

Christmas Stuffing

The only stuffing recipe you will ever need
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, salad dressing, Smoked Turkey, stuffing, Thanksgiving
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cups Torn or Cubed bread
  • 2 med. Onions, Diced
  • 2 tbsp Summer Savoury
  • 2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tbsp Dried Sage
  • 1/2 cup Melted Butter + 2 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup Dried Apricots or Dried Cranberries Optional

Instructions

  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add 2 tbsp of butter along with the onions into the pan.
  • Cook the onions for 10-12 minutes or until soft.
  • Put in a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
  • Stuff inside a turkey and cook the turkey as desired.

Notes

If you are cooking the stuffing outside the turkey (which makes it dressing) add 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock to it. Cover with foil and bake on 375°F for 35-40 minutes. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Maple Pecan Brussel Sprouts

If you don’t like Brussel Sprouts, it’s probably because you’ve only ever had them when they’ve been boiled to death. When they are overcooked in that way they are mushy and taste like farts. However, when they are roasted, they get crispy, and not at all fart like. The touch of sweetness from the maple syrup in the recipe below really makes the flavour of the sprouts come to life. If you’ve never had roasted Brussel Sprouts, you are in for a very serious treat.

Maple Pecan Brussel Sprouts

A delicious alternative to your regular Brussel sprouts recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brussel Sprouts, Christmas, Thanksgiving
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs brussels sprouts
  • 3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Wash the sprouts and pat them dry with a towel.
  • Cut the sprouts in half and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Pour the olive oil and maple syrup into the bowl along with the salt and pepper.
  • Spread the sprouts out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes on 400°F.
  • Remove the sprouts from the oven, sprinkle over the pecans, stir, and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and dark around the edges.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Glazed Carrots

Let’s face it, those regular old boiled carrots are getting a little boring. Jazz up your carrots this year by making a glaze for them. Sound complicated? It isn’t. To make this recipe you just need to be able to use measuring spoons and a pot. All kidding aside, this is one of my favourite ways to make carrots. You put everything in the pot, and cook the carrots until the liquid has mostly evaporated. What you end up with are perfectly cooked carrots, with a flavorful glaze.

Glazed Carrots

Carrots cooked with honey, cider vinegar, thyme, and butter…what's not to love?
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Glazed Carrots, roasted carrots, Thanksgiving
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Carrots, Peeled and Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme 4 sprigs fresh
  • 2 tsp Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Put the sliced carrots in a pot along with the other ingredients.
  • Add enough water to just cover the carrots.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 5-10 more minutes or until the water has mostly evaporated and all that is left is the glaze at the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir the carrots, coating them in the glaze and serve.

Notes

Keep an eye on the carrots once the water starts to get low because you don’t want to burn them 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You’re going to be making mashed potatoes. Why not put a pile of garlic in there along with cream and butter. You can’t go wrong here.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

If you're making mashed potatoes, why not make garlic mashed potatoes?
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Potatoes, Thanksgiving
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Russet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 cup 35% Cream
  • 8 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1-2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Peel, dice, and rinse the potatoes.
  • Put in a pot and cover with water.
  • Put the pot on the stove on high.
  • Add 1 tsp of salt along with garlic and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander.
  • While the potatoes are draining put the pot back on the stove and add in the cream and butter.
  • Heat until the butter melts.
  • Add the potatoes and garlic back into the pot and mash.
  • Mix the potatoes well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Put a lid on the pot until ready to serve.

Notes

Use a food mill  to get the potatoes very smooth. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Turkey

We all have our own special way to cook our turkey for Christmas. But, there are some of us out there who might be making Christmas dinner for the first time. The recipe below is a very basic, intro to turkey type recipe. Having said that, it is still really delicious and I’m sure no matter how many turkeys you’ve cooked in your life you would be happy with it.

If you are looking for something a little different to do with your turkey check out this post I did back around Thanksgiving.

For more specific turkey cooking tips check out this link to the turkey farmers of Canada whole turkey guide.

Christmas Turkey

A very basic, but very delicious turkey recipe.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Christmas Turkey, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Whole Turkey
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 18 lb Turkey Defrosted in the fridge for three days
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Summer Savoury

Instructions

  • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey.
  • Use a piece of butchers twine and tie the legs together.
  • Tuck the wing tips forward under the breast.
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towel then drizzle with olive oil
  • Season with salt, pepper, and summer savoury.
  • Roast uncovered in a 325°F oven for 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 hours.
  • Check the turkey is done by inserting a thermometer into the breast (170°) and into the thigh (180°F)
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, loosely cover with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Notes

If you stuff the turkey cook for 20-24 minutes per pound and check to make sure the stuffing has reached 165°F before serving. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Gravy

When I was a kid, one of my main jobs for Christmas Dinner was to stir the gravy. It had to be stirred while it cooked so that it didn’t scorch on the bottom. It was an important job and I took it very seriously.

The recipe below is not complicated but it does involve a lot of stirring. This is the perfect job for a child or that pesky inlaw who keeps asking if there is anything they can do.

Christmas Gravy

Wet your whistle with this delicious gravy recipe.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Christmas Gravy, Gravy, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Turkey Gravy
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 L Turkey Drippings and/or Chicken Stock Fat removed
  • 3 tbsp flour can use all-purpose gluten-free
  • 3 tbsp Butter, or Fat from the turkey drippings
  • 1/2 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/2 cup Diced Celery
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme Leaves or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary or 2 tsp fresh
  • 1 tsp Dried Sage
  • 2 tsp Summer Savoury
  • 1-2 tsp Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 cup cold water

Instructions

  • In a medium-sized pot melt the butter and combine with the flour.
  • Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the diced onion and celery and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in the cold water while vigorously stirring the flour and vegetable mixture.
  • Once the water is fully combined with the roux (should look like paste at this point) add in the stock.
  • Bring the stock to a boil while stirring, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring every minute or two.
  • Season the gravy to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Christmas Dinner

Cooking Christmas dinner can be stressful. It is usually the largest and most complex meal you will cook all year. The key to it being a success is to make everything the best it can be while at the same time not over complicating things. All the recipes above will add a little extra to the meal without adding much in the way of prep or cooking time. Elevation without complication.

And with that, I bid you ado. I hope that you have the Merriest of Christmases!

Oh and if you feel like you need to get me something this Christmas, the best gift you can give to me is to share this post around so that anyone who needs it can find it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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