4 Holiday Dinner Shortcuts So Delicious They'll Never Suspect

Yum! 17

creminelli porchetta roast
ZOMG, porchetta roast I didn't have to make myself!
Would you love it if on Christmas morning Santa left YOU a present -- a fabulous, fully cooked holiday meal? It's a little fantasy of mine. I love cooking, and I especially love planning big holiday dinners. But as the years go on, I'm less excited about spending whole days in the kitchen. It's time to simplify, right?

So I'm looking at ways I can deliver more bang for less time. No, I won't be ordering Christmas dinner from Boston Market (hee hee!). But I'm planning some shortcuts that don't mean a compromise in deliciousness and holiday glam.

1. Pre-seasoned holiday roasts. Creminelli (whose salami factory I toured this summer) sent me their porchetta holiday roast to try out and deliziosa! It was spectacularly tasty with cracking skin and the perfect herb seasoning. But even better -- basically all I had to do was re-heat it in the oven and open the jar of pepper jelly they send with it. It's at bit pricey, but it's huge and will serve an army. Be on the lookout for special deals on pre-seasoned holiday roasts at your local butcher or specialty shops.

More from The Stir: 4 Tips for Stress-Free Christmas Dinner From a 'Top Chef'

2. Rolls from a local bakery -- or frozen. I cannot get bread or roll dough to rise to save my life, and I'm finished trying. So I'll buy my rolls from local bakeries. But if you love that fresh-baked smell in your own house, Alexia has these tempting sweet potato rolls, and of course people love Rhodes rolls. I'm looking for sweet rolls from Immaculate Baking Company for Christmas morning.

3. My favorite veggie formulas. I have two standard approaches to winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. 1. The slaw: Slice or grate raw veggies, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and lots of Parmesan cheese. 2. The roast: Chop veggies, toss with olive oil, paprika, whole cumin seeds, salt, and roast. Squirt a little fresh lime or lemon juice.

4. Cakes and pies, oh my! This is another food you can "outsource" to your local bakery. But this year I'm thinking of buying sponge cake, pudding, and maybe brownies to throw together for a big, messy Christmas trifle. Just top with cream and no one is complaining about that.

What are your favorite holiday meals that look and taste "fancy" but are super easy?


Image via Adriana Velez

christmas, drinks, entertaining, family meals, holidays


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tuffy... tuffymama

Porchetta is for sandwiches. It just is. I could never serve a porchetta "roast" to guests without a smirk on my face. Sorry!

We're just three of us this Christmas, so we're having cassoulet. It takes a week to prepare. Dessert is a grain free Yule log with meringue mushrooms and everything (google McCall's Nubian Chocolate Log for the recipe). LO and I are starting on our decorative gingerbread salt dough house this weekend to decorate the table. I try not to take a whole lot of shortcuts on my family, especially for special occasions. I love them, and the process of preparing special meals for them makes me happy.

Cara Vallely

@tuffy mama: Simmer down you pretentious bitch


Sati Brown

seconding the second. thirding? 

Flori... Floridamom96

Seriously? We can't disagree ith one another without being mean and hateful? Can't we try to cut each other some slack? We're all pretty imperfect and life is always better when we spend less time pointing out each others imperfections.

nonmember avatar Raynn

I think what tuffymama was trying to say is simply that she prefers not to take "short cuts", not that she is better than anyone else for it. In answer to Adriana's question about fancy but easy recipes, I bake a lot of different kinds of cookies every year to gift to family and friends. As silly as it may sound, Jell-o has some very lovely but easy recipes on their website, as well as some videos to help. My favorite so far is Triple Chocolate Cookie Balls. Another favorite is Betty Crocker's Raspberry Poinsettia Blossoms. They look and taste amazing and are super simple.

jessi... jessicasmom1

lol easy ladies! some people like to take "short cuts" until you are in their shoes see it unfit to slander


Foley... Foleygirl24

if tuffymama doesn't take short cuts, i wonder why she even bothered to read this article, let alone comment on it. 

tuffy... tuffymama

If you take shortcuts and feel bad about it, that is on you. I merely answered the question and shared what I believe. My family are precious to me. I take shortcuts in traffic, not on my family. That kind of thing is important to me. I'm sure there are some things you all prefer to do thoroughly that I couldn't give a rat's toss about. I don't have my nails done by someone else, I paint my walls without taping, we eat last night's dinner for lunch today, and I forego vacuuming the baseboards and ceiling fan sometimes because I'd rather spend time WITH MY FAMILY. Those are the shortcuts I take. But for special occasions, dinner, and for the times when I have the time, I do not cut corners.

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