Preparing a Christmas Open House Dinner for 25+
17 of 17 in Series: How to Plan and Shop for a Christmas Open House
Most elements of this Christmas open-house menu can be made ahead, leaving the day of the party very manageable. With a few chafing dishes, borrowed or rented, and maybe a warming tray, you can just set the food out and forget about it for the duration of the party.
Here’s the optimum situation: Set the shrimp on ice, slice the ham and set it in a chafing dish, and have the lasagna on a warming tray or in another chafing dish. Bake the biscuits as close as possible to when you serve them. Everything else is fine at room temperature.
Here’s the menu. Gather the recipes ahead of time and use the following tips to make the day of the party easy.
Caramelized Onion Dip with Crudité
Whole Roasted Garlic and French Bread
Cheddar, Port, and Blue Cheese Ball
Shrimp Cocktail with Two Sauces x 2
Basic Green Salad
Baked Fresh Ham with Herbs
Five-Cheese Spinach Lasagna x 2
Basic Yuletide Biscuits x 3
Gingered Pear Sauce x 2
Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts x 3
Pear Almond Trifle x 2
Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake x 2
Chocolate Pecan Pie x 2
Bowl of Clementines
Mulled Cider x 4
Planning ahead is the key to success. Some of the food can be prepared in advance. Other menu items need to be fixed at the last minute:
Make the lasagna and piecrust up to a month ahead and freeze.
One week ahead, make the pear sauce.
Four to five days ahead, make the cheese ball.
The onion dip can be made two to three days ahead. You can prepare the salad now too.
The day before the party, prepare the shrimp, Brussels sprouts, trifle, and cheesecake and defrost the lasagna. Bake the chocolate pecan pies if you won’t have oven space on the day of the party.
On the day of the party, make the roasted garlic, ham, biscuits, eggnog, and mulled cider and bake the lasagna.
You can scale menu items up or down to meet your needs by following these guidelines:
Caramelized Onion Dip with Crudités: May be scaled up or down directly.
Whole Roasted Garlic and French Bread: May be scaled up or down directly.
Cheddar, Port, and Blue Cheese Ball: May be scaled up or down directly.
Shrimp Cocktail with Two Sauces: May be scaled up or down directly.
The Basic Green Salad: May be scaled up or down directly.
Baked Fresh Ham with Herbs: Keep this recipe as is or make two of them. You’ll need two ovens to bake two.
Five-Cheese Spinach Lasagna: Don’t make a larger one; make two if you need the volume. You can halve the recipe.
Biscuits: May be scaled up or down directly.
Gingered Pear Sauce: May be scaled up or down directly.
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts: May be scaled up or down directly.
Pear Almond Trifle: May be scaled up or down directly; just use a very large glass bowl if you scale up.
Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake: May be scaled up, making additional cakes, not a larger cake.
Chocolate Pecan Pie: May be scaled up, making additional pies, not a larger pie.
Classic Eggnog: May be scaled up or down directly.
Mulled Cider: May be scaled up or down directly.