It’s already December and Christmas is just around the corner. For most families, the feast begins on Thanksgiving and lasts up to the New Year. It’s always good to go home to family and spend Christmas with good company and good food. Here at XENlife, we have featured some great recipes, but it doesn’t hurt to learn more for the holidays. Some are traditional dishes and some are fun ways to prepare old favourites with a twist of Christmas-themed fun. Whatever mood you’re going for the Holidays, these Christmas recipes will surely make everything perfect and delicious.

Appetizers

Swedish Meatballs

½ lb of ground pork

½ lbs of ground turkey

1 tbsp of unsalted butter

½ finely chopped medium onion

1/3 cup of milk

2 teaspoons of dry sherry

½ teaspoon of mustard powder

1 tbsp of honey

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper

½ cup of sour cream

3 tbsp of cranberry preserves

Vegetable oil

Chopped fresh dill as toppings

Pickled cucumber for serving

Melt the butter using a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with salt and cook until brown or for 6 minutes. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix ½ cup of bread crumbs and milk, then set aside until milk is totally absorbed or for 2 minutes. Stir in the sherry and mustard powder in a large bowl  until it is completely dissolved. Beat one egg and add the milk-soaked bread crumbs, onion, pork, turkey, honey all spice salt and pepper. Mix gently using your hands until well combined.

Dampen your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking. Form the mixture into 36 small meatballs or about 1 tablespoon each. Line it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

After refrigeration, whisk the remaining 2 eggs, 1 cup of bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Dip each meatball into the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs before returning them to the baking sheet. In a separate large saucepan, heat about 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil over medium heat or until it reaches 160 C. Fry the meatball in batches until golden brown and thoroughly cooked or for 3-4 minutes. Drain and place in paper towel to drain excess oil. Season with salt and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the sour cream and the cranberry preserves and top with dill. To serve, skewer each meatball with a pickled cucumber slice and serve.

Gruyère, Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Bites

4 Oz of  grated gruyère cheese

1 lbs of thawed frozen puff pastry

1 lightly beaten egg

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ¼ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon of dried thyme

1 tbsp of sugar

2 medium thinly sliced onions

4 tbsp of divided salted butter

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

Heat 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter using a large iron skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes until cooked. Remove and set aside. Heat the remaining butter and oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and sugar and continue to cook for 25 minutes over medium low and stir every 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar to glaze the pan and to allow the onion to soak up the vinegar. After that, add the onions to the mushroom mixture, then allow to cool to room temperature. Add the gruyère cheese and mix well. Preheat oven to 200 C and position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds in the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the puff pastry into 2 inch squares and line them onto the baking sheet. Brush beaten eggs into the squares and then place a tablespoon of the caramelized onion  mix into the centre. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway until the pastry is crispy and golden brown. You can serve it hot or you can let it cool before serving.

Ham and Cheese Croquet

1 cup of thinly sliced ham

½ cup of grated white cheddar cheese

½ teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme

3 small smashed cloves of garlic

3 tbsp of unsalted butter

½ cup of chopped onion

¾ cup of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of milk

1 pack of 10oz of frozen peas

¾ cup of low-sodium chicken broth

Vegetable oil

2 large beaten eggs

1 sleeve of crushed saltines

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft or for about 5 minutes. Add ½ cup of flour, ½ teaspoon of salt and cayenne pepper, cook while stirring for about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk the milk to make a smooth paste. Stir until the batter becomes a ball or for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and then stir in the ham, thyme and cheese. Spread the mixture evenly into an 8 inch square baking pan. Let it cool and then refrigerate for 45 minutes.

For the pea sauce, boil 3 cups of water and garlic in a saucepan. Add the peas and cook until thawed or for 3 seconds. Drain the peas and then transfer them to a blender. Add the broth and the lemon zest and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 170 C over medium-high heat. Place the remaining flour, saltine crumbs and eggs in 3 separate dishes. Cut the chilled dough into 20 pieces of 4 inch-long croquettes. Dredge each in the flour, then dip in the egg and finish it by rolling them into the saltines. Fry the croquettes in batches until they are golden brown. Drain and place in paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the pea sauce.

Brie Bites With Sugared Cranberries

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of water

3 2×1 inch strips of orange zest

8oz of fresh cranberries

4 tbsp of cranberry sauce

24 thin slices of Brie cheese

24 crackers of your choice

Mint leaves for garnish

To make the syrup, boil 1 cup of granulated sugar, orange zest and water using a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Pour the syrup over the cranberries and if needed keep the cranberries covered with syrup. Refrigerate until chilled or for at least 4 hours. Once the berries are chilled, drain the cranberries using a colander but save and reserve the syrup for another use.

Roll the cranberries into the remaining sugar in a small bowl until the berries are fully coated. Work in small batches to prevent the sugar to moisten and getting too sticky. Place cranberries on a baking sheet and let it dry for about an hour. To assemble, place crackers on a platter, add a slice of bread on each cracker then spread ½ teaspoon of the cranberry relish on top. Garnish with the sugared cranberries and a sprig of mint.

Toasted Ravioli

1 lbs of meat or cheese ravioli

3 large beaten eggs

2 cups of bread crumbs

1 tsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary

3 tbsp of finely chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

½ grated Parmesan cheese

Marinara sauce for dipping

Spread ravioli on a baking sheet. Whisk eggs and milk in a shallow dish, then mix the bread crumbs, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip the ravioli in the egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the ravioli back to the baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet to 180 C. Fry the ravioli in batches until golden brown. After frying transfer to a paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle immediately with Parmesan and serve with the marinara sauce.

Main Dishes

Simple But Perfect Roast Turkey

1 whole turkey

½ cup of unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

8 cups of prepared stuffing

1 ½ quarts of turkey stock

Preheat oven to 160 C and then place rack in the lowest position of the oven. Remove the giblets and neck. Rinse the turkey and pat  dry using paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the turkey’s body cavity with the prepared stuffing, then rub the skin with the softened butter. Season with salt and pepper, then position an aluminium foil ten over the turkey.

Place the turkey in the oven and pour 2 cups of turkey stock into the roasting pan bottom. Baste the turkey every 30  minutes with the juices collected. If the dripping evaporates, add stock to moisten, about 2 cups at a time. Remove the foil after 2 ½ hours and then roast on a lower heat for about 4 hours. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and let it cool for 30 minutes before eating.

Old Fashioned Glazed Ham

1 14lbs of cooked and smoked, cured ham

¾ pineapple juice

2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme

¾ cup of Dijon mustard

½ cup of light brown sugar

2o pineapple rings (canned)

½ cup of maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 180 C and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Mix the Dijon mustard, thyme and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place the ham in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub the ham with the mustard glaze, then our the pineapple juice into the bottom of the pan. Bake ham for 2 hours and brushing every 20 minutes with the pineapple juice. Remove ham after baking, then turn up oven temperature to 200 C. Use toothpicks to decorate ham with the pineapple rings. Put the cherries in the pineapple holes. Sprinkle the pineapple with brown sugar, then return to the oven uncovered and bake until the pineapples turn to light brown. Remove ham from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

2 Hour Turkey

1 12lbs thawed turkey

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 tsp of salt

1 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning

1 quartered onion

8 sprigs of fresh parsley

1 tsp dried rosemary

2 quartered oranges

1 large sliced onion

1 cup of white wine

½ cup of cognac

1 14.5 Oz can of chicken broth

½ cup of tomato juice

After thawing turkey, let it allow to stand for 45 minutes until it reaches room temperature. Preheat oven to 220 C. Place a rack at the lowest position in the oven, then line a large turkey roasting pan using a heavy-duty aluminium foil. Spray the aluminium lining with cooking spray.

To prepare the turkey, remove the neck and the giblets then wash thoroughly. Dry turkey using paper towels and rub it with vegetable oil. Season the whole turkey with the lemon pepper seasoning. Season the internal cavity with salt and place the quartered onion, parsley, oranges and rosemary. Loosely tie the legs and fold the turkey wings. Place the turkey in the roasting pan and place the neck and giblets around the bird together with  remaining carrots and onions. In a separate saucepan, mix the cognac, white wine, chicken broth and the tomato juice and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Pour half of the liquid in the turkey cavity and the other half over the turkey with the heavy-duty aluminium foil making a tent. Be sure the foil is tightly crimped at the pan’s edges to completely seal the turkey.

Roast turkey for 1 hour then remove the turkey from the oven. Fold back the foil to expose the turkey, then reduce oven temperature to 200 C and roast for another hour until it turn golden brown and the juices run clear. Remove turkey from the oven, then cover the bird with aluminium foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Lamb With Christmas Spices

1 ½ kg of lean lamb neck fillets, cut into chunks

2 large finely chopped onions

5 sliced garlic cloves

5 cm of shredded fresh ginger

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 cinnamon sticks

8 cloves

6 cardamom pods

A pinch of saffron

2 bay leaves

2 tsp of ground coriander

3 tbsp of ground almonds

850ml of beef stock

250g of ready to eat apricots

Fry the onions, ginger and garlic for 15 minutes. Add the lamb and stir fry until they are brown. Add the other spices and cook until the flavours are released. Add the almonds and stock. Let it simmer and season to tastes. Cover pan and let it simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the apricots and let it simmer for another 15 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Adda bit of water to thin the sauce if it gets too thick. Serve hot.

Cioppino

1lb of scrubbed manila clams

1lb of scrubbed and debearded mussels

1lb of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ lbs of firm fleshed fish fillets, cut into chunks

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 large thinly sliced fennel bulb

1 chopped onion

3 chopped large shallots

2 tsp of salt

4 finely chopped large garlic

¾ tsp of crushed dried pepper flakes

¼ cup of tomato paste

1 28oz can of diced tomatoes

1 ½ cup of dry white wine

5 cups of fish stock

1 bay leaf

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, shallots and salt. Sauté until onion is translucent or for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ¾ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes with their juices, wine, bay leaf fish stock. Cover pot and bring it to simmer until all the flavours blend or for about 30 minutes. Add the clams and the mussels, cover until the  mussels and clams begin to open or for about 5 minutes. Add the fish and shrimps and let it simmer until they are cooked. Stir gently and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Serve hot.

Roast Chicken With Herbed Tomato Rice

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 diced red onion

8 sprigs of thyme

¼ cup of chopped parsley leaves

2 tbsp of chopped basil leaves

2 cups of long grain white rice

2 cups of tomato puree

4 cups of chicken stock

Steamed vegetables

Preheat oven to 200 C. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Using a deep, heavy-based frying pan, heat oil to high. Once oil is hot, cook chicken and cook, skin side down for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken skin is golden brown. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Add the thyme and onion to the frying pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the basil, parsley, stock and the tomato puree. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and then transfer to an oven dish.

Place the chicken skin side up, over the rice mixture and season with salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for about 35 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the steamed vegetables and enjoy.

Desserts

Trifle

1 pint of fresh sliced strawberries

3 peeled, sliced kiwis

3 peeled and sliced bananas

1 15oz can crushed pineapple, drained

1 sprig of fresh mint

1 9” angel food cake

1 8oz container of sour cream

1 12oz container of thawed whipped cream

1 3.4Oz package of instant vanilla pudding mix

Fold sour cream and the unprepared pudding mix into the whipped topping. Cut the cake into horizontal 1/3 slices. Get a large trifle or any other glass serving bowl, line it with the kiwi and strawberry slices. Place one layer of cake in the bottom, then top it with 1/3 of the bananas and pineapple and another 1/3 of whipped topping mixture. Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are used. Make fan garnishes with the remaining strawberries and kiwis. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Yule Log

2/3 cup of all purpose flour

½ tsp of baking powder

5 eggs

½ tsp of salt

2 1 Oz of unsweetened chocolate

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp coffee-flavoured liqueur

2 tbsp of white sugar

¼ tsp of baking soda

4 1oz of semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 8oz package of softened cream cheese

3 cups of confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp of vanilla extract

1tbsp of coffee flavoured liqueur

Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 180 C. Spray a 10×15 inch of jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper. Mix flour, salt and baking powder, sift and then set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for a few minutes until  fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat it further for 1-2 minutes until its thick. Gently fold in the flour mixture.

Melt chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoon of  water and 2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur, sugar and baking soda, the slowly stir in the melted chocolate until smooth. Fold chocolate mixture into the butter thoroughly. Pour the batter mixture into the pan and bake for 180 C for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when the cake is pricked. Sift a layer of confectioner’s sugar over a cloth napkin. Flip the cake over the cloth as soon as it comes out from the oven. Slowly peel off the parchment paper and dust top layer of cake with confectioners sugar. Tim the crispy edges. Don’t true this crispy edge because they are as good and you can have it as  a snack later. Roll the cake up in the cloth and let it cool.

For the frosting and filling, melt chocolate in a small saucepan, then remove from heat when completely melted and let it cool to lukewarm. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and the confectioners sugar until its smooth. Blend in the vanilla extract and the coffee liqueur, then add the melted chocolate. Unroll cake and spread bet ½ of the filling over the surface. Roll the cake again. Before serving, place in a serving tray and generously frost with the chocolate icing using a spatula. Decorate log if desired, then serve.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

½ cup of unsalted butter

½ cup of heavy cream

1 cup of white sugar

1 tsp of vanilla

2 cups of whole cranberries

½ cup of molasses

1 tbsp of white sugar

½ cup of hot water

2 teaspoons of baking soda

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, then stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar and molasses. Once combined, stir in the flour and the cranberries. Mix well and pour into greased 6 cup steamer mould. Cover the mould and place into a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover over medium heat for 1 hour before checking. It will take 1 ½ hours for the pudding to steam. Insert toothpick to check if the pudding is done. Once cooked, loosen the edges and let it cool on a wire rack.

For the sweet sauce, heat unsalted butter, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly until heated through and very smooth. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes and pour into the pudding before serving.

Best Bombshell Brownies

1 ½ cups  of all-purpose flour

1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 eggs

1 tbsp of vanilla extract

3 cups of white sugar

1 cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 9×13 baking dish, then set aside. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, vanilla and sugar. Beat in the eggs, mixing well until everything is thoroughly blended.

Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly stir in the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips, then spread the batter evenly into the baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. After baking, remove from oven and let it cool before cutting.

Rich Chocolate Truffle Pie

1 9 inch prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust

12oz of semi sweet chocolate chips

1 ½ cups of heavy whip cream

¼ cup of sifted confectioners sugar

1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Combine chocolate chips and ½ of cream in a microwave dish, nuke on high for 1-2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Let it cool, then set aside. In a small separate bowl, beat the rest of the cream until a soft peak forms. Stir in chocolate mix on high speed 1/3 at a time. After mixing, spoon into the prepared chocolate crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours then serve.

Christmas Cocktails and Mocktails

Mulled Wine Cocktail

1 750ml bottle of red wine

1 lemon

2 clementines

150ml Cointreau

150ml water

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

100g of light muscovado sugar

Bring to a boil 100g of light muscovado sugar, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 150ml of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stir continuously until sugar is completely dissolved or let it simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a large jug and let it cool. Once cool, add thinly sliced  lemon and 2 clementines to the jug. Pour in the wine and the Cointreau, stir well and cover. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve it chilled with a twist of orange zest.

Chocolate Peppermint Stick

1 ½ Oz of white crème de cacao

1oz cream

1oz peppermint schnapps

Combine everything in a shaker, then shake well with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass the garnish with a small peppermint candy cane. Serve and enjoy

The Mistletoe

1oz of Svedka Cherry

1 splash of sour mix

Tonic Water

Cherry and rosemary sprig

Combine all liquids in a glass and stir. Serve with ice and garnish with a cherry and rosemary sprig.

The Grinch

2oz of Midori

1/2oz of lemon juice

1tsp of simple syrup

Fill cocktail shaker with ice and then pour all ingredients. Shake well and strain into a glass. Garnish the cocktail with maraschino cherry and serve.

The North Pole

1 1/2 Oz of Grey Goose Cherry Noir Flavoured Vodka

1/2 Oz peppermint schnapps

1 Oz heavy cream

1oz chocolate syrup

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and then strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with mini peppermint candy canes.

Enjoy these delicious Christmas foods, and have a happy holiday!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.