Favorite Recipes for Christmas

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If you haven’t planned your Christmas menu yet, now’s a good time to do so. You can shop the sales in the coming weeks and save money on the feast! Here are our favorite recipes for Christmas.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

This days since Thanksgiving have been a blur for me. I’ve been throwing most of my work hours at my new course that I hope to launch at the turn of the year, so there haven’t been many more minutes to post here.

Life at home has been equally busy. The kids have one more week of classes; this weekend we’re pulling together gifts for their science and CBS teachers.

Before I know it, Christmas will be here!

I’m trying to spread out my holiday tasks so that a few things get done every few days. We got our tree over the weekend and the kids decorated it on Sunday. Last night I wrapped presents while watching White Christmas. Today I spent time at the post office, getting packages off to friends and family.

I have also been furiously stocking up on holiday grocery sales. (Grocery Geek post for November is coming soon; I promise!) It crossed my mind that it is about time to start planning our holiday meals. We have several traditions — and several favorite recipes for Christmas. Here’s what we’ll be including in our line-up.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas Eve

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Homemade Tamales

Years ago, my husband suggested that we learn to make tamales. Every year since then, tamales have been featured as our traditional Christmas Eve meal. In the past, I’ve made them in advance and frozen them. But, since they taste out-of-this-world amazing when they are fresh out of the steamer, I think this year we’ll make them ON Christmas Eve.

I’m planning to make a pork-filled version as well as this easy cheater version with corn and chiles.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Mexican Rice

In addition to tamales, we usually have beans and Mexican rice. It doesn’t take long to prepare and it tastes amazing!

Get the recipe for Mexican Rice here.

Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad

Since I like to make sure that we’re getting some vegetables amid the heavy holiday fare, this year I’ll be serving my favorite Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad (pictured below). It mixes up in minutes and features cabbage which is a cheap, seasonal vegetable.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Poblano Chile Enchiladas

Another major favorite of ours is Poblano Chile Enchiladas. I usually make these meatless, though the picture above does include chicken. Making them meatless keeps them super economical. The spicy roasted chiles make sure they have lots of flavor.

Get the recipe for Poblano Chile Enchiladas here.

So far, this is just our Christmas Eve meal. For dessert, we’ll top things off with a dig into the Christmas Cookie Stash. While I haven’t finalized my list, I know that Snowball Cookies, Chocolate Mint Snow-top Cookies, and Cranberry Christmas Cookies will be in the mix. And, of course, Jesus Cookies!

Favorite Recipes for Christmas Day

Christmas Day is one of family, fun, and feasts. I usually put some basic breakfast fare in the kids’ stockings so that they can munch on something before we have breakfast.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Orange Cinnamon Rolls

We start the day with Orange Cinnamon Rolls. It’s fun to make these really ginormous. As big as your head if you can swing it. 😉

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Ham and Gruyere Quiche

I’ll also serve a couple quiche to add a little savory to our sweet. You know that you can make quiche in advance and freeze it, right? I’ll make these quiches this week and slide them in the freezer. Then I only have to bake them on Christmas morning.

Get my favorite Ham and Gruyere Quiche recipe here.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Snacky lunch

I know I’m not going to want to spend all day cooking, so we’ll have a snacky lunch. This is super easy to pull together and everyone loves it.

Click here to see what we include in a snacky lunch.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Grilled Steak or Tri-tip

We often have ham for our main Christmas meal, but this year, I’ll veer from the norm since we’re already going to have ham in our morning meal.

Grilled steak or tri-tip is a fun little splurge. I bought some steaks on sale a few weeks ago! I’ll douse them with my favorite spicy rub and throw them on the grill. It’s been in the 60s recently, so I think the weather will be fine for grilling.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Easy Garlic Green Beans

Garlicky green beans are one of my go-to side dishes. I keep a regular stock of frozen french beans on hand to whip this up quickly and easily.

Grab the recipe for Easy Garlic Green Beans.

Favorite Recipes for Christmas | Good Cheap Eats

Parmesan Potato Coins

These Parmesan Potato Coins are so simple to make, but they are practically addicting, they are so good. They are also a little less rich than the scalloped potatoes I usually serve. We need to go just a little lighter this year. Maybe we’ll have scalloped potatoes for New Year’s. 😉

Buche de Noel 009

Buche de Noel

Our traditional Christmas dessert is a Buche de Noel. It’s a fun French tradition that I like to keep going when I can.

Find my cheater directions for the Buche de Noel here.


What are YOUR favorite recipes for Christmas?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Joey Devine says

    Happy Holidays Jessica to you and yours, and thank you for your great tasting recipes, the potatoe coins look like a hit, can’t wait to make them,
    Happy new year…..

  2. Sandi says

    Since I didn’t see a link for the Parmesan Potato Coins in this post, I’ll add it: https://goodcheapeats.com/2016/05/parmesan-potato-coins/

    • Thanks, Sandi. WordPress has been wonky on me. Two links disappeared from the post. I’ve added them both back in.

  3. Alice E says

    Happy Holidays to all your family, Jessica. It is interesting seeing what others have at holidays. For my husband it is pumpkin pie that makes it special. There are foods that have meaning for me, but I don’t necessarily fix them all each year. I have learned through the years to take it easier and enjoy the season.

    But, I definitely remember them all at this time of year; My mother always made lots of cookies for Christmas. Always beautifully decorated ones, but also others such as brown sugar drops with browned butter glaze and either a pecan half or half a candied cherry on top. Also date bars with a date filling sandwiched between layers of brown sugar spritz cookie dough or date pinwheels made with the date filling and the brown sugar cookie dough. Also spritz cookies, the regular version and sometimes brown sugar spritz or chocolate spritz using the camel or dog shapes. She also made other cookies as well sometimes, but those are the ones I especially remember and the date bars were my all time favorite.

    She also always made a Swedish tea ring for Christmas morning decorated with red and green candied cherries. The main meal was always turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy with of course a vegetable, fruit salad and pies for dessert. Of course she also always had a relish tray with pickles, green and black olives and carrot and celery sticks. Sometimes it was celery fans and carrot curls.

    My Grandmother always made penuche and fruitcake. I’m thinking about trying penuche again this year. It wasn’t a great success last time although it still tasted good, but I have a new candy thermometer and may try again this year. It is an old fashioned cooked brown sugar fudge with none of the more modern shortcuts to fudge making, but oh the memories! So most years I try to do a few of the special things.

    For me the most special part of Christmas is setting up the nativity scene that we bought our first year together, everything else is optional and fun. I try to listen to lots of carols and remember why we are celebrating.

    May you and yours have a special and joyful time.

    • KS says

      I enjoyed reading this comment, especially about the relish trays. Memories!

    • Sally says

      I would love to have recipe for all the brown sugar cookies and variations. Date bars and date pinwheels are favorites of mine and the brown sugar drops sound very interesting!

      • Alice E says

        Here is the recipe for the Brown Sugar Drop cookies and glaze. As with the spritz cookies, Mom frequently used butter and I recommend it for better taste and health. Also, since she sifted flour before measuring it, I recommend you don’t add all the flour until you bake a test few cookies to see if you need it. These shouldn’t be too flat a cookie and I make the glaze a bit stiff so that it doesn’t drip. Mom used these rolled out for the date pinwheels and spread the dough thinly for the bottom layer of date bars then used the bar form with the cookie press for the top layer. It is a bit more substantial than the spritz version when she used the bar for both the top and bottom layer of the date bars. I don’t have her recipe for date filling, but think any recipe you have used successfully would work. I have several I am planning to try in the future.

        Brown Sugar Drop Cookies

        ! c. Brown sugar
        1 c. Sugar
        1 c. Shortening
        1 tsp. Vanilla
        3 Eggs
        1 tsp. Baking Soda
        1 tsp. Baking Powder
        ½ tsp. Cream of Tartar
        ½ tsp. Salt
        4 c. Flour

        Mix by conventional method. Drop by teaspoons. Bake at 350 F.

        For fancy cookies on special occasions; frost with Burnt Butter glaze and top with candied cherry half, decorations or halves of nuts (pecans).

        Burnt Butter Glaze

        (Use for Brown Sugar Drop Cookies. This is basically a brown butter glaze, despite the name on the recipe card.)

        2 Tblsp. Butter heated until golden brown
        1/2 teaspoon vanilla
        2 cup sifted powdered sugar
        1/4 cup canned milk

        Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Keep covered with Camp cloth until used.

        Milk, or light cream will work. For white icing melt but don’t brown butter, for chocolate add 1/4 a cup of instant cocoa mix.

        • Sally says

          Alice, again, thanks so much for the recipes! Before you posted these I googled “Brown Sugar Drop Cookies” and found a recipe that the blogger said came from a 1950s Betty Crocker Cookbook. Well, I have a 1950s Betty Crocker Cookbook. The Brown Sugar Drop Cookie is a variation of their Sour Cream Drop Cookie, which is very similar to the sugar cookie I make most often. I also found a chocolate variation. Both the brown sugar and chocolate variations give the option of adding nuts. By the way, the frosting for the brown sugar variation is called Burnt Butter Icing.

          I’m going to try both your brown sugar drop cookie and the Betty Crocker version (probably not before Christmas!). I’m also going to experiment a little. I love the combination of brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and orange. I’ll add some cinnamon and orange zest to the cookie dough and possibly use orange juice instead of milk in the icing.

    • Sally says

      I would love to have recipe for all the brown sugar cookies and variations. Date bars and date pinwheels are favorites of mine and the brown sugar drops sound very interesting!

      The relish trays were as close to “appetizers” as my family got.

      • Sally says

        Oops! Sorry for the double post!

      • Alice E says

        We didn’t do appetizers either, except for an occasional small glass of tomato juice.

        Here is the recipe for the brown sugar spritz cookies. It is basically the caramel cookie recipe from the little recipe booklet Mirro included with the cookie press.

        The original recipe calls for shortening, but I know Mom frequently used butter instead after all we had our own butter. Also she always sifted the flour before she measured it. I generally just stir it until loose in the canister and the spoon it into the cup and level it, but I have learned not to use all the flour until I know I need it so I added the instruction to indicate you may not need all the flour.
        Brown Sugar Spritz Cookies

        1 c. Shortening or butter
        1/2 c. Brown sugar
        1 c. Sugar
        2 Eggs – beaten
        2 tsp. Vanilla
        3¾ c. Flour
        1 tsp. Salt
        ½ tsp. Baking Soda

        Cream shortening or butter, add the gradually and cream together thoroughly. Be sure there are no lumps in the brown sugar, as they will cause problems putting the dough through the cookie press. Add the beaten eggs and the vanilla.

        Sift flour, measure and combine 3 cups with the soda and salt and add to creamed mixture. Add as much of the remaining ¾ cup of flour as you need to have a soft and pliable dough. Fill a cookie press and form designs on an ungreased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

        Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes.

        • Sally says

          I remember the tomato juice, too — sometimes with a wedge of lemon.

          Thank you so much for both recipes. I’ll be trying them soon

    • These sound like beautiful traditions! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sandi says

      I love hearing what other people do. I’d never heard of a celery curl before but Google helped me out and now I’ve learned something that sounds like a great way to add functional decoration. thanks for sharing!

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