Whether you need Thanksgiving dinner or a Christmas menu idea, use these 6 dinner meal plans with recipes for a less stressed holiday season!
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I don’t know about you, but meal planning is one of my least favorite holiday tasks. I enjoy creating recipes, but when it comes down to meal planning and putting it together, I always find other things infinitely more interesting. Like decorating and wrapping presents, or watching a festively cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie while wrapped in a soft blanket and sipping a fresh cup of coffee.
With all of the tasks and prep that go into making the season merry and bright, Mrs. Clausee needs quick, easy ideas to avoid analysis paralysis and holiday decision fatigue. This list of meal plan ideas can be used for any holiday dinner and includes brunch recipes, a fondue party, a gourmet menu, a low-carb meal, a make-ahead dinner, and a menu for vegetarians. Here is to enjoying more and stressing less this holiday season!
For more fabulous entertaining tips to stress less this holiday season be sure to check out:
For more fabulous entertaining tips to stress less this holiday season be sure to check out:
This is for the woman who you’ve worked 12 hours the day before your family Christmas. So how about a make ahead Christmas menu idea? These are all recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen. Welcome to the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast with DIY healthy Lifestyle blogger on a former empowering you to transform your life. One imperfect day at a time. This November, we are celebrating all month long in anticipation of the 100th episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. That will air on Tuesday, December 6th with a $100 Amazon gift card. Give away just in time for you to splurge this Christmas guilt-free. You can enter all month long by clicking on the link on the blog in the show notes. If you’re watching on YouTube, click on the description below and there are multiple ways to enter. One of the ways that you can enter is by reviewing the podcast on Apple or iTunes. 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I am here for you and because of you. Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I am your host, Anna Full. I don’t know about you, but meal planning is without a doubt, one of my least favorite holiday tasks. Let’s be real. I actually don’t enjoy meal planning anytime of the year, I just don’t. I’m a creator. I love creating recipes. I love the challenge of pooling stuff together and trying to find something that is healthy and nutritious. Maybe it’s just a dessert that I want to absolutely love. I enjoy the creation process when it actually comes to the humdrum. Let’s like create a meal plan for the week. I am not a fan. I don’t enjoy it at all. Then come holiday season, I always seem to find. Too many other things, infinitely more interesting. like decorating and wrapping presents, or watching a Festively cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie while wrapped in a soft blanket sipping a fresh cup of coffee. Yes, that may have just happened yesterday with all of the tasks and prep that go into making the season merry. Those of us who play Mrs. Claus in the house need quick, easy ideas to stress less and enjoy the holiday more, to avoid analysis paralysis or the decision fatigue that quickly a accompanies the holiday season. It should be a time filled with joy, and I don’t know about you, maybe I’m the only one, but I often have moments where I just feel a little overwhelmed. Because so much of the preparation and the fun rests on my shoulders. This episode is a list of holiday meal plans, six meal plans that I have put together for all different types of dinner ideas. That can be used for any holiday dinner. It could be used for Thanksgiving if you don’t wanna do the traditional Turkey out. It could be used for Christmas, it could be used for New Year’s. It could be used for multiple different holiday meals. One of these meal plans is for brunch. Brunch idea. One is for a fondue party. I’ve already mentioned fondue parties. Of course, one is a gourmet menu if you wanna spice it up a little bit and make it fancier. One is a low carb menu. And one’s a make a head menu. And then the last one is a vegetarian menu. These are all linked, of course, on the blog post, so you can actually get each individual recipe. You can pick and choose between these meal plans if you want to, but let’s chat about these different ideas as well as some that maybe aren’t included that you can incorporate, so that you can stress less this holiday season and watch more. Hallmark movies. That’s right. Very Christmas. Okay. This first menu is a brunch menu idea. Brunch is a really common Christmas tradition. It is actually one of my favorites That is also some of my favorite food. Our brunches, there are four dishes here. The appetizer idea is a fruit salad. This fruit salad is actually from all recipes.com. It’s called Perfect Summer Fruit. The description is that this fruit salad is perfect for a backyard barbecue, or any occasion there are never leftovers. This is one of my favorite fruit salad recipes. It is the key is the citrusy sauce, and the author of the recipe says the salad is tastier the longer you let it soak in the juice, and she recommends three to four hours in the fridge before serving it. This recipe is by Nicole Holly. Again, this is linked, but fruit salad. Dish number one for a brunch menu. I also have a delicious fruit salad recipe, but it’s very, very sweet. The reason that I picked Nicole’s is that it’s more natural. Mine actually, the secret ingredient to my fruit salad is instant vanilla pudding. It is delicious, but I would actually say it is more of a dessert than a true fruit salad. So I like Nicole’s cuz it really is fresh and I would say maybe a more appropriate appetizer. Breakfast casserole. This is from Lauren Allen. It is made with eggs, sausage, and cheese. It only takes a few minutes to throw together. It’s a great option for making ahead of time. And what you do is you put it into a big baking dish that you can then freeze. So many people don’t realize that you can make egg casserole ahead of time and freeze it. I do this all the time. Freeze it. Unc Cook. Don’t freeze it after it’s been cooked. It does not tend to thaw as well, but it bakes perfectly from frozen when it was uncooked. Does that make sense? So let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then you pop it in the oven. It might need a little bit of extra time cuz it’s coming from the fridge, but I do this all the time, especially when we travel. I will freeze deep, freeze a breakfast casserole ahead of time. So this is a great Makea ahead option. The side dish is bacon, but here is the hack. A lot of times people are like, Oh my gosh, bacon takes so much work. It can, It can take work. We cook ours in the oven. If you have not cooked bacon in the oven yet, oh my friend, come to the light. It is so much easier. It perfectly crisps when you do it just right. This recipe is from Lisa Bryan on the website Downshift. And is from Lisa, and she gives this a very, very highly rated recipe. I mean, there’s a million oven baked bacon recipes, but it’s super, super easy. It’s less mess than cooking and on the stove top. And it’s nice because while it’s cooking, you can be getting together your fruit salad, which is maybe a little bit more time consuming. So the side dish for this one is delicious bacon in the oven. All right, the dessert for brunch, if you. This is why I love brunch. Let’s be really honest, is my cinnamon roll recipe. It is an easy bread machine, croissant dough, first of all, that makes this recipe so good. You add a doop of homemade whipped icing and it is to die for. This is the best cinnamon roll recipe, and I would argue that it is right up there. It is right up there with ci. I love it. I love it. It is so good. You will not be disappointed. So the fourth dish for the breakfast brunch idea for your holiday menu is the best cinnamon rule recipe. You definitely wanna check that out. So to recap, we have for the brunch menu, fruit salad, breakfast casserole, oven, bacon, and bread machine, cinnamon rolls that are to die. The second fun holiday menu I have already done an entire podcast on, so I won’t dive into this a lot, but it is my fondue menu idea again. I have already done a whole podcast on why you need to start a fondue party for a really cool holiday tradition, so I won’t dive into that, but. Not shockingly, the menu includes a cranberry gin fizz. I always make a like a cocktail drink at the beginning. It’s very similar to this recipe. I actually don’t have my recipe on the blog yet, I realized. But this cranberry gin fizz looks very. Similar. Obviously it includes the cranberry juice and like a ginger oil fizz, which is very similar to what I make. And then my triple cheese fondue with all of the Dipper recommendations and the chocolate fondue. If you have not downloaded my ultimate fondue guide, you can now get it for free. For free. There is all of the holiday planning there. Grocery list. There’s a music playlist actually that is included that you can download for depending on the holiday or the season, and all the recipes are included. My Atmosphere guide, you’ve not gotten that yet. All you have to do is just put your email at the link. You can click on the link in the notes and then put your email in there and it’ll come. Holiday planning made easy. So the second menu idea is the fondue menu. I would be remiss if I left that out cuz it is a holiday favorite of ours. Menu idea number three is a gourmet menu. This has some really fun dishes. If you like to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen or try your hand at a slightly slightly, a slightly fancier. Meal. Then here are some ideas for you with very, very highly rated recipes. So the appetizer dish for this one is garlic shrimp. My mouth is actually watering as I say this. It is a garlic shrimp. It is shrimp that is dipped in a delicious garlic butter. And this is specifically from recipe Tin Eats website, all linked and her secret ingredient. It is a splash of white wine. I have had a dish very similar to this at a really nice restaurant, and I mean this combination is to die for if you like shrimp, obviously, if you are not a seafood eater, then this is not going to be the right choice for you, but this is a great appetizer to start with. The side dish for the slightly more gourmet meal is a delicious recipe for sour cream mash. Potatoes. There are a lot of variations of this particular recipe. This recipe is from Ina Garden, which I only know because I follow Jennifer Garner, and she always hosts this like fake cooking show, which is hilarious that I love. But this is a really delicious looking recipe for sour cream mashed potatoes. There’s a lot of ways that you can fancy this up and you can garnish it with your preferred spices on. A delicious side dish to the main course, which is a recipe from epicurious.com called Turkish Coffee Rubbed brisket, huh? It looks absolutely phenomenal and it sounds phenomenal. Have you ever heard of this? I have actually heard of this, but I don’t know that I have ever tasted it. It looks amazing, but this is not the first time I have heard this concept of actually. Creating a dry rub with coffee. I really should try this recipe. It looks fabulous. I have not tasted it, but I have heard amazing things and this whole meal of all of these actually would be my. Top choice for right over wrong. I guess my tastes run a little bit fancier, but this meal sounds delicious. Maybe it’s because of the dessert. I don’t know. The dessert is a vanilla creme blee. If you ask me what my very, very favorite dessert is, I do enjoy tier masu. Tier masu is up there, but a really good creme brule. Uh, it might be at the. It’s a close tie. I’m not sure, but creme brulee is right up there. This is a really, really good looking recipe from the Food Network for, from Alton Brown for creme brulee. This is such a delicious menu option. Again, be prepared to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen. But for those of you who want to spice it up, a little pun intended, this is a great menu option. You have tried it all, worried you will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed. Want to achieve bat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire food groups from your diet? Well, now you can in the virtual faster way to fat loss. 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Idea number five. This is a low carb holiday menu idea. The appetizer recipe is a mushroom bacon bites. First of all, listen, we wrap anything in bacon and let’s. I understand that for those who don’t love mushrooms, this might not be a great option, but I happen to love mushrooms and bacon, so this is a win. But if you wanna keep something low carb, you can wrap almost any vegetable in bacon, and it’s a fabulous appetizer. So just keep that in mind. If a mushroom does not sound, The main dish is a fabulous recipe from healthy fitness meals.com oven, roasted maple, Turkey breast. It looks absolutely delicious. This doesn’t look dry, which is I think one of the keys for Turkey breast. This is a really, really good roasted recipe. It will be very low carb. In fact, most, now there’s probably some maple on it, so they’ll add a little bit of sugar, but a lot of these oven, roasted Turkey breast recipes are almost no carb and so, so delicious. Side dish is a cheesy cauliflower. Casserole. Basically, we’re looking to replace the typical potato casserole, so it’s basically like a loaded cauliflower casserole recipe. So think loaded potatoes. Instead, we’re using cauliflower. I have not tried this recipe. It is on my to-do list. It is from wholesome yum.com. It looks delicious. It looks really, really good. So it’s basically a loaded cauliflower casserole. Recipe and dessert is a fluffy chocolate moose from the baking chocolates.com. It’s three ingredients. It’s keto friendly, and it also looks very good. I have not tried this one, but all of these recipes were very highly rated. Which is why they made it on here. Some of them I have tried. As I’ve mentioned others I have not tried, but they’re on my to-do list. They’re on my to-do list tho that a cheesy cauliflower casserole looks fabulous. All right, Make a head Christmas menu. I’m sorry. I think I give you the wrong number. This is actually menu idea number five. Make a head Christmas menu. This is for the woman you know who you. Who you’ve worked 12 hours the day before your family Christmas, you can barely stand up straight by the time it is your turn to provide the Christmas meal, right? You’re barely, by the time you got the presents wrapped, you have even thought through your food plan like you’ve barely even gotten home from work. Like I see you, I hear you. This is like everyone in medicine and many other professions. So how about a make ahead Christmas menu? These are all recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen. You all know how passionate I am about deep freezers. We underutilize them stress less by using your deep freezer. It’s also easier for entertaining in any scenario. So the appetizer recipe for this Makea Head Christmas menu is called Sausage Pinwheel. In fact, they’re quite literally called Makea Head sausage. Pin wheels, they have sausage, sweet pepper cream, cheese. They’re like a roll up pinwheel. This really can be frozen bread, freezes really, really well. All the ingredients in this would freeze perfectly, so make them ahead of time and then heat them up prior to serving. Makea head Turkey. This is from the Food Network y’all. Again, this is just a basic Turkey recipe that can be either made ahead of time and reheated prior to serving. The key is making sure you don’t dry out your meat. This is the problem with Makea head meat. You want to be really careful to preserve the juice, and the recipe has tips on keeping it juicy because you do not want dried meat. At least this girl does not want dried. Side dish is a make ahead creamy mashed potato recipe. This is also from all recipes.com, and they have cream cheese in them. These are similar to the gourmet. I mean, you can spice up mashed potatoes and really make them look fancy, but at the end of the day, they’re just mashed potatoes. So these are also a great go to Makea head recipe. Three heats really, really well. Again, make sure that you are finding those really good glass baking freezer dishes. Anchor hockey is my go-to. I have shared that in other podcasts. The dessert for this menu looks amazing. This looks amazing. Perfect for freezing. It is called a Pumpkin Spice heath cake. It has toffy in it, as indicated by the heath. You guys know heath bars that like chocolate toffy bar? It has pumpkin. It is a, It is a whipped dessert. It looks amazing. This would all listen. Can all of you just try out these recipes and then tell me which ones I need to try? They look fabulous, which is not the same as tasting fabulous, but again, all of them highly rated. This is from Southern Living. Seriously, if you guys try any of these recipes this Christmas, drop me a message or tell me in the comments on the blog post or leave a review an Apple and tell me that. I’ll see it. I’ll see it, but please tell me which ones I should try. Let me know. All right. Last but not. My vegetarians out there. Or maybe you have guests coming, you have family coming who are vegetarian, and you’re a dietarian like me, and you’re wondering, what on earth do I cook , other than just straight vegetables for my vegetarian family. Well, girl, I got you covered. I got you covered. Appetizer, spinach artichoke dip. This is delicious. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, and this recipe looks fabulous. This is from delicious.com. I mean, it’s the classic dip and it looks amazing. Put little like toasted pieces of bread or pita chips, like there’s so many options to go with this spinach artichoke dip, the great appetizer option. The main dish is a very yummy recipe that looks, I should say it looks very yummy for impossible Burger meatloaf. You guys may or may not have heard of these impossible burgers. It’s basically burgers made out. All vegetarian ingredients. There’s no meat. They’re meatless. Side note, not the point of this podcast, but this is why you need to read your labels. It is not inherently better for you when you actually look at the labels and the fat, the carbohydrates in these burgers. Make sure you are being conscious of. The calories that you are consuming and the quality of them. I mentioned this before in my protein podcast series, the challenge for vegetarians, you should not be going over 50% of your daily calories of carbs, meaning 50% of your daily calories should be carbs and no more. This is why a lot of vegetarians are still diabetic or they’re pre-diabetic, or they are overweight. Or have excess body fat percentage because you are not consuming enough protein, you can, You still have to get enough protein. Your body needs those nine essential amino acids. So, side note, be sure to check out this podcast. This does look very, very good. Maybe it’s just cuz it looks like meat. Oh, Carissa Vegan Kitchen. That is where this recipe is from. It really, it does look good, and she claims it tastes just like your mom’s classic meatloaf. Somebody try this and let me know if that is true so I can add this to my arsenal. It sure looks good. Give it a try and let me know. Side dish, balsamic glazed cauliflower steaks. This is genius. This is from eating well.com, but it’s basically, they’re like balsamic, Parmesan, cauliflower. They look like a shape of a steak. Excellent side dish idea again is sort of like a twist on potato options, although that would certainly be vegetarian as well. But I this like was an out of the box, like your guests would be like, Oh my gosh, wow, this is amazing. And it would be something that they’ve maybe never had before and they do not look super difficult. So balsamic glazed cauliflower steaks. Last but not least, no bake white chocolate pepper. Cheesecake. Now, if you are not consuming animal products of any type, I fully recognize this might not fit the list. There are other dessert options out there, but if you’re truly just trying to go meat lists, this is certainly a great, a great option. There are also dairy free cream cheese options. Approach with caution if you are not used to eating that. I personally nearly threw up the first time I tried one of those. Funny story, I was at a restaurant with my girlfriends and I totally missed that their cheesecake was vegan, which meant of course, that there was not like normal dairy based cream cheese. I in my ignorance very nicely, called the waitress over. I was like, I is this like, did something go bad with the cream cheese? Because it just, it does not taste right. That was my nice way of saying, Oh, I nearly threw up eating your cheesecake. Bless or heart. She’s like, Well, I mean, I think it’s just using all the normal like vegan ingredients. And I was like, Oh my word miss. That. Totally missed that , so, Yes. Anyway, all in balance. All in balance. This does look like a very, very yummy recipe, obviously. And hey, listen, if you’re vegan and you have like a fabulous your favorite, go-to dessert. Share it. Share it. So I have. These recipes that I can share with you all because again, like this is not the normal diet in our house. So I’m basically going off of what you guys tell me is a tried and true recipe, or even scarier. What the internet is telling me is a tried and true recipe helping you to Stressless and enjoy your holiday season more because I see. You busy, busy women. I see you the misses, clauses of all of our households getting all the things done to make this holiday season amazing for our families. I hope. One of these menus might help you out, or at least a couple of the recipes, give you some fresh ideas to enjoy this holiday season and the time around the table because food was meant to be enjoyed. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. 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