Elegant & Easy Holiday Dinner Ideas: 3 Course for the Festive Season
I’m going to show you some easy holiday dinner ideas. We’re going to make an elegant, beautiful holiday meal together all on a budget. You don’t need to sacrifice anything to create a holiday meal on a budget. You just need to get creative.
Presentation is everything, so lay out your best tablecloth. Decorate your tablescape with some festive elements. I trimmed off some of the back bottom pieces of our Christmas tree and laid them out on the table. Candles are a great way to elevate your tablescape.
I also dried some orange slices. To make dried orange slices just put them in a 200-degree oven for about 6 to 8 hours, and you'll have wonderfully dried citrus to adorn your table with.
I have so many linen napkins, but I don't own any napkin rings, so I decided to make my own. I bought some red ribbon from Dollar Tree and used it to tie a knot halfway down the napkin.
I found little bells at Dollar Tree as well. I looped the bells around the ribbon and tied them off. Putting together a beautiful and elegant tablescape does not have to be costly.
Loaded hummus appetizer
Let’s start preparing the meal with an appetizer of loaded hummus. Drain a can of chickpeas into a cup. You are going to be using part of that liquid to make the hummus.
Add the chickpeas to a small food processor. You could also do this in a blender. Add about ¼ cup of that liquid to the blender, as well as about ½ teaspoon of garlic salt.
You may notice that your hummus will require some more liquid, and that's fine. Just add a little bit more of that chickpea liquid to the blender until you get a nice hummus consistency.
Go ahead and refrigerate your hummus because we will be using it later.
Now we're going to focus on the toppings. The first thing you'll do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I like to roast a frozen bag of butternut squash for about 30 to 40 minutes. Add some olive oil and garlic salt, and you're good to go.
Next, we're going to sauté an onion. I like to caramelize the onion. Keep the heat very low, so that you do not burn the onion. Stir occasionally, and before you know it, it will be the most beautiful, caramelized color. The onions are going to be spectacular on top of this dip.
Once you're ready to assemble, find a serving platter and spread your hummus out. Now place your caramelized onions over the top. I like to try and sprinkle them on. Sprinkle your cooled butternut squash over the top.
For additional toppings, I like to add chopped spinach and craisins for a little sweetness. Drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the top and you're good to go.
For our main course, we are going to make an elevated creamy pasta. This is a delicious dish. It starts with Italian sausage. If you're whole-food, plant-based like me and don't eat Italian sausage, try using a plant-based meat alternative.
I wanted to use festive-colored vegetables for this dish, so we're going to start off with zucchini.
While that cooks, we're going to make our creamy sauce. Take 3 cups of vegetable broth, and 8oz of cream cheese, dairy or non-dairy. Add ¼ teaspoon of thyme, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Blend it up and add it to the sauce to let it thicken. Season it with salt and pepper. It’s that easy. To make the dish more festive, I add some chopped tomatoes at the end.
No meal is complete without fresh veggies. Make a simple spinach salad and add some cucumbers and craisins. Drizzle the top with a balsamic glaze dressing to elevate the dish. Always sprinkle a little parsley like you would see in a restaurant. I also like to add some chopped olives on top.
Pudding is an elegant, inexpensive dessert to make, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry. Put 3 cups of milk in a saucepan. I'm using soy milk, ⅔ cup of sugar, and ½ a cup of cocoa powder.
In a separate little bowl, I have ¼ cup of water, and I'm adding 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. You want to whisk this together very well so that there are no clumps. Keep all the ingredients cool to room temperature until everything is mixed.
Whisk all the ingredients together and put them on the flame. Use a spatula and stir the pudding often. You don't want anything to burn on the bottom. It only takes about five minutes for the pudding to thicken. Add a little vanilla at the end and you're done.
You will need to let the pudding cool, so definitely make this ahead of time. Place it in a bowl and put some Saran Wrap over the top. You want the Saran Wrap to touch the pudding so that a film does not form on the top.
Dollar Tree sells fancy looking disposable cups that are perfect for this dessert. I put a cookie at the bottom of the cup. You can use any store bought cookie that you'd like. Place some pudding at the bottom of the cup on top of the cookie.
Add some whipped cream and fresh berries. Then layer on some more pudding and repeat the process. Adorn the top of your little pudding parfait with another cookie and a raspberry. Your dessert is ready to be served.
Easy holiday dinner ideas
I am so pleased with the results. This is a beautiful, healthy meal and the presentation really helps to add a festive feel. Thank you for joining me today as we created an elegant meal together on a budget.
Are you happy with how your meal came out? Tell me in the comments.