Make Christmas Eve Merrier With These 10 Easy & Appetizing Dinner Meal Ideas

12Oaks-grandma bring chicken at table, family sitting by served festive table on Christmas day-ss-Make Christmas Eve Merrier With These 10 Easy _ Appetizing Dinner Meal Ideas-Feature

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Christmas Eve has always been a magical experience.

You remember staying up late, decorating the tree, drinking hot chocolate, and watching timeless classic films. Then, you would go to bed full of joy, falling asleep dreaming of everything Santa would bring in the night. Then, waking up Christmas morning to the aroma of Mom’s blueberry pancakes and Dad building a fire, the holiday felt perfect.

As you’ve gotten older, Christmas Eve has stayed a family tradition with significant others or friends joining. Still, you would never miss it for anything. Unfortunately, your parent’s energy is low this year, and your father’s memory isn’t what it used to be. But you can still create a magical evening with a beautiful gift for everyone: a delicious meal.

So what will you make for this upcoming Christmas? An excellent meal everyone enjoys warms up the cold Christmas night and lights up the family’s jubilation.


Get a Plate of Festive Cheer Ready With These Christmas Eve Dinner Ideas

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

12Oaks-Cauliflower soup in bowl-ss-#1. Creamy Cauliflower Soup


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and black pepper



  1. Prepare the cauliflower. Chop the florets before slicing the core thinly. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until tender and transparent.
  3. Add the garlic and stir, then cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. After combining everything, stir in the vegetable stock, chopped cauliflower, and thyme.
  5. Cook the mixture further until it simmers. Drop the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer the cauliflower for another 20 minutes.
  6. Blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Add salt and black pepper to taste, then stir in the milk and Parmesan.
  8. Serve right away and, if desired, garnish.


Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

12Oaks-Pumpkin spice latte in glass mug with cinnamon-ss-#2. Spiced Pumpkin Mousse


  • 1 (3-4 ounce) package of vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream



  1. Mix the salt, spices, and pudding mix in a large bowl.
  2. Blend whole milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk until creamy.
  3. Whip the heavy cream in a different bowl until stiff peaks form (3 to 4 minutes).
  4. Smoothly combine the pumpkin mixture with two-thirds of the whipped cream.
  5. Add leftover whipped cream on top.
  6. Serve after adding a dash of cinnamon as a garnish.


Pan-fried Salmon

12Oaks-Pumpkin spice latte in glass mug with cinnamon-ss-#2. Spiced Pumpkin Mousse


  • 4 (5-ounce) center-cut salmon filets (1-inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Over low heat, preheat a big nonstick skillet with oil.
  2. Salt and pepper the fish.
  3. Heat the food to a medium-high level.
  4. Put the salmon in the pan with the skin side up.
  5. For each side, cook until golden brown (4 minutes).
  6. If you want the skin to be crisp, flip the fish over and continue cooking it until it feels firm to the touch (3 minutes).
  7. Place on a plate and serve immediately.


Sausage and Fennel Pasta

12Oaks-Homemade Sausage and Fennel Rigatoni-ss-#4. Sausage and Fennel Pasta


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (455 g) of orecchiette
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound (455 g) of Italian sausage
  • 1 bulb of fennel – thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper



  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Boil the pasta as directed on the package.
  3. Drain the pasta, put it in a bowl, and mix with oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Remove the ground pork from the sausage.
  5. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Cook the sausage until well-browned (5 minutes).
  7. Add the sliced fennel to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste, and cook them until softened (about 4 minutes).
  8. Add sausage and spaghetti to the pan and heat them through.


Harissa Butter Steak and Parsley Salad

12Oaks-Fresh Raw Beef Steak. Green and onion parsley-ss-#5. Harissa Butter Steak and Parsley Salad


  • 6 teaspoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons harissa paste
  • ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Two 10- to 12-ounce steaks (1 to 1½ inches thick)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil



  1. Mix the butter, harissa, lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the steaks.
  3. Over medium-high heat, warm the oil in a large skillet.
  4. For medium-rare, cook the steaks for 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning them once.
  5. Place the steaks on a cutting board, then rest for five minutes.
  6. In the meantime, mix the parsley, scallions, lemon juice, and oil in a bowl.
  7. Slice the steaks and place them on plates to serve. Add the butter on top.
  8. Serve alongside the parsley salad.


Spiced Lamb Meatball and Escarole Soup

12Oaks- Spiced Lamb Meatball and Escarole Soup-ss-#6. Spiced Lamb Meatball and Escarole Soup


  • 1¼ pounds of ground lamb
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 2¾ teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1¼ teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup of tomato paste
  • 8 cups of broth
  • 1 large head escarole, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans
  • Lemon wedges for serving



  1. Mix lamb, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, turmeric, and paprika in a big bowl.
  2. Take 1 ounce of the lamb and gently roll it between your palms to form a ball.
  3. Over medium-high heat, warm the oil in a big pot.
  4. Add the meatballs, and then fry them until they are crispy and golden on both sides (7 to 9 minutes).
  5. Place on a plate. Pour out 3 tablespoons of the pan’s grease.
  6. Mix the remaining fat in the pot with the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the final 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  7. Stir while cooking over medium-high heat until the onions are yellow and everything is tender (8 to 10 minutes).
  8. Bring to a boil after adding the broth and one teaspoon of salt.
  9. The soup should now simmer once more after you’ve added the escarole, beans, meatballs, and last 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  10. Cook the meatballs until they are well heated (5 minutes).


Roasted Lamb With Cranberry Sauce

12Oaks-Baked meat with cranberry sauce and thyme-ss-#7. Roasted Lamb With Cranberry Sauce


  • 1.7 – 2 kg leg of lamb
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Salad leaves, to serve
  • 275 g whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup of cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons of grainy mustard
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh mint



  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Use a small, sharp knife to make 12 slits in the lamb.
  3. Cut a bit of rosemary and a slice of garlic to fit into each slit.
  4. Add the oil, salt, and pepper to taste, and place the lamb in a big roasting pan.
  5. Roast in the oven for an hour.
  6. Combine the mustard, cranberry sauce, and juice in a small bowl.
  7. Take the lamb out after an hour.
  8. For medium rare, brush the glaze over the meat and bake it for 30 minutes.
  9. Mix the mint into the remaining glaze.
  10. Serve the lamb with the glaze and salad leaves on the side.


Baked Ginger and Lemon Chicken

12Oaks-chicken breast with spices, ginger, lemon and garlic-ss-#8. Baked Ginger and Lemon Chicken


  • 1 fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 20 ounces of chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1 lemon, zested, then sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Steamed rice
  • Kale, broccoli, or green beans
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced



  1. Set the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken in the marinade; add the onion quarters.
  4. Roast the chicken until it is tender (30 minutes).
  5. Cook the rice and get the greens ready for serving while you wait.
  6. Before putting the chicken back in the oven, drain any juices into a small pot.
  7. Add butter, honey, and lemon zest to the juices.
  8. The chicken should be cooked until the juices flow clear (5 to 10 minutes).
  9. Fry the shallots over medium heat until golden.
  10. Add salt and pepper, stir-fry for about 5 minutes, and serve.


Greek Chicken and Rice Skillet

12Oaks-ONE POT GREEK CHICKEN and RICE-ss-#9. Greek Chicken and Rice Skillet


  • 6 chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of long-grain rice
  • 2½ cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup of green olives
  • ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup of chopped fresh parsley



  1. Turn the oven on to 375°F.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs.
  3. Combine the dried oregano, garlic powder, and lemon zest in a small bowl.
  4. Evenly rub the mixture over the chicken.
  5. Sear the chicken until well-browned in olive oil over medium heat (7 to 9 minutes).
  6. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  7. After adding the rice and cooking it for a minute, add salt.
  8. Simmer the mixture after adding the chicken broth.
  9. Add the lemon juice and fresh oregano after stirring.
  10. Once the rice has soaked up all the liquid and the chicken is cooked, place the pan in the oven (20 minutes).


Mini Christmas Pudding Truffles

12Oaks-Woman rolling homemade chocolate truffles in her hands-ss-#10. Mini Christmas Pudding Truffles


  • 750g of pudding or fruitcake
  • 100g of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy (optional)
  • 200g of white chocolate, chopped
  • 12 red glace cherries, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 12 green glace cherries, quartered and thinly sliced



  1. Break the pudding or fruitcake and mix until it forms coarse crumbs.
  2. Put the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Stir the mixture until it smooths out and the ingredients combine.
  4. Before stirring, add the brandy and melted chocolate to the crumbled pudding or fruitcake.
  5. Using the baking paper, line a tray. Place the mixture on the prepared tray by rolling the dough into balls.
  6. Place in the fridge and cool for 45 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, set a bowl over a pan of simmering water with the white chocolate inside. Stir the chocolate until it becomes smooth.
  8. Use the cherry slices as decorations.


We understand curating a Christmas menu can be stressful and want to help your family keep the focus on what matters most. So instead of focusing on Christmas meal ideas, look back on what this holiday means to your family. This holiday season is another time of year we are incredibly thankful for our relatives’ wisdom and support.

Your local 12 Oaks community is an extension of your family. Every holiday season is another opportunity for us to connect and spread cheer. We work closely with our nutritionists to serve dishes for all dietary needs. When you join the 12 Oaks family, we support you in continuing your traditions and look towards a bright future together.


If you have questions about Christmas Eve dinner ideas or any conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.


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