If you are like me, we do the same foods year after year. Don't get me wrong, I love this! That said, sometimes it's nice to switch it up and try something new. Full disclosure, I am NOT open to not having turkey dinner on Christmas day but I love mixing up the regular programming on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and for my holiday parties and family dinners.
Here are a few of my favourite alternative menu ideas for the holidays...
A few years ago we had a seafood feast and it was so delish and such a nice change! The great thing about a seafood feast is it is so different from the 'meat and potatoes' meals we are used to and if feels really special.
1 lb large shrimp shelled and deveined
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice fresh squeezed
1 tsp ginger grated
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 Tbls sugar
2 thinly sliced green onions
Add the butter, soy, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Let it come to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then take it off the heat, stir in the green onions, and let cool at room temp.
Place the shrimp and marinade in a bowl covered in plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours, but no longer.
If using wooden skewers, let these soak for 30 minutes in water.
Skewer the shrimp.
Place the remaining marinade back in the small saucepan and bring it to a simmer, simmer for 1-2 minute and take it off the heat.
Preheat the grill or grill pan to high heat. Oil the cooking surface. Place the shrimp on the grill and get a nice char on all sides. Depending on your cooking surface the shrimp will need to cook for about 2-4 minutes per side, depending on how big the shrimp are. Baste the shrimp with the marinade every few minutes.
Garnish with the green onions and serve with peanut sauce. (Easy peanut sauce recipe)
Lobster tails are queen of the night and the easiest because all you have to is boil and serve with garlic butter and lemons!
Bring salted water to a boil.
Add the lobster tails.
Simmer lobster tails, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes or until shells turn bright red and the meat is tender when poked with a fork.
1 1/4 pounds (600 grams) scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine or broth (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Peel and devein and thoroughly pat shrimp dry with paper towels.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the scallops in a single layer.
Season with salt and pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (until a golden crust forms underneath). Remove scallops from skillet and transfer to a plate.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan, scraping up any browned bits left over from the scallops. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant (approximately 1 minute).
Pour in wine (or broth) and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes or until wine reduces by about half. Add cream and simmer until slightly thickened.
Remove pan from the heat; stir in lemon juice and add the scallops back into the pan to warm through slightly.
Serve over rice or steamed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini noodles).
A pasta bar is a very affordable option that is a huge crowd pleaser!
The way a pasta bar works each family member gets to be their own chef! You serve the pasta choices and add-ins and everyone makes the pasta they love!
Here's what you need:
I like to choose a selection of 3 noodles / pasta options to cover everyone's favourites. My top three choices are angel hair, penne, and a cheese ravioli. Get whatever pastas your family loves!
Don't go crazy here, people can only eat so much but choose your families favourites! Options include meatballs, chicken, Italian sausage crumbles, bacon, shrimp, scallops, mussels, plant based options... whatever your family will love. I like to do meatballs, grilled chicken and shrimp.
I'm going to be honest and tell you that I always use store bought sauces for this. My reason is because it is a lot of work to make all of the individual ingredients and sauces from scratch adding to the complexity and time required. I love to serve a red sauce and an Alfredo.
My favourite pasta mix-ins are peas, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, spinach... add anything you love! Peppers, onions, eggplant, broccoli...
Easily the best part!
Grate your favourite cheeses and add them to the top of your pasta master piece and enjoy!
I actually love ordering something in. It feels like a treat and it is definitely a lot less work than making a feast yourself! The holidays can be stressful and I love a variety of foods, so I look forward to ordering foods I don't know how to make at home. I opt for Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese foods when I dial up dinner!
Now that we are all starving, I hope you start making your holiday meal plans and surprise your guests this year with something outside of the box!
Join me tomorrow for my gift guide series!