Your December Meal Plan

There's no need to wonder what you should make for dinner during the busy holiday season, we've figured it out for you! Here is a delicious dinner, plus a perfect side dish, for each day of December.

1 / 31

Day 1: Sausage and Swiss Chard Pasta

I whipped up lunch with fresh produce from the farmers market, and the result was amazing. —Kate Stiltner, Rockford, Michigan

Goes Great with: Italian Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette 

2 / 31

Creamy Paprika Pork

When I was little, I would often ask my mom to make "favorite meat." She knew I was requesting this homey pork recipe. It's been in my family for more than 30 years and it's still a favorite! —Alexandra Barnett, Forest, Virginia

Goes Great with: Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

3 / 31

Day 3: Smoky Spanish Chicken

After enjoying a similar dish at a Spanish tapas restaurant, my husband and I were eager to make our own version of this saucy chicken at home. If I want to make it extra healthy, I remove the skin from the chicken after browning. —Ryan Haley, San Diego, California

Goes Great with: Mediterranean Couscous

4 / 31

Barley Risotto and Beef Stroganoff

I was missing my Russian grandma's barley porridge and beef stroganoff, so I combined the two dishes. Cook the barley using the risotto method to keep the grains whole and irresistibly chewy. —Tatiana Kireeva, New York, New York

Goes Great with: Thyme-Roasted Carrots

5 / 31

Day 5: Over-the-Border Shrimp Enchiladas

These enchiladas have a bit of a kick, thanks to chili powder and green chiles, but the deliciously creamy sauce balances it all. —Beverly O'Ferrall, Linkwood, Maryland

Goes Great with: Homemade Guacamole

6 / 31

Day 6: Orange Beef Lettuce Wraps

This is a lighter version of a restaurant favorite. I also recommend trying these wraps with ground chicken or turkey.—Robin Haas, Cranston, Rhode Island

Goes Great with: Zucchini Tomato Casserole

7 / 31

Day 7: Salmon with Tomato-Goat Cheese Couscous

Rich with goat cheese and tomato, this recipe works for a weeknight supper or an elegant company dinner—and is adjustable for number of people. —Toni Roberts, La Canada, California

Goes Great with: Baked Parmesan Breaded Squash

8 / 31

Grandma's Swedish Meatballs

My mother made these hearty meatballs when we were growing up, and now my kids love them, too. My daughter likes to help shake the meatballs in flour. —Karin Ness, Big Lake, Minnesota

Goes Great with: Crumb-Topped Broccoli Bake

9 / 31

Day 9: Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Dinner is easy when I can use ingredients typically found in my fridge and pantry. —Laura Miller, Lake Ann, Michigan

Goes Great with: Michigan Cherry Salad

10 / 31

Day 10: Slow-Cooked Pizzaiola Meat Loaf

Goes Great with: Quick & Easy au Gratin Potatoes

11 / 31

Day 11: Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops

These sweet, spicy chops can be thrown together in minutes, but they definitely don't taste like it. Serve them with a side of jasmine rice and you'll feel as if you're on a tropical vacation. —Allison Ulrich, Frisco, Texas

Goes Great with: Herbed Rice Pilaf

12 / 31

Day 12: Teriyaki Beef Roast

My father and I created this pot roast with a hint of Japanese flair. It will make your taste buds dance! try this for family or company. —Mary Flurkey, Golden, Colorado

Goes Great with: Honey Whole Wheat Roll

13 / 31

Day 13: Baked Chicken with Bacon-Tomato Relish

We eat a lot of chicken for dinner, so I'm always trying to do something a little different with it. My children love the crispiness of this chicken, and my husband and I love the flavorful relish—you can't go wrong with bacon! —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

Goes Great with: Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

14 / 31

Day 14: Crumb-Topped Sole

Looking for a low-carb supper that’s ready in a hurry? These buttery sole fillets have just a dab of rich sauce and are topped with toasty bread crumbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Goes Great with: Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries

15 / 31

Day 15: Santa Fe Chicken Pizza Pie

Give your pie a Southwest twist when you slather on the taco sauce and top with black beans, green chiles and kicked-up chicken strips. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Guacamole Tossed Salad

16 / 31

Glazed Smoked Chops with Pears

My husband would eat pork chops every day if he could. Luckily, they're good prepared in all sorts of ways, including with pears. —Lynn Moretti, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Cheese Fondue Mac & Cheese

17 / 31

Day 17: Mile-High Chicken Potpie

Classic chicken potpie gets extra homey when it's loaded with a creamy filling and baked tall in a springform pan. This deep-dish marvel is perfect for Sunday dinners. —Shannon Roum, Food Stylist, Taste of Home magazine

Goes Great with: Cranberry Cornmeal Dressing

18 / 31

Thai Scallop Saute

Just open a bottle of Thai peanut sauce to give this seafood stir-fry some serious authenticity. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Goes Great with: Golden Beet Curry Risotto with Crispy Beet Greens

19 / 31

Day 19: Chorizo Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Get your noodle fix minus the pasta with this spicy one-dish meal. It's a fill-you-up dinner that's low in calories—which makes it a weeknight winner in my book! —Sherrill Oake, Springfield, Massachusetts

Goes Great with: Tarragon Asparagus Salad

20 / 31

Meatball Cabbage Rolls

My mother often had these cabbage rolls simmering in her slow cooker when my family and I arrived at her house for weekend visits. The mouthwatering meatballs tucked inside made these stand out from any other cabbage rolls I've tried. —Betty Buckmaster, Muskogee, Oklahoma

Goes Great with: German Noodle Bake

21 / 31

Steak & Mushroom Stroganoff

This homey recipe of steak and egg noodles in a creamy sauce is just like what we had at my gran's house when we visited. It's one of my favorite "memory meals," as I call them. —Janelle Shank, Omaha, Nebraska

Goes Great with: Pepper Parmesan Beans

22 / 31

Stuffed Salmon

You could get stuffed salmon from a big-box store, but my fillets are loaded with flavor from crab, cream cheese and savory herbs. We love them. —Mary Cokenour, Monticello, Utah

Goes Great with: Broccoli with Asiago

23 / 31

Day 23: Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle

An irresistible sauce gives the beef in this short rib ragu another dimension of flavor. Nearly any starchy side, such as potatoes or polenta, will work in place of the pasta. Short ribs are my crowd-pleaser weekend meal for all occasions. —Missy Raho, Morristown, New Jersey

Goes Great with: Winter Beet Salad

24 / 31

Epiphany Ham

I wanted to cook a ham but didn't have the ingredients for my usual glaze recipe, so I made substitutions. You can, too! Instead of black cherry, try another flavored soda, or use sweet-and-sour sauce in place of duck sauce. —Edith Griffith, Havre de Grace, Maryland

Goes Great with: Coconut-Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

25 / 31

Crown Roast of Pork with Mushroom Dressing

It looks so elegant that everyone thinks I spent a lot of time on this roast. But it's actually so easy! The biggest challenge is to remember to order the crown roast from the meat department ahead of time. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania

Goes Great with: Elegant Green Bean

26 / 31

Turkey Dumpling Stew

My mom made this stew when I was young, and it was always a hit. Since it's not time-consuming to make I can fix it on a weekend for our children, who love the tender dumplings. —Becky Mohr, Appleton, Wisconsin

Goes Great with: Parmesan-Ranch Pan Rolls

27 / 31

Day 27: Quick Moroccan Shrimp Skillet

When my niece was attending West Point, she was sent to Morocco for five months. I threw her a going-away party complete with Moroccan decorations, costumes and cuisine, including this saucy shrimp dish. Whenever I make it now, I think of her and smile. —Barbara Lento, Houston, Pennsylvania

Goes Great with: Grilled Mushroom Kabobs

28 / 31

Day 28: Smokin'-Philled Chicken Breasts

Goes Great with: Wild Rice Mushroom Bake

29 / 31

Pepper Steak with Squash

Serve this colorful stir-fry with savory strips of flank steak and plenty of veggies over rice for a satisfying supper that's on the table in less than half an hour. —Gayle Lewis, Yucaipa, California

Goes Great with: Ginger-Sesame Steamed Vegetable Salad

30 / 31

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Fans of spicy chicken wings will love this rendition that turns it into pizza. Serve it up with blue cheese dressing and crisp celery, just like the tasty original. —Shari DiGirolamo, Newton, Pennsylvania

Goes Great with: Herbed Bread Twists

31 / 31

Day 31: Coriander-Crusted Beef with Spicy Cranberry Relish

Goes Great with: Bacon Cheese Potatoes

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.