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42 No-Fuss Christmas Eve Lunch Ideas

Bookended by last-minute shopping and an influx of visitors, Christmas Eve lunch is a meal that often needs to be not only delicious but fuss-free.

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Christmas Tortellini & Spinach SoupTaste of Home

Christmas Tortellini & Spinach Soup

I made this soup for the first time in the summer, but when I saw its bright red and green colors, my first thought was what a perfect Christmas Eve dinner idea! —Marietta Slater, Justin, Texas

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Winter Beet SaladTaste of Home

Winter Beet Salad

To save a little time on this sweet and savory beet salad, we recommend using packaged salad greens in this original recipe. The simple dressing is easy to assemble. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Caramelized Ham & Swiss BunsTaste of Home

Caramelized Ham & Swiss Buns

My next-door neighbor shared this recipe with me, and I simply cannot improve it! You can make it ahead and cook it quickly when company arrives. The combo of poppy seeds, ham and cheese, horseradish and brown sugar makes it so delicious. —Iris Weihemuller, Baxter, Minnesota

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Fruit Charcuterie Board Exps Jmz18 224813 C03 07 8b 5

Fruit and Cheese Board

Who says cheese and sausage get to have all the fun? Make this a party go-to with any fruits that are in season. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Sausage and Swiss Chard PastaTaste of Home

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

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Slow-Cooker Short RibsTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Short Ribs

These slow-cooker short ribs are an easy alternative to traditionally braised short ribs—you don't need to pay any attention to them once you get them in the slow cooker. (That makes it my favorite beef short ribs recipe!) —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas

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Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese

Even people who have had their own homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe for years ask for mine when they taste this crumb-topped version. For the best baked mac and cheese, use extra-sharp white cheddar cheese for more flavor. —Shelby Thompson of Dover, Delaware

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Perfect Winter SaladTaste of Home

Perfect Winter Salad

This is my most-requested salad recipe. Serve it as a side salad along with your holiday meal, or enjoy it for lunch the next day with cubed turkey or chicken on top. —DeNae Shewmake, Burnsville, Minnesota

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Chicken Cassoulet SoupTaste of Home

Chicken Cassoulet Soup

After my sister spent a year in France as an au pair, I created this lighter, easier version of traditional French cassoulet for her. It uses chicken instead of the usual duck.—Bridget M. Klusman, Otsego, Michigan

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Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

We bought loads of apples and needed to use them. To help the flavors come alive, I roasted the apples and tossed them with a sweet dressing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina

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Spiced Acorn Squash

Spiced Acorn Squash

Working full time, I found I didn't always have time to cook the meals my family loved, so I re-created many of those dishes in the slow cooker. This treatment for squash is one of our favorites. —Carol Greco, Centereach, New York

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Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu over PappardelleTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle

An irresistible sauce gives this beef 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

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Chicken Potpie CasseroleTaste of Home

Chicken Potpie Casserole

I always have leftover chicken broth on hand and use it for many things, including this comforting and easy chicken pot pie casserole. You can bake your own biscuits, like I do, or buy them at the store. I like to bake extra biscuits to eat with butter and jam. —Liliane Jahnke, Cypress, Texas

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Bistro Turkey SandwichTaste of Home

Bistro Turkey Sandwich

As a turkey lover who can't get enough during fall and winter, I was inspired to come up with a restaurant-worthy sandwich. I love it with a soft, rich cheese like Brie. —Grace Voltolina, Westport, Connecticut

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Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does: I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah

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Cobb SaladTaste of Home

Cobb Salad

Made on the fly by Hollywood restaurateur Bob Cobb in 1937, the Cobb salad is a world-famous American dish. Here's a fresh take, with all the original appeal and an extra special presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Cranberry-Pecan Wheat Berry SaladTaste of Home

Cranberry-Pecan Wheat Berry Salad

I love to experiment with different grains and wanted to give wheat berries a try. My whole family goes nuts for this salad, especially my mom. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York

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Authentic Pasta CarbonaraTaste of Home

Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California

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Cranberry BBQ Pulled PorkTaste of Home

Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork

Cranberry sauce adds a yummy twist to pulled pork, and my family can't get enough of it! The pork cooks to tender perfection in the slow cooker, which also makes this dish conveniently portable. —Carrie Wiegand, Mount Pleasant, Iowa

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Pasta Fagioli Soup Exps Sddj19 38088 E07 13 1b 3

Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Honey-Maple VinaigretteTaste of Home

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Honey-Maple Vinaigrette

This salad makes a beautiful presentation for the holidays with the bright colors of the sweet potatoes, cranberries and spinach. —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania

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Boston Baked BeansTaste of Home

Boston Baked Beans

Simmered in molasses, these slow-cooker Boston baked beans are perfect to take to your next potluck. The sauce is sweet, dark and rich and they complement anything you serve with them.—Darlene Duncan, Langhorne, Pennsylvania

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Cranberry Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce

Cranberry Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce

How do you make gnocchi as light as air? Just work quickly, handling the dough as little as possible; puffy pasta pillows will result.—Sally Sibthorpe, Shelby Township, Michigan

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Fig, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese PaniniTaste of Home

Fig, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Panini

A taste of this sandwich whisks you to the Italian countryside. It combines sweet honey, dried figs, tangy goat cheese, nutty Asiago and salty prosciutto. We often pack it in our picnic basket for summer or fall outings. —Maria Brennan, Middlebury, Connecticut

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Slow-Cooker Spicy Pork ChiliTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Spicy Pork Chili

Tender pork adds extra heartiness to this slow-cooked chili. You can use pork tenderloin, boneless pork roast or boneless pork chops for the pork called for in the recipe. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Blood Orange Caprese SaladTaste of Home

Blood Orange Caprese Salad

A colorful twist on the classic caprese salad of mozzarella, basil and tomato, this one uses blood oranges in place of the tomato and is flavored with pomegranate instead of basil.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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The Best Ever LasagnaTaste of Home

The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director

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Wild Rice, Quinoa & Cranberry Salad

This fragrant salad is a vitamin and protein powerhouse. Toss in leftover cooked turkey to make it a meal the next day. —Jerilyn Korver, Bellflower, California

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Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bake

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bake

This casserole brings together two classic comfort foods: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. There’s no need for hands to get messy dipping bread into a bowl of hot soup. Best of all, my picky-eater husband devours every bite. —Morgan Seger, Ansonia, Ohio

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Cranberry Turkey Sloppy JoesTaste of Home

Cranberry Turkey Sloppy Joes

Want a holiday spin on sloppy joes? This combination of turkey and cranberries is a big hit with everyone who tastes it! The flavor has a touch of sweetness, a touch of salt—just right for a holiday get-together. The slow cooker makes it easy to keep warm on a buffet. —Christine Grimm, Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania

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Provencal Ham & Bean SoupTaste of Home

Provencal Ham & Bean Soup

There is nothing quite like the wonderful feeling of when you open the door and smell this delicious stew bubbling away in the slow cooker. To make preparation even easier, I like to start it the night before, and then all I have to do is turn on the slow cooker in the morning. —Lyndsay Wells, Ladysmith, British Columbia

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Balsamic Steak SaladTaste of Home

Balsamic Steak Salad

My husband loves blue cheese and I like a hearty salad that eats like a meal, so I put the two things together to make this steak salad recipe. The sweet-tartness of dried cranberries pairs deliciously with the cheese, creamy avocado and balsamic vinegar. It's irresistible! —Marla Clark, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Black-Eyed Peas & Ham

Black-Eyed Peas & Ham

Every New Year's Day we have these slow-cooked black-eyed peas to bring good luck for the coming year. —Dawn Legler, Fort Morgan, Colorado

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Chicken and Swiss Stuffing Bake

I love to cook but just don't have much time. This casserole is both comforting and fast, which makes it my favorite kind of recipe. I serve it with a green salad. —Jena Coffey, Sunset Hills, Missouri

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Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa SaladTaste of Home

Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa Salad

With Brussels sprouts for the green and cranberries for the red, I make a cheery Christmastime salad. Refreshing and versatile, it works with any kind of nut or dried fruit. —Cameron Stell, Los Angeles, California

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco SaladThe musical "Waitress"

Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Salad

We use this super duper chicken across several meals, including it in tacos, sandwiches, omelets and enchiladas. My little guys love helping measure seasonings. —Karie Houghton, Lynnwood, Washington

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Bistro Apple PaniniTaste of Home

Bistro Apple Panini

My family loves panini press recipes. The bacon, apple and tarragon in this recipe go together so well. If you don’t have a panini maker or an indoor grill, you can easily pan-fry or broil these excellent sandwiches.—Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota

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Fennel Wild Rice Salad Exps156190 Hc2847498b02 07 5bc Rms 4

Fennel Wild Rice Salad

This is a salad I invented years ago when my sister's family had to go gluten-free. It has since become a family favorite, and Thanksgiving just isn't the same without our wild rice salad! —Aimee Day, Ferndale, Washington

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Cranberry Chipotle Chicken EnchiladasTaste of Home

Cranberry Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

Whether canned or homemade, cranberry sauce delivers a healthy dose of vitamins to this dish. A little bit sweet and a little bit smoky, these enchiladas are a delightful way to use leftover chicken or turkey. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

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Hot Antipasto Subs Exps Sdfm17 52772 B10 07 1b 3

Hot Antipasto Subs

Hot or cold, these loaded sandwiches are always a family hit. They blend all the robust flavors of antipasto into an easy-to-eat bun. —Sharlene Lander, Lake Placid, Florida

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Lamb and White Bean ChiliTaste of Home

Lamb and White Bean Chili

I created a fresh take on chili using lamb and Moroccan seasoning with a feta and almond garnish. It was so exciting and tasty to my husband and son, I made a second batch almost right away. If you like a spicier chili, add harissa paste or use medium salsa instead of mild. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois

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Nutty Barley Bake

Nutty Barley Bake

When I started bringing this distinctive dish to holiday dinners, a lot of people had never seen barley in anything but soup. They have since dubbed me "the barley lady", and now I wouldn't dare bring anything this dish. Even if I double the recipe, I come home with an empty pan. -Renate Crump, Los Angeles, California

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.

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