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50 Small-Scale Christmas Dinner Ideas

Skipping the massive ham this year? Try these small-scale Christmas dinner ideas instead. We have main dishes and sides that serve just a few people.

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Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

My roasted pork tenderloin is stuffed with two of our favorite ingredients: walnuts and apples. This comforting entree is my family's most requested pork dish. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois

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Cheddar Seafood ChowderThe musical "Waitress"

Cheddar Seafood Chowder

Shrimp and scallops make this thick, cheesy and chunky chowder extra special. It’s packed with veggies, and the crispy bacon makes a yummy garnish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Mashed Garlic PotatoesTaste of Home

Mashed Garlic Potatoes

I infuse creamy mashed potatoes with the subtle taste of garlic, which makes them a welcome addition to any meal. —Myra Innes, Auburn, Kansas

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Bacon Parmesan PopoversTaste of Home

Bacon Parmesan Popovers

This recipe proves that simple ingredients often result in the best-tasting dishes. These popovers are a nice change from ordinary toast or muffins. —Donna Gaston, Coplay, Pennsylvania

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Spice-Crusted Steaks with Cherry SauceTaste of Home

Spice-Crusted Steaks with Cherry Sauce

If you’re hosting meat lovers, these impressive cast-iron skillet steaks are guaranteed to please. They’re perfect for a special-occasion dinner without too much fuss. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Aunt Nancy's Cream of Crab SoupTaste of Home

Aunt Nancy's Cream of Crab Soup

My sister Nancy is one of the best cooks I know. When my daughter was getting married, I put together a cookbook of her favorite family recipes—Nancy's soup was a must-have. Our family often had this with a salad before Christmas Eve services. —Lynne German, Buford, Georgia

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Fig-Carrot Stuffed Kabocha SquashTaste of Home

Fig-Carrot Stuffed Kabocha Squash

While searching for a new winter squash variety, I stumbled upon kabocha squash—it really wowed me. The flavor and texture are both rich and beautiful, and this recipe, which I improvised, really suits the squash well. —Caitlin Stephens-North, Malden, Massachusetts

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Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower

Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower

Want an alternative to mashed potatoes? Try cauliflower jazzed up with cheddar cheese and rosemary. —Chrystal Baker, Studio City, California

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Creamy Spinach Mushroom SoupTaste of Home

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Soup

This spinach mushroom soup is the perfect accompaniment to any buffet. It can even be made ahead, then warmed and quickly finished on the day of your party. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado

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Maple & Bacon Glazed Brussels SproutsTaste of Home

Maple & Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

For special meals, here’s a fantastic side dish that even children will love. The sweet maple syrup and smoky bacon complement the Brussels sprouts perfectly. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

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Scalloped Cranberries

Scalloped Cranberries

This warm cranberry casserole is a nice substitute for traditional cranberry relish. It's been a staple on my holiday table ever since my aunt gave me the recipe many years ago. —Ellan Streett, Clear Spring, Maryland

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Chicken-Prosciutto Pinwheels in Wine Sauce

Chicken-Prosciutto Pinwheels in Wine Sauce

We host a large group for holiday meals, and these pinwheels always go over well alongside the regular dishes. I often double this recipe and use two 13x9-in. pans. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Mushroom Shepherd’s PieTaste of Home

Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

It sounds silly, but the one thing I miss most in meatless meals is, well, the meat. That is, except for this mushroom shepherd’s pie. It’s a hearty vegetarian dish and I guarantee you won’t miss the meat either. —Glen Warren, Edmonton, Alberta

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Vegetable-Stuffed Flank SteakTaste of Home

Vegetable-Stuffed Flank Steak

This colorful beef dish was always a favorite request for birthday dinners while I was growing up. Savory, special and stuffed full of vegetables, it's as tender as the memories it still brings back every time I make it. —Julie Etzel, Tualatin, Oregon

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French Onion SoupTaste of Home

French Onion Soup

My seven-year-old daughter Heather and I enjoy spending time together cooking, but our days are busy, so we appreciate quick and tasty recipes like this one. Hot and delicious, this soup hits the spot for lunch or dinner.
-Sandra Chambers, Carthage, Mississippi

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Whipped SquashTaste of Home

Whipped Squash

This is an excellent way to serve one of the season's most delicious vegetables—butternut squash. Its rich flavor and golden harvest color really come through in this smooth vegetable side dish. —Dorothy Pritchett, Wills Point, Texas

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Chicken Cordon BleuTaste of Home

Chicken Cordon Bleu

The addition of bacon in this cordon bleu recipe makes it one of my favorite comforting recipes. I've made it for both friends and family, and everyone's a fan. —Jim Wick, Orlando, Florida

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Roasted Chicken with Brown Gravy

Folks say this is the most delicious roasted chicken in brown sauce they've ever had. There's only one problem—there are never any leftovers! —Annie Tompkins, Deltona, Florida

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Cod with Sweet PeppersTaste of Home

Cod with Sweet Peppers

This quick and delicious recipe is a long-time family favorite. I like to use three or four different-colored peppers for an extra-pretty presentation. Then serve with couscous or brown rice to round out the meal. —Judy Grebetz, Racine, Wisconsin.

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Eggplant RollatiniTaste of Home

Eggplant Rollatini

Want to learn how to cook eggplant? Here's where to start. These authentic eggplant roll-ups may take some time to prepare, but the end result is restaurant-quality. Your family will request this recipe time and again. —Nancy Sousley, Lafayette, Indiana

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Beef Osso BuccoTaste of Home

Beef Osso Bucco

Treat holiday guests to elegant comfort food at its best. Our osso bucco beef boasts a thick, savory sauce complemented by the addition of gremolata, a chopped herb condiment made of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin

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Hasselback Sweet PotatoesTaste of Home

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

My family and friends love the warm, inviting flavors of the luscious citrus butter, smooth cream cheese, sweet dates, fresh sage and toasted pecans that are captured in every bite of these delicious sweet potatoes. —Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina

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Maple-Glazed Green Beans

Maple-Glazed Green Beans

After I picked my first green beans one year, I wanted to make a savory dish that was unique, quick and packed with flavor. I loved this so much I couldn't stop eating it, so the next day I picked more beans and made this delicious side dish again. —Merry Graham, Newhall, California

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Warm Chicken Tortellini Au GratinTaste of Home

Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin

This is one of my favorite recipes. Pasta from Monday plus roasted chicken from Tuesday equals this delicious dish on Wednesday. It's fast and delicious, and paired with a green salad and toasty bread, you have a meal that's fancy enough for company. —Brenda Cole, Reisterstown, Maryland

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Sliced Ham with Roasted Vegetables

Sliced Ham with Roasted Vegetables

To prepare this colorful, zesty oven meal, I “shop” in my backyard for the fresh garden vegetables and oranges (we have our own tree!) that spark the ham’s hearty flavor. It’s my family’s favorite main dish. —Margaret Pache, Mesa, Arizona

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Orange Pomegranate SalmonTaste of Home

Orange Pomegranate Salmon

A colorful, festive salmon dish makes an impressive addition to your holiday table—and it is as delicious as it is beautiful. What will no one guess? How easy it is to cook. I serve this with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for a showstopping meal that is wonderful for special occasions. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

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Citrus Rainbow Carrots

Citrus Rainbow Carrots

I grow lots of carrots and I’m always experimenting with ways to serve them. The first time I made this citrusy recipe for my husband, he said it tasted like Christmas! Although he calls them my "Christmas Carrots," they're tasty anytime; I especially like serving them at Easter, with the array of carrots available in early spring. It's easy to prepare, and can easily be doubled to serve a large group. To save time, I sometimes dice the carrots several days in advance. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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Beef BourguignonTaste of Home

Beef Bourguignon

This stovetop stew is loaded with taste, but is easy to do. While the name sounds fancy, even a beginning cook can master it. It's our traditional holy day meal.—Elodie Rosinovsky, Brighton, Massachusetts

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Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

This side always takes my guests by surprise because of the smoky, creamy flavor. No doubt you'll get major kudos when you place these potatoes on your table. —Cynthia Boberskyj Rochester, NY

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Chicken Gnocchi Pesto SoupTaste of Home

Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup

After tasting a similar soup at a restaurant, I created this quick and tasty version. The pesto adds an extra-nice Italian flavor that is often missing from other gnocchi soups. —Deanna Smith, Des Moines, Iowa t

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Glazed Rosemary Pork

Glazed Rosemary Pork

A honey-rosemary glaze delicately seasons pork tenderloin in this delightful entree. As elegant as it is easy, the main course is ideal for weekend dinner parties and weeknight suppers alike. —Barbara Sistrunk, Fultondale, Alabama

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Never-Fail Scalloped PotatoesTaste of Home

Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes

Take the chill off any blustery day and make something special to accompany meaty entrees. This is the best scalloped potatoes recipe ever, and my family loves when I serve it. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario

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Flank Steak Pinwheels

Flank Steak Pinwheels

The secret to these pretty flank steak pinwheels lies in their butterfly treatment. Because the steaks are flattened, marinade isn’t need. Instead, they’re filled with a colorful stuffing of red pepper and spinach and draped with a flavorful, homemade blue cheese sauce. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Creamy Chicken Vol-au-VentTaste of Home

Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent

My friends and I have been getting together for "ladies lunches" for years. These vol-au-vents are the perfect no-fuss fancy food; they look complicated, but are actually simple and fun to make. Whenever I think of good friends and good company, I think of these savory pastries. —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah

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Warm Apple & Pistachio Spinach Salad

Warm Apple & Pistachio Spinach Salad

I'm really not a salad person, but this unusual salad is actually worthy of bringing to a dinner party or even eating by itself. It's also super quick and easy to make. —Justine Kmiecik, Crestview, Florida

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Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard SauceTaste of Home

Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Don’t be afraid to bring out the roasted Brussels sprouts. Mellowed with mustard sauce, they may just delight even the most skeptical folks. —Becky Walch, Orland, California

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Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Sure, it’s simple and healthy but, oh, is this roasted broccoli delicious. Cutting the stalks into tall “trees” turns an ordinary veggie into a standout side dish. —Holly Sander, Lake Mary, Florida

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Broiled Lobster Tail

Broiled Lobster Tail

Wondering how to cook lobster tail? This recipe is for you! No matter where you live, these succulent, buttery lobster tails are just a few minutes away. Here in Wisconsin, we use frozen lobster with delicious results, but if you're near the ocean, use fresh! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Apple-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Apple-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Carrots seem so simple, but this recipe is something special. Sweet and buttery, this was a favorite my mother always used to serve at holiday time. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Festive RiceTaste of Home

Festive Rice

My mom and I transformed plain rice by adding feta, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and cayenne. We wound up with a sweet and spicy crowd-pleaser. —Lisa de Perio, Dallas, Texas

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Turkey-Stuffed Acorn SquashTaste of Home

Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash

We stuff acorn squash with leftovers like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Make as much or as little as you need to use everything up. —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario

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Parmesan Fettuccine

Parmesan Fettuccine

This is such a simple side dish and also makes a pretty presentation. With just four ingredients, it’s ready in no time for a taste that’s sure to please the entire family. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana

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Beef & Blue Cheese TartThe musical "Waitress"

Beef & Blue Cheese Tart

This elegant, rustic recipe goes together in minutes and is so simple. Perfect for entertaining! —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

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Vegetarian Potato au Gratin

Vegetarian Potato au Gratin

Fill up on veggies and load up on terrific flavor with this creamy, hearty casserole. You'll appreciate the homey crumb topping and hands-free bake time at the end of a long day. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Creamy Macaroni and CheeseThe musical "Waitress"

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is the ultimate creamy mac and cheese recipe. It's saucy, thick and very rich, with wonderful cheddar flavor. Once you taste it, you'll be hooked. —Cindy Hartley, Chesapeake, Virginia

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Easy SauerbratenThe musical "Waitress"

Easy Sauerbraten

This easy sauerbraten recipe is a tasty example of traditional German fare. Its definitive pickled tang is pleasing and sure to delight German food lovers. —Patricia Rutherford, Winchester, Illinois

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Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes

Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes

This scalloped potatoes with apples dish is delicious with breaded baked pork chops, which you could cook at the same time in another cast-iron pan. We are retired and it's just the two of us, but you could easily double the recipe. —Shirley Rickis, The Villages, Florida

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Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi

Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi

We had homemade gnocchi frequently while growing up. This creamy pumpkin gnocchi recipe was always my favorite. They do require some time to make, but they're worth it! —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida

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Cider Baked SquashTaste of Home

Cider Baked Squash

I'm a freelance writer who sometimes needs a break from a long session of working on a story. That's when I escape to the kitchen to whip up something that's good to eat, yet easy to prepare. This is one of my favorites!

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Basic Meat Loaf

Basic Meat Loaf

Since I can't have much salt, I've come up with a recipe for easy meatloaf that is really tasty without it. —Lillian Wittler, Wayne, Nebraska

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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