Christmas dinner — or any big holiday gathering — is never only about the food. Unless you’re somehow hosting your Christmas festivities out of a pristine, four-star hotel room, your meal is also going to be about managing the mess in your apartment, keeping the kitchen reasonably clean during the get-together, and of course, also delivering a stunning meal that will wow your guests. Enter the crock pot Christmas dinner: a concept that will address every single concern you might have about serving a standout holiday meal. (Well, almost every concern — unfortunately, whether or not Aunt Ida will pick a fight with Gram-Gram is not a problem to be solved by your slow cooker.)
But the crock pot is pretty amazing at addressing other issues. The main course, for example. Ham is a Christmas dinner staple, but it’s a dish that’s usually thought of as being very high maintenance, what with basting it, cooking it, checking it, basting it some more. Now imagine being able to present a delicious, juicy ham with only five minutes prep time. That’s the magic of the crock pot for you. Similarly, there’s no need to worry about juggling side dishes when you can cook up accompaniments like flawless, creamy, ranch-flavored mashed potatoes in your slow cooker (and the potato peeling is optional; oh, joy!). Yup, cooking up your meal in the crock pot will give you reason to celebrate (and the time to enjoy the festivities, too).
1Spicy Citrus Punch
Nothing says "festive" like a big mug of colorful punch garnished with a cinnamon stick. This spicy grape punch from Mom On Timeout is a great way to kick off your Christmas shindig and can be made in the slow cooker (or on the stove, if your crockpot is otherwise engaged.)
Everyone loves a good hors d'oeuvre. These buffalo-style slow cooker cocktail meatballs, courtesy of Damn Delicious, are the perfect prelude to the main meal.
3Tomato Basil Soup
A rich, creamy slow cooker tomato basil soup like this one from Big Girls Small Kitchen is great for a winter day in general, and just right as a meal's first course.
4Maple Brown Sugar Ham
Damn Delicious promises that the prep time for this slow cooked maple brown sugar ham is only five minutes! The rest you can leave up to your crock pot.
5Ranch Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
Family Fresh Meals has a recipe for creamy ranch crock pot mashed potatoes that doesn't even require peeling! And did you notice the "ranch" part of that? Hello!
Whip up A Spicy Perspective's delicious peach cobbler as a show-stopping dessert (think warm peaches and a biscuity-crust with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Right?).
Finish up your meal the way you started it: with a festive, delish drink. Mom on Timeout's gingerbread mocha is like coffee and gingerbread cookies, combined.