It’s that time of year again!

The weather is starting to change (grow colder for most of us), and Christmas lights are beginning to pop up all around the neighborhood. Between holiday shopping and coordinating family get-togethers, you might be wondering how you will find the time to cook a full meal, especially if you’re hosting family and friends. 

But never fear! We’re here to help. Here are a few holiday meal ideas to get you started on a simple dinner that will look and taste great. You can use these recipes exactly or use them as inspiration since we linked every single recipe for you. Whatever you do, we’re sure it will be amazing! 

Where to Buy Ingredients 

Before getting into the recipes, let’s talk about where to buy all of the ingredients for all these meals. With rising food costs due to the recession that began in the summer, finding quality ingredients for your healthy meals can be a struggle. 

One method for saving money can be to shop at the closest Dollar Tree, Dollar General, or other dollar stores close to your home. Unlike bigger chain stores (especially Walmart or Target!), most of the items in the dollar store are going to cost anywhere from one to three dollars. This means ingredients like spices, salt, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustards, and much more will cost you less! 

These are still quality ingredients that can be used in your holiday meals. You should always look at the label, though, to make sure that the ingredients are up to your personal standards. 

And a Note on Substitutions A Glazed Baked Ham Is A Famous Holiday Staple Meals On Wheels Of Contra Costa

We know that not everyone is going to be able to access or even like some of the recipes that we mention in this article. That’s completely ok! Allrecipes has a great chart that lists out common cooking substitutions for lots of different ingredients. Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa has also compiled a great list of cheap meal recipes that might make more sense for your budget or dietary needs. 

Glazed Baked Ham

This Honey Glazed Baked Ham is easy to make and is a delicious main dish for any holiday. Ham is a classic dish that many people love to cook around the holidays and can be a special treat for loved ones. 

It only has a few minutes of prep time and a handful of ingredients. The majority of the cooking time is done in the oven! This recipe is so easy because you’re just adding a glaze to an already-cooked ham. The brown sugar honey glaze bakes onto the ham to create a fantastic caramelized crust. This dish will look and taste amazing without wasting your time, so you have more time to spend with your family.

The main ingredients in this recipe are: 

  • 1 bone-in ham (These tend to be more flavorful!) 
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider
  • Cumin powder
  • Ground cinnamon

Smoked Salmon Dip

Next up, here’s a super easy recipe for a Smoked Salmon Dip to keep your guests busy while dinner cooks.

This can be eaten with crackers or veggies and only takes a few minutes to throw together. All the ingredients can be mixed in a blender for a quick and delicious appetizer that will be sure to impress your guests. Salmon can make a meal feel fancier, especially if your dinner party is for relatives you haven’t seen in a while! 

Except for potentially the sour cream and the smoked salmon, all of these ingredients can be found at the dollar store, which is a considerable cost savings! 

The main ingredients in this recipe are:

  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon juice
  • Dill
  • Horseradish
  • Smoked salmon

Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms

We can’t just have an appetizer and the main course, though. Here’s a side dish to round out the diner menu. This Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms dish only takes about twenty minutes to make and will add some variety to your dinner spread.

This simple recipe involves searing green beans and mushrooms in a saute pan with shallots, garlic, and some seasonings. 

To save yourself some time, you can use canned ingredients for these. But, if you are wanting healthier options with less salt, stick with the raw mushrooms and green beans. 

The main ingredients in this recipe are:

  • Canola oil
  • Haricot verts
  • Mushrooms
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Chili flakes
  • Vinegar
  • Mint

Big Festive SaladA Salad Is A Wonderfully Healthy and Tasty Addition To Any Holiday Meal | Meals On Wheels Of Contra Costa

If you like salads, here’s an excellent recipe for a salad that can feed your whole family. The Big Festive Salad is packed full of quality produce and big flavors. This salad starts with a base of arugula, kale, and spinach. For the main course (and everyone’s favorite) on top, you can add candied pistachios and hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, blueberries, and mandarin oranges. Plus, the recipe includes a homemade salad dressing to complete the dish. 

It will add some color to the table and taste great. Salads are also a great way to add some greens to a holiday dinner that can be carb and meat heavy. 

The main ingredients in this recipe are:

  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Baby arugula
  • Baby kale
  • Spinach
  • Radicchio
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Parmesan

Cheesecake Cupcakes

And of course, there’s dessert! There are so many fantastic holiday desserts to choose from, but here’s a recipe for cheesecake cupcakes that just looks amazing. These bite-sized desserts can be topped with fresh fruits, chocolate, or whipped cream to your taste. This dessert is easy to make and just has to be baked in a muffin tin. Of course, your guests will be asking for this one next year too!

The main ingredients in this recipe are:

  • Graham crackers
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries
  • Orange marmalade or apricot

Healthy Meals Direct from Meals on Wheels 

We hope that you enjoyed these holiday meal ideas! These recipes will hopefully get you started on your holiday meal prep for your family and friends. 

Here at Meals on Wheels, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to eat healthy meals. However, for many people, especially homebound seniors living alone, it may be challenging to get groceries or cook healthy and nutritious meals on a regular basis. Our senior meal delivery program is designed to ensure that vulnerable seniors have a reliable source of healthy food.

We also want to give everyone in our community the resources to improve their lives. This may involve a healthy meal delivery program or some recipes to get you started on this year’s holiday feast. 

To learn more about how we help seniors in our community, check out our services to learn more about our partners and how to receive healthy meals direct from Meals on Wheels. 

Donating to Meals on Wheels 

With December 31st and the end of the year so close, please remember to make your donations to Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa soon! All of our donations go to helping seniors with healthy meal deliveries, wellness checks, and much more. 

Easily make a donation via our online portal or give us a call at 866-669-6691 for more options for donating! We appreciate the support.