Christmas dinner catastrophe? What to have on hand in case of a dinner disaster

What will you do for Christmas dinner if something burns, shrivels or the dog takes off with the turkey? Do you have a Christmas dinner backup plan?

Chili with cornbread

Many of us wait all year to dig into our favorite dishes for Christmas. No pressure, right?

Has your family appointed you to take over Christmas dinner responsibilities? Maybe it’s your first time making Christmas dinner and you really want to impress the in-laws. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re an experienced cook but something goes wrong in the kitchen this year.

Along with having the number for the local pizza delivery on hand, here are some easy-to-prepare recipes in case Christmas dinner goes wrong.

Easy beef chili recipe:

Nothing says Christmas dinner replacement like a big bowl of chili! Hearty, warm and filling, this would be nice served with a side of cornbread.

Serves 6


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, undrained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese


  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the ground beef, onion and bell peppers. Sauté for about five minutes until beef is browned. Drain the excess fat.
  2. Add the chili powder, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans and heat through. Before serving, garnish with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

Quick beef stroganoff recipe:

This traditional, filling dish can be ready in 20 minutes! This beef stroganoff is hearty and satisfying, and includes easy-to-come-by ingredients. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, try mushroom stroganoff.

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup beef gravy
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 12 ounces roast beef, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cut into strips
  • 1 package noodles
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain well and then place back into the pot. Add the butter to the noodles and toss to coat.
  2. In the meantime, put the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, mushrooms, thyme and a few pinches of salt and pepper, and then sauté the mixture for nine minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the gravy and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the sour cream and roast beef, stir well to combine, and then cook for about three minutes or until mixture is heated through. Serve the stroganoff over the hot, buttered noodles.

Hummus-crusted chicken recipe:

Well it’s not a Christmas turkey, but these modest ingredients combine to make a meal special. This hummus-crusted chicken makes for a great dish served with a green salad or green bean casserole.

Serves 4


  • 1 (16 ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups coarse soft bread crumbs


  1. Place the beans into a food processor along with the lemon juice and three tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture until smooth and creamy.
  2. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper, and then thickly coat with the hummus.
  3. Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumbs, pushing to adhere.
  4. Place the remaining oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken and cook for 14 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink. Serve immediately.

Cold Asian noodle salad recipe:

This dish is so tasty you might think twice about your Christmas dinner plans! This Asian noodle salad is hearty and heavy on the vegetables for a healthy spin, and would pair well with a creamy mushroom soup.


  • 6 ounces linguine or spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (look in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) pea pods, cut diagonally in half and blanched
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes and garlic and mix together well.
  3. Put the cooked pasta in a medium bowl and pour half the dressing over it and toss it to coat. Refrigerate the pasta for about 30 minutes so the flavors blend together.
  4. Use a large bowl and combine the refrigerated pasta, vegetables and the remaining dressing. Toss to coat, and serve.

Chopped BLT sandwich

There is a bit of a twist to this classic BLT sandwich making it special in case of a Christmas meal emergency! Serve these sandwiches with tomato soup for a nice meal.

Serves 4


  • 4 round hard rolls
  • 3/4 cup bottled creamy Caesar salad dressing
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 7 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (makes about 3 cups), and place in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Slice off the top of each roll. Remove center and cut into small cubes (makes about 3 cups). Place bread cubes on a cookie sheet; toast in oven until golden, about five minutes, turning occasionally. Brush inside of rolls with two tablespoons of the creamy dressing. Bake until lightly toasted, about five minutes; set aside.
  3. To the bowl with the tomatoes and lettuce, bread cubes, bacon, green onion and remaining Caesar dressing, toss until well combined. Spoon into toasted bread shells. Serve immediately with tops.

It’s not about the food, it’s about spending time with friends and family! Here’s hoping to a wonderful holiday feast (and just in case you need some help, you have some great Christmas dinner options on hand)!

More quick-to-fix recipes to try

Pasta with walnut-anchovy sauce
Baked chicken Parmesan
Sausage-stuffed shells
Ziti with pesto and green beans


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