Between the shopping, the social engagements, and the writing of holiday cards, it’s completely possible (and entirely forgivable) to find yourself at home without having a turkey or ham or Christmas goose ready for the oven—and only a day or two before the dinner you’re hosting. The solution, now that the stores have sold out of every type of meat associated with the holidays, is one of these last-minute miracles that might just have your family asking to skip the turkey next year in favour of a new tradition.
See the realistic dishes we recommend making below and tune into Lorraine Pascale’s Last Minute Christmas (airs Friday, December 23 at 9 p.m. ET) for some more last-minute options.
Does “cooked in 8-10 minutes” sound like Harry Potter-level magic words to your holiday-stressed brain right now? If so, consider this simple, but delicious baked salmon recipe your secret spell. There’s no need to tell anyone how little time it took to pull together.
For that December 24th ‘Omg the meat aisle only has ground meat!’ moment we all have nightmares about—then sometimes live through. Since the words ‘festive’ and ‘meatloaf’ are rarely seen together, opt for this fancier dish. (And go easy on yourself… pre-made marinara sauce is totally acceptable too.)
So you didn’t pre-order a turkey in time and you’re alone in the seafood section wondering what to do? Grab one of everything (shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops and snapper) for this simple but impressive pasta dish that incorporates a merry (and generous) amount of white wine.
Because what kind of eater can tell the difference between chicken and turkey anyway? This one involves a bit of prep time, but with the possible exception of the pine nuts (which you can leave out if necessary), most of the herbs, oils and spices in the dish are already in your kitchen.
Lamb: the other holiday meat. Okay, so maybe it typically makes an appearance closer to Easter, but that doesn’t mean it can’t stand in at a celebratory winter dinner party every so often. Using simple ingredients like olive oil, garlic, rosemary and sage, this recipe is a winner that won’t send you running to the store for a pinch of some obscure add-on.
Don’t be intimidated by this not-a-turkey-bird! The secret about duck: no one realizes how little time and effort it takes to nail a perfect cook. One rule to keep in mind: unlike other birds, this is one that you want to serve medium rare. And that blueberry port sauce? No one will ever ask for cranberries at your table again.
For when ‘I don’t have the right kind of holiday meat!’ devolves into ‘I don’t have any meat at all… not even cold cuts.’ The good news is that this dish doesn’t require meat. The okay news is that it’s going to take some time instead (about an hour—but that’s still less than you’d spend babysitting a roasting turkey).
Yes! Your local grocer still has turkey in stock. NO! It’s only breasts… no whole bird in sight. We’ve got the solution—and it feeds a holiday dinner party of 4 to 6 people. If you start brining your turkey now, you’ll still have time to make it! Bonus: the sliced servings give off the same vibe that a traditional roast turkey does.
No one would dare argue that this rich and elegant dish isn’t right for a holiday dinner. With a sauce that incorporates seasonal flavours (and red wine), it’ll warm up guests up even on the coldest of December nights.
Tune into Lorraine Pascale’s Last Minute Christmas Friday, December 23 at 9 p.m. ET.