Christmas/Holiday Buffet

For all those still on the lookout for some last minute cooking ideas to grace their Christmas or Holiday table/buffet, here are some quick and festive dishes that will surely satisfy hungry guests and add some holiday spirit to any soiree.

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2010 … here’s to peaceful and joyous holidays filled with good food, family, friends and lots of laughter!

Orange, Thyme and Honey Marinated Chicken Skewers

3 to 4 chicken breast halves, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon thyme honey
Juice of 1 large orange
Pinch of dried thrymbi (or savory)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, honey, vinegar, thyme, thrymbi/savory, salt and pepper. Add chicken to the same bowl and stir to coat well. Let chicken sit for at least 30 minutes then thread onto skewers. Preheat broiler; place chicken skewers on a baking sheet and broil about 3 to 4 minutes per side.


Bulgur with Leeks and Dried Cranberries
Adapted from a recipe on

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter 
3 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
5 cups chicken broth (or half broth half water)
3 cups bulgur
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup almonds or pistachios

Melt butter with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sauté until quite tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the broth (or broth/water); bring to boil; then stir in bulgur and cook (boiling) for 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries to saucepan then remove from heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Mix in almonds or pistachios and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spiced Keftedes with Minted Yogurt Sauce

Makes about 25 keftedes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef/veal/pork
Small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large bowl combine the ground meat with the onion, cumin, allspice, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, egg and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you have time, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for about one hour.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Form the meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Brown in the hot oil until cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place keftedes in a baking dish and place the dish into the oven for another 10 minutes until keftedes are cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine 2 cups Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, a pinch of coarse salt and a splash of olive oil to make the yogurt sauce. Serve the hot keftedes with the yogurt for dipping.

Red Cabbage and Sliced Almonds in an Orange Vinaigrette

1/2 head of red cabbage, finely chopped in a food processor
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 large orange, juiced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl combine the red cabbage with the almonds. In a medium bowl, whisk the orange juice, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper until well combined. Add the oil in a stream whisking well until very well combined. Pour over the cabbage and stir to combine well. Let cabbage salad sit 15 to 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and then serve at room temperature garnished with orange slices.

Rosemary Raisin Bread Rolls

Makes two large loaves

1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspooon sugar
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups flour
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and finely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins

In a large bowl combine yeast, salt, sugar, water, rosemary and raisins. Stir in the flour until just combined; dough will seem a little dry but that’s alright. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise anywhere between 2 and 3 hours.

Take a baking sheet and dust with cornmeal. Remove small pieces of dough and form into balls 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange the individual pieces of dough into a ring/flower shape on the baking sheet just barely touching each other. Let the dough rise another 1 to 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Just before placing the dough into the oven, brush each piece with olive oil. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden. Remove bread to a cooling rack and cool slightly then serve.

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12 Responses to “Christmas/Holiday Buffet”

  1. Anna A. says:

    What a beautiful spread! I love the color of your cabbage salad – it’s a nice play on the traditional Greek winter cabbage salad too. I may have to whip this one out for Xmas. Thanks!

  2. Peter G says:

    Merry Xmas to you and your loved ones! I love those rosemary and raisin rolls! Yum!

  3. Looks so yummy Maria! Happy Holidays!

  4. Ivy says:

    Everything looks delicious Maria. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays. Happy New year with good health to you and your family.

  5. Peter says:

    Not only is this a delicious spread but also quite healthy!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year!

  6. Rosa says:

    What great food! Everything looks so good!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



  7. Erica says:

    Wow!Beautiful food!!! I would love to try those meatballs.

  8. MaryAthenes says:

    I like very much your propositions ! So different, so colored, so healthy !
    Have nice holidays !

  9. Love all your suggestions : ) The skewers and meatballs are doeable from my side, need to remember that for next dinner party : ) have a wonderful year 2010 ahead of you!

  10. Muneeba says:

    Such a pretty spread .. everything looks delectable :) Have a wonderful New Year!

  11. Leon Jackson says:

    Personally I like to make my own recipes. Simple cooking tips are great for that. Done in seconds with no hassle.

  12. Titut says:

    Buffet?! WOW, thanks for the idea. I might do it sometime and post them on my nomads cooking blog :)

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