Have yourself a cozy little Christmas with holiday dinners just right for two.

By Jackie Freeman
November 17, 2020
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Though you may not be gathering in large crowds for the holidays this year, that doesn't mean your special dinner can't be celebrated in a big way. We've taken traditional feasts and pared them down to create menu ideas for a cozier celebration. Whether it's you and your partner, housemate, or pet, we have menu ideas, including appetizers, sides, and desserts. While some of these meals are perfect just for two, a few are great for the main event, plus leftovers the day after.

1. Check Your Crown at the Door

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Pork crown roast is a classic Christmas showstopper, featuring pork rib chops formed into a beautiful circle and topped with cute little paper party hats. But instead of roasting 16 ribs for a crowd, scale it down by cooking just enough for two. Pork Chops stuffed with Smoked Gouda and Bacon is an elegant main course that is ready in about 20 minutes. If you don't feel like heating up a grill or grill pan, you can cook the chops in a sauté pan.

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2. You've Got Game

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Poultry is popular for the holidays, but if you roast a turkey, a goose, or a duck, you'll have leftovers for days. Get your fowl fix with something smaller, like these Cornish Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary Make the whole recipe if you do want leftovers for the next evening, or cut the recipe in half and only roast two birds. Try adding a splash of chicken stock or wine to the bottom of the pan to keep the garlic from burning while roasting.

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3. Prime Time

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Prime rib is an impressive dish to serve to family friends, but if you want to have the same "wow factor" but in smaller portions, reach for Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze instead. Home cook JDVMD and others suggest seasoning the steaks, then letting them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

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  • Start the meal off with Easy Artichoke Crostini, which you can either prepare in advance or make and nosh while cooking.
  • You can serve Superb Sautéed Mushrooms on top of or alongside the filet mignon — use the full recipe if you like a lot of mushrooms, or a half recipe if you only want a few.
  • A bright, crisp Pear and Pomegranate Salad is balances the rich steak and mushrooms.
  • After such a rich main dish, you might enjoy this quick and refreshing 5-Minute Ice Cream made with strawberries to help cleanse your palate and satisfy your sweet tooth.

4. Can the Ham

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Sweet holiday ham hits the spot for many on the holidays, but it can be way too much of a good thing. Take the smaller and faster-cooking pork approach with succulent Pork Tenderloin Diablo topped with a creamy, buttery sauce made spicy with mustard and horseradish. Keep in mind if you use a marinated tenderloin, don't add additional salt, otherwise it might end up becoming too salty overall.

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  • For a fun and light appetizer that you can pick up with your fingers, use a half recipe of Caprese on a Stick with aromatic basil.
  • Fresh and delicate Pan-Fried Asparagus is simple to make and has just the right amount of garlic. And keep things simple with old fashioned Basic Mashed Potatoes to soak up the sauce.
  • A close cousin to the traditional Bananas Foster, Bananas in Caramel Sauce is a quick and easy dessert, without the flame.

5. Rack 'em Up

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Move over rack of lamb, and welcome in its younger sibling…lamb chops. Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction is a quick and easy recipe, but make sure to cook all four lamb chops – you'll each want to eat two pieces! Make sure to use high-quality balsamic vinegar because the flavor will intensify as you reduce the sauce.

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