Easy Christmas Dinner Menu for 6

If you are looking for a fantastic holiday main course idea, this Easy Christmas Dinner Menu is it! It has everything going for it. It's easy, most of it can be prepped in advance. It's affordable, uses basic ingredients, and doesn't require any expensive roasts or seafood, and it is so delicious too! 

The make-ahead components to this menu allow for less time in the kitchen and more time with your family and friends! Just what we all need more of around the holiday season!

For a quick and easy dessert idea that is so delicious too, try my Chocolate Christmas Cake. 

Bouchee a la Reine and Asparagus with a Stuffed Tomato on the plate

The Main Course

The main course to this menu is a delicious French dish called a Bouchee a la Reine, made with roasted chicken, sauteed mushrooms, covered in a creamy bechamel sauce, and spooned into puff pastry rounds. You can get extra fancy and add a little Christmasy touch to your puff pastry like a Christmas tree or a star.

I also make Bouchee a La Reine with Lobster which is a fantastic dinner idea for New Years's Eve, and it too can be prepped ahead of time! 

The Side Dishes

This dish pairs really well with Provencal-style roasted tomatoes and roasted asparagus. Both of which can be prepped in advance and roasted at the same time, saving oven space! 

A fork taking a bite of Bouche a la Reine showing the texture and mushroom and chicken filling

Watch My Video Demo of This Christmas Menu Below!

(I'll even give you a Game Plan for handling the prep!)

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Also featured in this video is my recipe for Salmon Mousse on Cucumber Coins. A wonderful starter to this menu. 

Step#1: Roast the Chicken

What makes this dinner so affordable for 6, is the fact that you can get away with using only 2 chicken breasts. It's typically the main protein in a menu that drives up the cost! But not with this idea. I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts because it will keep the meat moist and juicy when it comes time to shred it and put it in the sauce. 

adding chicken breast to a sheet pan with rack with a pair of tongs

Step#2: Make the Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms are a typical ingredient for Bouche a la Reine, and they are so delicious when cooked down with a little Worcestershire sauce and simmered in white wine and thyme. It gives what could be a simple cream sauce a wonderful depth of flavor. 

If you don't drink you can substitute the wine for chicken broth and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest. The zest gives it just a hint of tang like the wine does but won't curdle in the sauce the way lemon juice might. 

cooking mushrooms in a skillet

Step#3: Make the Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel sauce is a classic French sauce that is known as a "Mother-Sauce" because it forms the base of so many other great sauces and recipes. It uses pantry staples of butter, flour, and milk to create the creamiest, most delicious sauce! 

I use it as a base for my Chicken and Mushroom Crepes, My Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, and my Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese.  

a person adding milk to a large skillet

Step#4: Add the Mushrooms and Chicken

Then all you have to do is add the mushrooms and the chicken back into the sauce and it's that easy! 

Adding Mushrooms to Bechamel Sauce

Make-Ahead Tip:

At this stage allow the sauce to cool down and then transfer it to a container and store in the fridge until ready to serve. This sauce easily reheats just before serving. It will thicken a bit more as it chills, but you can thin it out with a few splashes of milk or chicken broth to get it to the desired consistency. 

Transferring cooled sauce into a storage container to refrigerate

Step#5: Prep the Puff Pastry

The puff pastry is what makes this dish so festive and delicious! It becomes the perfect vehicle for soaking up all that delicious sauce! I use an 8-0z ramekin to cut out the circles. The puff pastry will cut a lot easier if it's in a semi-frozen state. Not too frozen or it will crack, but not too soft or it won't retain its shape. I find if you take frozen puff pastry and allow it to rest out on your countertop for 30 minutes that's usually a good place to start. 

cutting a puff pastry round with a ramekin

Cutting the Puff Pastry Rounds

Place the pastry on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. This will prevent the bottoms from getting too browned while keeping the pastry light and flakey. I also find the holidays become that much easier with pre-cut parchment paper sheets!

If you have leftover puff pastry sheets, whip up this Apple Cinnamon Pastry Recipe for Christmas morning. Another great holiday recipe you can make in advance!

placing pastry round on a parchment lined cookie sheet

Decorating the Puff Pastry

Then you can use the scraps of the pastry for cutting out a decorative ornament for the top of your Bouchee a La Reine. I love to use the Christmas trees or a star would be fun and festive too! 

cutting out Christmas Trees in Puff Pastry Dough

Puff Pastry Tips:

  • The cookie cutter shapes will be easier to cut if the puff pastry isn't too warm.
  • If it's become too soft, place it on a sheet pan, lined with parchment paper, and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
  • Once you add the decoration to the puff pastry. It's also important to brush egg wash on the pastry and under the decoration to make sure it sticks while the pastry rises in the oven.

brushing egg wash underneath christmas tree detail on puff pastry circles

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • You can prep the puff pastry in advance, and cover the tray, and place it in the freezer or refrigerator. Just don't add the egg wash yet, it's best to do that just before baking.
  • You can bake the pastry up to 2-hours in advance. Allow it to sit out, uncovered at room temperature until ready to serve.
  • Baking the pastry ahead of time will free up your oven space for the side dishes below. 

freshly baked puff pastry rounds on a cooktop

How To Get the Best Rise from Puff Pastry?

The secret with puff pastry is to buy it within a few weeks of using it and keep it frozen before ready to use. If it's too old or has been sitting in the refrigerator, defrosting for too many days, it will lessen its ability to rise and puff up. 

a detail of a christmas tree design baked into puff pastry round

Step#6: Prep the Tomatoes

Bouchee a la Reine is pretty rich and to balance out the richness I like to serve some lighter side dishes. My two favorites with this meal are Provencal-style tomatoes and roasted asparagus. Both can be prepped in advance and if you place them on quarter sheet pans they can also go in the oven at the same time! 

a close up detail of a Provencal tomato on a plate topped with bread crumbs

Core the Tomatoes

The easiest way to core tomatoes is with a melon baller. For a medium-sized tomato, it takes just one scoop. This is the perfect size to hold a good amount of bread crumb mixture, while still retaining enough tomato interior to soften in the oven when it bakes. 

a person coring tomatoes with a melon baller

Make-Ahead Tip:

You can core and stuff the tomatoes up to 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate and then all you have to do before serving is pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Filling cored tomatoes with bread crumb mixture

Step#7: Prep the Asparagus

A day ahead you can also prep the asparagus. Just be sure to pat them dry after rinsing to absorb the moisture. They will have a better texture and flavor if the roast dry, tossed with olive oil, and won't steam up with the excess moisture removed. 

Asparagus drying on a dish towel

Then slice off the woody ends of the asparagus, it will be easier to eat and also contribute to a prettier plate if all the spears are uniform in size. 

Cutting ends of Asparagus Spears

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Then cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Then place in the oven during the last 10 minutes of cooking time on the tomatoes. 

Drizzling Olive Oil on to Asparagus

Step#8: Plate the Christmas Dinner! 

While the side dishes are finishing in the oven, and your sauce is reheating, you can split apart the puff pastry rounds. This is best done with your fingertips as opposed to a knife. The pastry will be easier to split that way and it will preserve its flakey texture too.

a Person Splitting a Puff Pastry Round with their hands over a holiday plate

Then all you have to do is add the side dishes to the plate and spoon in the sauce! 

a vertical image of a holiday plate with a Christmas Dinner Menu on it

More Holiday Main Course Ideas!

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Bouchee a la reine in puff pastry on a plate with a roasted tomato and asparagus

Easy Christmas Dinner Menu for 6

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours 2 seconds
Total Time: 4 hours 2 seconds

If you are looking for a fantastic Easy Christmas Dinner Menu this one is it! It has everything going for it. It's easy, most of it can be prepped in advance. It's affordable, it uses basic ingredients and doesn't require any expensive roasts or seafood, and it is so delicious too! 

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 sheets puff pastry

FOR MUSHROOMS:

  • 2 tablespoon (30g) Butter
  • ⅓ cup (50g) shallots, diced
  • 8 oz (230g) sliced white mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoon (10 ml) fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 teaspoon (10ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)

FOR BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  • 3 tablespoon (45g) butter
  • 2 tablespoon (15g) flour
  • 2 cups (475 ml)of milk
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Freshly cracked pepper

FOR TOMATOES:

  • 6 Medium-Sized Tomatoes on the vine
  • 2 tablespoon (30ml) panko bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) olive oil
  • Pinch of Herbs de Provence (or dried Thyme, or Basil)

FOR ASPARAGUS:

  • 2 bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed off
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Roast chicken at 375F (190C) for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

In a large non-stick skillet, melt the 2 tablespoon of butter, add shallots and cook until translucent and fragrant. Then add mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms wilt and have turned a deep golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then add the thyme, the Worcestershire sauce and the wine. Reduce slightly until wine is mostly evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the chicken off the bone with two forks into bit-sized pieces until you get 2 cups. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the bechamel sauce, In a deep skillet, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken. Then add the salt, the garlic, and freshly cracked pepper.

Add in the cooked mushroom mixture to the bechamel sauce. Add the chicken. Stir to combine. Taste or seasoning. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Allow to cool and then transfer to a container and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the puff pastry, roll it out on a floured surface. Cut out 6 circles (with the help or a bowl) around 5 inches in diameter. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the puff pastry scrapes the cut out a small Christmas tree shape or star around 2-inch in size.

Place the shape in the center of the circle and brush the beaten egg on the pastry round affixing the shape in the center. Be careful not to brush the edges of the round with the egg or it will prevent the pastry from puffing up.

Bake at 400F (200C) for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Can rest on the countertop, uncovered for 1 hour.

Mix together the panko bread crumbs with the oil, herbs de Provence salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile, keep the oven set at 400F. Prep the tomatoes. Slice off the tops, and scoop the core out with a melon baller. Fill each tomato with the panko bread mixture. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, place the asparagus on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, reheat the sauce until hot. Thin with a little milk if needed. Then gently pull apart the puff pastry round, by pulling apart the top from the bottom, to split into two halves. Place the bottom on the puff pastry on the bottom, spoon the sauce over, then place the top on.

Notes

The secret with puff pastry is to buy it within a few weeks of using it and keep it frozen before ready to use. If it's too old or has been sitting in the refrigerator, defrosting for too many days, it will lessen its ability to rise and puff up. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 459mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 19g

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One Comment

  1. We made this for Christmas dinner and it was a hit!! Super delicious and impressive. I will be making this again next year!