Smart & Easy Christmas Menu

Posted by Vanessa Ip on

Christmas brings family and friends together to celebrate traditions and spread good cheer. It also bring lots of opportunities for socializing, eating, and drinking. Even the most disciplined people struggle with temptation during the holiday season.

Instead of a heavy meal that you may regret to have, try this super-healthy, super-easy and irresistibly delicious menu on Christmas Day!

Menu for 10



Prawns & asparagus with basil aioli

Barbecued prawns are a healthy favourite for an Aussie Chrissy lunch, and taste great when topped with a zesty creamy dressing.

Prep time: 30min

  • 1.5kg (about 40) medium green prawns, peeled leaving tails intact, deveined
  • 5 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 2 lemons, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Olive oil spray
  • Small basil leaves, to serve
Basil aioli
  • 170g (2/3 cup) 97 per cent fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. Place the prawns and asparagus in separate shallow glass or ceramic dishes. Whisk together the lemon rind, lemon juice and oil in a jug. Season with pepper. Divide among the dishes. Toss to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-4 hours to marinate.

  2. Meanwhile, to make the basil aioli, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and basil in a bowl. Season with pepper. For a thinner consistency, if desired, gradually add 1-2 tablespoons cold water, whisking until smooth and well combined.

  3. Drain the prawns. Thread, tail-end first, onto the skewers.

  4. Drain the asparagus. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue grill on high. Spray the prawns and asparagus with olive oil spray to lightly grease. Cook the prawns and asparagus on grill, turning once, for 5-6 minutes or until the prawns change colour and the asparagus is bright green and tender crisp.

  5. Divide the asparagus and prawn skewers among serving plates. Season with pepper. Drizzle over the basil aioli and top with the basil leaves to serve.


Time plan tip: Prepare to the end of step 2 up to 4 hours ahead. Cover the aioli and store in the fridge. Continue from step 3, 10 minutes before serving. Allow 4 hours marinating time.



Roasted Chicken with Lemons and Thyme

Cooking Light’s Roasted Chicken with Lemons and Thyme is a classic Christmas dish that will delight your dinner guests. 

Prep time: 1h 45min


  • 1 (6-pound) roasting chicken
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken.

  3. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

  4. Combine the paprika, 1 tablespoon thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; rub under loosened skin.

  5. Thinly slice 1 lemon; arrange slices under loosened skin.

  6. Cut remaining lemon into quarters. Place lemon quarters inside chicken cavity. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme to chicken cavity.


  1. Place chicken on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Brush oil over skin. Cover chicken with aluminum foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165 degrees.

  2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cover with foil, and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

  3. Place a zip-top plastic bag in a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes. Seal bag; carefully snip off one bottom corner of bag.


  1. Drain drippings into measuring cup, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

  2. Place pan on stove top over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into pan.

  3. Add wine; bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add drippings, broth, juice, sugar, remaining ¾ teaspoon pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thickened.

  4. Remove from heat. Remove skin and lemon slices from chicken, and remove lemon wedges from cavity; discard.

  5. Carve chicken, and arrange on a serving platter.

  6. Serve with gravy. Garnish with additional lemon slices and thyme sprigs, if desired.


Chickpea fattoush

Add a Middle Eastern touch with this refreshing salad jam-packed with bright vegies, fibre-full chickpeas and crunchy bread crisps.

Prep time: 30min



  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Spray the bread with olive oil spray and place on the lined tray. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sumac. Bake in oven, turning once, for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and light golden. Set aside on the tray to cool completely. Break into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Whisk together the lemon juice and oil in a jug.

  3. Combine the chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, shallot, parsley, mint and remaining sumac in a large bowl.

  4. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Season with pepper. Add the bread and toss to combine. Serve.


Time plan tip: Prepare this recipe to the end of step 1 up to 1 day ahead. Store the bread in an airtight container. Continue to the end of step 3 up to 4 hours ahead. Store the dressing and salad in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Continue from step 4 just before serving.



Christmas berry trifle

Sorted out your Christmas dessert yet? You can't go past this berry nice trifle.

 Prepare time: 25min





  1. Break the biscuits into large pieces. Arrange over the base of a 2L (8-cup) capacity serving dish.

  2. Prepare the jelly following packet directions. Stir in the rosewater essence. Carefully pour the jelly mixture over the biscuits. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours or until the jelly is set.

  3. Meanwhile, place the pistachios in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool slightly. Coarsely chop.

  4. Spoon the fromage frais over the jelly. Top with the mixed summer fruit.

  5. Sprinkle with pistachios and dust with icing sugar to serve.


Time plan tip: Prepare to the end of step 3 up to 1 day ahead. Place the pistachios in an airtight container. Continue to the end of step 4 up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and place in the fridge. Continue from step 5, just before serving. Tip: Rosewater essence, which is used extensively in Middle Eastern and Indian desserts, is available from the baking section of Woolworths - you'll find it near the vanilla essence.



Strawberry apple punch

Nothing says a party quite like punch. So, mix a few simple ingredients and add some non-alcoholic fruity fizz to the festivities.

 Prepare time: 15min

  • 2 x 250g punnets fresh strawberries, washed, hulled
  • 750ml (3 cups) diet lemonade, chilled
  • 500ml (2 cups) unsweetened apple juice, chilled
  • 500ml (2 cups) sparkling natural mineral water, chilled
  • 250ml (1 cup) freshly brewed tea, cooled
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • Ice, to serve


  1. Place half the strawberries in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a punch bowl or serving jug. Finely chop the remaining strawberries and add to the bowl or jug.

  2. Add the lemonade, juice, mineral water, tea and mint to the bowl or jug and stir to combine. Serve with ice.


Time plan tip: Prepare to the end of step 1 up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and place in the fridge. Continue from step 2 just before serving. How to sieve berries: For the Strawberry apple punch you'll need a seed-free puree. A good trick, after blending the strawberries, is to strain the puree by gently pushing it through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon. Tip: Place extra strawberries, finely chopped, in an ice cube tray and fill with water or diet lemonade and freeze. Add to the punch just before serving.


Enjoy the special day!


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