15 Hands-Off Dinner Recipes to Make During the Holiday Season
Leave these family-friendly dinner recipes to cook while you tackle holiday prep like online shopping or gift wrapping.
The holiday season is an undeniably hectic—albeit cheerful—time. From decking the halls for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa to baking cookies, wrapping presents, sending holiday cards, and meeting Santa, you likely have a lengthy holiday to-do list. To help ease your stress, we've rounded up 15 hands-off dinner recipes that your whole family will love. Each recipe here takes longer than we'd usually go for on a weeknight, but the trick is that each dish either roasts, stews, braises, or bakes so the cooking is hands-off. That means you can tackle some of your tasks while dinner is in the oven (or in some cases, a slow-cooker).
One of the ultimate hands-off dinner recipes is lasagna, and we have two recipes that will wow. The first is our Lasagna with Meat Sauce, pictured here. It's a total classic with a hearty meat filling of Italian sausage and ground beef, plus a trio of cheeses. You can assemble the entire lasagna in advance and bake it any night of the week. It spends about an hour and a half in the oven, which gives you plenty of time to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Looking for something lighter that your vegetarian family members can enjoy? Try our Mushroom-Eggplant Lasagna; the two vegetables pair with three kinds of cheese for an irresistible plant-based entrée.
Another hands-off dinner recipe that we love anytime of the year—but especially on chilly winter nights—is this Italian Pulled Pork. Instead of the usual super saucy version that's mixed with lots of barbecue sauce, our recipe is accented with a handful of earthy, aromatic spices that lets the flavor of boneless pork shoulder shine.
When you're worried about getting everything done in time for the holiday season, remember these hands-off dinner recipes. They're guaranteed to make your week more delicious and more enjoyable.
Light and Bright Beef Stew
Sausage-and-Kale Stuffed Shells
Instant Pot Carnitas
Easy Beef Chili
On a cold winter night and after a busy day of shopping, there's nothing like a comforting bowl of chili. While it simmers and the flavors marry, it's the perfect time to tackle your holiday to-do list.
Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup
Italian Pulled Pork
Baked Chicken Legs with Chickpeas, Olives, and Greens
While this Mediterranean chicken bakes in the oven, you'll have plenty of time to frost sugar cookies, decorate your tree, or tackle other holiday planning.
Instant Pot Turkey Chili
Slow-Cooker Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic
Inspired by the traditional French recipe for chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, this recipe cuts the amount in half but still packs in plenty of savory, earthy flavor. It cooks on low in a slow-cooker for five hours, giving you plenty of time to head out the door and get your shopping done.
Roast Chicken with Lemony Harissa Glaze
Roast chicken may sound like a fancy, special-occasion meal but in fact, it's the perfect hands-off weeknight recipe while you're working from home. Let the bird come to room temperature for about an hour, which helps the meat to cook evenly; then it roasts for 45 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
The warm, comforting power of this beef curry can't be denied. It's all thanks to Massaman curry paste, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, cardamom pods, cinnamon, and bay leaves.