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9 Legitimately Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas For Christmas Entertaining

Sponsored by Woolworths



o you guys have one of those friends that’s slightly over ambitious every time they cook you dinner? Or they’re just really bad at figuring out how long things take? I have a friend like this. I’ll arrive at his house toting my obligatory bottle of red wine at 7.30 expecting there to be a flurry of activity as the last minute touches are applied to a dinner that should be served within half an hour of my arrival. This friend of mine, bless him, will usually be standing in a pile of grocery bags, calmly pouring me a drink as he’s ‘about to put the roast on.


I love him dearly but roast is not a meal that you start cooking after your guests have already arrived. I’m no Emily Post but if I’m falling asleep from a belly full of nothing but wine and it’s almost 10pm by the time I get some meat in my pie hole, that’s some poor party planning right there. The trick to efficient Christmas entertaining is planning and shortcuts my friends and as the smug owner of a Type A personality, I’m an expert at this. I can make a gourmet-ish, 3 course meal in about half an hour because I’d much rather be drinking wine with my guests than making jus or some kind of weird flavoured foam in the kitchen. I’ve popped together a few ideas from a dinner that Mr Smaggle and I hosted recently to give you some inspiration for last minute, quick Christmas entertaining this season.


BQQ chicken sticks

1. Chicken sticks

You can buy pre-made ones but if you don’t fancy any of the flavours on offer you can buy fillets of chicken, chop them up, shove them on sticks and pan fry them for a tasty entree. These ones are made from the Lemon Pepper Smashin’ Chicken Fillets from the Created With Jamie Range ($20.95 per kilo) from Woolies and they are the absolute bomb. They’re really light and not slimy like some other chicken skewers can be. (Just FYI: Mr Smaggle ate 5 for dinner last night because he’s a greedy little piglet). You can also grab Jamie’s chicken skewers if you don’t want to get your hands all grubby – all his chicken prods are made with free range chicken BTW and they taste bloody brilliant . Tip: Chicken skewers are best for an entree if your main dish is light or vegetarian.

Created With Jamie Lemon Pepper Smashin' Chicken Fillets

2. Cheese board

Probably the easiest of all entrees is a simple cheese board. Whack a few cheeses, some dips, crackers, dried fruit and almonds on a chopping board and you’re good to go. Added bonus with this one is that it’s totally Instagram worthy too.

3. Snack sized bruschetta

Bruschetta is dead easy to make – just grab an Italian breadstick, slice it up and brush it with olive oil. Then dice some tomatoes and add finely chopped garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil, a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar. Mix it all up in a bowl and chuck it on your Italian bread slices.

BBQ Chicken Sticks


Roasted vegetables in pan

4. Sausages and salad

Let me tell you a secret… most people really love sausages. If you throw a couple of sausos on the BBQ and whip up a simple salad with olives and fetta, there aren’t many people who would complain about a dinner like that… unless they’re vegetarian in which case do tofu instead!

5. Easy meat and veg

If you, like us, lack a BBQ don’t despair! You can always grab a pre-marinated piece of beautiful meat and pop it in the oven or pan fry it. For this dinner we used the Created With Jamie Sweet Pepper Butterflied Beef Rump ($23.50 per kilo) and holy sweet potatoes was it delicious. It was so tender and I can’t even describe the flavour – kind of peppery and sweet I guess? I can’t really remember, I was in a blissful beef coma. We cooked it in our Sous Vide first (details here) and then seared the outside in a fry pan but you can BBQ it or roast it too. We popped a few veggies in the oven to go with it – dutch carrots, pumpkin, potato, garlic and sweet potato sprinkled with thyme. Although roasts take a while to cook they’re fairly low maintenance… you just pop them in the oven and leave it there till it’s ready. Just make sure you leave enough time for it to cook so you can serve your guests before midnight! Tip: This beef was SENSATIONAL the next day served cold on a salad.

Roasted btterfly beef rump

6. Simple pasta

Discounting pasta as a dinner party appropriate main dish is a rookie mistake. Pasta can be very fancy while still being quick and cheap. Try my chilli, prawn and basil pasta. It’s a major crowd pleaser. Even my dad likes it and he hates pasta… and chilli.

Created with Jamie Sweet Pepper Butterflied Beef Rump


Stewed stone fruits with yogurt

7. Stewed fruit and yogurt

For this dinner we just popped a few peaches, nectarines and plums in a baking dish with some fresh vanilla and sugar and baked it for about 10 minutes on 200 degrees until the grill. Then we served it with yogurt and honey and it was bloody delicious! All the juices kind of caramelise and it looks way fancier than it actually is. Tip: Left over stewed fruit is amazing with yogurt for breakfast.

8. Ice cream sundaes

Sometimes if I’m super desperate for a quick dessert, I’ll serve ice cream with topping and some kind of fancy chopped up chocolate like Lindt and my guests have never been happier. Keep it simple. No one’s expecting a rainbow layer cake, believe me.

Stewed stone fruit with yogurt

9. Chocolate salad

My mate Nikki got me on to the concept of Chocolate Salad and Christmas is the perfect time to whip it out. You know all those boxes of chocolates you received from work mates and friends over the Christmas season? Pop it all in a bowl and serve it with Bailey’s Ice Coffees. Best. Dessert. Ever. Tip: This one is brilliant for teachers who end up with a whole K-Mart shelf worth of chocolate at the end of every year.

Do you have any last minute panic meals that you make when you’re entertaining?


P.S. The Created with Jamie lemon chicken and butterflied beef are both gluten free (according to the ingredients) but just make sure you check for any allergy ingredients before you buy them. All the products in the range are pretty good though, there’s no preservatives or weird filler ingredients in them which is brilliant for a GF household.

P.P.S. I totally wanted to try the Tutti Frutti pie for this post but it was sold out! Gutted! Has anyone tried it? Was is super delicious?

P.P.S.P.S. – For more recipes and entertaining ideas make sure you follow Smaggle in these places –   FacebookTwitterBloglovinInstagram and the Smaggle weekly newsletter – it’s going to be a glorious summer full of recipes and delicious things!


  1. Oh yum! It all looks totes delicious. I for one, think sausages are perfect for a main. In fact, I would be thrilled if someone dished some up at my next dinner party. Those chicken sticks look yummy but I’m usually to cook an entree I just chuck a few home made dips together with some chips or crudites. Homemade hummus and tzatziki are so easy to whip up. And I wish you hadn’t told me about the chocolate salad, that could be dangerous!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      I absolutely love a sausage – that sounded heaps dirty but you know what I mean. No the chocolate salad is awesome because you get to share all the calories – it’s the best way of getting rid of all that Christmas chocolate!

  2. merilyn 9 years ago

    thanks smags! … need a-types in my life to get me moving! … these all look very delicious!
    a too easy, fall back, cupboard store dish, is a butter bean smash with garlic, e v olive oil and lemon juice … with tuna and celery for crunch, crumbled feta and rocket! … a few dollops of greek yoghurt lemon zest and lemon squeezed sprinkle with sesame seeds! … not really for a dinner party! just any day dish! … one could substitute with haloumi, tofu, cooked fish, chicken or meat! … love the desert! how wonderfully decadent! … enjoy your day hun! love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      I’m actually making this whole thing again tonight because it was so freaking delicious – literally all of it. We have the butterflied beef already in the freezer! 🙂

  3. Fiona 9 years ago

    What is that marble board the beef is on and where do I get one???

    Also, your photos for this look AMAZING. I want to eat all the things.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      We found it in the street and it weighs A TON!!! Sorry I couldn’t provide you with a shop link! I’m so proud of this photography – I think it’s actually the best one we’ve done! 🙂

  4. Veggie Mama 9 years ago

    Invite me next time please and thank you

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      So you can have salad while we all eat meat? 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      I could probably rustle up a stale bread roll for you too…

  5. Kylie 9 years ago

    We used to tease our young, single male friend for making chocolate salad all the time. We secretly loved it though, unlike his other speciality: tomato sauce on cheese!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      That sounds bloody brilliant! As long as it’s toasted, I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at it! 🙂

  6. Christine 9 years ago

    I’ve been hearing many great things about Jamie’s new range of products for Woolies. So much so, that I might just venture into Woolies to check it out. (I am a Coles online shopper of several years and rarely go to a supermarket). My go-to quick, but fairly impressive main course is atlantic salmon drizzled with lime infused olive oil and sprinkled with smoked himalayan rock salt and pan fried – served with Jamie’s sweet potato mash – sweet potato steamed or microwaved and mashed with couple spoons home made chutney or salsa, lime juice, olive oil, and basil (cos I’m sorry I just can’t do coriander – don’t hate me), and a pile of mixed greens. SO quick and so yum. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      They’re so great! I never tried them until I started working with them and we buy them all the time now…. and I do hate you for not loving coriander… it’s THE BEST!!!!

  7. nonnuclearmaven 9 years ago

    We have those Smashin Chikkinz about once a week, so tasty! Do it with a corn salsa/salad thing. Licious! Also agree on the sausages, especially the big juicy pork and apple ones!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      How good are they? We’ve been having them at least once a week too – so tasty!

  8. Chelsea 9 years ago

    Haloumi with mint and a squeeze of lemon never disappoints as an entree / main / all three courses. My favourite impressive but piss easy dessert is an Eton’s Mess made with fruit (mango, blueberries or strawberries usually) layered with smashed ready bought meringues or pav and canned cream.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 9 years ago

      Oh my god haloumi! I would do anything for haloumi… I feel like it pretty much all the time… like right now…


  1. […] I just find it so easy to cook with. If you want some more beef recipes I’ve got chilli beef, butterfly beef rump, portobello beef mushrooms, kale and beef salad and my favourite ever spaghetti bolognese […]

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