WATCH: How to Make a Delicious Noche Buena Feast in Under 3 Hours

It's totally doable! We cooked this Noche Buena menu in record time, and so can you.

 

Nothing beats an elegant table setting filled with food you love for Noche Buena. But when strapped for time, it can be a hassle to put together a special meal when you only have a few hours to prepare. 

 

But we’re here to help you out: We've put together a family-friendly menu that will not only wow your family when they see (and taste!) what you've made, but you also won’t be spending too much time and effort to get the evening started on a delicious note ­­­– and all can be done in under three hours.

 

 

Menu

Cream of Kalabasa Soup with Pumpkin Seeds and Crispy Ground Pork

Boneless Fried Chicken Breasts with Rosemary Garlic Cream Sauce

Baked Salmon with Parmesan Cream Sauce

Chocolate Orange Pudding with Whipped Cream and Grated Chocolate

 

 

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Cream of Kalabasa Soup

Start the meal on a hearty note with this simple yet delicious starter. Prep the other dishes while you wait for the veggies to become tender so you maximize your prep time.

 

Takes 25 minutes

Makes 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup ground pork

1 medium red onion, peeled, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

1/2 kilo kalabasa, rind removed, cubed small

2 cups carrots, peeled, chopped small

2 chicken bouillon cubes

4 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste

1/4 cup all-purpose cream, more for topping

1/4 cup pumpkin seed nuts, for topping

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

 

1

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and melt butter. Add ground pork and fry until crispy. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate. Set aside.

 

2

In the same pot, add onion then garlic, and cook until both have softened. Add kalabasa and carrots. Stir to mix. Add bouillon cubes. Pour in water, increase heat to High, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat then simmer until softened.

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3

Turn off heat. Using a potato masher, mash the carrots and kalabasa until almost finely mashed. Pour then stir in flour mixture. Turn heat back on, and simmer until hot and slightly thickened. Season with ground black pepper, to taste, and ground cumin. Set aside until ready to serve.

 

4

When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top each with a spoonful of the crispy pork, a teaspoon of pumpkin seeds, and a quick swirl of cream. Serve while hot.

 

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Chicken, carrots, and corn flavors in one delicious comforting soup!

 

 

Boneless Fried Chicken Breasts with Rosemary Garlic Cream Sauce

Prep the chicken while you're waiting for other dishes to get done. Plus, the sauce can be done ahead of time and may be reheated when you're ready to serve.  

 

Takes 30 minutes

Makes 4 servings

 

4 boneless chicken breast fillets, skin on, tenderloin removed

Rock salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Oil, for frying

 

 

1

Place a fillet, skin side down, in a ziplock bag. Using the flat side of a meat mallet and concentrating on the thickest part of the breast, pound the chicken breast until even thickness all over. Transfer flattened chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Season chicken breasts generously with salt and black pepper, or to taste.

 

2

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken breasts, skin side down, onto the hot pan. Sear until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the top of the chicken feels hard to the touch. Flip and cook the other side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts until all are cooked through. Set aside.

 

3

To serve, place chicken breasts on a serving plate, and serve with garlic rosemary cream sauce (recipe below). Serve while hot.

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Rosemary Garlic Cream Sauce

Rosemary and garlic are a classic pairing to meat, and most especially, chicken. This is fast and easy to make, too! 

 

Takes 10 minutes

Makes 1 1/4 cups

 

2 tablespoons butter

3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced thinly

1/2 chicken bouillon cube

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup all-purpose cream

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

 

1

In a cast iron pan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Cook until garlic begins to sizzle and is fragrant. Add bouillon cube and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle in flour and stir until flour is mixed with the butter.

 

2

Pour in water, and using a whisk, whisk until the flour is dissolved in the water. Cook until thickened. Pour in cream, and stir until mixed. Add and stir in rosemary. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Stir. Bring to simmer then remove from heat. Serve with chicken.

 

Use this easy mushroom cream sauce on fish, chicken, or potatoes!

 

 

Baked Salmon with Parmesan Cream Sauce

No salmon? Change it with your favorite fish fillet. The recipe is easily customized to whatever fish you have on hand. 

 

Takes 30 minutes

Makes 4 servings

 

1 piece salmon loin, skin removed

2 tablespoons butter

1 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped

Breadcrumbs from 2 slices bread

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Parmesan Cream (recipe follows)

 

1

Preheat toaster oven. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Butter baking dishes and season with salt and ground black pepper. Place salmon, cut to size, in the baking dishes. Set aside.

 

2

 In a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and breadcrumbs. Cook until breadcrumbs are toasted.

 

3

 To assemble: top each salmon with parmesan cream. Sprinkle tops with breadcrumbs and more Parmesan cheese. Bake in the toaster oven about 20 minutes or until the cream is bubbling and salmon is just cooked through. Cover baking dishes with foil if tops are browning too quickly. Serve while hot.

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Don't get stuck in a seafood rut: there are many way to prepare fish that are available in markets.

 

 

Parmesan Cream

Delicious and decadent, this sauce is the perfect accompaniment to fish, beef, chicken, and even vegetables. 

 

Takes 10 minutes

Makes 1 3/4 cups

 

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 large clove garlic, lightly crushed

1/2 chicken bouillon cube

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fresh milk

1 cup water

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup all-purpose cream

Ground black pepper, to taste

 

1

In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and heat oil. Add garlic and bouillon cube, and stir until cube has dissolved. Stir until flour is mixed with the butter-oil mixture.

 

2

 Using a whisk, pour in milk and water and whisk until the flour is dissolved in the liquids. Cook until thickened. Stir in cheese, pour in cream, and stir until mixed. Season to taste with ground pepper. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Remove and discard garlic. Serve. 

 

Classic nachos gets an upgrade with a warm, gooey dip everyone will love.

 

Chocolate Orange Pudding with Whipped Cream and Grated Chocolate 

You'll want to do this first, so it can cool and chill in the refrigerator while you get everything else prepared. Then you'll have perfect puddings ready to serve once all the baking, cooking, and serving of the other dishes has been done. 

 

Takes 15 minutes plus cooling and chilling

Makes 4 servings

 

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 pieces orange zest

3 cups fresh milk

Chocolate, grated, for topping

Whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks, for topping

 

1

In a medium saucepot, mix cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Pour in milk and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring. Lower heat to simmer until thickened, stirring to prevent scorching. Remove orange zest, and remove pan from heat.

 

2

 Ladle into serving bowls. Chill until ready to serve.

 

3

When ready to serve, whip whipping cream until soft peaks. Dollop whipped cream and grate chocolate over each pudding. Serve cold.

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Boxed cake mixes can be used to make easy no-bake puddings for dessert!

 

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