Mix up your Noche Buena feast with these festive suggestions

It's that time of year again when stuffing yourself silly at midnight is acceptable. (Photo by Think Stock)

Christmas is just around the corner, and it's that time of year again when stuffing yourself silly at midnight is acceptable and eating sometimes does not stop until the sun comes up. Aside from the usual Christmas ham and fruit cake, there are other food ideas one can introduce for Noche Buena, just to mix things up a bit. Here are some suggestions for your midnight feast:

Roast chicken stuffed with truffle rice
Want to add a touch of luxury to your regular roast chicken? Stuff it with a mushroom rice pilaf drizzled with truffle oil. A small bottle of truffle oil is a bit expensive, but remember that a little goes a long way and you can use it for future recipes!

Grilled ham and cheese triangles
For a little twist on Christmas ham, serve these sweet pieces of meat on bread with some manchego cheese, lightly toasted in a pan with butter. Use the glaze as a dipping sauce for these sandwich triangles for a great starter while waiting for the main event.

Choco-peppermint spread
For a yummy dessert dip, get a bit of Christmas flavor in your chocolate spread by adding crushed peppermint candies or candy canes. To make your own dip, simply melt baking chocolate in a pan with some all-purpose cream and serve with melba toast, crackers, marshmallows or fruits.

Although lechon is the traditional Pinoy Christmas star, smaller gatherings or those with tighter budgets can still have their fill of a festive pork dish. Simply buy skin-on pork belly, rub it with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice and roll. Make sure you douse the skin with olive oil and salt to get crispy crackling. Roast then cut into medallions and enjoy!

Salpicao on mashed potatoes
Is a big roast beef a bit too steep for your budget? You can still enjoy beef for Christmas with an easy-to-cook salpicao. Serve on top of a parmesan-sour cream mashed potatoes for a bit of indulgence for Christmas.