A giant platter of rib roast or baked ham is an integral part of a proper Christmas feast, and as the day approaches, you may be already searching for ideas for the all-important main course.

We’re here to help.

(James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

This Slow-Roasted Beef recipe requires a similar process, but the searing and roasting are reversed. It also includes steps for a red wine sauce.

To avoid searing all-together, try this Cold Salt-and-Pepper Beef Roast. But note the roast needs to be refrigerated in the rub for 3 to 4 hours.

For those who are more excited about a baked ham, try this sweet Mustard-and-Molasses-Glazed Ham. The molasses forms a nice coating, and wine and stock are the base for a flavorful gravy.

This Apricot-Glaze Ham is a fruitier version, with orange juice, lemon juice and dried apricots.

(Nikki Kahn - The Washington Post)

Roasts and hams provide a great base for side dishes as well.

This Sweet Potato Bourbon Soup makes a great complement to a hearty meat dish. The preparation takes a bit more concentration and a lot of stirring, but can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.

For a rich and elegant potato dish, try this Upper Crust Potatoes recipe. The gratin includes a bit of rosemary and parmesan.

An easy, last-minute side dish is this Carrots With Ginger and Honey. After a quick boil, the carrots are sauteed for only a few minutes in the honey, ginger and butter.

This Holiday Crepe Cake makes a perfect cap to any meal, along with the 25 varieties of sweets from our 2011 Cookie Guide.

View Photo Gallery: From thumbprints to exotic shortbread, our collection of holiday cookie recipes has something for everyone. This year, we’ve highlighted the handiwork of bakers with local connections.

More from our Holiday Guide:

Sugar cookie recipes for holiday baking

Roasting chestnuts

Stocking a bar for holiday parties

Gifts for the serious foodie