CHRISTMAS DINNER MENU
Asian lettuce cups
Cheesy Potatoes (or Wild Rice Casserole)
Spinach Pita (or Parmesan Broccoli)
French Green Salad with Spicy Pecans
Christmas cookies, Oreo truffles, salted caramels
I have had many requests (some from the same person :) for recipes. Specifically, easy ecipes. Finally, I am following through with that post. These recipes are ALL easy! And they are the dishes my children beg for and the ones that guests request recipes for...
I must preface the rest of this post with my Christmas reality…
I spent 6 hours in the ER with my 17 year old son on Christmas Eve. After being treated for strep, his throat became swollen and sore. An abscess in the back of his throat created quite the drama for us this Christmas! My daughter promptly got the flu the day she arrived home for the holidays. The only reason I share this story with you, is to explain the odd photos illustrating my recipes. Although I did cook this meal for our immediate family, the extended family understandably cancelled coming to the sick house. While cooking the feast for our pitiful group, I completely forgot to take photos. I have included comparable images on the web for your viewing pleasure…
Ok, on with the show...
I love appetizers! I could make a meal off of appetizers every night of the week. I have been making this artichoke dip for 25 years. Everyone loves it and it could not be any easier. I discovered the Asian lettuce cups recipe only a few years ago, and it has also proved to be a big crowd pleaser.
I am the tenderloin maker. Our in-town family loves tenderloin. Our tradition has become chicken baskets at my sister-in-law's for Christmas Eve, and Tenderloin at my house for Christmas. I have 2 marinades I use, but the favorite seems to be the soy sauce and sesame seed option. Plus, a wonderful thing happened… I found the marinade I have been making for years in a bottle. A Christmas miracle! It's sold at Whole Foods... a wonderful discovery indeed. I've tested my family on the bottled version and the homemade, and they can't tell the difference. Bottled version it is! (recipe included below for your own experimenting…)
Next, I make cheesy potatoes. This is not fancy my friends. It's the recipe on the back of the Ore Ida hash brown potato bag. Not gourmet and a little embarrassing, but guess what, there are no leftovers. Ever.
Spinach Pita is a recipe from my childhood. We had it for Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, and lots of other family gatherings. It's sort of a spinach quiche dish. SUPER easy and delicious.
I have substituted Spinach Pita with Parmesan Broccoli (recipe also included) but the reaction was not good… It's all about the kids, isn't it?
Warning: the recipe makes an unusually large volume of spicy pecans… You could easily cut the recipe in half unless you are feeding over fifty people. They are also delicious on an appetizer tray, or on their own in a small bowl for snacking…
SPICY ASIAN LETTUCE CUPS
(from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over)
2 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 pound ground turkey, beef or pork
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C ketchup
4 t rice wine vinegar
4 t Asian sesame oil
2 t hot red pepper flakes
2 T brown sugar
1 head lettuce leaves separated and torn into cups
(I use butter lettuce)
1/4 C sliced scallions
1/4 C chopped peanuts
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and water chestnuts and sauté until onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add turkey and cook, stirring frequently, until meat loses its raw color and liquid has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, oil, pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl. Add to pan and continue to cook until mixture has thickened to consistency of sloppy joes. Remove from heat. When ready to serve, preheat mixture if necessary. You can fill each lettuce cup and serve on a tray, or allow guests to help themselves. Garnish with scallions and peanuts.
28 ounces artichokes, drained and chopped
1 C mayonaise
1 1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1-2 T chopped chives or scallions
4 T Marsala wine, optional (I have never even tried this!)
In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Transfer to shallow, greased casserole. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with chips, crackers, vegetables, or toasted party rye. (I serve with Triscuits)
3/4 C soy sauce
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C sesame seeds
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 green onions chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 t pepper
Marinade steaks or tenderloin overnight and grill before meal.. We usually let them sit while preparing the rest of the meal.. Room temp is delicious!
WILD RICE CASSEROLE
(adapted from Company's Coming recipe)
1/2 C butter
10.5 oz can beef consommé, undiluted
10.5 oz can onion soup, undiluted
8 oz can water chestnuts, sliced and drained
1-2 pkgs fresh mushrooms sliced
6 oz box Long-Grain and Wild Rice (Uncle Ben's)
Place butter and soups in 1.5 qt casserole and place in 350 degree oven until butter is melted. Add water chestnuts, mushrooms and rice with seasonings. Stir to mix and return to 350 degree oven for 1 hour, uncovered. Serves 8. (I double this recipe for a dinner party)
CHEESY POTATO CASSEROLE
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 C sour cream
½ t salt
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 green onion
1 package Ore-Ida hash browns
2 C crushed corn flake cereal
¼ C butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together soup, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, onion and hash browns, until mixed. Spoon into baking dish.
In small bowl, mix cereal and butter, and sprinkle on top of hash brown mixture. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serves about 8.
3 T melted butter
3 T flour
3 eggs beaten
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach – thawed and drained
1 C cottage cheese
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and bake in a pie dish or 8x8 baking dish.
PARMESAN ROASTED BROCCOLI
(from Ina Garten's Back to Basics)
4-5 lbs broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
2 t grated lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
3 T pine nutes, toasted
1/3 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 T julienned fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut broccoli florets from the thick stalks, levying an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut larger pieces through the base of the head, pulling florets apart. You should end up with about 8 cups of florets. Place broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to held them in a single layer. Toss garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil Spirnkel wit the salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove broccoli from oven and immediately toss with olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, parmesan and basil. Serve hot!
FRENCH GREEN SALAD
1 large head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1 red onion chopped
3 oz goat cheese crumbled
1 can artichoke hearts sliced and drained (optional)
1 handful fresh green beans blanched (if available)
1/2 C cashews or pine nuts or SPICY PECANS
Dressing: (adapted from Ina Garten's Green Salad Vinaigrette)
3 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper
Not quite 1/2 C olive oil
Whisk together in a small bowl the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and peper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.. Taste along the way to your liking..
Add and toss to salad.. The goat cheese dissolves and creates a creamier dressing. Delicious!
(from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)
2 large egg whites
1 ½ t salt
¾ C sugar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T Hungarian paprika
1 ½ t cayenne pepper
4 ½ C pecan halves
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Add sugar, Worcestershire, paprika, and cayenne. Fold in pecans and melted butter. Spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Store pecans in an airtight container. Yields 4 ½ cups.