Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, it’s nearly impossible to think of the holidays without thinking of home cooking. One thing that makes Christmas so special to my family is the food associated with it. When I was a kid, my parents always served Oysters Rockefeller and champagne (to the of-age crowd) on Christmas Eve and mom would make her famous Eggs Benedict with home fries on Christmas morning. To this day, the smell of onions and potatoes being sauteed with butter takes me right back to those wonderful Christmas mornings at home.
Now that I have a family of my own, I’m enjoying starting our own Christmas food traditions. Even though this will only be our third Christmas as a married couple, the Duke and I already have a tradition of making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.
If you’re Italian you might be preparing for the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve (and if you are, may I please be invited??). Or perhaps you’re busy perfecting your potato latkes for your Hanukkah celebration. Or maybe your family goes out to eat on Christmas…Chinese food, anyone?
Whatever you plan to whip up this season, here are my tips for making your food merry and bright:
Whether you’re hosting a tacky sweater party, planning an elegant Christmas Dinner, or you just want to make a batch of cookies for the office party, it’s a good idea to plan out your entire menu. Once the menu is finalized, you can make an itemized list of all the ingredients you’ll need. It’s likely that you’ll need to go to multiple stores, so make a list (and check it twice!) to ensure you’ve written down everything you’ll need. I like to get all my grocery shopping done during one outing, if possible.
Most of us try to pinch pennies year round, but it’s ok to indulge just a little for the holidays. They only come but once a year, after all. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to buy that beautiful beef tenderloin, or shell out the extra bucks for whole vanilla beans for a special occasion. I love going to local gourmet shops to pick up beautiful cheeses, meats, wines and other special ingredients for Christmas. Since I don’t regularly buy expensive ingredients, it feels like I’m truly treating myself.
Hosting Christmas dinner can be quite the daunting task. If you’re planning to make a dish for the first time, it’s a good idea to practice before the big day. You certainly don’t want to splurge for quality ingredients, only to over cook or over season the main dish. By doing a trial run of your menu, you can ensure that the meal comes out flawlessly. And I’m sure your spouse or roommate won’t mind being taste-testers.
After all the planning, prepping and cooking, all that’s left to do is DIG IN! So kick back with a frosty mug of eggnog and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor. You deserve it.
One of my favorite appetizers for the holiday season is Sweet and Smokey Baked Gouda. I like to call it “Poor Man’s Baked Brie.” It’s the same concept, but it uses less expensive ingredients. Serve it hot out of the oven with crackers and sliced apples.
For a sweet and salty snack, try my Peppermint Crunch Mix. You could package this snack mix in a cute mason jar or cookie tin for a simple homemade gift.
A big, big, big thanks to Nina for making these fabulous recipe cards for me!
Please link up your favorite holiday recipe or menu below! I’m excited to see what you’ve come up with. I have a feeling I’ll be trying many of your recipes soon. Also, the fun continues tomorrow when Meredith gets creative with holiday crafts. And feel free to add this badge to your post.
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Homemade Cocoa, Marshmallows & Peppermint Bark