Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas Traditions Food for Christmas Eve

The food that we serve at Christmas always seems to become an integral part of the Christmas Tradition.  Back in November I shared with you some food gifts that you can give out to friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  Today I thought I would share with you the traditions that my family has for the food that we share with each other during the Christmas holiday.

When I was growing up, we had revolving Christmas Eve dinners until I was maybe 12.  My mom wanted to have a meal that she could serve us that would become a tradition and it took awhile for us to find that meal.  Since Christmas Eve at that time was just the four of us (mom, dad, me and little brother) it made sense that it be something special but also something easy to prepare as well.  We rarely had an additional guest for Christmas Eve, except for the occasional aunt or cousin.  Once we all decided on this menu, which is SO easy to prepare, it has become the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in our house.

Yes, I know what you might be thinking!!  Really fondue??  YES, it is a meal that we only have once a year.  It’s super simple to prepare.  You need a fondue pot and oil.  We also typically use a high quality steak for the meat, it really makes a difference!  The trick to making this something special is the array of dipping sauces.  We use barbeque sauce, teriyaki, horseradish, and just about anything else that we can find.  We also ALWAYS make mushroom sauce (my favorite!).  Fondue is quite versatile because you can also use chicken, fish, shrimp, or any other meat you have on hand.  For the vegetarians, there is always cheese fondue too which is super yummy!
3 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 beef bouillon cube
2/3 cup boiling water
2 TB butter or margarine
2 TB flour
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Add bouillon to boiling water.  Stir until dissolved.  Melt butter and add flour.  Stir quickly.  Add water and bouillon.  Cook until thick.  Add sour cream and Worcestershire sauce.  Heat through.  (Note:  Can be made ahead of time and re-heated for your meal…so yummy!)

This is another family recipe that I have no idea where it came from.  It takes a bit of preparation, but you can prepare it ahead of time and then just store it in the refrigerator until it is time to bake.  These potatoes are SO good!  They are truly one of my favorite parts of this meal, my mouth waters just thinking of them!

6 large baking potatoes
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Peel baked potatoes and cut into cubes.  Combine all ingredients except paprika in greased casserole dish.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 3 hours.  When ready to heat sprinkle paprika and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes (Note: The original recipe calls for 30 minutes, but it always seems to take 45 minutes for us, so keep an eye on them the first time you make them)

This is another family recipe that has been around so long that none of us know what it’s official name is anymore!  This salad is good for any special occasion!  It is one of those dishes that when we go to a pot luck, it is often requested by the hostess!

Caramelized Almonds:
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
4 TB sugar
2 TB parsley
4 TB vinegar
1/2 cup salad oil
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 head romaine
2 cups chopped celery
4 chopped green onions
1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges

To caramelize almonds, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts and sticks to nuts.  Remove from heat and spread on foil to cool.  Break into pieces.  Combine all dressing ingredients and shake.  Chill.  Just before serving, assemble salad ingredients and toss with dressing and sprinkle almonds on top.

Dessert is super simple too….Oberweis Ice Cream!!!!  If you live in the Midwest, then you are probably already familiar with this truly sinful ice cream!  For those of you that live out of the area, they offer shipping on ice cream!  I have no idea how they do it, but can I say that it is probably worth it!!!  Their Egg Nog is also amazing!  In addition to the ice cream we also have Buckeye Balls which I shared with you last month.  Just a quick story about Buckeye Balls…I was going to bring some Buckeye Balls to Christmas Eve dinner, but my brother proclaimed that I didn’t have enough, so he made some for the meal this year!

This entire meal is filling, but not heavy which is just what we need to get a restful night for Christmas Day!

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