As you’re thinking, planning and creating for the special holiday gatherings for your family and friends, I find it’s best to make lists. What day you’re going to do what, maybe, your least favorite jobs first. First, for me, is writing out my Christmas cards. Once the Christmas cards are all signed, the notes written inside, then the stamps and return addresses stuck on, I’m a happy camper. Decorating the house with Christmas decorations, the baking and meal planning are the most enjoyable for me.
Bourbon Glazed Ham
1 fully cooked, smoked ham (9-10 lbs.)
1 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 to 3/4 c. brown sugar
1 heaping T. dry mustard
1/4 c. bourbon or apple juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a shallow pan with cooking spray. Place ham, fat side up, in pan. Score ham in diamond pattern; insert cloves into slits.
Bake 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and mustard; brush the combination over the ham. Pour the bourbon over the top of the ham. Cover with foil, bake for 2 hours.
Yield: 16 servings
32 oz. pkg. frozen Southern Style diced has browns, thawed
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
16 oz. sour cream
10-3/4 oz. can cr. of mushroom soup
1/2 c. diced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 T. fresh chopped parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3 qt. casserole with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the hash brown potatoes with cheese, sour cream, soup, onion, salt, pepper, butter and parsley. Cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 40 minutes.
Yield: 16 servings
I’m amazed at how many families serve lasagna for one of their Christmas meals. It’s a good meal, that you can prepare a day or two before. Have a salad and garlic bread to go with it. I’ve tried the newer noodles you don’t have to cook. I was not happy with them. I’m always going to use the lasagna noodles that you have to cook.
1/2 of a (1 lb.) box lasagna noodles
2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage, mild or spicy hot
1/2 c. diced onion
2 toes garlic, minced
28 oz. can spaghetti sauce
12 oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper, opt.
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. In Dutch oven, cook the sausage, onion and garlic, until sausage is no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Return sausage mixture back to the cooking pot. Stir in the next seven ingredients.
In a small bowl, blend the ricotta cheese with egg. Spread a thin layer of sausage-sauce mixture on bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan. Layer one-third of the noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat layers. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour, or until bubbly.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 servings
Slow Cooker Peachy Glazed Sweet Potatoes
2-1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
21 oz. can peach pie filling
2 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger root
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Spray 4-6 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray. Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise; than into 1/2-inch slices. Place in slow cooker, add pie filling, 2 tablespoons butter, grated ginger root and salt; mix well to coat sweet potatoes. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
In a small skillet, add brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and pecans. Cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize and are bubbly. Spoon onto buttered foil.
Just before serving,gently stir caramelized pecans into the sweet potatoes.
Yield: 10-12 servings
Cherry Angel Braid
2 (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/2 c. pineapple cream cheese spread (from 8 oz. container), softened
3 T. sugar
1 egg, separated
12 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 T. water
1 tsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Dark baking sheet, preheat to 350 degrees.) Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Unroll crescent dough onto cookie sheet, forming 7x13 inch rectangle. Firmly press perforations to seal. Roll with rolling pin.
In a bowl, beat cream cheese and the 3 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg yolk. Spread thin layer over the dough, then spread a layer of cherry filling on.
Roll out second crescent to measure 7x13 inches. Place on top of filling. Seal edges.
In a tiny bowl, whisk egg white and water together until frothy. Brush over the top; sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake about 20-22 minutes.
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1-2 tsp. milk or water
Mix, drizzle over warm pastry. Great served warm or cold, sliced.
Blueberry Banana French Toast
1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
1-1/2 c. granola (or 6 granola bars), crushed
3/4 c. milk
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3 bananas, sliced
10 oz. bag frozen blueberries, thawed
8 oz. tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark pans). Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Separate the 8 rolls, cut each roll into 4; arrange evenly in pan. Sprinkle 3/4 of the granola evenly over dough pieces.
In blender or mixer, mix eggs, milk and sweetened condensed milk. Add bananas, mixing until blended into small chunks. Pour the mixture over the rolls. Sprinkle remaining granola over the top.
Bake 35-45 minutes. Spread with the icing from the rolls. To serve cut into 8 servings. Top each with 3 tablespoons blueberries and a dollop of whipped topping.
Yield: 8 servings
1/2 lb. Italian pork sausage
6 T. salsa
1/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. dried parsley flakes
15 oz. pie crust, softened
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Brown sausage in a skillet. Set aside. In a bowl, beat eggs, add the dry mustard, parsley, salsa and cheeses. Stir in cooled sausage.
Unroll pie crusts. Using a rolling pin, roll each crust into 12-inch round circle. With at 3-1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 22 rounds from crusts.
Fit the rounds of pastry into regular-size muffin cups, pressing to form into the cups.
Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the sausage-cheese mixture into each.
Bake 14-18 minutes. Serve hot.
Yield: 22 appetizers
You can make the sausage-cheese filling the day before, refrigerate until ready to prepare. You can add chopped hot peppers to add heat to the quiches.
Holiday Helpful Hints:
• Add a few fresh red cranberries to your guests’ ice water. Looks pretty in the glasses.
• When chopping hot chilies, wear plastic kitchen gloves - don’t touch your face.
• Keep refrigerated dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
• A nice holiday platter: thread chunks of vegetables and cheeses onto wooden skewers. A combination of chunks of cheese with fruit is also a nice addition.
“The celebration of Jesus’ birth, is the occasion that we are grateful for our faith, love and joy in our hearts.”