Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Dinner

Here we are...two weeks away from the big day! Were has the year gone?
Of course, being from an Italian family, our big lead-off for the holiday is the Christmas Eve Feast of Seven Fishes dinner. It's a glorious feast, and one that we look forward to sharing with my family each year.

Christmas Day with my wife's family is just as big a celebration for us. While the meal may not be as complicated as the deep fried, broiled and baked variety from the night before, it's equally as tasty and just as special.

Lasagna Roll-ups
My wife and I are usually responsible for a pasta dish. The common go-to is lasagna. What I like to do as an alternative to the standard lasagna tray is make lasagna roll-ups. It's very simple: just follow your standard lasagna recipe, or the recipe supplied on the lasagna shell box. Instead of layering the pasta and cheese, you'll want to lay the cooked noodles flat on a piece of wax paper. Spread some of your filling on the noodle and gently roll up until it's the size of your fist. Place the roll-ups in a sprayed baking dish side-by-side, spoon your sauce on top, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake as you would for traditional lasagna. It makes for easier serving and better portion size.

We also like to make two half trays - one with red sauce and one with chicken broth. The broth version makes for a much lighter dish, yet still has a remarkable taste...lots of great flavor! I suggest going light on the broth at first. Too much broth will make the noodles too soggy and will cause the cheese to run. Check the lasagna often as it cooks and add broth as needed.

Although we don't actually host the dinner, I do have a few other festive recipes that I have made on several special occasions that would work very well for Christmas dinner. Below are the links to the original recipes.

Eggplant Sausage Ziti Casserole
Our good friend Jung made this casserole dish for my wife and I a few years back as part of our Christmas gift. It was a beautiful gesture from the heart, and one that I'll never forget. This is an amazing dish. Hearty, lots of great flavor, wonderful aroma. It's one of my all time favorite dishes, and I can't say enough good things about it. If you want to fill up your guests with one dish, this is it!

Coca Cola Ham
A perfect traditional dish with a nice combination of sweetness and spice!

Crock Pot Risotto
Unlike traditional risotto, which requires a lot of time and attention, this dish is a 'set it and forget it' version that is very good. A great suggestion if you are hosting and want to spend time socializing with your guests!

Bourbon Pecan Smashed Sweet Potatoes
I've made this a number of times as a side with ham, chicken and turkey. Works great with all of the above! A delicious alternative to standard mashed sweet potatoes.

Up next...the most amazing Rum Cake you'll ever taste!!!

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