What Christmas cooking do you do every year? If you need some ideas, here’s the Christmas cooking that’s going on at my house this year.
I’m currently taking deep breaths. As I type this, it’s Monday night and my two-week winter break starts on Friday at noon. I’ve got this. It’s been an incredibly busy couple of months studying for a huge exam to get a certification for my job and getting all of the paperwork finalized and exam registration is an undertaking in and of itself. And I’m not finished studying yet…so working full time kind of interferes with how much material I can give you guys. Bear with me…I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, plus my two-week vacation should give me some time to write some things for you guys. But until then, I thought you might like to know about my Christmas cooking!
1. Peppermint Crunch Bark
Also known as “the best peppermint bark ever”, peppermint crunch bark is a recipe that I found on Shutterbean last week. I pinned it, but I knew I had to make it ASAP. I have been describing it as “Nestle Crunch bar meets peppermint bark”. It’s white chocolate, crisp rice cereal, and crushed peppermint. And it’s amazing. Find the recipe here: http://www.shutterbean.com/2013/crunchy-peppermint-bark/
2. Cheese Balls
It wasn’t too long ago that I read another blogger’s post slamming cheese balls. I don’t remember which blogger, but I can tell you this….it ticked me off. Just because food is “kitschy” or Americana doesn’t make it bad. Cheese balls taste good, people. My favorites are the ubiquitous dried beef cheese ball, which I make with seasoned salt instead of MSG (you’d also do well to rinse the salty dried beef first), and one that a former co-worker makes with cheddar, bacon, and mango chutney. I never did get the recipe from her, and every time I looked for it I kept coming up with recipes that contained things I knew she didn’t put in hers. I finally found a recipe on Saveur’s website for a cheese spread that sounded about right. For the dried beef cheese ball, go here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dried-beef-cheese-ball-2/; for the mango chutney cheese ball, go here: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Cream-Cheese-Dip-with-Chutney.
3. Ranch Goldfish
I love these things. They’re my brother’s take on ranch oyster crackers, and for some reason using Goldfish crackers instead of boring old oyster crackers takes these to a whole new level. Last Christmas I had surgery and I ate approximately 10.2 pounds of these singlehandedly. Here’s my recipe: https://www.chattavore.com/recipe/ranch-goldfish/.
4. Homemade Eggnog
I’m no eggnog snob, and I’ve been happily slurping Mayfield or Publix brand eggnog since it appeared in stores, but for Christmas I’ll be making some of this homemade eggnog. No little wimpy shot glasses or juice glasses for me; I drink my eggnog from a 12-ounce tumbler. Sprinkled liberally with freshly ground nutmeg. My recipe: https://www.chattavore.com/recipe/5-ingredient-eggnog/
5. Twice-Baked Potatoes
Thanksgiving is for turkey and ham, but Christmas is for prime rib. All year I look forward to that big, crusty hunk of medium-rare rib roast, and it just isn’t the same without my favorite twice-baked potatoes. We usually have a seven-layer or Caesar salad too. Here’s my recipe: https://www.chattavore.com/2013/07/09/twice-baked-potatoes-and-a-perfect-basic-baked-potato/
6. Baking Powder Biscuits
Philip’s mom will be serving ham this year. To me, the best bread to go with ham (unless you’re making a sandwich) is a baking powder biscuit, rich with butter, tart with buttermilk, tall and fluffy. Try and find a better bread for ham. Just try. Here’s my recipe: https://www.chattavore.com/2013/04/02/baking-powder-biscuits-my-way/ I’m also making Pioneer Woman’s creamy herbed potatoes.
This year I’ll do a blog post about Philip’s Norwegian grandmother’s Christmas flatbread, which I’ll make this weekend. She passed away nine years ago, but I inherited the recipe and I make it every Christmas. It’s a labor of love, not because it’s difficult but because it takes a long time, with lots of rolling and rotating pans and baking….but it’s one of Philip’s favorite childhood memories. When his grandmother moved back to Chattanooga from Everett, Washington right after we got married, one of the first things he asked her was whether she was going to make him some flatbread for Christmas. His sister asked the same thing. She argued that at 89 she was too old…but she would show us. Philip likes the super-thin crispy pieces of this slightly sweet bread, and he likes them completely unadulterated. His sister prefers the slightly thicker, chewier pieces with a little bit of butter.