Christmas Eve Dinner Menu: Guests’ Choice

Our annual Christmas Eve dinner has always been guests’ choice. And has become tradition, Spinach Lasagna is the requested main course.

We are really looking forward to getting together this year, especially with the newest addition.  We are still deciding between a movie or a board game, but I have both on hand, so we don’t have to decide until after dinner.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Collard Greens with Bacon
  3. Garlic Cheese Bread
  4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I make this the day before and refrigerate. It will need additional cooking time to bring the center up to temperature.

 

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan Continue reading

Dinner Menu: Garlic, Garlic, Garlic Chicken

I know this sounds like a crazy recipe, but the Garlic, Garlic Chicken is a keeper.  The garlic roasts to a nice, nutty, sweet flavor, perfect with a slice of bread.

The salad works because each pepper has a different flavor. I didn’t want to do much to overwhelm that, but you can add sliced onion if it appeals to you.

Get a really good Artisan bread and you’ve got a dinner that takes less than 20 minutes to prep.

On the board tonight:

  1. Garlic, Garlic Chicken
  2. Loaf of a good crusty Artisan bread
  3. Sliced Pepper Salad
  4. Sliced apples with caramel dip

Garlic, Garlic Chicken

  • 5 lb roasting chicken
  • 1/2 cup of wine*
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth,
  • salt & pepper
  • 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled).

 Wash and dry the chicken, remove any giblets.  Add all ingredients into a roasting bag and roast for about an hour (follow cooking bag instructions, usually about 350 degrees, use a meat thermometer to check chicken temp).  Remove chicken to a platter and place garlic and sauce in a serving bowl.  The garlic can be squeezed out of the skins at the table onto the fresh bread.  Alternately, you can take the broth, reduce it and then add the peeled garlic into that. It makes a very nutty, garlic-y kind of gravy.

*I substituted 1/4 cup of a good whisky this last time with good results (I upped the broth to 3/4 cup).

Sliced Pepper Salad

  • 1 each: red, yellow, orange & green pepper, washed & sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 head bib lettuce, washed, dried & torn

Toss peppers and vinaigrette dressing and let marinate 30 minutes.  Serve on a bed of bibb lettuce.

Shopping List:

  • 5lb Roasting Chicken
  • 40 Cloves of Garlic (about 4 bulbs)
  • 1 loaf Artisan Bread
  • 1 each: Red, Yellow, Orange, Green peppers
  • 4 oz vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 head bibb lettuce
  • Caramel dip
  • 4 apples

Also: chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper

Put The Lime In The Coconut…Bars

So I had another birthday not too long ago and there was much celebrating.  I prefer a Key Lime Pie (recipe here) to cake on my birthday. But this year, I decided to go with Key Lime Bars instead. Easier to transport and package up as ‘thank-yous’ to various folks.

This time, I had just a few extra coconut shreds, so instead of storing them, I decided to toast them and add them to the top after I removed the bars from the oven. Continue reading

Garden Fresh: A Few Grapes For Smoothies

I processed the few grapes I got this year into juice that I then add to my morning shakes. My neighbor gave me a handful of passion fruit, as an exchange for all my plums her toddler loves to eat. So I also added those to my shake this morning.

Not exchange was not necessary, he can have all the plums he wants! He’s a pandemic baby, born just as we went into lockdown, so I have probably seen more of him than I normally would, as mom and dad walked around the neighborhood several times a day and my office faces the street. Socially distant chats were a welcome diversion.

It’s been my pleasure to watch him grow and start walking and now starting to talk, enough to make his desire to pick plums from my tree clear. Still a nice distraction from work, as far as I’m concerned.

This morning’s smoothie:

Mixed Berry Smoothies

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup ea:  blueberries and raspberries, frozen
  • 4-6 whole strawberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh grape juice
  • 2 passion fruit (scooped from shell)
  • opt: 1 tbsp ground flax and 1 scoop whey powder

blender

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well.  This makes 2 thick smoothies.  For more of a milkshake consistency, add 6 ice cubes and blend well. I use frozen fruit, so I don’t add the ice cubes, but sometimes a bit of water to make a smooth consistency.


x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

Summer Salads: Caprese Pasta Salad

This week is all about pasta salads…just not your typical pasta salads. Although, since tomatoes are ripening, most will probably have tomatoes in them. LOL

This one is a regular at the dinner table. Visiting local farmer’s markets offered me the chance to change this dish up with flavored fettuccini pasta a couple of times.

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccine
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Dinner Menu: Garden Fresh Pasta

It’s my favorite time of the year for cooking when I can choose fresh ingredients from my garden or the farmer’s market. It so easy to toss pasta with fresh produce and have a quick, light dinner.

On the board:

  1. Garden Fresh Pasta
  2. Steamed Zucchini
  3. Crusty loaf
  4. Sliced Peaches (add a touch of sugar to bring out the juices)

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’) – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl Continue reading

Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Made these tonight, always a great way to grill a burger.

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

Continue reading