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The Homemade Mom: Christmas Dinner


This week is a collection of treats for your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. Download your shopping list now and Merry Chrsitams!

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Baked Brie

I wasn’t a fan of Brie on it’s own until I learned you can bake it in pastry. Once I tried it, it quickly became one of my favorite party appetizers. It’s beyond easy to make and it brings that wow factor to any party. It’s a beautiful package of creaminess sweetened by the nicest of jams and all rolled up into crusty puff pastry. Everyone loves to eat this around the holidays and no one wants to make it, until now!

Servings: 8+

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

1 piece of brie, 4 to 8 ounces, cold

1 sheet puff pastry, cold

2 tablespoons thick jam, any flavor

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the white rind off the brie and discard.

2. Roll the cold, but not frozen puff pastry to about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper of silpat. Place the brie at the center of the dough square and then spread the jam over the top of cheese. Drape the four corners of the dough, one at a time, across the brie to enclose it.

3. Brush the egg wash over the brie. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving warm. Enjoy!

Recipe from: cooking.nytimes.com

Christmas Tree Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are some of my favorite appetizers. But, do you ever want to eat one, but decide not to indulge because of all the mayonnaise? Health buffs rejoice! Here is an amazing HEALTHY holiday appetizer – just eggs, avocado, and some toppings. It’s festive and delicious all rolled up into one.

Servings: 5

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

5 large hard-boiled eggs

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro, divided

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper

A sprinkling of paprika

DIRECTIONS

1. Once hard boiled, cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks, reserving whites, and place in a medium bowl. Mash yolks and add in the avocado. Continue to mash with a fork until smooth (if your avocado isn’t ripe enough, there won’t me enough moisture. You can always mix in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to help it along). Stir in 2 teaspoons cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Using a pastry bag or Ziploc plastic bag, insert a medium star tip. Transfer avocado mixture to bag. Pipe into egg whites, swirling it upward to resemble Christmas trees. Sprinkle trees with minced red pepper, cilantro and paprika.

3. Refrigerate, covered, until serving. Enjoy!

Inspired by: tasteofhome.com

Salsa Verde Roasted Beets

Beets take a lot of work to make well, but they are so worth it! Just the color alone screams Christmas. Roasting them brings out a deep flavor and helps you peel the skin more easily (win-win!). And there’s no waste because the salsa verde comes from the beet greens and stems. I like the crunch of the walnuts and pomegranates in every bite, but experiment – maybe try some red grapes or almonds. Even goat cheese would go nicely with the beets! It’s an easy dish to play with!

Servings: 8-10

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 pounds small or medium beets, scrubbed

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cups beet greens, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons

1/2 cup minced beet green stems

1/2 cup chopped dill, plus sprigs for garnish

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup walnuts

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced. Unwrap and let cool.

2. Spread the ricotta on a platter. Cut the beets into chunks and arrange on the cheese. Season lightly with sea salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar. Add the beet greens, stems and chopped dill and mix well. Season the salsa verde with salt and pepper and spoon over the beets. Scatter the pomegranate seeds and walnuts on top, garnish with dill sprigs and serve. Enjoy!

Adapted from: foodandwine.com

Creamed Spinach & Roasted Cauliflower in Brown Butter Sauce

Creamed Spinach: If you search my archives, you’ll find that I love spinach. Fresh, frozen, creamed – you name it, I’ve made it. While frozen spinach is the easiest way to make creamed spinach (imho), using fresh spinach is a pretty close second. The addition of the egg yolks give this a slightly yellow tint, but that’s what adds to the decadence of this side dish. It would be great next to turkey or a roast at your Christmas dinner.

Servings: 6-8

Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed

1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks

Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, stirring, until the mixture lightens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in the milk, 2 teaspoons salt and the nutmeg. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking. Remove from the heat again; stir to cool slightly.

2. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and cook about 3 minutes. Toss with tongs, then continue to wilt, uncovered, about 2 more minutes. Drain and cool slightly, then squeeze the spinach until dry. Coarsely chop.

3. Gently reheat the sauce, then whisk in the whole egg and yolks; cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the spinach; heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Adapted from: foodnetwork.com

Cauliflower: Cauliflower is an underestimated vegetable that needs more love! It’s so meaty and crunchy and can be used in a variety of ways – roasted, riced, pureed. Honestly, it’s so versatile because of how mild the flavor is, you can use it in just about any way you can think of. For the holidays, I love roasting it and giving that much need healthy crunch to what’s typically a heavy dinner. This recipe highlights how amazing a plain roasted vegetable can be. Every holiday dinner needs a good side dish, and roasted cauliflower is the one for me!

Servings: 10-12

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt, more for tossing

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

3 medium-large heads cauliflower (about 3 pounds)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon, zest finely grated

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 scallion, diced

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add cauliflower to pan and toss with oil, salt and pepper and gently until coated. Spread out on two large baking sheets. Bake until browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, watch closely and stir often. When white solids are brown and butter smells toasty, turn off heat, squeeze in juice of lemon and stir well.

2. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl, pour butter over, and add lemon zest. Add thyme and scallion and toss until combined. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from: cooking.nytimes.com

Christmas Tortellini & Spinach Soup

Another week, another soup! My favorite! This one is a good refrigerator dump – empty whatever you have in your fridge into the pot and you have one amazing soup! This one shines using the colors of Christmas, and is light enough to eat anytime of year. I used fresh cherry tomatoes today, but usually make it with canned diced tomatoes (as written below). It tastes very different with the fresh tomatoes and I love it both ways!

Servings: 6

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

1 (32-oz) box vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 package (14 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups celery

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan, bring broth and water to a boil. Add tortellini; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beans, celery, tomatoes, salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Cook 4-5 minutes longer or until tortellini are tender.

Stir in basil and top with cheese. Enjoy!

Adapted from: tasteofhome.com

Eggnog Sweet Potato Casserole

Ever wonder what to do with eggnog besides drink it? I’ve got the answer – make a casserole! If you think of this casserole like mashed potatoes, the eggnog ends up acting like the butter and milk/cream. It also adds an additional sweetness to the sweet potatoes that leaves you asking ‘what is that amazing flavor?’. It’s so creamy and decadent and then you add the topping to is which is sweet and crunchy. Some would even go as far to say as this could be served as dessert. Regardless, it’s perfect at any holiday table. I know you’ll absolutely love this!

Servings: 8

Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

For the casserole:

3-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 large)

2/3 cup eggnog

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Scrub sweet potatoes; pierce several times with a fork. Place on a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan; bake 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven. Reduce oven setting to 350°.

2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard peel. Mash potatoes in a large bowl (you should have about 6 cups mashed). Stir in eggnog, raisins, sugar and salt. Transfer to a greased 11×7-in. baking dish.

3. For topping, in a small bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans and spices; stir in butter. Sprinkle over sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or until heated through and topping is lightly browned. Enjoy!

Adapted from: tasteofhome.com

Holiday Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those dishes I love making because it’s easy to make but always looks impressive. You can dump any veggies or meats in it and add as much or as little cheese as you want. I also used oven-ready noodles because it’s one less step, but you could use fresh or homemade lasagna noodles. And you could make homemade tomato sauce (see my recipe here) to use in this as well. It would taste so amazing!

Servings: 8

Time: 65 minutes

Difficulty: easy