Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The Christmas Eve's I remember as a child were always filled with a certain magic.  I don't remember much of the menus other than my mom always served "fancy food" and would open the tins of cookies that she had baked the previous week.  I like to recreate that special magical feeling now with my own family every Christmas Eve.  Our menus have changed over the years but the spirit of the meal hasn't.  We still have my best dinnerware out, candlelight, cocktails and soft Christmas music playing.  I normally make my rendition of "fancy food" just as my mom did.  My company gives me a wonderful boneless ham and a sausage/cheese gift box every year so I am baking the ham and serving it with rolls for finger sandwiches, setting out a cheese plate, and making some dips and appetizers along with cookies for a fun festive Christmas party feeling.  Our favorite signature Christmas cocktail has for years been Emeril's Poinsettia Cocktail - nothing beats it, the perfect holiday drink!  Here is our menu for this year.....


Baked ham served with a basket of Hawaiian rolls

My son Max's favorite appetizer - Bacon cheese rollups

My sister Heidi's husband's family tradition - Hashbrown Casserole

Vegetable platter with classic dill dip

Retro clam dip with ruffles potato chips

Cold shrimp platter with cocktail sauce

Rotel Christmas salsa with tortilla chips

Cheese platter 

Cookie and candy platter

Poinsettia cocktails and sparkling cider 

Recipes -


1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup Champagne
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Crushed ice
2 strips orange zest, each about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long

Combine the vodka, Champagne and juice in a large-stemmed red wine glass. Add crushed ice and stir until the mixture is well chilled. Twist the orange strips over the glass, drop them in, and serve.


1 can chopped clams
1 package cream cheese
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 dash Tabasco sauce 

Mix all ingredients together in blender.  Serve with ruffle potato chips.


1 (14 ounce) can Rotel Tomatoes
1 large tomato, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juice of
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients.  To increase heat, add canned or fresh jalapenos to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips.


1 cup catsup
1 -2 tablespoon horseradish ( to your taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper

Mix all ingredients and chill. Serve with chilled cooked shrimp and lemon rounds.


1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1 (1 1/2 ounce) package Knorr vegetable soup mix
3⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 green onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh dill weed, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine

Add all ingredients together.  Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for flavors to meld.  Serve.


15 lbs whole bone-in ham ( I prefer Cooks SuperTrim brand)
1 lb brown sugar
1/2 cup yellow mustard
aluminum foil

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix yellow mustard and brown sugar until you have a thick"paste".  Take all wrappers off of ham and trim away excess fat.  Line baking pan (I spray with Pam in case some of the brown sugar mixture escapes, clean up is easier) with Aluminum foil.  Place ham on foil and spread brown sugar/mustard paste on top.  Fold and seal foil.  Do not open again until ham is done.  Bake at 350° for 4 hours.  Let set for about 1 hr then carve.


1 (10 ounce) cans undiluted cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper ( or to taste)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups grated cheddar cheese ( more to top after baking if desired)
1 small onion, chopped
1 (2 lb) bags frozen hash browns, thawed

Set oven to 350°F.  Butter a 13x9-inch casserole dish.  In a large bowl stir together the undiluted soup, milk, sour cream, melted butter, seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese; whisk or mix until well combined.  Mix in the cheddar cheese, onions and hash browns.  Spread into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


1 cup butter, softened
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons cream or 2 tablespoons milk
1⁄2 tsp.vanilla extract
3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla.  Now blend in the dry ingredients flour, baking powder and salt until dough is formed. If desired you can chill for an hour for easier handling. I've never done this and the dough always rolled out fine for me.  Divide the dough in thirds. On a lightly floured board roll out the dough to about 1/8th inch thickness. Using cookie cutters cut into shapes and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for about 5 to 8 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool on a rack.


2 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed 
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/4 cups powder sugar
1/2 cup rum or bourbon
2 tablespoons white corn syrup ( one brand is Karo)
1 cup pecans or 1 cup walnuts, broken

Sift the cocoa with 1 cup sugar.  Stir in the spiced rum mixed with the syrup.  Add crushed vanilla wafers and nuts.  Mix thoroughly.  Shape mixture into walnut sizes balls and dredge with remaining sugar or leave them plain.  Store in a tin.


1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale, they should each weigh 1-ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve


1⁄2 cup butter
30 large marshmallows
1⁄4 teaspoon green food coloring
4 1⁄2 cups corn flakes (I use gluten-free)
red cinnamon candies

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepot.  Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add green food coloring; stir well.  Add cereal; stir until evely coated.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper.  Top each with three red hots (Do this quickly and they'll adhere better).  Let sit for one hour (if you can).  Store in covered container laying clusters between sheets of waxed paper.

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