Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Christmas Menu 2016

A few of 2016 Christmas memories.

Every year I host Christmas Dinner since we moved to Pittsburgh.  I usually had both holidays when we lived in Harrisburg but since the move ten years ago some of the hosting has been shared with my daughter and daughter- in- law which I really appreciate.

I love the holidays but quite honestly they are tiring.  I love baking and cooking and enjoy how much my family loves what I prepare but I have many memories of my mom being the host and she was always so tired.  Her house was small and her kitchen was so small it was hard for her to move around if we gathered around her while she prepared so she shushed us away to the other room while she got everything ready.  We always asked to help but other than set the table she wanted to do it by herself.  She would have the kitchen window open (in the middle of winter) and she would be perspiring something terrible.  I used to feel so sorry for her but she liked having us there but it really was too much for her.

I now see where I am getting to the age that all this is starting to get me tired as well so I decided I would do things a little differently than Mom did or even my mother- in -law.  They worked the day and eve of Christmas instead of preparing ahead of time.

I believe that doing some early prep works for me.  I don't feel my mom ever really enjoyed holidays because other than cookies she made the salad and pasta whether it was ravioli or cappelletti very close to the actual holiday. Actually that day or a day before.

I start the beginning of December making my pasta dish, soup and sauces and so far this year I have already made 10 bags of gnocchi and froze them, several pounds of braciole and sausage, hot and mild and meat and marinara sauce. Today I made my soup and mini meatballs for Wedding soup.All freeze well and will be fine for Christmas.

All in all I feel this works for me and when Christmas comes I plan on the night before putting together our antipasto and then removing any items the night before from the freezer(gnocchi not until I am ready to cook them on Christmas) so as to thaw and the next morning only have minimal cooking and plating the dishes.

Dessert will be cannoli, ricotta or custard, Molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream and a few cookies I plan on making. Probably Italian, pizzelles and possibly chocolate chip.  Not too many cookies this year.  I'm leaning on cookie bars as a possibility.

This is my plan and I know it will work. Below is an example of what my Christmas dinner this year will include. 

Large Antipasto

Wedding Soup

Potato gnocchi (photo is ricotta gnocchi)

Sausage and meat sauce as well as marinara sauce

Cannoli both custard and ricotta filled

Chocolate Molten Cake too!

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