Our families are far away and travel is expensive this time of year so we usually have quiet Christmases at home. I don’t mind at all EXCEPT it often means I spend days on end cooking since we’re not having any meals at other’s houses. I’m not willing to dial it back much even when it’s just the four of us. This year I tried to find a balance between cooking from scratch, making ahead and some packaged foods. It worked out amazingly well. I spent a totally reasonable amount of time in the kitchen and almost everything was amazing.
Last year we did a nice Italian meal and it was great I decided to repeat the same fancy cannelloni but I substituted the homemade tiramisu and garlic bread for some quality packaged ones. I also made a simple caesar salad. The cannelloni is amazing because it tastes gourmet but you can make the ragu way ahead of time and I use premade lasagna sheets from the grocery store. The only thing I wish I had done differently was to boil the lasagna sheets before wrapping the filling. Such a good meal I didn’t get a single photo either year.
I bought a fruit tray and put it out while we opened presents so no one would starve. The kids also took he liberty of stuffing their faces with chocolate from their stockings. Once our living room was good and messy I made some waffle batter (double or triple that recipe if you like tasty things) and I threw some frozen potato patties and breakfast sausage in the oven. While I waited for the waffle batter to sit I put lots of toppings on the table so we could choose whatever we wanted for waffles. There was bananas, sliced thawed from frozen strawberries, Nutella, peanut butter, jam, salted caramel sauce (thanks Erin!) and maple syrup. So good. So unphotographed.
For the last few years we’ve done roast chicken instead of turkey because they’re smaller and I like the taste better. I love this recipe. I do wish we had bought a chicken that was bigger than four pounds so that we had leftovers. On Christmas Eve I made more mashed potatoes and corn casserole than anyone could ever eat and stuck them in the fridge pre-baking. The corn could make use a little cayenne? I also made the first green bean recipe here with frozen whole green beans and I bought frozen bake-yourself rolls but I didn’t take them out early enough so that was a bit of a bust. We luckily had some bakery rolls in the freezer.
This I did photograph just to document how hilariously bad at I am at baking pie. It was so good though.
So there it is; the holiday foods I will be making from now to eternity.