The Infinity Holiday Meal Plan – Part 2

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.

Christmas Eve:

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.

Christmas Brunch:

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.

Christmas Dinner:

I made a big Italian Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner and it was all tasty and stress-free. I need to record everything so I can repeat every year.

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.

For dessert I made this delicious maple-pecan pie ahead of time with my go-to pastry crust and froze it.

Better luck next year @melissamckelvey #leastpresentablepieaward #butsogood

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.

The Infinity Holiday Meal Plan – Part 1

Does anyone still feel like reading about holiday food? How about reading about food that I made but mostly forgot to photograph? Good times, right? Well, I was really please with 95% of my efforts in the kitchen this Christmas so I feel like I need to record it or next year I will surely forget what I made. It’s selfish blogging for the memory impaired.

First up: baking:

I always bake at Christmas but we tend to eat it all as it’s made, give none of it and have no variety. Last year we ate so much that we had no cookies to leave for Santa and I felt terrible. This year I made a few types of cookies and candies, froze most of it as it was made and gave a good amount of it away. We even have some left in the freezer! In chronological order I made:

Angel Wings

I had never made these before but they were really great, especially fresh out of the oven. I failed to take a photo of the finished product but here are some process shots:

The aforeblogged Finnish Gingerbread

The always amazing and popular Christmas Crack

These Cherry Blossoms.

Making cherry blossoms. To share and to stuff in my face.

I made them a little too sweet this year. And I have a wicked sweet tooth so that is saying something. My friend Kendall loved them, however.

These insane Homemade Snickers.

This recipe has a lot of steps but they’re not very difficult. Unwrapping all the caramels was the hardest part. Next time I think I’ll try using jarred caramel sauce or Dulce De Leche.

Next up: all the amazing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day food!

Finnish Gingerbread

This is going to be the only gingerbread recipe I ever make from now on. My whole house smells like orange, allspice and ginger. And they are so delicious. http://www.food.com/recipe/piparkakut-finnish-ginger-cookies-100516

These cookies made my entire house smell amazing both at the prep and baking stages and they are delicious.

Santaish gingerbread

They are definitely going to be my go-to gingerbread cookies from now on. I used the brown sugar because I like a chewier cookie and I rolled them out between waxed paper so that they wouldn’t get too heavy with added flour. They are incredibly light. When I make them again I need to remember to separate and flatten the dough disks more before refrigerating because rolling them out was an ordeal.

I decorated them with this super easy royal icing recipe but used orange juice in place of water. Orange zest and flavour is very important to me in a gingerbread cookie. These ones were the kid’s special cookies to decorate with icing tubes and tons of sprinkles and coloured sugar. More is more with those two.