Thinking of Food at Christmas


When I start thinking about Christmas I usually start thinking of good food, the good food I’ve had at Christmases past, and the good food I anticipate having at the coming Christmas.

Every Christmas, when I was growing up, my family and as many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins who could make it went to my grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner.  That was one crowded house.  Imagine about 30 or more people in a 3-room house and you’ve got Christmas day at my grandparent’s house.  There were at least 2 turkeys filling the house with their scrumptious aroma,  pans of hot baking powder biscuits,  huge pots of turkey gravy with baking powder biscuits floating inside, large bowls of mashed potatoes, and apple pies and berry pies covering the tops of the washer and dryer.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

It’s different now.  We aren’t able to get back home for Christmas as often as I’d like so we’ve come up with some food traditions of our own.  When the family was smaller we made dozens of cookies making sure we made cookies requested by each member of the family.  Now that my family is so large, it is impractical and too time consuming to make all those cookies.  So we cut down on cookie making and decided to have a special breakfast dish and a couple of pies.  One of our favorite Christmas cookies (anytime really) is Peanut Butter Kiss cookies (recipe below).  We make them a couple of weeks before Christmas, and if we don’t freeze some they don’t last until Christmas.  For breakfast Christmas day we enjoy a savory Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole (recipe below).  Several of our children request this tasty dish every year.  For several years now we’ve made at least one new recipe part of our Christmas celebration.  This year we may try a pie recipe.  The Black Forest Pie recipe shown below sounds so good I may have to test the recipe before Christmas.

Well I hope you enjoyed my reminiscences about Christmas foods.  Next month I hope to get back to Christmas customs around the world.  Christmas blessings to you.

 

PEANUT BUTTER KISS COOKIES

1 ¾ cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients. Roll into balls, roll balls in sugar. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Top with chocolate Kiss immediately upon removal from oven.

 

Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole 

1 lb ground sausage ( “hot” or “sage” flavored)

¼ cup chopped onions

2 ½ cups frozen cubed hash brown potatoes

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups)

1 ¾ cups milk

1 cup baking mix

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1. Cook sausage and onion in large frying pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until meat crumbles.

2. Stir in hash browns, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and hash browns are lightly browned.

3. Drain mixture well on paper towels.

4. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13×9-inch baking dish.

5. A stoneware baking dish works really well.

6. Stir together the lightly beaten eggs, shredded cheese, milk, baking mix, salt, and pepper.

7. Pour evenly over sausage/hashbrown mixture.

8. Stir well.

9. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

10. Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

11. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

12. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

13. You can also keep the casserole warm until you are ready to eat by covering it with foil and putting it in a 200 degree oven.

14. Optional toppings: sour cream, favorite sauce of your choice (picante, hot sauce). You can also garnish it with parsley.

 

Black Forest Pie

4 (1 ounce) baking chocolate squares, broken into pieces

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 ½ cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (9 inch) prepared pie crust

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling, chilled

In a large saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator. Beat cooled mixture until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Refrigerate 4-5 hours or until set. Before serving, pour cherry pie filling over pie. Refrigerate leftover pie.

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