My 2011 Christmas menu

Photo Credit: Explore Italian culture

As promised, here are my menus for Christmas eve and Christmas day for this year. I searched the interwebs for more information about traditional Italian holiday menus and found more ideas for this year. Some of this may not be truly traditional but it’s all around just good Italian food.

Christmas eve feast before and after church will consist of a meatless meal of giardiniera salad, which is a cold salad of various pickled vegetables with cauliflower being the main ingredient. I have bought some jarred mix and will add in artichoke hearts and baby corn. Along with this we will eat cheese filled tortellini with marinara sauce made from homemade roasted tomatoes. We took a trip to an Italian market and I found some great deals on Roma plum tomatoes and fresh basil. The basil leaves were as large as my hand! I think I got about 10 pounds of tomatoes and made them into one batch of creamy tomato basil soup and one into the sauce for Christmas eve.  I took the rest of the basil and made pesto. I was very happy to find pine nuts in my freezer for this purpose. I’m going to make some rosemary bread since everyone here loves it and eats so much of it that I can’t keep up with their hunger for the stuff.  When we get home from church, we’ll make fresh hot homemade Auntie Ann’s pretzels from a kit I won at the cookie exchange I went to earlier in the month. I hope we’ll be able to just relax and enjoy some quiet time before the next day.

On Christmas morning, I’ll get up before all the guys and make homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee, put out some orange juice and then wake everyone for breakfast and presents. We’ll clean up from round one of the gifts, lay out a nice anti-pasti platter with prosciuttini, mortadella, provolone cheese, olives-several varieties including oil-cured black olives, brie with pepper jelly and crackers, and anything else we feel like adding to the lunch. I think this will be plenty of food to hold us off until dinner. Lauren and Isaiah will come over for lunch and more present opening and fun time.

Dinner will be Italian wedding soup, more bread, braciole with marinara and possibly ricotta gnocchi if I’m feeling the energy to make those this week. We have panettone and a cookie tray for dessert and I bought some of that chocolate wine. I really can’t wait and as you can see, we really are about the food.

But in the midst of all the food and presents, we will take time to read from the Bible the story of Jesus’ birth and reflect on what His presence means to each of us. I will also get out my children’s nativity story book and figures to read to Isaiah since this year, with him being three, I think he will understand a little more than last year.

I am more prepared this year for Christmas than any other year and that is mostly due to the fact that I have four cookie classes for kids to run this week. I’ve done one already and know what changes to make for the next three. Since I knew this week would be crazy with food and classes all of my gifts are bought and wrapped. No Christmas eve gift wrapping marathon for me. Probably for Phil but not me. It feels weird but a good kind of weird.

Now if only I could remember the one gift I bought months ago, hid and now can’t find. That right there is traditional for me. Just ask my kids.

Photo credit: Italian ornaments 

Buon Natale and may you find the real meaning of Christmas this year as you spend time with those you love.

5 thoughts on “My 2011 Christmas menu

  1. Hey! It’s snowing on your blog!

    Your menus look wonderful.

    And, in great news, the postman delivered the book you sent. Thank you so much!

  2. Hey Michelle! That looks like a great Christmas menu. You might be right, maybe all you need is a trip to Italy to cheer you up. :)

    Regardless, Christmas is a strange time of celebration and change. It’s also a time of thoughfulness. I think because people’s expectations for what they think the holidays should be are up sometimes we are let down. I’m trying to just focus on what is positive. What is good.

    I wish you, your blog and your family a very merry Christmas and joy throughout the coming year.

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary. My two year celebration was on Halloween.

    Happy day.

    By the way, can I have a link to your pasta sauce recipe? Thanks!

    • Julie, here is one of my recipes=
      And here is one that is quicker and a lesser quantity=
      Marinara Sauce

      Serves 8 or more

      3-4 Tbsp olive oil

      3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed with the back of a knife

      1 can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes

      1 can of crushed tomatoes

      fresh basil leaves

      Directions: Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet or sauce pan, add garlic when the oil is shimmering. Saute’ for a few minutes, until golden brown. Add in tomatoes and break with the back of a spoon. Add in crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened. Add a few fresh basil leaves in the end. Serve over your favorite pasta. (see my recipes for my family’s sauce recipe which is more involved and has more seasonings in it)

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