Every Christmas, I try to take a few extra days off work, just to give myself some time to focus on our family, and slow down a little bit. Throughout the year, I hop from one task to another just to get through the day, and having a little extra time to go through those tasks, even if they are chores, is such a luxury. I remember last Christmas, we were still wrapping gifts for the kids at the wee-hours of 2AM on Christmas Eve, while I was also tasked with cooking a Christmas dinner the next day (which we normally do around 1-2PM). This year, I have been trying to go through our to-do for the new house as well this week, and I plan on spending all day making cookies tomorrow.
This year will be a little bit different, with about 90% of our belongings in our storage, including our gift closets and Christmas decorations, we’re doing a smaller Christmas for just us. One thing that I am definitely excited about is our small Christmas dinner, is that we get to make something that everyone enjoys, and then I do a couple of special vegetable that are a little fancier, homemade rolls and a dessert.
For the meal, we normally don’t have appetizers right away – but I normally prepare something anyways for Mike and I to munch on. Sometimes we eat them as we finish cooking our dinner, or late at night, when we’re catching up on reruns on Netflix (like around 11 or midnight, because my little man is a night-owl). We live a pretty exciting life, don’t we? :-) My go to appetizer that I truly love and don’t get to make too often anymore is our Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dips. Normally, I would make one batch, but split them up into two containers, and then bake one for one day, and then save the next batch for the next couple of days.
For the main dish, I am leaning very hard toward either a steak or a roast chicken. We can’t go wrong with either one of these, because both of our kids actually love steak and chicken for dinner. Here are the recipes that we will be using for the main dish.
Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic – this chicken works best for smaller chicken, so if you can find organic, free range chickens, they tend to be best and have better flavor.
Classic Steak au Poivre – gosh, this steak recipe is so simple, but so good. We love to treat ourselves to steaks once or twice a month on the weekends, since we discovered that our kids actually would eat them!
I am usually pretty boring when it comes to potatoes – we just love mashed potatoes. It also one dish that I can guarantee that my kids will eat. So I always go back to my true and tried Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. I may do something fancier this year, depending on time, but this dish shows up pretty frequently on our menu.
There are a couple of vegetables that I absolutely adore, and they are usually the simplest.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar – while this dish is pretty simple, it packs so much flavors from the balsamic vinegar. I don’t always get them from the store, so when I do – I always make these. Such a treat during dinner.
Next year, we will have a larger oven (1-1/2 ovens that is) in our new kitchen, but until then, I always try to get one of the items in our menu to go into the slow-cooker. Slow-cooker Orange Glazed Carrots has truly been my savior, they are cooked perfectly, with a tad of sweetness from the orange-glazed, and they retain their colors and texture.
For the breads, I am still back and forth between these two gorgeous, breads. Both recipes can be prepared ahead of time. These Soft Garlic Knots are just seriously the best ever homemade breads, and I love the garlic on them. But the Knotted Dinner Rolls also came in pretty close second for me.
For dessert, I plan on making several cookies tomorrow (on Christmas Eve), and one of them is definitely these Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. I may also do a couple of other very classic cookies that I haven’t baked in a long time, such as these Snickerdoodle (my personal favorite!), and these Shortbread Cookies (I plan on dipping them in chocolate, and then covered with Christmas sprinkles). If you are looking for more inspiration for cookies, I rounded up some of the ones that I have gathered throughout the year last year, here. Whether you are spending your Christmas with a large group of your family and friends, or just a small group, I hope your soul and bellies are warmed with Christmas spirit and blessings!