Being home for the holidays with our family always involves lots of food. There are a lot of people, so logically there needs to be a lot of food. And there are a lot of good cooks in the house at one time, another good reason for an abundance of food.
The line-up this year was a little different than in the past. To start, none of us were able to be home on Christmas day, so we didn’t ever make a big holiday meal. And then, we just tried some new things this year – some on purpose, some by accident.
Note: There are no pictures to accompany this post because I was too busy taking pictures of my adorable daughter to take any of the food.
The first serious time in the kitchen was Friday night, when my 18-year-old brother and his two friends (one girl and one guy)were in charge of dinner. They made tacos like pros, including cheese dip and guacamole. Well, I made the guacamole and was there in case of emergency, but my brother really ran the show. His mother has trained him well. 🙂 Watching him get everything organized and seeing these three high-schoolers have a good time in the kitchen was refreshing. No arguments, no disasters, no drama – they just enjoyed themselves and got a fabulous meal on the table in the process.
The next night was technically my night to cook, although my sister ended up doing a large part of the work because she’s awesome like that. My contribution was the crust, since my sister does not feel confident making pie crust. I’m not sure why, since everything she cooks turns out wonderful, but I was glad to do it. We made Food Loves Writing’s Chicken Pot Pie (recipe here) with Mom’s leftover turkey, and the pies were delicious – all three of them. That’s what happens when you cook for our family! The flavor of this recipe is a little different than you might expect since there are sweet potatoes in the filling, but definitely yummy.
We also made Easy Drop Biscuits from Real Simple (find them here. And note: The recipe says it yields 6 biscuits. We doubled it and made 20-24.). I mixed them up and then turned them over to my sister to finish, and she about had a panic attack. If you’ve ever met her, you know she can be very dramatic – not in an annoying drama queen way, just in a I-get-really-excited-about-good-things-and-really-bummed-out-about-not-good-things way. It’s one of the things I love about her. Anyway, for a second, we thought we were going to have to dump the biscuit dough and start over. Why? Simply because I had ignored my mom’s cryptic handwriting on one of the jugs of milk I had pulled out. I noticed it said something, but couldn’t read it (typical of my mom’s writing), so instead of asking, I just dumped it in. Turns out, it was eggnog. Faced with the choice of dumping the sweet-smelling dough (2 cups of milk, 2 sticks of butter, and all) or proceeding to bake eggnog-flavored biscuits, we chose to move forward with the biscuits. Thankfully, it was only a half cup or so and had already been mixed with some milk, so the amount wasn’t too overwhelming. Actually, it added a nice sweetness that complemented my mom’s homemade peach jam. Crisis averted.
Beef stew by my sister was next on the menu for Sunday lunch. I came downstairs Sunday morning to a somewhat frazzled Kristin chopping vegetables, towel still on her head, stress on her face, wondering if she’d even be able to get to church with all that still needed to be done. Within a few minutes, her husband, my dad, and my brother had all jumped in to help, all still in their pajamas. I watched and took pictures of the pajama-clad kitchen crew (which, unfortunately, are on my sister’s camera, which is in Oxford with her husband at the moment), and the stew was quickly assembled. We all even made it to church on time, and the stew was ready in time for lunch. Most of us, I think, had some misgivings, having not had particularly good experiences with beef stew in the past, but this was fabulous, and even better the next day. Full of beef and veggies (but no tomatoes) and accompanied by my brother’s grilled cheese and bacon paninis, it was a satisfying meal on a cold and snowy December day.
The rest of the week was filled with more delicious food and the eating up of lots of leftovers. Although there were plenty of leftovers to negate the need for cooking, what would a weekend be without stromboli? Saturday night my sister and I put it together, and even though I make stromboli or pizza every weekend, I have to say, this was good stromboli. Really good. Like, I probably ate too much, but hey, it’s the holidays and the weekend and I was home with family, so who really cares?