Every year at Christmas time, our families get together for a large meal. Our families share the holiday responsibility and take turns. We have a system worked out that we alternate who has it at whose house. In this system, we alternate with Thanksgiving and Easter and coordinate with our children’s lives including confirmations and graduation parties. If one of us has a confirmation or graduation, we do not have Easter at our house also. It seems to work out for all of us.
The menu is pretty much the same for all holidays. It includes Barbequed Beans, Mashed potatoes and gravy, buns and butter, deviled eggs, pickled herring, pickles, green and black olives, fresh, raw vegetables with a homemade dip, turkey, stuffing hot-dish, party mints, pies and wine.
It’s quite a feast!
The first thing that is made is Barbequed Beans. It’s an easy dish, as you can place all of the following ingredients into a crock-pot and simmer on low. Barbequed beans will be appreciated by those who like their beans sweetened and this recipe is sure to please.
To make barbequed beans, you must mix all the ingredients together and let them simmer. You can make them the day before and reheat them. They can sit on the counter overnight, since there isn’t anything in this dish that can spoil, according to the cooks that have passed the recipe on to the family.
Here are the proportions you will need to make this particular recipe. 1 large 56 ounces can B & M beans, 1/2 pound sautéed, crumbled bacon, 1 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup E & J Brandy, 1/2. cup sorghum or molasses, 1 cup chopped pineapple, 1/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce, 1 cup Ketchup, 1 can Diced Tomatoes, ¼ cup brown sugar. If you have a chunk of ham, place it in the top of the mixture in the crock-pot.
Deviled eggs can be made the day before and placed on a platter. If you do make them the day before, place plastic wrap over them with a glass in the middle of the plate to hold the plastic wrap from touching the egg yolks. If you are lucky enough to own a platter that has a tall lid; so much the better!
You’ll need boiled eggs, cut in half. The yolks need to be mashed and mixed with miracle whip and mustard. You will need to mince onions, pickles, and if you break a egg white, mince that and toss in with the mustard mixture.
Here’s the exact proportions that you should use: 7 Eggs cut in half, mix yolks with 3 T. mayo, 1 tsp. Mustard, 1 tsp. Horseradish, 14 olives sliced in half, 1 tsp. minced pickles or dill relish, 2 tsp. Onions, minced fine.
Take the egg whites and fill them with the egg yolk mixture. Top each egg yolk filled half with a green olive sliced in half. Finish it with a garnish of some reddish powder like papricka, chili powder or Seasoned Salt. Parsley flakes would also be quite festive.
You can use Papricka or a red seasoned salt for garnish. Parsley
You will need mashed potatoes. You will make your potatoes the hour before you serve your meal. Simply put one inch of water and one teaspoon of salt in a stock pot. Peel and slice your potatoes into wedges. Bring the potatoes to a boil; then turn them down to low and simmer them, with the cover partially open for 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, poke one potato with a fork or knife. If the potato is soft, drain the water from the pan. If not, continue to boil and recheck after a few minutes. Once the potatoes are drained and hot, peel the paper off of a stick of butter and put it on the potatoes. Use a potato masher to mash your potatoes and get rid of lumps. You will then need to add up to a half cup of milk and a container of sour cream to this mixture. Then, they are ready to serve with gravy.
Gravy is needed for the mashed potatoes, of course. The easiest method is to open several cans of chicken broth and mix with flour and turkey gravy powder. Then you should bring the mixture to a boil and boil until it thickens. If the mixture seems thin, just add some more turkey gravy mix.
Usually, the meal can be split the meal into sections. You can have someone else bring pickled herring. If someone in the family a good year canning pickles, they bring pickles. You can serve a relish tray with raw vegetables. The usual vegetable tray includes celery sticks, baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Sour cream is usually mixed with a package mix of ‘Mrs. Wages Dill Dip’, for people to put on their plates to dip their vegetables into.
A large percentage of people enjoy seeing green olives, so make sure that there is a dish full of green olives; they may not enjoy eating them, but the color is quite Christmas-like.
Some enjoy black olives, too, so there again, put out a large dish of black olives. Party mints are nice. The pastel mints are a nice addition to the table and are quite addicting. Many people enjoy sliced cranberry. Some like pickled beets. You must include dinner rolls and butter to spread on them. Try not to butter the buns for people. It is a personal choice. Some people like to eat their turkey on a dinner roll. Let them decide.
Cooking bags are a wonderful way to cook your turkey. The bags work very well. It keeps the turkey moist and can be cooked a day ahead and the bones removed from the meat. Simply follow the directions found on the cooking bag directions. It is easy to understand and pretty straightforward. You will need to rub your bird with some spray butter blend, like “I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” and coat your bird with a flour mix that includes flour , poultry seasoning, and seasoned salt. Make sure the bird is completely coated with flour. The spray butter ensures that your flour sticks evenly to the bird and the flour helps keep the bird from sticking to the bag. It also helps to make your turkey skin crisp up slightly and hold your turkey juices in better while your bird cooks. The juice that collects in the bag can later be used to simmer your sliced meat in and some can be added to the following hot-dish. I find that the chicken skin with its flour mix coating is also quite delicious.
The hot-dish that accompanies the turkey is made in the following manner: Saute two chopped stalks of celery in butter in a stock pan with one chopped onion. In a separate pan or in the microwave make and mix several boxes of seasoned stovetop stuffing mixes. It helps to have a couple varieties of stuffing mixes, one for turkey and another one that includes mushrooms. You will need to prepare a couple boxes of rice dishes. Usually one box is a Long Grain and Wild Rice mix and the other a Creamy Chicken variety.
In a small bowl, place a cup of raisins in some hot water to re-hydrate them. You could probably use grapes, but grapes do not have the concentrated flavor that a raisin has; plus raisins are much easier to add. The recipe calls for one chopped apple, but you can cheat and use applesauce. It doesn’t matter at all.
So, now, at this point, you will have a stockpot full of rice, stuffing mix, some sautéed onions and celery. You can also use fresh mushrooms when you are sautéing the onions and celery. Now you need to mix cream of mushroom soup, 3 cans of Chicken broth, your raisins, apples, 1/3 cup butter, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, one can of Chicken and Rice soup, ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning blend, 2 cups ‘chicken breast’ minced or ground up. If you have a roaster pan, go ahead and put it in the roaster pan. You can bake this at 350 and then set aside. It is good reheated. So, if you want to make it ahead, do.
The rest of the meal is up to you and yours. Your guests will ask what you want them to bring. Pies are nice. Soda pop. Beer. They can bring the wine. Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot, Wild Vines Raspberry and Mogen David’s Pomegranate go very well with these dishes! Enjoy the day!