I cannot imagine Christmas day without family or friends or both.
When we moved to Florida ten years ago we decided that we would alternate years traveling north to visit with family/friends and staying here in our new home. The years we stay home we either have an open house or a sit-down dinner with friends and neighbors.
Our first few open houses or dinners I would bustle for days in the kitchen preparing many wonderful dishes that included all the usual holiday fare.
This year however, I decided to have a small intimate potluck dinner. I asked around the neighborhood to see who would be home on Christmas day and invited them to come, bring a dish and spend a few hours enjoying each other’s company.
I really like potlucks because it is always such a fun surprise to see what your guests will bring along. You see I never tell anyone what to bring. However, I do let everyone know what I will be contributing to the dinner.
I remember once when neighbor said, “What will you do if you get ten salads?” I replied, “Well then we will have ten wonderful salads and have a very healthy dinner indeed”.
But the really surprising thing is that I have never had that happen. There is always a wonderful array of foods that are nicely presented and wonderfully tasty.
I let everyone know that I would be purchasing a Honeybaked ham (I love their spiral hams. They are just yummy!). And, of course, you cannot have a ham with homemade scalloped potatoes.
Christmas afternoon the table was set, the potatoes were in the oven, Christmas music was playing on the stereo. All we needed now were our friends to arrive for a perfect Christmas card moment. The only sad note that day was that one of our couples was unable to attend due to illness.
Bill and Genny brought along two dishes to share one a modified recipe from Land-O-Lakes butter and one that Genny created. Bob and Sandy brought a dish of Aunt Edna’s beans also known as Hillbilly beans.
Our Christmas dinner menu:
Honeybaked spiral ham
As I mentioned earlier a ham dinner needs scalloped potatoes. They are so very simple to make, creamy and yummy. I made a large quantity so I could have leftovers for the next day. The basic recipe is:
2 lbs potatoes
3 Tbs. margarine
3 Tbs. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups milk
1-2 onion sliced (I separate my onion into rings and sprinkle over potatoes)
1 Tbs. margarine
Pare potatoes and cut into thin slices. Melt margarine over low heat. Blend in flour and salt and pepper. Once mixture is bubbly remove from heat and add milk. Heat to boiling and stir for about 1 minute stirring constantly.
Grease 2qt casserole dish then layer potatoes, onions and sauce until all used. Cut the remaining tablespoon of margarine and sprinkle over casserole.
Cover and bake in a 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and back for about 70 minutes or longer until potatoes are done.
(I tripled the recipe expecting to serve dinner for 8 and I wanted some for leftovers).
Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots – Land-O-Lakes (modified by Genny)
(modification) Genny did not have the Land-O-Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread so substituted regular butter and about 3 Tbs. cinnamon sugar; she also thought it should be sweeter so added about 2 Tbs. of honey.
Pound of frozen Okra
Diced small onion
Several slices of butter
Salt & pepper
Cook/Microwave for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
Aunt Edna’s Beans (Hillbilly Beans) Bob and Sandy:
Frozen shoepeg corn
1 can chicken broth
1 and ½ Tbs. vegetable oil
Cook two cans of beans but only use the juice from one can. Cook the shoepeg corn and then put into beans. Bring to a boil and turn them off then warm again later.
I asked, “What was the point of bringing the beans to a boil as they are already cooked?” “I believe it penetrates the beans and corn and gives them a good flavor,” Bob replied.
Cinnamon Apples (Honeybaked Ham)
Flaky biscuits and Cinnamon rolls
Beverages of water/wine/beer
Everything was great and everyone at the table went back to get seconds. Not just seconds but filled their plates. Wonderful!
We had dessert in two stages. We had pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream at the dinner table. Then, it was such a beautiful day that after we moved out onto the lanai to let our dinner settle and engaged in comfortable conversation. Our conversations are always comfortable and cover many topics of mutual interest. As we talked I passed around the eggnog pound cake.
We talked at length about the pros and cons of making New Year’s resolutions. Most did not feel the need to make them citing that if something needed to be done they just did it. I do not know where the time went but it was time to say goodbye.
There was not much food left over but I asked if I could keep some back. I explained that I would like to bring a sampling of our dinner to our neighbors Ellen and Ross who were unable to come. So, I believe everyone went home with empty dishes.
This is the last blog of 2011. Kristine and I have had a good time experimenting with different recipes and sharing our results. We would like to thank all our readers for stopping by and sometimes leaving us some words. Some of you have sent along favorite recipes that I will be trying and blogging about in 2012.
We wish everyone out there a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!!!!!!!!