Christmas Eve Menu

Christmas Eve was always a bigger day for celebrating with my family as a kid. We used to go to my grandparents house with my dad’s family & all of our cousins, it really was a great time. Once that tradition ended due to life circumstances, my parents kept it going at our house with my siblings and Christmas Eve really became such an amazing day for us all.

As an adult, I’ve hosted my mom and siblings for Christmas Eve for about four years now. Picking the menu is always fun because we aren’t committed to a set menu like we are for Thanksgiving, seriously my siblings would cut me if I altered our traditional Thanksgiving lunch -- ever.

Last year I did a fun Grinch theme complete with “roast beast” and “who hash”. This year I wanted to do something a little different so we are planning to get a ham.

This is our menu so far, complete with appetizers and desserts.

My mom makes a sausage bread every year and has been making this for as long as I can remember. Of course, as is the case for most moms, she has no recipe but I asked her for a high-level summary:

Take two loaves of frozen bread, let thaw and rise.
Take two "tubes" of breakfast sausage, diced onions, and diced green peppers and brown all together. Take it off of the heat and let cool. Once cool add in shredded mozzerella cheese and two beaten eggs. Roll out the thawed dough and put the mixture on the dough. Roll up and brush with egg wash. Bake at 350 degrees until brown and the bread is cooked through. Let rest and then dig in!

It’s really tasty and the whole family devours it within minutes. This recipe would also be great for a breakfast bread for Christmas morning.

I love making brie topped with cranberries, brown sugar and pecans. This recipe with puff pastry is great but brie is also good with a topping of cranberries and brown sugar alone. We usually eat this with crackers or little toasts.

My most favorite appetizer of all time are these stuffed mushrooms from Ina Garten. They have sausage and mascarpone cheese and are a hit everytime I serve them. These can be made a few hours in advance and then just popped in the oven an hour before serving. They do taste the best served hot but I have reheated them for leftovers and they are still pretty good.

For our ham we are cheating a bit and ordering it from Honey Baked Ham. They are just so amazing and with one less thing to make, my husband is as happy as a clam. Everytime I think about getting a ham from there I think of that scene in ‘Christmas with the Kranks’ where Nora is chasing her Hickory Honey Ham into oncoming traffic, I just love that movie! (Side note if you are getting one of these hams I highly recommend reserving online picking up first thing Friday morning, they get so crazy!)

My mom is bringing green beans that are packed with flavor. They are cooked in chicken broth and have red potatoes and bacon in them----seriously, who doesn’t like bacon! The recipe is from Paula Deen so don’t be surprised by the lack of nutrients.

The next side we are making is going to be some sort of mashed potatoes. I will probably end up jazzing it up with sour cream, bacon, and chives. I love mashed potatoes with the skins on but my brother can’t stand it so peeled it will be.

We will have rolls too that I planning to buy frozen and just bake, I’m not motivated enough to make some from scratch but if you have an awesome recipe to share I’d love to see it.

I’m still undecided on dessert. I have a few options but I just can’t quite decide. I love Giada de Laurentis’ recipe for Panna Cotta with Berries, that’s usually a hit and the honey in this recipe gives it such an interesting taste. I was also considering creme brulee or a family favorite, banana pudding. My mom will also bring a dessert of some kind so I’m thinking something opposite of hers.

With dessert the options are endless really, and with that they are also overwhelming. I’m also planning to make something the kids will enjoy as well such as cake pops or rice krispie treats.

Last but not least are the drinks. I am planning to try this recipe for Santa Claus-mopolitans (love that name!) and we will have both red and white wine on hand.

I am looking forward to Christmas Eve so much, from the dinner with family and friends and the kids opening presents, it’s such a fun time. And let’s not forget the guaranteed easy bedtime---”if you don’t go to bed, Santa won’t come!” Ha the perks this time of year.

What does your family plan to do on Christmas Eve? Any fun traditions to share?