Monday, December 23, 2013

Early Christmas Dinner with the In Laws and a Christmas PSA

Both of our families live within 10 minutes of our house, so the first couple of years we tried to make it work seeing everyone on holidays. We quickly got burnt out of the rushing around and realized it made Thanksgiving and Christmas more stressful than fun. We decided to do Thanksgiving each year with Hubs' parents and Christmas with my family. Since we don't see his parents on Christmas day anymore, the past few years I've started hosting them at our house a few days before Christmas.

Friday was our Christmas dinner with them and I planned on going all out for the dinner. I created a spreadsheet of the recipes I was planning on making and a timeline to make sure everything came out at the same time. I included the ingredients for each dish and was able to note by color what was already purchased and what was on the final shopping trip. I planned which dishes to prep the dishes in and which to serve in. The only two dishes not included in the spreadsheet were the two desserts I made that morning.

I couldn't sleep Thursday night, worried I was forgetting something, so I made a list of everything that had to get done on Friday.

My day started with a 5:30 spin class to get my head right. Then it was off to the grocery store where the shelves weren't yet fully stocked and I had to get a manager to help me track down items I suspected were in the back.

Once home I started knocking off items on the list (yes, I included Shower, just to have an easy one to cross off before things got too stressful). I chose the desserts to make by browsing my recent Pins from my Dessert Board. I knocked those out real quick before I had to start prepping dinner.

The roast was fairly quick to get started and pop in the oven. I cut the cauliflower and grated cheese while on a conference call for work (shhhhhhhh) and the rest was fairly simple that I wouldn't have to really get going until 5:30ish. That's when things started to happen. The roast comes out of the oven and sides start going in. The frozen rolls I had taken out to rise never did, but hubs had stopped by the store to pick up some cresent rolls just in case this happened. The cauliflower was kind of runny, so it stayed in the oven for about 15 minutes longer than directed, but turned out amazing in the end.

Everything was on the table right at 6:30 and I could sit down to relax and enjoy the food and company for the rest of the night. 

The recipes I used were:
Giada's Stracotto Pot Roast (This was AMAZING and is probably my new favorite roast recipe. The mushroom sauce you blend with the cooking juices is to die for.)
Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes (SO SO GOOD. More like a dessert with the brown sugar and pecans)
Bobby Flay's Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin (YUMMY. But recipe calls for WAY too much cream, I used half the recommended amount and as noted above, still had to bake 15 mins extra for it to thicken up, I would use even less next time.)
My own mac & cheese concoction: Stouffer's Mac & Cheese, smash about a 1/2 sleeve of Ritz to crumbs and add, throw in a generous handful of cheddar cheese, and some milk if it's looking too thick from the Ritz and extra cheese.
Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
Southern Living Apple Bread Pudding (Served with Ice Cream instead of the Apple Brandy Creme Anglaise)
And finally, Skinny Taste Cranberry Bliss Bars 

Whew! What a whirlwind day of baking and cooking, but man it was good. 

Next up is Christmas Day cooking!!!!

And for your PSA: GET YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS DAY DONE NOW. Last year we both had to work on Christmas Eve and didn't get to hit the grocery store until after 6. We went to FIVE stores, all closed at 6 on Christmas Eve. There was ONE store open in our area until 8 and it was jam packed because everyone else was closed early. 

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