10 days to Christmas. Whew, mind blowing. I'm not going to have enough time to get you all my favorite recipes, Actually even if I typed all day, every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn't be able to share all my recipes with you. Choose wisely, that's the best advice. So here goes.
Holidays equate to parties and open houses. One of the mainstays of a party is a relish tray. Here are some ideas for that tray
Vegetables, Carrots, Celery cucumber slices, peppers,(red, green, yellow or orange). Buy jarred roasted red peppers or marinated artichoke hearts. Cherry or grape tomatoes. Brussel sprouts (Steam, roast or pickle them). There are jars of pickled vegetables usually found next to the pickles in the supermarket. Personnaly, I think these are too sweet, but they could come in handy in a pinch.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve.
Pickles, both dill and sweet. If you can't find small pickles, just cut some and place in a bowl.
Olives are always a good choice for a tray. Pimient-stuffed, ripe black, or specialty olives such as Kalamuta, or olives stuffed with garllic, blue cheese, or almonds.
Cheeses, such as marinated mozzarella balls, parmesan, Asiago, or provolone cheeses
Meats/fish such as ham, salami, mortadella, prosciutto or smoked salmon or cooked shrimp
Here are some recipes for your slow cooker. This will help make your Christmas dinner easier
Garlic mashed potatoes
3 pounds baking potatoes - peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
2 14 1/2 ounce cans of seasoned chicken broth with roasted garlic
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper (fresh ground is best)
Spray a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker with non stick cooking spray. Combine the potatoes, garlic and bay leaf in the cooker. Pour the broth over the mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or 3 to 4 hours on high.
Drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl to catch the broth. Remove the bay leaf. Return the potatoes to the cooker and mash.
Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the milk is steaming and the butter is melted. Add to the potatoes, along with the salt and pepper. Add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to mashed potatoes to reach the consistency desired.
You may keep these in the slow cooker on low or warm for up to 2 hours. If it gets too thick while in the cooker, add more of the cooking liquid.
Green Bean casserole
This recipe uses fresh green beans, and it is helpful to parcook the green beans before cooking them in the crockpot to ensure that they are cooked properly. This recipe uses 1 1/2 pounds thin green beans trimmed and halved crosswise. Partially cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, then pluncge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
1 1/2 pounds green beans
16 oz to equal 6 cups sliced cremini or button mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tbls olive oil
1 10.75 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 2.8 oz can French fried onions
1 cup roasted red sweet pepper strips, drained
2 tbls whole grain mustard
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium to medium high heat, cook and stir mushrooms and garlic until soft and beginning to brown. Stir in the soup, cheese, milk and mustard until combined. Pour over the beans. Add the red pepper and water chestnuts. Toss to combine.
Place 1/2 the bean mixture into a greased 4 quart slow cooker. Top with half of the French-fried onions. Repeat the layers. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or, on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
To make this ahead, prepare the beans with the seasonings, cheese, and so on. Cover and refrigerate in the bowl for up to 24 hours.