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Sunday, December 22, 2013

T'was the Night Before Christmas- Almost...

Jules Here-

Three days until Christmas, and I am all wrapped, prepped, and ready to go-- wait, strike that-- I haven't even finished all my shopping... BUT, I am not stressed or worried about this holiday yet! I am still enjoying the endless Christmas music, the dazzling lights, and the delicious cookies.  I am eagerly anticipating the Christmas morning excitement with children and the beautiful Mass.  But first, I must get through Christmas eve.  Somehow my plans for a quiet Christmas eve with my neighbors has escalated to 12 adults and 5 children at my house for appetizers and desserts! (Shout out to my friend Chrissy who lovingly invited herself to my house with her fantastic parents-- I love friends who balk the societal expectation of waiting for an invitation....)  The more the merrier and I cannot wait to celebrate amongst friends!

As I plan this tapas-style menu for Tuesday night, I am realizing that pretty much all of the food has an element of cheese in it (which  makes it a challenge for my lactose-sensitive son). But who cares- it's CHRISTMAS!  So here are a few of the recipes for my "party" on the night before Christmas:

Buffalo Chicken Dip
This is a party-favorite of a few of my friends, so it is a requirement at most gatherings.
  • 1 Cup ranch dressing
  • 2 boxes (16 oz) cream cheese
  • 6-8 oz Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (I use a little less as not to burn people's mouths)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 # of chicken breasts
  • 2 Cups grated cheddar
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • Tortilla Chips
1. Boil chicken and break apart.
2. Saute celery in saute pan (I have actually chopped and steamed this in the microwave before with a little water)
3. Add all ingredients and mix well.
4. Add to 9 x 13" pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Pizza Balls
Perfect appetizers for kids to eat: filling & not as messy as regular pizza
  • 3 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits  OR crescent rolls
  • Chopped pepperoni (I use the turkey pepperoni)
  • Shredded or shredded mozzarella
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Parmesan
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  1. Flatten a biscuit/crescent roll out and stack pepperoni and cheese on top.
  2. Gather up the edges of the biscuit or crescent roll
  3. Line the rolls up (seam side down) in a greased 9×13 in. pan.
  4. Brush with beaten egg.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  6. Bake at 425°F for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Serve the rolls with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

One of the dessert items I am making, is Lemon Pie Bars from I've made these several times and they are delicious and easy!!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Mix 2 cups of flour and confectioner's sugar together. Cut in the butter or margarine. Mix well until the dough resembles pie dough consistency. Press the dough into a 9x13 inch baking pan.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Beat together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and lemon rind for at least 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
5. Bake the bars another 20 minutes, or until the lemon topping has set. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar when cooled.

Hopefully I can get all my cooking, cleaning, shopping, and wrapping done before Christmas so I can ENJOY these yummy dishes.  At least my MOM is cooking Christmas dinner for us!!

Easy Rule #27098- Sometimes you just have to realize you'll be tired for awhile. Embrace the fatigue and try not to stress out!

Easy Rule #52222- The internet really is a treasure-trove of recipes with reviews & ratings that makes it so easy to plan a meal or special occasion.

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