Holiday Prep: Christmas Eve Menu Set

Our annual Christmas Eve dinner has always been guests’ choice. And has become tradition, Spinach Lasagna is the requested main course.

We are really looking forward to getting together this year, especially with the newest addition.  We are still deciding between a movie or a board game, but I have both on hand, so we don’t have to decide until after dinner.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Collard Greens with Bacon
  3. Garlic Cheese Bread
  4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I make this the day before and refrigerate. It will need additional cooking time to bring the center up to temperature.

 

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg lasagna noodles (16 oz), cooked and placed in cool water until layering
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it).

Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Garlic Cheese Bread

I made my Crusty Slow-Rise Bread and then sliced it length-wise, slathered in garlic butter, mozzarella and Parmesan and broiled until golden brown.  Yum!

I prepare the bread earlier in the day, wrap in plastic and refrigerate so when my guests arrive I can spend most of my time with them instead of food prep.

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Collard Greens with Bacon

  • 2 large bunches of collard greens
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

I’m going to use the electric pressure cooker for this.

Cut and trim the collard greens, removing the tough stems. Roughly chop the trimmed greens into 1/2-inch ribbons.

Cook the bacon on the saute setting, add the onion to the bacon grease, and cook until translucent before adding the garlic.

Add the collard greens to the pot, stir until coated in bacon drippings. Stir until softened and then add the chicken broth, vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.

Cover and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Release pressure and toss well. If there is too much liquid, use the saute setting to reduce enough to lightly coat the greens.

Toss with salt, pepper, and lemon juice just before serving.

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Dessert is our annual Ice Cream Sundae Bar – lots of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans. I also put out any remaining Christmas cookies leftover from gift packs.

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