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2013 Christmas Eating

One of my favorite things about going home for the holidays is the food and spending time in the kitchen with my family preparing meals. My dad and I always menu plan for weeks ahead of time and bounce ideas back and forth. So the first part of my Christmas 2013 post is all about the food!

I’ll begin with Christmas Eve. It’s our family tradition to have prime rib and popovers. The other elements of the dinner vary year to year.


This Christmas my dad decided to start with a soup course and made butternut squash bisque. The way he prepared the soup was really cool…he steamed the squash and then made a broth out of the seeds and pulp that was added to the soup to thin it when pureed. He got the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. I contributed a salad with spiced pecans, thinly sliced apples, goat gouda and balsamic vinaigrette.


And the main course was prime rib, scalloped potatoes and popovers. We usually use standard muffin tins for the popovers but this year my dad got a special popover pan and it took them to a new level. They were huge and beautiful in the bread basket! The scalloped potatoes were sinfully good and cheesy!


Dessert was a homemade apple and cranberry pie. My dad makes the best pies. I especially loved his crust this year. It was thick but light and flakey.


The inside of the pie was so festive with the cranberries.


We went back and forth over Christmas breakfast. The original plan was cinnamon rolls but then I made the last minute switch to coffee cake. My dad found this recipe for cranberry pecan upside down coffee cake and it was amazing. You lined the bottom of the pan with brown sugar, pecans, fresh cranberries and butter and then topped it with the batter. You inverted the cake before serving and the result was a gooey, caramelized topping. The cranberries cook down and sweeten so much that it’s almost like you used dried cranberries.


I had my coffee cake with scrambled eggs and orange slices.


Next up is the appetizer spread. My grandmother started a tradition years ago of having munchies out on the kitchen table for us to graze on during present opening. I made this baked brie, half with apricot preserves, half with honey, rosemary and pecans. It was a hit.


My dad made these fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato prosciutto rolls. He roasted the tomatoes himself by using roma tomatoes and cooking them at a low heat for almost four hours. It totally intensified the flavor of the tomatoes and they burst in your mouth when you took a bite. So good.


My Christmas cookie plate with all the goodies I worked on last week. The almond thumbprints were my favorite closely followed by the macaroons.


And then after all the appetizer snacking and present opening, it was finally time for Christmas dinner. We ate around 5:30 this year and kept the spread pretty traditional. My dad made the best macaroni and cheese that was the crowd favorite of the night. There were repeated comments on it throughout dinner and the kids loved it too.


And I made roasted brussles sprouts with sliced almonds, a lemon vinaigrette and shredded parmesan cheese.


We also had ham, kale, deviled eggs and homemade buttermilk biscuits. I used my biscuits as a vehicle for eating the ham and making little sandwiches with lots of butter.


And finally…dessert! I made a keylime pie with gingersnap crust and my dad baked a red velvet cake. It was the perfect end to two days of good eating!

Does your family have any Christmas food traditions? 

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine December 26, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Ohh yum, yum, yum! I did a lot of Christmas eating too! 🙂 Baked brie is probably my favorite food in the world. We’re having baked brie on New Year’s!

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:25 am

      it’s so addictive. i especially love it baked in puff pastry! 🙂

  • Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) December 26, 2013, 3:50 pm

    Oh wow, everything looks delicious!

  • Molly @ Mollysmusingz December 26, 2013, 5:24 pm

    Um, I want to meet your Dad- he sounds like a wizard in the kitchen!

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:24 am

      he’s amazing…bakes, cooks, grills…does it all! so lucky to learn from him!

  • She Rocks Fitness December 26, 2013, 5:26 pm

    YUMMY! My Mom pretty much makes the exact same meal each year and I love it and never want her to change it. 🙂 We spend with friends and they take care of the dessert and appetizers and those typically don’t change either. It’s once a year of full awesomeness and I always look forward to it. Merry Christmas! XOXO

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:24 am

      aw, that’s awesome. so fun to have strong family traditions.

  • julie December 26, 2013, 9:07 pm

    OMG! Is it in poor taste to say this was total food porn!! What an amazing meal … sounds like an amazing family too!! Merry, Merry and best wishes for a fabulous 2014!!

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:24 am

      haha! thank you! not in poor taste at all. 😉

      hope you had a wonderful christmas too!

  • Annie December 26, 2013, 10:13 pm

    That all looks so good! Any chance you’ll share the upside-down cranberry coffee cake recipe with us? It sounds amazing!

  • Nicole December 26, 2013, 10:27 pm

    Yum… so many tasty looking dishes! My husband and I put together a big breakfast before heading down to my in-laws for dinner but it was nothing as delicious as what you had, I’m sure. I’m a bit envious!

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:23 am

      i’m sure it was wonderful! hope you had a great christmas.

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 26, 2013, 11:38 pm

    My in-laws used to have a polish tradition for christmas eve meal. They hadn’t made it in quite a while and tried it this year for the first time. it was delicious!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen December 27, 2013, 5:21 am

    Merry Christmas, Jen!!!!! 🙂

    • Jen December 27, 2013, 11:23 am

      Merry, Merry! 🙂 xoxo

  • karla @ finding my fit December 27, 2013, 9:32 am

    This all looks so delicious! I need to find that recipe for the coffee cake. It is beautiful and sounds delicious!

  • Elise @ 9toFit.com December 27, 2013, 10:50 am

    that upside down coffee cake is brilliant!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope December 28, 2013, 4:29 am

    Everything looks so good!! Ham is definitely a classic for Christmas! I’ve never had popovers or cranberry pie, but they both sound amazing! I love how baking/cooking can create such great memories during the holidays 🙂

  • hillary | nutrition nut on the run December 30, 2013, 12:09 am

    That coffee cake is gorgeous!

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