Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Catch Up

I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post, but I sure needed a little break to enjoy family and the holiday. I have been so busy with life lately, that it was really nice to relax for a couple of days and just hang out with the parents and my brother. Harlie got really sick last Monday and I had to take her to the vet for some testing, thank goodness she is doing alright now, but it sure scared the crap out of me to say the least. I hope everyone had a good Christmas holiday.
I was really excited with the opportunity to make Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner for my little family. We have always spent the Holidays in Salt Lake with Grandma, Aunts & Uncles, and all the cousins. When everything unfolded last week with Harlie, I couldn’t bare myself to leave her side for a couple of days and go out of town. So, I made the decision to stay home. Levi, my brother, did the same and the parents decided to drive home Salt Lake early. We all wanted to be together and so things changed a little bit this year. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way though, it was so nice and quiet. I missed the craziness of the family get-together, but playing games with the Levi’s and Dad, was far better than I could have wished for.
I decided since my mom wouldn’t be feeling up to cooking, it would be my turn to take over Christmas eve Dinner and Christmas Day Dinner. I actually was excited to do it.! I didn’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen; I wanted to spend it with my family. I kept the dinners small but delicious. Everyone loved it, which I was grateful for.
So, here was the menu.
Christmas Eve:
White Lasagna
Garlic Bread
Christmas Day:
Peach and Cranberry Ham
Mashed Potatoes
White Lasagna:
-this isn’t an exact kind of recipe, I just throw it together and add as much seasoning as I want, per my taste buds- this makes a cake sized pan of lasagna-
2 box of oven-ready lasagna noodles (barilla is my favorite), 2 container (3lb) of ricotta cheese (I prefer whole milk), 2 small container of cottage cheese, Italian seasoning mix, salt, pepper, minced garlic, 2 eggs, 1 package of frozen spinach or a bundle of fresh, 1 rotisserie chicken shredded, 1-2 bags of your choice of white cheese (I prefer the Italian mix by Kraft), 2 cans of your choice of Alfredo sauce (I prefer Bertolli with aged parmesan).
I mix together the ricotta cheese; cottage, cheese, Italian seasonings, salt pepper, minced garlic, and then I add two eggs and mix together until well incorporated. You all know how to layer lasagna right? Well this is how I do mine: alfredo sauce, noodle, cheese & spinach layer, noodle, chicken & sauce, noodle, repeat noodles and layers until I reach the top layer. Then I cover it with lots of sauce and loads of cheese. Bake 350 for 35-40 minutes with foil, remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes to make the cheese all bubbly and yummy. Let sit for 5 or so minutes before digging in, it seems to help with the slicing of pieces, or maybe it is in my head.
This is details of my layers:
Cheese & Spinach: this is the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture, with spinach on top, I sprinkle a small (I mean small) amount of italian cheese to combine the layer.
Chicken & Sauce: I mix together shredded chicken with alfredo sauce, so that the lasagna doesn’t become soup like with too much alfredo in between layers. I then top the layer with a good amount of Italian cheese to finish off this layer.
Peach and Cranberry Ham:
1 fully cooked smoked bone-in ham (7 lbs), 3/4  cup peach preserves, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup white cranberry and peach juice.
Spray your slow cookers with cooking spray (I just wipe with olive oil). Remove any excess fat from ham, make cuts 1/2 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep (I start at the top and just cut vertically then make cuts horizontally). Place ham in slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix preserves, brown sugar, mustard, and juice. Spread mixture over ham. Cover, cook on low for 8 hours or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Remove ham from slow cooker, wait 15 minutes to carve. Take the juices from the slow cooker, pour into a saucepan. Simmer until slightly thickened, pour over ham as a glaze or on the side as a sauce (I prefer it over the ham as a glaze).
These recipes are really easy and simple, plus bonus, they are delicious. We hardly have any of leftovers in our fridges because everyone kept eating everything in front of them. I hope you try and enjoy, if you do, let me know what you think!

Enjoy your day.

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