Merry Christmas 2020 my friends! Wanted to share the dishes from our table this year. I hope you will enjoy and find the following ideas and recipes useful.
I know some of you asked me if I get any help cooking and how long it takes me to cook for the holidays.
Yes, I cook everything myself, with some help from Costco (buying our favorite items that you need to reheat or bake).
On occasion, mother-in-law will make Salad Olivier and Chicken Liver Pate, which we love!
The whole process takes me about 3 to 4 days:
A day planning, a day decorating and two whole days cooking. Two refrigerators (one from previous owners in the garage) and a double oven make it all possible. Not sure if I were able to accomplish it in a small apartment with a small fridge.
Watch the video below. Click on the small square in the right corner to see it in full size on your phone!
The Star of the show – Christmas Shrimp Tree
How to make these Deviled eggs
This is a super simple recipe but very tasty and takes 15 minutes to prepare.
I have cooked the eggs in the Instant Pot this way it takes almost no time to peel and they come out perfect. You can cook them a day or two in advance and have them in the fridge ready to go when you need to serve.
Slice eggs in half, scoop out egg yolks, and mix them with whipped cream cheese with chives (or plain whipped cream cheese). Add minced fresh dill and mix well. Stuff egg whites with the mixture and create a rose out of Smoked Salmon.
We have tried Smoked Salmon by many brands and our favorite is the Kirkland brand from Costco. It’s not salty with lots of flavor and very easy to work with if you need to create decorations.
I like to have some greenery and a natural-looking setting for the eggs. You can use any greenery, I had Arugula on hand.
Once we have discovered these Spanokopita cheese and spinach in phyllo pastries at Costco I have decided not to make my own again. These are just perfect and I keep buying them once we run out.
Great to have in the freezer just in case you have a company over. They are best prepared just before serving when they are hot and crispy. They take almost no time to bake so it’s not a problem.
How to make Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tartlets
This was kind of a last-minute decision since I had Publix Pizza Dough on hand.
I love that Pizza dough from Publix, it’s THE BEST. I can make us a pizza in 20 – 30 minutes. 5 – 10 minutes rolling the dough and 17 minutes baking it. Always comes out Perfect!
I make breadsticks and garlic knots out of it as well.
This time I’ve decided to make Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tartlets.
Since I love adding caramelized onions and mushrooms to many of my dishes, I prep them a day in advance and have them ready.
I have added them to these tartlets, roasted duck, and couscous dishes.
I don’t have the exact measurements since I didn’t cook it from the recipe.
Even though I love how they came out with a Pizza dough or you can use any Pillsbury dough, I think Puff Pasty would probably be ideal in this recipe since it would add flakiness.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add Light Olive oil and sauté the onions for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove to a plate or a bowl.
- Add more Light Olive oil along with a tablespoon of butter, add thinly sliced mushrooms, and saute, stirring occasionally, until they are completely soft and all of the liquid evaporates about 20 minutes.
- Remove to a plate or a bowl.
- Roll out dough and cut out circles.
- Spray no-stick Pam inside a mini muffin pan opening.
- Add dough to each opening.
- Combine thinly sliced caramelized onions, mushrooms, 2 or more tablespoons of whipped cream cheese with chives, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and fresh parsley. Eyeball measurements and divide evenly among mini muffin openings.
- Top with additional shredded cheese.
- Bake in the preheated at 400F oven for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
Perfect little appetizers for the Holidays or any occasion!
Since I have made Roasted Duck a few times now, I’ve made the gravy a little thicker this time by adding a couple of tablespoons of Cornstarch into the potatoes/veggie mix.
Cornstarch thickens and makes a CLEAR gravy/sauce, Flour thickens gravy/sauces as well but makes them CLOUDY.
Plus instead of fresh mushrooms, I have added caramelized mushrooms and onions into the mix. Delish!
How to make Grilled Lamb kebobs on the bed of pearled couscous with caramelized mushrooms and onions
We absolutely love these “Near East” brand Couscous mixes. They are all DELICIOUS! Just cook according to the package. I just added caramelized onions and mushrooms after cooking. Adds so much flavor!
For the lamb, I’ve used Australian Lamb Leg Roast from Costco. Sliced the roast into chunks and marinated with sliced red onion and peppers overnight in Greek Marinade.
I’ve used my beloved Griddler by Cuisinart at home.
How to make Mediterranean Roasted Veggies with chickpeas and marinated veggies
We LOVE Brussel Sprouts and I buy them all the time. They are super tasty if prepared right and super healthy. It’s the staple food at our house.
Pasta and rice we mainly eat on holidays, going out, or on vacation. For every day, it’s meat, poultry, fish, and roasted veggies!
With roasted veggies, you can get as creative as you like.
I saw a video that has millions of views with Brussels sprouts first boiled and then roasted. What an AWFUL idea! All the goodness and flavor is washed out. You will end up eating MASHED Brussels sprouts. No. You want to preserve the goodness!
- Arrange sliced veggies you have on hand on a large cookie sheet. Add a can of well-drained chickpeas.
- Splash with Olive oil and season with Za’atar and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Roast in the preheated at 400F oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. Time depends on your oven and the size and amount of your veggies. Judge by color, they shouldn’t be burned.
After it cools off, I like to add marinated veggies. Bought our favorite Del-Destino Grilled and Marinated veggies at Costco as well.
These Chocolate Brownie Crinkle Cookies are simply AMAZING! You have to try this recipe!
I gave several cookies to my mother-in-law and she decided to try just half of the cookie, she said: ” I thought I can eat just half, but who can? They are addictive!”
I have made these Roasted Pears a few times now, my family loves this dessert.
But, I do enjoy experimenting and trying out new things. I had Mascarpone cheese on hand and decided to try it instead of yogurt as in the recipe. Plus I have added some chocolate chips as well. I love it with Mascarpone, much more flavorful. Please try I think you will agree!
I think this is one of the BEST desserts! So much flavor, easy to prepare and looks Amazing served! WIN-WIN!
Merry Christmas, my friends!