Home & Garden

Dining in: May your Christmas be merry, bright and full of good things to eat

holiday recipes For a relaxed beginning to your day, have a delicious breakfast made the night before and popped in the oven in the morning.
   Then, for a memorable and festive dinner, whether you're serving turkey, ham or beef, try some of these tasty, traditional ideas. Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning breakfast

Smoked cheese and muffin strata
   6 English muffins
   8 oz. smoked Gouda cheese
   8 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced
   8 oz. bulk sausage, (pork or turkey) cooked & crumbled
   4 3/4 c. milk
   8 whole eggs
   1/3 c. red pepper, diced
   1/3 c. green pepper, diced
   1 tsp. salt
   Pinch ground black pepper
   Paprika to taste
   Line bottom of 13x9-inch pan with half of the muffin cubes. Divide cheeses evenly over muffin cubes in pan. Sprinkle on crumbled sausage. Arrange remaining muffin cubes in pan over sausage and cheese layers.
   Mix together milk, eggs, peppers, salt and pepper. Pour over ingredients in pan. Press down on muffin cubes to soak thoroughly. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
   Bake uncovered in 325-degree oven for two hours and five to 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand five minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.
   (Recipe may be halved: Bake in 8-inch square pan for one hour and 15 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.)

Christmas egg nog
   6 eggs, separated
   3/4 c. sugar
   1 qt. milk or 1 pt. milk and 1 pt. cream
   1 pt. whiskey
   1 oz. rum
   Block of ice cream
   Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 cup sugar to whites when stiff. Beat yolks and add 1/2 cup sugar while beating. Mix whites with yolks. Stir in milk, whiskey and rum very slowly. Serve in large punch bowl over block of ice cream. Sprinkle with a small amount of nutmeg.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas salad
   3 pkg. (3 oz. each) lemon, lime and raspberry gelatin
   3 c. boiling water
   1 c. miniature or diced marshmallows
   1 1/2 c. cold water
   2 pkg. (3-oz. each) cream cheese, softened
   1/2 c. mayonnaise
   1 c. whipping cream
   1 can (1 lb. 4 1/2 oz .) crushed pineapple
   Dissolve gelatin flavors separately, using 1 cup boiling water for each. Stir marshmallows into lemon gelatin. Set aside.
   Add 3/4 cup cold water to lime gelatin. and pour into 13x9x 2-inch glass dish. Chill until set.
   Add 3/4 cup cold water to raspberry gelatin and set aside at room temperature.
   Add cream cheese to lemon mixture and beat until well blended. Chill until slightly thickened. Then blend in mayonnaise, whipped cream and crushed pineapple (with juice). Chill until very thick and spoon gently over lime gelatin. Chill until set.
   Meanwhile, chill raspberry gelatin until slightly thickened and pour over lemon mixture. Chill until all is firm.
   Note: If deeper green and red layers are desired, use 6-ounce packages lime and raspberry gelatins and two cups boiling water and 1 1/2 cups cold water for each package.

Holiday mashed potatoes
   2 lbs. (about 5 medium) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
   1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
   1 c. evaporated milk
   Salt and ground pepper
   Place potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
   Return potatoes to saucepan; add butter and evaporated milk. Mash with potato masher or electric mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
   Variations:
   Chopped green onions, chopped parsley or cooked, crumbled bacon may by added to mashed potatoes.
   For cheesy potatoes, add one cup shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese to hot mashed potatoes and stir until melted.

Homemade cranberry sauce
   12 oz. pkg. fresh cranberries
   3/4 c. sugar
   1/4 c. water
   2 Tbsp. orange or cranberry liqueur (optional)
   2 Tsp. grated orange rind
   Combine cranberries, sugar and water in a 2- to 3-quart glass casserole. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high power five to seven minutes or until the berries have popped, stirring half-way through the cooking time. (If using conventional cooking methods, heat on top of stove until berries pop, stirring occasionally). Stir in liqueur, if using, and orange rind. Serve hot or cold. Makes two cups.

Cheddar herb wreath
(From Darigold's 75th Anniversary Celebrations)
   6 to 7 c. unsifted flour divided
   2 Tbsp. sugar
   1 Tbsp. salt
   2 pkgs. active live yeast
   2 1/4 c. milk
   3 Tbsp. butter, melted
   3 c. (12 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
   1 tsp. each: dried oregano, rosemary and basil
   1 egg yolk plus 1 Tbsp. water, mixed together
   1 to 2 tsp. poppy seeds
   In a large bowl thoroughly mix 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast.
   Combine milk and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 to 130 degrees) Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium with an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1 cup flour.
   Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in cheese and herbs and enough additional flour to make a stiff dough.
   Turn out onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
   Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
   Punch dough down, divide into 2 equal parts, setting one section aside. For each half: divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece to form a rope about 18 inches long.
   Entwine the 3 strands, working from outside edges toward center to form a braid. Join the two ends together forming the braid into a wreath. Place wreath on baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
   Lightly brush with egg/water mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375 degrees about 40 minutes or until done (test by tapping with knuckle, should sound hollow). Cool on wire rack. Best if served warm. Makes 2 large wreaths.

The following recipes are from Christmas in Washington Cookbook:

Oyster stuffing
   3 pts. oysters, chopped, reserve liquid
   3/4 c. margarine
   1 1/2 c. celery, chopped
   1 1/2 c. onions, chopped
   12 c. dry bread cubes
   3 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
   3 tsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
   1/4 tsp. black pepper
   Drain oysters. Melt margarine in skillet, add celery and onions, cooking until tender but not brown. Combine oysters with celery, onion, bread cubes, parsley and spices; mix well. Moisten stuffing with oyster liquid, if necessary. Makes enough for a 10 to 15 lb. turkey. Stuffing may be baked in a lightly greased casserole at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until heated through.

Festive sweet potatoes
   3 c. sweet potatoes, cooked, mashed
   1/2 c. sugar
   1/4 c. milk
   1/3 c. margarine, melted
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   2 eggs, beaten
   1 c. flaked coconut
   1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
   1/3 c. flour
   1/3 c. margarine, melted
   1 c. pecans
   Combine first six ingredients, mixing well. Spoon into lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients, sprinkle over top of sweet potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees, about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Holiday creamed onions
   1 pkg. (16-oz.) small whole onions
   2 Tbsp. flour
   1/8 tsp. salt
   1/8 tsp. white pepper
   1 c. chicken broth
   2/3 c. milk
   1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
   Cook onions according to directions, drain and set aside. In large skillet over medium heat, melt margarine. Add flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, constantly. Stir in cheese and onions; cook additional 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stir occasionally.