Monday 23 December 2019

A Holiday Feast Fit for a Family by Sloane Taylor...

Christmas Eve

December 24

My favorite day of the year! We celebrate with a houseful of friends and relatives by serving a sit-down dinner complete with crystal glasses, all the pretty dishes I’ve gathered over the years, and what I call my “good” flatware. Each year I try to create a memorable meal such as the one listed here.

This elegant dinner, with marvelous flavors, is easy to prepare. On a tight schedule? Most of the meal can be assembled in advanced. Look for the ** in the instructions for the stopping point. Continue cooking on Christmas Eve. I suggest you make extras and freeze them for future use. You’ll be glad you did.

Mock Chicken Legs
Roasted Potatoes
Snow Peas with Lettuce & Chives
Sautéed Mushrooms
White Wine – Chablis

Mock Chicken Legs
Use equal amounts of the three meats. If you are anti-veal, the beef and pork alone are still great. Increase their amounts to 1½ pounds (750g) each.

1 lb. (500g) beef eye of round or other high-quality roast, cut into 2 in. (5cm) cubes
1 lb. (500g) pork tenderloin, cut into 2 in. (5cm) cubes
1 lb. (500g) veal shoulder, cut into 2 in. (5cm) cubes
Skewers about 6 – 8 inches (15 – 20cm) long
3 eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1½ cups (200g) seasoned bread crumbs, possibly more
Olive oil

Alternate the meat types as you skewer them. Set aside on waxed paper.

** Stop here if you plan to cook the legs another day. If you made extras, this is the time to freeze them.  Lay the skewers to cook on a cookie sheet. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate.

On the day of serving, cover a platter or cookie sheet with waxed paper. Combine eggs and pepper in a flat bowl. Pour breadcrumbs into another dish. Dip skewers, one at a time, into egg mixture. Roll in bread crumbs then set them back onto the waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 350° F

Heat ½ inch
(1.25cm) olive oil in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, carefully lay in a few skewers and brown well on all sides. As they cook set them into a baking dish, stacking the skewers is fine.

Cover the dish and bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until fork tender.

Do NOT add any liquid to the meat. This dish produces its own fantastic sauce.

Roasted Potatoes
These potatoes are definitely out of the norm, but they are great with any meat dish.

3 tbsp. (45ml) olive oil
3 tbsp. (45ml) cider vinegar
1 tbsp. (15ml) kosher salt
1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme
1 red potato per person, quartered but not peeled

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, and thyme.

Place potatoes in a large plastic bag. Pour mixture over them and gently shake bag to coat evenly.

Spread potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle remaining mixture over them. Bake until potatoes are toothpick tender and slightly browned, 50 minutes.

Snow Peas with Lettuce & Chives
This recipe from France that serves two is one you will want to serve often. Simply increase the ingredient amounts proportionally when you prepare this dish for more people.

4 oz. (125g) snow peas
2 tbsp. (25g) butter
Pinch of sugar
½ Boston lettuce, shredded
1 tbsp. (15ml) chives, chopped fine, or 1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried
2 green onions, sliced fine be sure to include the green stems

Trim ends off peas with a sharp knife. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Be careful not to let this burn.

When the foam subsides stir in peas. Stir in sugar. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

Add lettuce, chives, and onions. Gently toss until lettuce has wilted.

Scoop into a bowl and serve.

Sautéed Mushrooms recipe found under Veggie section in the Index.

Christmas Day

December 25

After we entertain Christmas Eve, we tear through the house cleaning up before all the kids and grands come for brunch Christmas Day. This meal is wonderful because so much can be prepared well in advance.

Breakfast Souffle
Hash Browns
Fresh Fruit Salad
Mini Croissants
Christmas Cookies & Leftover Desserts

Breakfast Soufflé
1 lb. (½kg) ham, bacon, or breakfast sausage
9 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups (750ml) milk
1 tsp. (5ml) dry mustard
Diced green, red, and/or yellow pepper to taste
½ lb. (57g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ lb. (57g) Swiss or Gruyere cheese, or a combination of the two, grated
Diced onion to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 – 1 in. (2.54cm) slices Vienna or French bread, cubed

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Dice ham or bacon. If you use ham, set aside in the bowl you use for the eggs. Fry bacon to the crispness you prefer. Drain on paper towels. If you use breakfast sausage, fry meat until no longer pink. Be sure to break up any clumps. Drain meat in a colander while you continue to prepare the soufflé.

Add all ingredients, except the bread, to eggs. Stir well. Gently stir in bread.

Pour mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13-inch (33 x 22cm) glass baking dish. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center has no egg clinging to it.

This dish can be assembled one or two days ahead of time. On serving day allow the soufflé to sit on your counter 1 – 2 hours before you bake it.

Leftovers are excellent from the microwave.

Hash Browns
If you need to increase the hash browns recipe for a larger group of people, it’s best to sparingly add more garlic powder. As is this recipe serves 6. Leftovers reheat beautifully.

3 russet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled
1½ tsp. (7.5ml) garlic powder, not salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

Shred potatoes on the large holes of a box grater or use the coarse grater disk on a food processor. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Allow them to soak for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and then rinse under cold water. You do this to remove the starch that makes hash browns gummy.

Transfer shreds to a kitchen towel. Gather together ends of towel and twist over sink, squeezing firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. This step creates crisp hash browns. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with garlic powder and pepper. Be sure to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, press down to form a thin layer and cook for a minute or two. Stir and then press down again. Cook until a dark golden crust forms, about 5 minutes.

Turn potatoes in sections. This is easier than trying to turn the food as a whole. Continue to fry until hash browns are crisp and browned all over, 5 minutes or so. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Fresh Fruit Salad
1 banana, peeled
1 pear, cored
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice
¼ pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
10 seedless red grapes, halved
10 blueberries
10 raspberries, optional

Slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Dice pear and add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

Gently fold in remaining fruit.

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold
1 carton orange juice, cold
Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles.

May you spend all the holidays of your life filled with friends, laughter, and seated around a well laden table ~ Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor's first solo venture into non-fiction was a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening. ROMANTIC MEALS TO DINE AL FRESCO is Taylor’s latest cookbook and contains 104 exciting recipes. 

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page.


  1. Just love the snow man in the cup.

    1. Me too, C.D.! Happy Holidays and all the best to you and your loved ones in 2020! Cheers!

  2. Yum! This all sounds so good. I can tell you do Christmas right at your house, Sloane!! Thanks for the recipes!

  3. Sorry to be late commenting here. Thank you, Sharon, for allowing me to mess up your kitchen. You are an awesome hostess and I appreciate your continuous wine tapper. LOL

    1. No worries, Sloane, and you're so very welcome! The kitchen wasn't as bad as when hubby starts his baking marathons! LOL! Now pour yourself a glass of wine and relax for the holidays! Cheers and Happy Holidays, my friend!