Tree trimming is best done on a full and happy tummy -- try our make-ahead menu for a night filled with cheer and good food.
Just so you know, I am the type who has been forbidden by family members from playing Christmas music until Turkey Day has come and gone. But, oh, happy day, I am now free to put on my favorite cheesy version of "Let it Snow" and strew Christmas paraphernalia left and right. My spouse indulges this behavior for one and only one reason: Tree trimming is best done on a full and happy tummy and is always accompanied by a liberal topping off of the ceremonial eggnog glasses during the actual event.
An easy, mostly make-ahead, yet festive evening meal allows us to recuperate from the stresses of tree hunting and gathering before we move on to actual decorating. Thus fortified, I can demonstrate some of my many Christmas talents, and so can you.
The classic combination of pork and cranberries gives your mouth an early little taste of Christmas. The entree comes together fast, and you'll be glad to have a hearty meal under your belt before tackling those tree lights.
Nobody will turn up his or her nose to brussels sprouts when they're flavored with a refreshing lemon sauce and dill. Steaming the sprouts in chicken broth helps them keep their holiday green color.
Bulgur and wild rice make a winning whole-grain team in this made-in-heaven match for the pork medallions.
It wouldn't be a holiday without a healthy dose of chocolate. Get your fix with this rich, moist pound cake. It tastes even sweeter because you can make it up to three months in advance.
Creamy and delicious, our classic rum-and-bourbon-spiked eggnog is just what you need to reward yourself after creating the world's most perfectly decorated Christmas tree -- again.
Each year, we follow the same routine: We go to the Christmas tree lot and fret interminably over tree choices, vexing the poor attendant who develops tree-twirling elbow. I am all about fluffiness and proportion. My spouse, on the other hand, will invariably choose an enormously rotund tree that will not make it through front door. A compromise of sorts will be reached and the tree will be stuffed, and I MEAN STUFFED, through the door.
After New Year's and the sad onset of tree rigor mortis, it will need to be cut into pieces for removal out the door, but, hey, that's months away. And if all it takes to delight your spouse for weeks is a fat, sparkly tree, who's to say practical is always right? Here's my checklist (not always heeded, but good to at least have a plan) for a happy Christmas tree experience.
These rich yeast rolls are holiday showstoppers -- eggnog is not only in the rich dough, but a part of the sticky cranberry topping.
If you managed to refrain from drinking all the eggnog in one night, try this holiday pudding -- it's great for a holiday brunch.
For the coffee-lovers in the crowd, this 'nog with hints of cinnamon and orange is sure to please.
Pumpkin isn't just for Thanksgiving. This elegant, creamy individual dessert is restaurant-worthy and surprisingly easy!