Life on Regal-Hill: Dec. 17, 2008

Assuming that most of our Christmas shopping is completed, it is time to begin preparing meals in earnest. Breads are in the freezer, cookies are in airtight containers, and eggnog confections are being made, so now it is time to begin planning a party or Christmas breakfast or dinner. Ideally any food preparations should be made ahead of time as much as possible so you can enjoy your family and guests. Planning and shopping a week ahead for these rather than waiting until the last minute helps as well.
The biggest problem with preparing too many dishes ahead of time is having room in the refrigerator to store them; afterall, you still have to prepare meals for your family in the meantime. Of course if it is a new recipe you can try it out on your family before preparing it for a party or meal, but not all of us do that.
Most of us are expected to prepare certain recipes every Christmas. We like ham with raisin sauce for Christmas since we usually have turkey for Thanksgiving. Homemade cider as the appetizer and traditional dinner rolls made from my Betty Crocker Cookbook are a must for any holiday and has been made now for over 40 years. For dessert, although pie is usually on the menu, it isn’t as necessary as it is for Thanksgiving so a tart or cake will at least be tolerated.
Now that everything has been planned and made ahead of time as much as possible there is less stress if there is something that comes up at the last minute. It also gives one time to really enjoy Christmas day.
Merry Christmas everyone!
If you are having a Christmas party and wondering what foods to serve, I suggest these recipes for your party. I think your guests will enjoy them.

Cucumber Ham Roll-Ups
1 medium cucumber
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon dill weed
8 thin rectangular slices deli ham
Peel cucumber; cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut each half lengthwise into four strips; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mustard and dill. Spread about 2 tablespoons over each ham slice. Place a cucumber strip on the wide end; roll up tightly jelly-roll style. Cut off any cucumber that extends beyond ham slice. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into 3/4-in. slices.
Yield: about 4 dozen
Taste of Home Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2003

Christmas Glow Punch
4-1/2 cups tropical punch
1 cup cranberry juice
1 can (6 ounces) pineapple juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 to 3 cups chilled ginger ale
1 pint raspberry sherbet
In a 2-qt. container, combine the punch and juices. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, transfer to a small punch bowl. Stir in ginger ale; top with scoops of sherbet.
Yield: about 2 quarts
Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2004