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What's for Dinner #262 Sing Nowel! Edition (through 24 December 2013)

As we get ever closer to Christmas, in my house it's a toss up between baking and holiday prep work, and dinner. Tonight's dinner was a quick one -- a marinara with pieces of mozzarella served with grilled chicken breast. I had been baking all day, and that was absolutely all I had the energy for.

How is the season affecting the meals you're making?

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  1. Christmas Eve/Day menus are still being negotiated between my wife and son. Both are excellent cooks.

    In broad strokes, the night of December 24 will be seafood, Christmas Day will be a roast. It's all the excruciating details that need to be hammered out.

    Merry Christmas, all!

    1. It's not really affecting my meals; I'm going away for the holidays and this year, I'm not decorating and I'm only buying 4 gifts. I've got two down. Normally, I'd be beating down the doors of retailers. I will be baking & cooking meals next week when I get to my destination, but right now, I'm just trying to get my house straight before I leave.

      Tonight I made beef & venison chili: dried chiles, tomato sauce & paste, pinto beans, garlic, bell peppers, onion & other spices all simmered together. A side of fluffy biscuits. That's it.

       
      7 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          Thanks...that's an honor coming from you....

        2. re: Cherylptw

          I could go for a bowl of that chili. It is chilly here today for a change of pace. That would warm you from the inside out

            1. re: Cherylptw

              Cheryl......if you ever plan on visiting N. California you are one Chowhound I would love to get together and cook and dine with! You got skills:) Do you cook professionally may I ask?

              1. re: MamasCooking

                Thank you; I'd love to get together and chat, cook, and eat. I'm just a home cook that have learned a lot over the years from professional friends. I also use every opportunity I can to cook for other people and I'm a competition cook; recipe/cooking contesting is my hobby so I'm always writing and testing recipes. Plus I have southern genes running through my veins so cooking just comes naturally for me.

            2. Tonight was leftover meatballs/sauce and a pre-assembled pan of baked ziti topped with fresh mozz that I made on Sunday.

              Tomorrow's dinner will be defrosted beef bourguignon over rice for us and a grilled chicken breast with leftover ziti for our nephew. I think red meat with lots of red wine and mushrooms would be pushing it with him at this point.

              1. I posted another thread on home cooking that I think I must have been drunk when I offered to host my husband's brothers and kids on Friday night and then a brunch for family/friends on Sunday! Feeling a tad overwhelmed with food prep, working all the time and getting everything ready for christmas. GAH. But spending the time with family and friends will be worth it.

                Dinner tonight was very simple, tortellini tossed with garlic/oil and leftover broccoli rabe.

                Tomorrow will be clean out the fridge night to make room for weekend food prep.

                Once I get thru the weekend I'll worry about christmas eve/day. We are pretty traditional so don't see either causing too much stress, thank goodness.

                1. It'll just be me and Mom for Christmas dinner, and I don't do all of the baking that I used to. My only decorating is a string of icicle lights in the sliding door window in my living room. I didn't even unpack the Charlie Brown Christmas tree I bought, nor did I pull out the CVS Island of Misfit Toys. I think I'm Bah-Humbugging this year.

                  24 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    It seems you aren't the only one Bah-Humbugging. Several clients aren't putting up the decorations, my tree hasn't gone up and i still have yet to finish shopping or baking. I feel your pain.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      That's just wrong.

                      I bought our tree today, a big-bottom example, and a gaggle of poinsettias. The trees have shrunk in recent years keeping pace with my dotage.

                      If not for mom or yourself, you owe it to the cats. Kitty mischief is cool

                      Edited to add: a vintage port is cool, too.

                      Merry Christmas!

                      1. re: steve h.

                        Kitty mischief is why the tree hasn't gone up yet. The maniacs can't handle the responsibility. It is a ball to watch but the aftermath can be a bitch.

                        1. re: suzigirl

                          That's the price of poker.

                          Mr. Hobbes was pretty smart, he knew to the week when I would buy the tree, set the stand and decorate. I guess he was a sucker for pageantry and tradition. Cats are clever.

                          1. re: steve h.

                            It is amazing how smart cats can be. They remember things we don't expect, like Christmas. They are very clever, I agree. Also mischevious little beings. You are right. That's the price of poker. Wouldn't trade it for all the money.

                          2. re: suzigirl

                            I couldn't resist a snapshot instead of discipline. This is the first day I feel like I can sort of breathe. I kicked myself out of the house this afternoon to go for a walk which was quite refreshing, but the highlight has been watching Take test the boundaries. It finally brought a longed for smile to my face. I agree with steve h.

                             
                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Beautiful tree, fldhkybnva, and he's gotten so handsome!

                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                Thanks, he seems to get bigger every day though it hasn't stopped him from plopping front and center between me and the laptop.

                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                I can't get the picture. I will look at the top of the thread. I am sure the pic will melt my heart. I just looked and still can't get it. Damn tablet. I am glad that you feel like you can breathe again. I have missed your posts and was a bit concerned. That was a very tough blow and one I have felt before.
                                I am glad that you got out for a walk and enjoyed it. I am glad you are here. And i am glad you are enjoying Take. I hope I can get the pics soon.

                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  I got your pictures. What a huge boy. And the tree ain't shabby. :-) He is getting so big and handsome. Happy holidays sweetie.

                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Glad you're breathing again, fieldhawk. And gorgeous pic of Take with the tree - I hope it stays upright! LOL

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Thanks, suzigirl and LindaWhit! It's only been a few months but it feels like he's grown so much. He now frightens me leaping from the floor to the 4th level of the climbing tree house. The darn thing nearly topples over, probably should bolt it down sooner than later.
                                    My mood is hit or miss but I have accepted that that is to be expected. I'll be headed home Friday for the funeral and at this point just trying not to even think about that.

                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                    What a cutie:) Sucker for kitties here. ( three live with me).

                                  3. re: suzigirl

                                    "The maniacs can't handle the responsibility."

                                    From one Bengal owner to another, that totally made me laugh, Suzi. I think the wildness in them is just too much around Christmas trees- they really can't help themselves. No tree here, either, possibly ever again but that's ok with me. Christmas is a short time, they make me happy and entertain me year 'round.

                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                      I hear you loud and clear weezieduzzit. They are precious and I love my mix mutts and miss my F2's that I gave up in my divorce. Bengals are some kind of breed. Nothing is off limits, including a door jam. It is not unheard of in my house to have a cat on the top of an open door.

                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                        I grew up with a ragdoll cat which, as the breed name suggests, is quite good at relaxing. Late last night I happened to catch a show called "Too Cute" that profiles kittens as they grow up. Ignoring the fact that I was watching a show probably targeted to elementary school age kids, it was very enlightening. They profiled a litter of Bengals and boy do they get around.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          "Too Cute" may be made for gradeschoolers but I watch it when i run into it. It is, as they say too cute. I have seen the one with the Bengals. They do have alot of energy. I had two before that could get on top of my very high cabinets in my kitchen and loved to hang out on the door jams like I mentioned. They liked it very high.

                                  4. re: steve h.

                                    No poinsettias allowed - poisonous to the kittehs.

                                    And kitty mischief is cool only when you don't have to clean it up when you get home! LOL

                                  5. re: LindaWhit

                                    I changed my avatar to my favorite Christmas decoration hoping to cheer you up. The photo is from ebay as I am without photo posting capability these days. This little California Raisin is waving to me from his perch on the window sash as he sings "I heard it through the Grapevine"

                                    This is a post about food- grapes and raisins!

                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                      Aww, thanks! I'm OK - just stupeyheaded family stuff. Mom and I will enjoy dinner, no matter what. It'll be interesting - I'll be going up to her place to cook there vs. picking her up and bringing her back to my place (I have to work on the 26th and 27th). She has one of those teeny-tiny apartment stove/ovens, so the menu will be kept to a minimum, as I won't have the space to go all out.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      See, we just left our CB xmas tree up on our fake fireplace mantel all year. No need to pack away and unpack.

                                      Convenience AND a festive spirit all year '-D

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        A lot of people/places are toning it down this year. My work eliminated the beloved white elephant gift exchange and the secret santa. A lot of my friends are taking it easy on the decorating. Watch out for that Charlie Brown Christmas tree when you do unpack it Linda. Someone whose blog I followed knocked hers over and the glass ball shattered all over. Then I saw one set up at Walgreens and darn if I didn't managed to somehow bump it and make it fall over and that glass ornament shattered too. I'd replace the glass one with an unbreakable ball.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          Interesting - I could *swear* that the one I unpacked at work had a plastic ball! I'll have to check it when I return on the 26th.

                                          And why would your workplace eliminate the white elephant gift exchange/secret Santa? That is totally voluntary and at no cost to the company! Booo! :-(

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            The new secretary had everyone do a survey Linda. Surveys can be evil. The good news is that John gets to keep his large white china anteater that he got as a white elephant last year.
                                            Maybe they got smart and started making the tree with a plastic ball after many mishaps.
                                            One woman is a saint, she always sets up her chocolate fountain. Complete with many tidbits to dip. I've always been intrigued by those fountains but they seem like too much work. Lucky for me the snacking was fun and delicious. And no work for moi.