Crockpot Christmas

When it comes to entertaining during the holiday season, I tend to run hot or cold. Either I am really into it and start thinking about hosting a wintertime bash months in advance, or I chuckle at the thought and snuggle deeper into my pajamas on the couch, thinking something along the lines of “Ha! Leave all that preparing and fussing to someone else this year!” I truly have run the gamut- annual cookie swaps were my thing for many years, until a bit of a scuffle with a friend made me axe the whole endeavor. (After all, if you can’t do something the way you want at your own home, where can you?) I also used to have themed-parties on Christmas Day. You know, things like “Caribbean Christmas” and whatnot, but that just fizzled when I had kids and my time and energy shifted away from thematic eating, to say the least.

Now, I host my annual “Crockpot Christmas” and make the same meal EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I keep it super simple and put the ingredients into the crock at the same time I put our annual Christmas cinnamon bun breakfast into the oven. It really has become a no-brainer and I love being able to spend time with guests and to play with the kids’ new toys instead of slaving away in the kitchen. Just to keep myself in the game and to keep up appearances, I do jazz up my annual meal with a few interesting appetizers and a new or fun dessert recipe. Contrary to the five-course, roasted, baked, poached and flambeed Christmas meal suggestions I came across in a magazine this month, here’s what is on the keep-it-simple-Santa docket for Christmas 2014 at our house.

Appetizers

cheeseballs

Crudites, cheese and crackers, and these pine-cone dip beauties I found on Pinterest and am ridiculously excited to try! Which one shall I make? Both???

Pinecone-Shaped Spread

Pinecone Cheese Spread

Punch Bowl Ice Ring

Fruit Wreath

Main Course

Chicken, peas, and linguine in heavy cream tomato sauce

Linguine Pasta with Chicken

Add 2 pounds cubed chicken breasts, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 pint heavy cream, 1 bag frozen peas, 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and black pepper to Crockpot and turn on low for 6-8 hours. (Add more heavy cream or some chicken stock if it looks like liquid is reducing too much.) Cook linguine right before you are ready to serve, drain, and toss right into Crockpot. (Yes, I am that lazy!)

Two loaves of crusty Italian bread with butter and seasoned EVOO for dipping

(Or try that bun wreath, which I might do, or not, depends on whether I get to finish the Orange is the New Black season by then…)

Heat ¼ cup olive oil over low heat with one large teaspoon of chopped garlic. Add in a few shakes of rosemary, salt, pepper, and parmigiani cheese and warm for about five minutes. Serve in a shallow dish with a dollop of chopped cherry peppers in center for those who like a little kick.

Huge bowl of caesar salad 

Dessert

Macaroons, sugar cookies, and crème de mente parfaits served with coffee and assorted teas

Try this easy macaroon recipe.

mint2

 

Whatever your tastes and pleasures, go with your heart’s desire this holiday season and make it as easy or as extravagant as you want it to be. Don’t feel pressured to spread yourself too thin or to go above and beyond when you don’t have the time or the energy to do so. Make the conscious decision to focus your attention on spending time with your children, your friends, and your family this holiday season, celebrating each other and creating lasting memories. After all, THEY are the reason for the season. Ok, that and all the cookies… 🙂

 

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About Becky Jha

Born and raised in rural Connecticut , Becky DeMattia-Jha attended Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and has her M.Ed. She has been teaching high school English for 15 years and currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, their two children, and their German Shepherd. She spends her precious summer vacations indulging in passions other than literature: serving as a lactation peer coach, practicing herbal medicine, organic gardening, making natural cleansers and cosmetics, and preparing quick and easy organic recipes for her family. She hopes to share her efficient, chemical-free, eco-conscious, frugal, and simplistic homemaking and homesteading tips with you.

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