A Christmas Eve Menu

I’ve been little absent from this blog this month. December is always the craziest time of year. Ward parties, school parties, work parties, piano recital, and all of the hustle and bustle of shopping and gift giving. I’ve been making a number of gifts this year (details to be posted someday), so a lot of projects have kept me busy. And my to-do list hasn’t been helped by a crazy injury to my eye that keeps relapsing and causing me periods of near-blindness.

But Christmas is this week, hurray! And I am almost ready for it.

So today I’m menu planning. In our family, Christmas Eve has become the time where we traditionally plan the big feast with yummy food. The menu has varied from year to year, but the dessert is always Crunchy Ice Cream Balls. We love ice cream at our house, and the crunchy recipe makes a nice once-a-year variation on a good theme. This year I’m in the mood for Chinese! We feasted on typical Chinese food 6 years ago with my husband’s family and it was delicious. Below are the recipes I will be featuring.

Pork Chow Mein
(recipe courtesy of the Barnwell Cookbook, via my sister Deanna)
1 lb. pork or chicken
12 to 14 celery stalks
1 lb. bean sprouts
1 large onion
1 pkg. chow mein noodles
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
dash of pepper
Wash vegetables and drain. Rinse and drain bean sprouts. Cut celery into lengths (1 1/2 inches). Slice them thinly, lengthwise like match sticks. Halve the onion or slice thinly crosswise. Cut pork into thin strips. Heat large skillet, add 2 Tbsp oil. Fry meat well, add celery, onion, bean sprouts and mein noodles. Add seasonings. Do not stir. Cook at medium heat covered for about 15 minutes. Remove cover and mix well. If noodles seem a little hard turn off heat, replace cover and let stand for a few minutes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
(to go with the chicken we will get at Sam’s Club, still to be purchased—that’s the plan. Or whatever yummy chicken we can find at the store that is already prepared, I’m making things simple and realistic for myself to put together 🙂
Juice from a 15 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 Tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix all together and cook over medium heat until thickened. May be prepared in microwave in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave about 4 minutes on high until thick, stirring every minute.

Fried Rice
I haven’t ever made this before, so I’m looking for a good recipe. Anyone have a great one to share? Here are a few recipes I’m considering: Our Best Bites and Epicurious.

Crunchy Ice Cream Balls
(recipe from the Tanner Family Cookbook)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups crushed cornflakes
Vanilla ice cream
Melt butter, add sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Stir in cereal, spread on cookie sheet to cool. Crumble and store in air-tight container. Roll vanilla ice cream balls into the mixture. Refreeze these until ready. Serve with chocolate, caramel, or strawberry sauce. Top with whipped cream and a cherry. These are sort of like fried ice cream, except without the extra fat. This recipe makes enough to cover about 30 ½-cup ice cream balls. You can substitute peppermint ice cream for vanilla during the holiday season, if you can find it at the store.

Hmmmm, my mouth is watering already. What’s on your menu for the holidays?

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