December 24, 2011

Jocelyn's Home Cooked Holiday Dinner

I was bestowed with the task of cooking (and the cleaning) for my family this holiday and it was successful!  All the dishes were cleaned off!  But the cleaning of the dishes was not so fun.  Being the smart gal I am, I provided everyone with paper plates and cups.

I normally cook dinner to help out my mom when I'm home but I never had to cook for twelve people!  So baking seemed to be the way to go since I could easily bake large portions.   I looked up some easy recipes online and created our Holiday menu: Apricot Chicken, Asparagus and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie, Baked Salmon, Shrimp Scampi Pasta, and a salad.

Apricot Chicken

I pulled this recipe from allrecipes and it was a big hit!  It was all smiles and everyone had seconds if not thirds!  The chicken was tangy, sweet, and delightful.  During dinner, my sister turned and told me "THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER."  I think she ended up eating a whole chicken's worth.  The recipe is easy and only calls for four ingredients: apricot preserves, french dressing, and a package dry onion soup mix, and chicken thighs.  I'm thinking of making this dish again next week for another holiday get-together!

Asparagus and mushroom stirred in with hollandaise sauce

The final product of the Asparagus and Mushroom Puff Pastry

The presentation of this dish wasn't particularly pretty but it was tasted great!  I also got this recipe from allrecipes.  The recipe instructs you to wrap and seal the asparagus and mushroom in the puff pastry.  I instead made it like a traditional pie and used the puff pastry for only the top.  It turned out good and I think I actually prefer it this way.  The dish was not as heavy which meant you could eat even MORE food!  The only thing I forgot to do was drain the cooked vegetables before stirring in the hollandaise sauce which resulted in it being a bit still tasted fine but it could have been even better!

Baked Salmon topped with capers, garlic, and basil

I bought the salmon with this particular honey dijon mustard recipe (which is delicious) in mind.  But as I was prepping the ingredients, I found out we don't have honey in the kitchen!  I actually started the panic and debated on whether I wanted to make a twenty minute trip to the supermarket for a bottle of honey.  But with the clock ticking and the guests coming in a few hours I decide to just improvise.
So I didn't use a recipe for this dish and kind of just...went with it.  I just added these ingredients to taste: salt, a pinch of sugar, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, dried basil, three cloves of garlic, and capers.  Then I popped it in the oven at 400 °F for 15 minutes.  And surprisingly it turned out scrumptious!  It must have been fate we ran out of honey!!  

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

This dish is for lazy people (like me).  I bought a box of Shrimp Scampi from the frozen section at Costco and threw the shrimp on the skillet.  Then I took out the shrimp to ensure none overcooked while I mixed the surplus creamy white sauce with a half box of cooked pasta.  After, I mixed in the shrimp with the pasta and WAALAA!

The salad consisted whatever vegetable I found in my refrigerator that was suitable to be in a salad.  I added in some Craisins and pine nuts and topped it off with Italian dressing.

And because I was taking care of the main courses, I asked my uncle bring the desserts.  So we finished off our Holiday menu with pastries and cake!

Fruit Tart custard filling topped with glazed fruits

Tiramisu Cake

I'm quite satisfied with this Holiday meal and especially the positive feedback!  They've voted for me to cook the next big meal and we'll see how that goes!

Made and eaten by Jocelyn.