FOOD FOR THOUGHT—Christmas Planning

By on December 2, 2015
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It is never too early to start planning for holiday meals and Christmas lunch or dinner. Plan simple traditional menus that will please your guests. I like to prepare early in the month of December and freeze my dishes ahead of time.

My grandmother’s Cold-Oven Pound Cake is easy and delicious—and it freezes well.

We all love Sweet Potato Casserole. It is time-consuming, so assemble and freeze all of it, even the topping. I like to freeze the potatoes in a flat gallon zip-lock bag. This makes it easy to transport if traveling.

Marinated Shrimp and Artichoke appetizer can be prepped a day ahead of serving. This colorful dish can be enjoyed as a heavy hors d’oeuvre or as a light holiday supper all season long.

Blessings to our readers this Christmas season! Remember to share recipes and traditions to make family memories!



  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 /2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time.

Add flour, baking powder, milk and extracts. Place batter in a large greased and sugared tube pan. (I prefer a Bundt pan)

Place in cold oven and bake for one and one-half hours at 325 degrees.

DO NOT OPEN oven door during baking. When done, place pan on cooling rack. Turn on to cake plate when cake has cooled.


sweet-potato-casserole-2SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

  • 3 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 /2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 /2 cup milk
  • 1 /2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg


  • 1 /3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 /2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Place potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, butter and spices in food processor.

Mix until smooth. Next place potato mixture in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch buttered baking dish.

Mix topping ingredients; sprinkle on top of potato mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Yield 10 to 12 servings.


Marinated-Shrimp-1SLMARINATED SHRIMP AND ARTICHOKE                                                           

  • 1 /4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (0.75 oz.) envelope garlic and herb dressing mix
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined, large cooked shrimp
  • 1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
  • 1 (6 oz.) can large black olives, drained
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 (4 oz.) package feta cheese, cut into one-half inch cubes
  • Small fresh basil leaves

Whisk together balsamic vinegar and next 4 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in shrimp and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Stir in desired amount of basil just before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Yield: 8 servings.



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