Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner Night at my House

Whenever I host gourmet dinner night at my house, I insist that it simply be called "dinner night." I can't guarantee "gourmet" but I can guarantee that there will be a dinner of some sort. This group has been getting together for at least 5 years and it is a blast (when it isn't your night to host.)

I had two objectives this year. 1. I wanted to serve a traditional Christmas dinner and 2. I wanted to avoid becoming Bobby. Enter a Costco ham. Delicious. The thing comes pre-sliced with a glaze. I used orange juice instead of water in mine and I think it turned out pretty good.

The table: I enjoy having a reason to buy tableware and it is fun for me to set the table. I borrowed my mom's Spode dishes and my grandmother's red glasses:

I splurged on these cute cloth napkins from Pier 1 and my friend Heidi loaned me these ornaments to use as napkin rings:

I used it as an excuse to finally get candy in my candy jars:

I served a yummy punch that I learned from my Thanksgiving Point cooking class. The punch looked festive with cranberries and cucumbers:

We started with a cheeseball and crackers (thanks Harmons!) then moved on to spinach salad, jello salad, cheesy potatoes, my sis-in-law's famous creamed corn, and rolls and honey butter from Texas Roadhouse. You've got to hide the evidence:

For dessert, we had an array of tarts and goodies from Kneaders. FYI--You can buy 20 desserts for 25 bucks (thanks for the tip Misa!) It was fun to cut these up and let everyone try everything. I didn't even try to pretend I made these:

The best part of the night was the gift exchange. All nine of us bring eight identical gifts (one for each of the other girls.) We had a really fun selection of jewelry, wrapping supplies, magnet boards, aprons, etc. It was fun to see what everyone picked out and we were all giddy opening all of our new stuff:

The favorite gift of the night were the aprons that Jaime made everyone. We are wearing them in the photo at the top of this post.

These little kitties were on my doorstep all day long. When everyone left at midnight, they were still out there. I'm not an animal lover but I'm not completely heartless. I couldn't let them freeze to death. So I got a box and a blanket and they cuddled in there for the night. PETA would be proud:

The next day, they were gone.


Holiday Beverage (Thanksgiving Point)

1 can limeade with three cans water
2 liter diet Sprite
fresh cranberries
cucumbers sliced
Mix and serve

Christmas Spinach Salad (Thanksgiving Point)

baby spinach
candied pecans (made with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup pecans and 2 Tbsp butter on the stove)
blue cheese, crumbled
orange pieces from little oranges (cuties)
pomegranate seeds (Costco sells the fresh seeds in their produce section)

2 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp minced onion
1/4 t paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c oil

Mix in blender. Toss with salad ingredients just before serving.

Easiest Cheesy Potatoes

1 bag "simply shreds" frozen potatoes
1 1/2 cans Cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
any kind of cheese (I like chedder)
crushed corn flakes

Stir together cream of chicken soup and sour cream. I like to shake in some minced onion. Stir in the frozen potatoes. Pour mixture into a 9x13 pan. Grate chedder cheese on top. Crush up corn flakes and put over the top. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Annette's Ultimate Creamed Corn

2 lbs frozen whole kernal corn (I like Costco's)
12 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes (can use low fat)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Spread corn over bottom of crockpot. Top with cream cheese cubes. Stir together remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour over corn and creamed cheese.

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 2-3 hours.

Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on low heat for up to 2 hours.

Layered jello salad

6 (3oz) pkgs jello--3 red and 3 green

Dissolve 1 pkg is 1 cup boiling water. Divide that in half. Set one bowl aside. In other bowl, add three tablespoons cold water or add two ice-cubes. Pour into 9x12 pyrex. Let sit 30 minutes (give or take until it isn't jiggly.) Add 1/3 cup plain yogurt to other bowl. Beat briefly until there are not any little white specs. Wait a second for foam to settle and then pour over first layer. Wait as long as you want to add the next layor. Repeat and repeat.

A special thanks to Costco for the ham, Texas Roadhouse for the rolls, Harmon's for the cheesball and Kneaders for the desserts. Why cook when you can buy?

For more recipes, you can visit our gourmet dinner group's blog Cookbook Junkies.


Liz said...

Looks amazing and so fun.

Could you please explain the kitties? Are they yours?

Jaime said...

Thanks for the shout out on my gift. It was such a fun night. I love it and we have to do it forever. What ever happened to the kittens?

brooke said...

Nooooo. The kitties are not mine. They were gone the next day. I think the mama cat came and moved them somewhere else.

Sam actually wanted to keep them but Ryan is terrified of cats (I know!) so we were glad they moved on. They were adorable though.

Ashley said...

You have Mom's gift for making a darling house and a fantastic spread. I got the lazy genes in the family. Your candy jars are the cutest, and all your friends are cute.

So the kitties just showed up or what? They are soooo cute but I can't believe Sam wanted to keep them. That is so funny. Hey, I just got the perfect idea for a Christmas present for Sam!!!

Amy said...

What a fun night. Your table looked amazing! And the food sounds delish.

**on a heartless side note - I might have let the cats fend for themselves. I HATE cats... big or small. Terrible, I know!

Heidi Jean said...

If I ever move to Utah I will beg, steal, borrow or bribe to get into your gourmet group. (I promise to bring a killer gift for everyone & their kids each December.) Or maybe I should just start my own chapter up here in Washington. Hmmm.

LOVE the Bobby Knight reference, btw. I use it all the time now.

Congrats on a very, very successful party and for having a great group of friends. Can't put a price tag on either :-).

Jill said...

This night looks awesome (and expensive) to me! How fun to have an appreciative crowd to enjoy your home and all the festive surroundings. I'm floored that you guys bring 8 gifts though! The aprons are darling.

The kittens are so sweet.

Amy M. said...

Your dinner was a dream and all the decor was EXTRA cute. What a fun night!

Elizabeth said...

How blissful to spend a night with good girlfriends. Thanks for the recipes ... I'm going to try the punch for sure.
I cant believe how much energy you have for decorating etc, your house look so beautiful.

nic said...

It was a great night. Thanks so much for hosting gourmet dinner that night. I can't believe we have been doing it for so long. I love it. Your house looked darling that night.

Sam said...

Based upon the Les Mis-like length of this post, I was expecting to find a token shout out for taking all four kids for 3+ hours by myself. Maybe next time...

You haven't lived until you have bowled ten frames with a seven month old in your left arm. I wasn't really advocating for the adoption of the was said in a moment of weakness when I placed them in the box in freezing temperatures.

Kimmie said...

looks like it's time your dinner group adopts a short, brown eyed, fro-haired friend! (ha. just kidding).

looks like so much fun and you always make it look fabulous. those girls are all darling and im so glad you guys keep in touch this way. LOVE the identical gift thing.

Jill T said...

It was such a fun night. A great way to start of the Christmas season. I think I drank at least 5 glasses of that punch! Everything looked and tasted great!

c jane said...

My grandma had those exact red goblets and I've always coveted them. It's nice to meet a fellow red goblet lover.

In other news, I've read your blog for a couple days now and find you so refreshing. (Hi! I am Courtney...)

Also, you won the Nancy Hanson cd. And I'd love to get that to you ASAP. Will you email me? cjanemail @ gmail .com?

Merry Christmas!

Heather said...

What a fun idea! Love the table settings...everything looks great!

sarahw said...

you know you've arrived when
c-jane comments on your blog...AND you won a cd. Good job brooke!!

Your dinner night at your house looked like fun, especially the gift opening part. Your house is so so cute.

Can't wait to see you all.

Linde said...

Looks delicious and fun!!

Dave & Kami said...

Your house looks super cute and your meal sounds amazing! Nic said she had a blast! love that you guys get together each month.

Lisa said...

Thanks again for the great night! The food was so good, and your house looks amazing.

I'm loving all the gifts.


Em said...

CJane commented on your blog! You have totally gone big time now. (I am a little jealous...but not really--you are such better blogger than me! :))

This Christmas party looks so fun! Thanks for sharing your recipes and preferred caterers.

My mom has those same Christmas dishes. Maybe all moms do...

Merry Christmas!

melissa walker said...

I want to come out for your friend dinners! How fun that you're all still friends! Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary!