Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Dinner...whatcha making?

I'm kinda feeling like I want to get my "gourmet cook on" this Christmas because I'll have the time to spend in the kitchen since the holiday falls on a Tuesday. (I have more energy at the beginning of the week!) Big pieces of meat are traditional Holiday dinners and after going down the list of possibilities....

Prime Rib
Filet Mignon
Pork Loin roast
Rack of Lamb

None of those sounded all that appealing to me so I started thinking about seafood....

Smoked Salmon
maybe even some Cioppino
etc., not feelin' it.

What about lasagna?  A big meaty, cheesy, noodley, tomatoey, ooey gooey lasagna!  As soon as I suggested it Mark was all over it!  Yes, yes!  A lasagna, and do I dare say?  Garlic bread!  Romaine salad....what else?  Maybe nothing else but dessert!  Yes, maybe I'll even make a dessert!

Egg nog creme brulee?  Mincemeat pie?  An English Christmas pudding?  Something soaked in liquor?  I'm the only one that likes fruitcake!  But I used to make an awesome Raspberry Chocolate Trifle (with my own pastry cream) that was completely off the hook!  I think I may even still have my trifle bowl....where is it?  But how much work do I want to take on?  I'm already tired thinking about it!  I think I'll leave the desserts up to the professionals!

I can get plenty "gourmet" on the lasagna!  A traditional meat lasagna is a no brainer.  I've made it enough times that I don't need a recipe, it's pretty basic. Layered sauce, meat, cheese, pasta.  I can get all fancy with the cheeses I use, or just stick to the classic mozzarella, cottage cheese and parmesan.  But I was thinking about making another version too. A squash lasagna (butternut) with spinach maybe and a bechamel or goat cheese bechamel sauce.  And then I cam across this one:

I love anything Anne Burrell does, but this is a pretty involved recipe with a ton of ingredients!  The recipe does not have noodles or a bechamel sauce, and it has meat and it has tomato....I'm not a big fan of anything with tomato in the winter.... I was thinking a lighter second choice, not another big fat, heavy casserole.  But I do like the celery and fennel...

How about a seafood lasagna?  Maybe I'll rethink that one.....I'll have to do a little research!  I like things that can be made ahead, at least a day or two, so maybe that's not going to work.  My kids are coming on Tuesday, Xmas day, and I wanted to do most of the cooking on Monday with Xmas music playin on Pandora!

What about you?  Are you doing something different this year?


neca said...

Nope, the same dinner we've done for years. Its the only time we eat some of these foods (my grandmother's cornbread dressing for example) so we stick to the classics!

Have a great holiday! Looking forward to the new videos, but right now I'm off to do "Give and take"!

Unknown said...

OMG Tracy that lasagna recipe looks amazing! I have not come across it, probably because I'm not a big fan of traditional lasagna. Haven't made it for probably 10 years.
However this one has all my favorite ingredients in it. Especially pork and squash.

Thanks for the recipe, I need to bring a dish for a get together tomorrow and I'm going to make this. Just have to hurry up because making it today will have the best results tomorrow.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I love traditional dinners! I did not make my sourdough stuffing this year and it was indeed missed. Next year some time, maybe around Easter (it's cold here in what used to be the Spring!)

Tracy Reifkind said...


Wow, brave! I just looked over the recipe again... The two parts I think are the most time consuming...

Roasting the squash in individual slices? And there is NO way you can slice that hard squash on a mandoline, NO way. I think I'm going to roast the squash in 2 halves, and then slice it thinly lengthwise to mimic the noodles.

Saute mushrooms in two batches...yikes! I know you should not crowd to saute mushrooms, but two batches?

Did you happen to notice the time the recipe takes? Over 3 hours!

But you have me motivated! I think I'll make the pork ragu this weekend and start there. I'll freeze it until I need it.

One more thing... This looks like a huge recipe! 2 pounds of pork and 3 large butternuts? Good-ness!

Unknown said...

I made it last night with my daughter and it took us about 3 hours. It's a lot of work. Haven't tasted it yet but I did taste the pork ragu and that was good. I reduced it by half ones instead of twice. Tastes Greek to me, probably because of the cinnamon stick in it.

I'l let you know if it was worth it!

ps slicing the squash was a pain, indeed no way on a mandolin. I just did it by hand but your idea is probably a better way to go.

Oh and I had enough to fill another small baking dish, no more ragu etc left over but I still have squash over just FYI

Tracy Reifkind said...


I think you are right about the cinnamon it really needed? I'm thinking it's not adding....unless it compliments the squash?

Even though I'm not a "carb a phobe" I like that's it's an option for anyone wanting an alternative.

Thanks for you hard work! You'll have to let me know which adjustments to make, it any when it comes to taste.

Unknown said...

The lasagna was a success.

Personally I do like it a lot. It's very rich and flavorful, but I"m not sure if its worth the effort to be honest.

You definitely have to eat it the next day to get the right flavors. The cinnamon was not that overwhelming anymore, I was afraid I would eat something that would taste like Moussaka but that did not happen.

I'm in the country in Northern Canada so buying fresh ricotta and wild mushrooms was not happening, it's just not available. So I used regular old mushrooms and a tub of ricotta from the cooling section. I just wanted to let you know because it might make a difference.
The spinach is a nice different flavor in the whole dish. I love sweet potatoes so altogether I really really like it. It's for sure a good sharing dish now that so many people are going no grains or are celiac.

The question is would I make it again since it is so much work. I'm not sure. I think next time I am going to simplify it and see if it makes a lot of difference taste wise. I would make the pork ragu the same since I really think the taste is great and it's what makes the dish what it is.

One thing is certain, one small serving will fill you up for the rest of the evening!! Man it's rich!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Good to know. I halved and roasted some butternut this morning to see if, once cooled, I could slice it thin (I tried to slightly under cook it)

I would think that there are a few corners you can cut (like the squash) that would simplify, but as we both agree it's an interesting option to the traditional lasagna.

Thanks for the review!

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