Trying to stay ahead of holiday madness and planning a family dinner for Christmas Day - here's my menu, hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy New Year, or a belated Eid Mubarek. Season Greetings just seems so bland - I was thrilled Saturday when someone wished me a Merry Christmas - that's the first time I'd been wished that all season! I know everyone has to be politically correct, but is it so damning to wish someone a Merry Christmas? Sorry....I digress. Back to my somewhat scheduled meal-planning:

Monday - Pot roast, potatoes, and carrots at DaMama's
Tuesday - Meal-in-One (shephard's pie)
Wednesday - Omelets, hashbrowns, juice, toast
Thrusday - dinner at Gramma's - I'm bringing the desserts!
Friday - Merry Christmas!! Lasagne, spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad, garlic bread
Saturday - After Christmas bargain hunting....DH is in charge of dinner!
Sunday - Tacos al pastore, arroz, frijoles - (seasoned pork tacos with cilantro and onion, rice, refried beans)
I;ve been puzzling over the menu for two weeks, writing and rewriting what will be served, but I think - after too much consideration, I've finally got it all nailed down. Whenever I mention the party to someone, they remind me of a favorite dish that has to be on the menu. If you ask my friend, Bridgett - it would be the biscotti, my mom insists no party is complete without the eggnog crunch cookies, my mother-in-law, she tells me to make a double batch of the dark chocolate cranberry bars. With so many favorites and so my ideas to choose from, it's made it hard to narrow it down to the favorites of the season.

Before it changes again, here's what the menu looks like:

EggNog Crunch Cookies
Almond Cookies
Lemon Cookies
Citrus Macadamian Nut Cookies
Lemon Snowbars
Decadent Chocolate Snowballs
Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
French Cappuccino Bars
Chocolate and Almond Dipped pretzels (twists and rods)
Mini-Kiss Cookies
Thumbprint Cookies
Ginger Almond Biscotti
Southern-style brownies

For appetizers:

BLT dip
roasted garlic and pepper dip
French onion dip
sweet and savory meatballs
cheese cubes and smoked sausage slices served with pretzel sticks
wheat thins, pretzels, chips
baby carrots and cucumber slices
Monday - Mini-frittatas with swiss and sharp cheddar, toast, fresh fruit
Tuesday - Meal in One, brown and serve rolls
Wednesday - Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
Thursday - Chicken rice, beans, tortillas
Friday - Omelets, hashbrowns, toast, juice
Saturday - Chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, salad
Sunday - Annual Cookie Party! Will post full menu by end of the week
1 pkg. vanilla cake mix
2 eggs, minus 1 yolk
1/4 C. strong coffee, cold
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. almond extract (if you have coffee extract, use 1/2 tsp. with the 1 tsp. almond)
1 C. cappuccino chips (can't find these? use white chocolate instead or double the almond)
1/2 C. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 13x9” pan.
Mix well all, but final 2 ingredients. Stir in chips and 1/2 of almonds. Spread evenly in pan.
Top with remaining almonds.
Bake 24-27 minutes, cool and cut.
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I love entertaining, and now that hubby and I have hounded a new living room set (only $700 - beautiful micro-suede couch and loveseat), it's time to gear up for my annual Christmas Cookie Party. I'm planning a menu of seasonal favorites and an array of appetizers, sure to please any palate! With all the hounded cake mixes, flour, and cheap extract that I've been able to load up on - this is the ideal way to entertain on a budget! Can you believe that 7 of the cookies and bars start with a cake mix? How easy is that?!

Cookie and Bars selections:

Egg Nog Crunch cookies with walnuts
French Cappuccino Bars
Lemon Snow Bars
Diane's Almond Cookies
Southern-style brownies - new recipe!
Tuxedo Cookies
Ginger Pear Bars
Oatmeal Cookies (with craisins and walnuts & with golden raisins and almonds)
Classic Chocolate-Almond Biscotti
Shortbread Cubes - new recipe!
Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bars
Sugar Cookies
Buttery Lemon Cookies
Strawberry-Almond Thumbprint Cookies - new recipe!

Other sweet nibbles:

Chocolate dipped pretzels (with sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or toffee bits)
Almond dipped pretzels (plain, sprinkles, or shredded coconut topped)
Divinity - this is a new addition....let's see how it turns out!
EggNog Truffles - still working on creating this recipe


Blanco Pizza bites
Roasted garlic chicken spread with crackers
Veggie Dip (thank you Lipton!) with baby carrots and celery
BLT dip with toast triangles (gotta love this simple, affordable alternative)

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