Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quick Holiday Meal Tips and Snacks, also for Dr. E's Greening Tips

The Holidays are upon us.  Frankly, I no longer celebrate.  Those in my family who loved these things are dead, and the sick games my siblings in law play don't interest me.  We are more or less banished by the desperate housewife brigade known as my husband's family.  God help all of us, but it is what it is.

People joked that I was the Festival of Trees all by myself, but now, my treasured ornaments are crammed in boxes, some broken carelessly by others who don't respect my space or my things, others sold or given away.  I don't have any tree, and of my 30 some Nativity Sets, some antique and very unusual, none see the light of day.   We don't have a nice meal of any kind, and I have no time to bake or make presents.  I have not time for anything but taking care of other people and their problems, and taking the blame for them.

Enough vetching.  Bah Humbug, and Ho Ho Ho!!

Here are some quick tips for meal ideas, for people who have to work, or have no time and a lot of people to deal with.

You don't have to do a lot of mixing and baking, etc to feed a hungry crew.  Sure, we can make things ahead of time, but it's nice to take advantage of what's in the store to keep a few ready to eat things on hand.

Aldi, and other discount groceries also have special things this time of year.  Brands like Culinary Circle and President's choice make decent brie and parmesan cheeses.   These are good just cut up with Wasa crackers, Melba Toast, or Ritz, any crackers.  Brie is good with plain shredded wheat, too.  As Mr. Food used to say, any brands are fine.

A la my idol, Barbara Pym, a few hard boiled eggs on hand go a long way, and can be deviled or made into egg salad.  Aldi sells it's own very good chicken salad, or you cam make your own with canned chicken, or roast or boiled chicken.  Many grocery stores sell rotisserie chicken already baked, and it makes a great meal by itself.

Making up a pot of chili or soup isn't a bad idea, and there are many mixes available that make this possible even for those who don't cook.   Or, make your own homemade soup, and create a stock using turkey bones, vegetables, and herbs.   Any decent cookbook or site has directions.  For all of these ideas, locate any edition of the Joy of Cooking, and have fun!

A variety of pastas sprinkled with grated cheese and butter are always good.  So are cut up vegetables and dip, mock or real crab, as is or in dips, cans of smoked oysters, kippers, or boiled shrimp.

A few servings of the above with fresh grapes, cut up pomegranates or other fruits make a light meal that guests can help themselves to.

One of my friends used to make surprisingly good dip of cream cheese blended with ketchup, that's it.  Dried French onion soup and sour cream is my favorite.  Easy guacamole with avocado, salsa, lemon juice, sour cream and mayo is also good.  I blend the sour cream, may, and a little cream cheese [whipped] with sesame seeds, a drop of sesame oil and soy sauce for Asian dip.  Chopped up scallions or baby canned shrimp make the Asian dip even better.

Take advantage of all the varieties of nuts and peanuts out there, shelled and otherwise, of the cookie trays, candies, dried fruit, fresh fruit and other items set out. If you eat meat, there are lots of cold cuts and cheeses available in the deli section that make good quick meals.  Keurig also has soup cups, and lots of cocoa and other hot drinks.

Have a few extra bottles of soda, a few good bottles of wine or some micro-brew beer, and , and you have some quick meals and snacks available for family and guests who drop in.

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