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A Semi-British Semi-Lighter Christmas Menu | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

A Semi-British Semi-Lighter Christmas Menu

I still struggle with what to fix for Christmas post heart attack that lets me cook, celebrate family, but try to balance foods so they are healthier for me to eat. This year, we had recently been to turkey and ham dinners, so I wanted something different Christmas Day.

We opted for prime rib on sale, which I’m cooking for the first time this morning. Here’s hoping it works. ¬†Once I chose prime rib for an entree, I decided to go with a British menu – sort of. It’s also a combination of what my family likes to eat. My son loves meat and potatoes, and if I go too low fat, it won’t be a celebration for him. So the beef was something both he and Richard could enjoy.

I’m opting to follow the Old Fashioned Butcher Shoppe’s directions to slow roast the prime rib in a pan with water. Yes, there are other ways to make it. But I don’t want to risk burning it. And I’ve had good experience slow roasting roasts.

Then I added to the rest of the menu. Here’s what we chose and why.

Salad – I like winter salads better when they are a mix of baby greens – this salad will have spinach and Swiss chard, tat soi, and arugula. We’ll top the salad with pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, green peppers, carrots, celery, and kohlrabi (from Seton Harvest). The baby greens last longer than traditional lettuce salads and are more nutritious.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes – I’ve learned to make mashed potatoes with garlic, a dash of olive oil and skim milk. The savory garlic and olive oil adds a flavor so we don’t miss the butter or margarine. My family has decided they like this kind of mashed potatoes better than the traditional kind. So a blend of yukon and russet potatoes are simmering for me to mash – I leave the skins on for more flavor and nutrition.

Sweet Potatoes – We have a few sweet potatoes left from Seton ¬†Harvest, and today’s a perfect day to serve them. They are baking along with the prime rib right now. I’ll mash them with orange juice and brown sugar. My family loves sweet potatoes, and this is an easy way to make something healthful they will eat.

Collard Greens – We discovered 2 years ago that our kids like collard greens cooked more than most other green vegetables. Before the heart attack, I cooked them with a spoonful of bacon grease. Now I use broth. Greens are a cheap and easy way to enjoy green vegetables in the winter. And again, if my kids like them, it’s a no-brainer for the menu. They are simmering on the stove.

Yorkshire Pudding – I’ll use the recipe I got from my adopt-a-mom in England almost 30 years ago. I made them once a few years ago for Christmas, and they were a big treat. They are made from a simple batter and cooked in muffin tins, with a little beef broth in each muffin tin.

Wassail - I make a super simple wassail which is simmering now. It’s a bottle of apple juice, with a little orange juice simmering. There are fancier recipes to make it, but my family likes the one with red hots melted into the juices. I couldn’t find the traditional bags of red hot candies, but I did find cinnamon imperial red hots in the cake decorating section and am substituting those.

Egg Nog – Trust me – I’m not touching that stuff. But my family loves it. So I buy a lighter variety that has less saturated fat.

Tiramisu – My daughter always gets creative with desserts. She developed a tiramisu made with angel food cake instead of sponge cake, which we’ll try for dessert. She made it yesterday. Yes, it’s decadent.

But it’s hard for a cook to avoid all decadence on a holiday. My thought is that with the prime rib and tiramisu, there are enough vitamin-packed options on the menu that the amount of the decadent stuff I eat will be minimal.

And I should stop writing this and get back in the kitchen.

Next time I go with a British Christmas menu, I hope we can add real Christmas crackers. Then the challenge would be – who in my family would wear the paper crown?


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