Christmas Pasta and Holiday Appetizers

I come from a family of food lovers.  My immediate family and my mom’s family (think Irish, large and LOUD) usually get together every Christmas Eve for an evening of celebration and–one of my favorite activities– eating! I absolutely love that most of my family shares my passion for food; we all hang out in the kitchen and there’s always tons of appetizers on top of a regular meal.

I thought I’d share some of the dishes we cooked this past holiday.

For appetizers, my mom prepared mini chicken bites with rosemary and garlic breadcrumb seasoning and my aunt prepared mini crescent dough wheels with ham, mustard and cheddar cheese. I loved both of these because they were so easy, yet delicious and each took only about 15 mins max to cook.

For the chicken bites my mom pre-cut the chicken ahead of time into small pieces. Then she just dipped them in an egg/milk combo and rolled them in the breadcrumb mixture, baked until slightly crispy and put toothpicks through them- wallah!


For the crescent rolls- all my aunt did was unroll the pre-packaged Pillsbury dough into four sections and spread yellow mustard, lay ham and sprinkle with cheddar cheese before rolling them up and then rolling the large pieces in sesame seeds. She then cut them into five sections (so they look like mini wheels) and placed all the wheels on a baking sheet and baked for about 10-15 minutes.


For our main meal that night we have a relatively new tradition (past three years) of preparing a dish from Rachel Ray’s cookbook 365: No Repeats that’s called Christmas Pasta.

The dish calls for all different kinds of meat (sorry vegetarians- my family is all carnivores)– pancetta, Italian hot sausage, and ground beef, pork, and veal.  My mom was unable to find ground veal this year so she used a sweet sausage as a substitute.


The best thing about this meal is it’s super easy (my mom prepares a lot of the stuff the night before to make it even quicker) and takes approximately 30 minutes to make. The sauce is spectacularly seasoned, not only from the combination of flavors from the meat, but also from Rachel’s additions of cinnamon, garlic, beef stock and red wine. It also has great texture from the meat and chopped onions and carrot.  Best of all it feeds our entire family!

I hope everyone had a fabulous 2010 Christmas- looking forward to feasting in the New Year!