Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

Merry Christmas! I was feeling much better on Christmas Day and I proceeded with my plans for dinner and an enjoyable evening. I was able to give my daughters each a homemade gift along with the usual presents. Michelle a boa like scarf that I knitted and Corey a pair of crochet wrist warmers. Hope they like them.
Everyone pitched in to cook this year so we had a very full menu. I made Party Roasted Shrimp, Toscano Soup (my version of the one from Olive Garden) for my soup and salad bar on the kitchen counter and Brian made his famous Cranberry Roast Pork. Michelle made Shepherd's Pie and a Crab Dip, Corey made her famous Chicken Divan. So we were pretty much covered with at least one dish someone could enjoy if they didn't like any of the others. We had a fun family gathering but it ended all too fast. Now to spend the rest of the weekend having some downtime with my hubby and puppies before getting on with another week.

Toscano Soup

This is a mild spicy soup that is perfect on a cold day. This is my take on the soup served at Olive Garden which I love. Instead of kale I use escarole or spinach as a preference for my family.
It’s so easy to make and makes a very large pot to feed a crowd. Cut the recipe in half if not so much soup is desired.

3 large 32 oz cartons of chicken broth
3 pounds Italian sausage browned and broken up
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes diced into cubes, not too large or too small.
2 bunches fresh escarole or spinach (about 8 cups), sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh garlic

Fry sausage in pan, set aside.
In a large pot, bring broth, cream, salt, pepper flakes and garlic to a boil.
Add sliced escarole and potatoes and add to the broth.
Simmer for hour. Adjust any seasoning if needed.

Cranberry Roast Pork

This dish is often called Cranberry Piggy at our house. We usually double the sauce ingredients because we like extra sauce for the table.

4 lbs pork roast
salt & pepper to taste
1 can (16 oz.) whole sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup peeled and chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon and ginger

Rub the roast with salt and pepper, and place on a rack in a baking pan. Roast at 325 deg. for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until an inserted meat thermometer registers 175 deg.
In the mean time, combine all the remaining ingredients in a stainless-steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Halfway through the roasting process, begin basting the roast every 15 minutes with the cranberry mixture. The remaining sauce can be served on the side with the thinly sliced pork. Serve along with Wild Rice with mushrooms and onions for a wonderful meal.

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