Menu Plan ~ December 21, 2008 ~ Christmas Week

As the Holiday season is quickly moving forward, things are getting busier, if that is possible. At least the kids are done with school until January 5th. Jon had 3 hockey games this past weekend and still has a practice before Christmas. Then, I believe he is done until the new year. I have my Honey Baked Ham defrosting in my fridge for Christmas Eve, my fudge is made, I still need to make 1 or 2 more kinds of cookies, including some gluten-filled chocolate chip cookies for my husband’s boss. I made an attempt at these last week and somehow screwed them up. Not quite sure what happened there. I am trying to take things easy and not stress to much. Meals this week will be very simple and uncomplicated so taht I can concentrate on family and finishing up the tasks at hand. I vow to not wrap gifts on Christmas Eve this year. I should have plenty of time to wrap, as my shopping is done.

Sunday ~ BBQ pulled pork leftovers, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli & salad
Monday ~ Spaghetti (we have been using Quinoa pasta…YUM) with meat sauce, veggies & salad
Tuesday ~ Salmon (either with Sweet Thai Chile Sauce or Garlic & Lime), quinoa, sauteed zuchinni & spinach salad
Wednesday ~ Christmas Eve ~ Honey Baked Ham, Catholic Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Salad, veggie tray, cocktail weinies, cheese & crackers and shrimp cocktail. Dessert is GF chocolate roll, assorted Christmas cookies & fudge
Thursday ~ Turkey Dinner at Dad’s house; I will bring cornbread & sausage stuffing & some kind of dessert, maybe just brownies & fudge
Friday ~ Leftovers
Saturday ~ Leftovers or homemade pizza if the leftovers are gone

Baked Goods
Cranberry Cornbread
Cornbread (for the stuffing)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-filled)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free)
Brownies or a simple dessert for Christmas Day
Russian Teacakes (if I have time)

Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season! :)

This week Angela of Angela’s Kitchen is hosting the Gluten-Free Menu swap. Thanks for hosting, Angela! Also, don’t forget to head over to Orgjunkie for more great menus!

Eating Safe at Holiday Parties

With the Holiday season in full swing, there are bound to be situations where it may be tougher than usual to get a safe meal. I have always been scared to eat at gatherings, especially where you have multiple people bringing food to share. I was always embarassed to ask how something was made or what exactly went into a dish, but I am learning to get past that. Just last night I went to an ornament exchange party. I made Buffalo Chicken Dip so that I would have something safe to eat. At the very least I knew I could eat that with some celery and tortilla chips and not be starving. I also brought along some Peanut Butter Fudge so I knew that I would have a safe “treat” as well. I was very pleased to find out that there were some cookies that I could eat (flourless PB cookies with Hershey’s kisses in the middle). YAY!! Also, I don’t know where my courage came from, but I was quizzing people as they placed their dishes down to see if the food was something I could have or not. Surprisingly, there were only a few things that I couldn’t have! I was able to have the following:

Hashbrown potato casserole (made without cream of something soup….only had butter, sour cream and cheese in it) ~ amazing
Collard Greens with smoked turkey ~ OMG….this was out-of-this-world.
Salad with feta, raspberries, northern beans and a wishbone spray balsamic dressing
Sangria ~ wine, ginger ale and fruit

So, really, along with the chicken dip, celery & chips that I brought, I had a decent “meal” and left feeling very full and satisified. Everyone was very accommodating when it came to the ingredients and I didn’t feel strange asking about the food. I knew that if I wanted to partake and have a nice time, it was what I had to do to be safe. I have found that being upfront and planning are the best ways to handle situations like this. You won’t leave hungry if you make sure to snack upfront before going or bringing something along that is safe. I know for myself, hungry = cranky, very cranky, so I must make sure that I have food.

Enjoy your Holiday festivities!

Buffalo Chicken Dip ~ Party Nectar of the Gods

Not only is this dip amazing, but it is naturally GF!!! I love recipes that don’t have to be modified, though most times it is fairly easy to modify a recipe. I feel like bowing down to the dip and saying…..”Dip, oh sweet Buffalo Dip, thank you for not having any gluten-containing ingredients in your recipe!”

I am going to an ornament exchange Holiday party tonight and this dip will be my contribution (and probably most of my dinner, as I am not sure what else I will be able to consume safely aside from this and my GF Redbridge or a glass of wine). I am bringing along celery and tortilla chips to dip/scoop the dip with.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Yields: 20 servings

INGREDIENTS:
2 (10 ounce) cans chunk
chicken, drained (I used 3 cooked chicken breast and it came out wonderfully)
2 (8 ounce) packages cream
cheese, softened (I used Light Philadelphia)
1 cup Ranch dressing (I used Light Kraft Ranch)
3/4 cup pepper sauce, such as
FranksĀ® Red HotĀ®
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
cheese (I used 2% milk cheddar cheese make by Kraft)

1 bunch celery, cleaned and
cut into 4 inch pieces
Tortilla Chips

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

This is always a big hit. I didn’t use to make this with light cheese & dressing, but honestly, you can’t tell the difference and most people at the party were shocked to hear that it was “low-fat” or as low in fat as the dip could be. ;)

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