Christmas Eve is always a casual night with my family. We make lots of appetizers, have plenty of wine and other cocktails on hand, and usually end up watching A Christmas Story.
This year's menu included mini hoagies with all the fixins on the side - roasted red peppers, pepperoncinis, pickles, onions - chips, cheese and pepperoni, shrimp with cocktail sauce, crabcakes with a red-chili mayonnaise, and cracker-walnut chicken bites with honey mustard. Of course my dad also baked an amazing dessert, pumpkin cheesecake, but we all decided to have it for breakfast on Christmas since we were so full by the end of the night!
Jon makes the shrimp every year. His recipe can be found here.
My dad made the crabcakes. I don't have his recipe, but as soon as he sends it to me I'll update this post. They were beautiful crabcakes!! I made a dipping sauce to go along with it - red-chili mayonnaise. The recipe is from Epicurious.
- 1 c mayonnaise
- 4 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 3 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix all of the ingredients together and chill. The sauce became smokey after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. I'm not sure why!! It was interesting, but not what all of us expected.
I made chicken bites with homemade honey mustard. The chicken bites were inspired by an Olympic swimmer... I managed a team building event for a client and we had an Olympic swimmer join us (sorry, can't give any more info due to our contract with this person!!). Anyway, it was a cooking competition and this Olympian floated from team to team helping with recipes and cooking. One creation was chicken coated in Ritz crackers and walnuts, and then fried in oil. I decided to bake my chicken to keep it a bit healthier. Here is what I did (served 6 people, and then some!):
- 6 chicken breasts chopped into two-bite pieces; I marinated them in a mixture of scotch, soy sauce, and garlic.
- Breading: 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed; 1/2 c walnuts, chopped into tiny pieces; 1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs; a few dashes of salt and pepper.
- 4 eggs
- Cooking spray
- Prepare breading assembly line - flour on the end, egg in the middle, breading mixture on the end
- Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray
- Dip each chicken piece in egg, flour, then egg again, flour again, and then roll in the breading mixture. Place on the cookie sheet. Continue until you have coated all of the chicken, and then spray them quickly with cooking spray
- Bake on 375 for about 12-15 minutes, flipping once.
This chicken was so crunchy! I loved the use of the walnuts - something I never would have thought to do since I'm not really a fan of nuts in cooking.
I also made honey mustard to go along with the chicken. There are so many recipes for honey mustard out there! I read a bunch of them and took what I liked. Here is what I did:
- 8 tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard; I used stone-ground Dijon
- 4 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Dash of cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients and chill.This was just the beginning of the holiday cooking - next up, Christmas Day Dinner!!