It all starts Christmas Eve - growing up Italian we would go to my grandparents and Nonni would prepare the Feast of the Seven Fishes (no meat). We would have tuna pasta, smelts, shrimp, white fish and a couple others I can't remember. I keep the tradition but not with so many different kinds of fish. Our friends Steph, Brian and their kids come over and I think this year it will be the 18th year (Steph might need to check on that :-)
After church, we meet at our house and start with some apps, tasty beverages, take family pictures and then start preparing the dinner... Our menu is below:
Veggies and Dip
Tasty Beverages including Southern Comfort Old Fashioneds
Shrimp Cocktail with Homemade Cocktail Sauce
Fruit Cup (non-shrimp people)
Fried Walleye (that Mr. John provides)
Twice Baked Potatoes
Steph and I have found that it is better to stop at the salad, take a break and cook the fish then (but have it breaded and ready to go). Everyone gets a little breather and the next items are ready and hot to enjoy! After the main course we clean up the dishes, open presents and then have dessert. I bet you are wondering how long this takes--- well it depends - the night kicks off about 6 and depending how long our cocktail hour goes, we may not sit down to the main course until 9... but we are trying to be quicker! The night ends about 11:30 or 12. Back in the old days, Steph would put her kids in PJs and off they would go.
We truly enjoy this night. This year we will have 11 people - the newly married and a boyfriend - and we can all sit at the "adult" table... If we grow more, we might have to start the "kids" table. That is where I also had to sit at my grandparents... I have fond memories of that!
Next up - the Christmas Day eats... come back soon! I'll be posting recipes throughout the week.