4 Days Until Christmas……Christmas Eve Menu Ideas

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 21, 2010 in Family, Food, Holidays, Moms |

Our family has a tradition of having appetizers for Christmas Eve.  Let’s face it, I would like to have appetizers for every meal.  I look for make ahead appetizers so that I can enjoy the evening with my family.  So I plan a few days ahead and start to prep so that the night of it takes me literally less than an hour in the kitchen.  I sent out the plea on my MS. Simplicity facebook page last night and my friends stepped up to the plate and gave me some great ideas.  Thanks ladies!  I wish I could make them all!

My other secret is I never have to clean the kitchen.  My theory is if I do the shopping, planning, prep and cooking, I don’t have to clean.  So share the tasks with your family so that you can enjoy the holidays. I try to do all of my cooking on the day before Christmas Eve.  My kids are so motivated to get the kitchen all clean, they are like elves moving in fast forward….fun to watch!

Crock Pot Mushrooms (Thanks Kristine!  I am going to cut this recipe in half as only three of us like mushrooms)


  • 5 packages mushrooms
  • 2 packs of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
  • 1 stick of butter


Put it all in a crock pot for a few hours and enjoy!

 Spicy Marinated Shrimp (thanks Beth)


  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tb. prepared horseradish
  • 2 Tb. ketchup
  • 1 Tb. finely chopped chives
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 glove of garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs of shrimp, cooked


  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Add shrimp toss to coat.
  2. Cover and refrigerate 4-6 hrs. Serve at room temp or slightly chilled

 Puff pastry cups filled with jam and brie (Thanks Kathryn!)


  • Puff pastry, thawed
  • Jam of your choice
  • Brie
  • Chopped pecans
  • Chopped chives


  1. Cut thawed puff pastry into small squares and place in miniature muffin tin that has been sprayed with Pam. Push down and bake at 350 for 8 minutes; take out and push the center down with the back of a wooden spoon. Bake for 5 minutes more.
  2. Fill each cup with a small spoonful of jam (raspberry or cherry, or for a kick, jalapeno jelly) and top with a small piece of Brie. Bake until cheese is softened.
  3. Top with crushed pecans and chives.

Savory Cranberry, Pistachio & Goat Cheese Palmiers (from Tasty Kitchen)


  • 1 whole Sheet Of Purchased Puff Pastry, Thawed
  • 2 ounces, weight Goat Cheese (chevre), Room Temperature
  • â…“ cups (slightly Packed) Dried Cranberries
  • ¼ cups Pistachios, Roughly Chopped


  1. Roll the puff pastry sheet into a rectangle that is at least 8 inches wide and no less than 1/8-inch thick. With the standard puff pastry sheets found in the grocery stores, you won’t have much rolling to do.
  2. Spread goat cheese over the puff pastry and top with dried cranberries and pistachios. Using your hand, lightly press the cranberries and pistachios into the cheese. Roll each long end of the rectangle into the center. Chill for about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut the roll crosswise into 1/8-inch slices and divide the palmiers between two baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake the palmiers until they are puffed and light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Quickly flip the palmiers and place back in the oven, switching positions of the baking sheets. Bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the palmiers to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.
  5. Make ahead: The palmiers can be baked and then store in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days, or frozen. Before serving, place unthawed palmiers on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes

  Asian Sugar Snap Peas

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 drops chili oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven broiler, and move oven rack into the top position.
  2. Place the snap peas onto a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the snap peas out into a single layer.
  3. Broil the snap peas in the preheated oven until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, brown sugar, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. When the snap peas come out of the oven, toss them immediately with the sauce.

Lefse Smoked Turkey Rollups (Thanks Chris and Julie)


  • 8 oz. Chopped smoked turkey
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • Red pepper to taste
  • Lefse
  • Cranberry relish or sauce
  • Brie


  1. Mix together turkey and cream cheese. Add powdered red pepper to taste. Spread on lefse sheet about an 1/8″ thick. Roll up and slice into pinwheels about 3/8″ thick. Place on a sheet, put a small spoon of your favorite prepared cranberry relish or cranberry sauce on top with a small slice of Brie cheese. Serve cold.

Mac and Cheese Bites (From a lovely blog that I read)  


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups, packed, sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 24-count, nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2 -3 minutes until thickened. Add cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir to melt. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Stir in macaroni.
  3. Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan. Each cup should be filled to the top. Pack each one down gently. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Using a teaspoon, carefully loosen the mac and cheese bites and transfer to a platter to serve.
  5. To make ahead, bake and cool mac and cheese bites. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan cheese. Package and refrigerate. Place bites on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

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