I came down with a horrific cold Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so I’ve been resting and medicating myself with Zicam, chicken soup, and nibbling on cranberry pecan pie crust leaves, (perfectly tasty all by themselves if you’re too lethargic to make turkey pot pie :)
Not up to Decking the Halls, I spent some time looking through back issues of Christmas magazines and cookbooks to get myself in the Christmas spirit, Making Lists and mentally making holiday plans and menus. I’m always on the lookout for make-ahead and easy appetizers for the holidays, even if my taste buds are numb from zinc lozenges. . .
I realized I was so consumed by my cookie haul from our cookie exchange last year, inspiring my Milk & Cookies for Santa table, that I hadn’t posted or shared recipes.
For a centerpiece for our cookie exchange, we filled my friend Annie’s beautiful Fitz & Floyd cookie jars with a mixture of cut greenery~ cedar, pine, Leyland cypress, magnolia, and holly and added some apples, artichokes and tucked in a few ornaments and pine cones.
Puff Pastry filled with a mixture of pesto, goat cheese, sundried tomato and pine nuts~ while they’re best served warm from the oven, they can be made ahead in a roll and frozen, then sliced and baked later, a few at a time or by the roll!
I pull them out of the freezer 30 minutes before baking, slice them still slightly frozen (they’re easy to cut), and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes. I make mine in a pin wheel shape for easier freezing and slicing but you can fold in the palmier shape, with printable directions from Food Network, here.
A creamy chicken salad that’s pressed into a mold and inverted onto a plate or cake stand, made 8 – 24 hours in advance.
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened (I used lite)
1 cup mayonnaise (I used 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds
Whisk together cream cheese and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in chicken, pineapple, and cranberries just until blended.
If desired, spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 8-inch round cake pan; cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Invert chicken salad onto a cake stand, and remove plastic wrap. Gently press chopped almonds onto sides of chicken salad. Garnish, if desired.