Annual Christmas Dinner Party.... Success!! - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 261124

Put the Kettle on....

Annual Christmas Dinner Party.... Success!! 
Dec. 18, 2011 3:43 am 
Updated: Dec. 19, 2011 8:20 am
Last night was our annual Christmas Dinner with a couple that are easily our best friends, Al and Lisa.  Nine years ago we had them over for dinner in December for a "fancy" meal of cornish hens.  At that meal we decided to have an annual dinner, taking turns being the host.   Over the years we've had such fantastic meals - crabcakes, ciopinno, stuffed lobsters, prime rib, just to name a few.

This year it was my turn to host.  I've been thinking and planning since last year's dinner as we drove away from their house.  Last night, Al admitted they do the very same thing!  To start the evening off we had Jon's bacon-wrapped cajun goose bites (< ) and mulled wine made from a Holiday Classic sweet red muscadine wine we purchased at a North Carolina winery while attending a wedding there in October.  Mother Nature cooperated and gave us a light dusting of snow for this festive evening, helping to make the mulled wine seem even more "cozier".

I made ciabatta bread (< ) and the special cheesecake recipe from a very dear old friend of mine.  I made my awesome cranberries for the topping.   I made good old-fashioned mashed potatoes and< as the sides.  We had a salad with pear, apple, dried cranberries and cashews with homemade lemon/poppyseed dressing.

The main event was Gouda and Bacon Stuffed porkchops (< ).  When we went to Virginia last summer and camped in our new camper this was one of the meals we had.  When we had it then, both Jon and I took one bite, looked at each other and declared "This was what we were serving for Christmas with Al and Lisa!"  On that same Virginia camping trip we visited numerous wineries and brought back lots of wine.  At one winery the young lady behind the counter chose our wine for our Christmas meal - she highly recommended their honey/apple wine to go with a pork dish such as we described to her.  She did not steer us wrong - the wine went wonderfully with the pork and smoked gouda cheese.

After dinner we relaxed for a short time and then out to our hot tub we went for a fun soak.  Al and Lisa brought a special wine to enjoy while sitting in the hot tub outside enjoying the snowy view of our woods - It was a sweet red wine (sweet wines go best in the hot tub for some reason) with a picture of Santa in a hot tub being pulled by his reindeer on the label.

We get together with these friends fairly often throughout the year.  We always go out to eat to celebrate each of our birthday's and we've vacationed with them several times as well.  An evening spent with them is always time well-spent with good friends. 

As they pulled out of our driveway last night, I had to wonder.... What's for dinner next year??
Dec. 18, 2011 9:10 am
Oh my! What's for dinner next year?... an invite if you please! That all sounds just awesome... seriously...I'll expect an invite next year!!!!!
Dec. 18, 2011 9:13 am
Wow, talking about planning ahead! My idea of planning ahead is buying a 36 pack of beer. I would have loved to crash you feast.
Dec. 18, 2011 9:49 am
Wow, all that sounded absolutely great! You always have awesome food and wine! Thanks to you, I have a great cranberry recipe and now 2 additional ones. I made 2 recipes with that chocolate wine and IMO they are a chocaholic's dream. I've got them in my recipe box and on the "marshmallow" blog if you'd like to see them. They go get with a fireplace and friends! Merry Christmas!
Dec. 18, 2011 2:06 pm
That was some spread. I know what you mean about starting to plan for next year as you push back from the table this year. I can be there early to help set the table next year, just let me know when.
Dec. 18, 2011 5:35 pm
Sounds like you had a wonderful time with some very special friends and oh so gourmet yummy dishes.
Dec. 19, 2011 3:10 am
Terry - When we started this tradition we never imagined we'd be having such great food! We always have a blast and look forward to this evening.
Dec. 19, 2011 3:10 am
bd.weld - normally my planning ahead is somewhat like yours. The only times I plan ahead are for special occasion meals. Then I obsess for days, weeks, sometimes months. LOL
Dec. 19, 2011 3:12 am
Cat - Merry Christmas to you! I'm going back to your marshmallow blog and checking out your recipes. I still have your instructions saved for making the peanut brittle - one of these days..... I thought of it this year, but time is running away from me. Maybe after Christmas for my first time.
Dec. 19, 2011 3:13 am
BigShotsMom, help with the table would be good. I always try to fold the napkins in some special but different way, and am running out of ideas. Haha
Dec. 19, 2011 3:14 am
Lela - Thanks for stopping in. Merry Christmas to you!
Dec. 19, 2011 7:17 am
Christmas can be so family orientated, it is great to see you remembering the chosen family, aka friends in your life.
Dec. 19, 2011 7:32 am
Here Mother Ann, I'll help you fold the napkins:
Dec. 19, 2011 8:20 am
RNG: You are so right! These friends have been in our lives for so long they really do seem like family; the side of the family you love to be around! LOL @bd.weld - Thanks for the help! I'm not real creative,so I can use all the help I can get in that dept.
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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