Fitting It All In

I’ve heard nothing but, “Man, the holidays are going by so fast!” and “Can’t believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away!” lately.

So far all my planning ahead has helped a little, but I am still scrambling, stressing and scurrying, however at the same time, trying to enjoy the season. Fortunately all events that are near and dear to us fell on different days so we’re able to attend everything, but it does make for one crazy month.

I wanted to have our neighbor friends over for a simple, little dinner to celebrate Jay’s birthday and the only option was to do it on Friday. Since I was in the midst of getting the Christmas cards out and afternoon dance class last Friday, I needed to have a menu that I could make ahead of time and be ready for entertaining when we got home close to 7:oopm.

I chose to do something in the crock pot so that could be simmering all afternoon and make a dessert ahead of time that was fancy enough for guests, but easy!

I took my chances with two new recipes and they both worked like charms.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

{I followed the recipe, but used more like 3 pounds stew meat and added one small carton fresh mushrooms to the mix ~ a must for beef stroganoff as far as I’m concerned and served over [No Yolks] egg noddles}

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

{Used low fat evaporated milk and the 4 eggs not the egg substitute}

The most difficult part about this recipe is the water bath and not splashing it into the ramekins! Please don’t be afraid of creme brûlée if you love it…you can make it at home easily. We have a kitchen torch to do the brûlée, but if you don’t, there are broiler instructions at the bottom of the recipe.

I decided to make up a {Wintery White Wine Sangria} which was just two bottles Chardonnay, 1 liter ginger ale, 1/2 cup triple sec, some orange slices and some fresh cranberries.

{I threw the ingredients into this glass canister in the morning and let the flavors marry all day in the ‘fridge. The cranberries floated in the glasses and looked very festive!}

If you’re doing some entertaining this holiday and have a busy schedule as well {who doesn’t?} this is the perfect type of menu that will leave you able to sit and visit with your guests and not be slaving over a hot stove or pulling things out of the oven as they arrive. All I had to do was boil some water for the noodles after the guests arrived and we sipped sangria & Blue Moons and visited until the noodles were ready. See, I was so busy mingling that I was too busy to snap a photo of the stroganoff so I have nothing to show for it other than echoing praises from all who consumed it. The meat was super tender {I cooked on low for about 8 hours…added the cream cheese in at about hour six. Next time I may substitute sour cream for the cream cheese, but it was excellent this way}.

*****

So, keep it simple and don’t stress. Put your crock pot to work, bake up a dessert ahead of time and have pre-mixed drinks ready to go at your next get-together.

Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Fitting It All In”

  1. Leah, I found {stir fry} beef that was cubed up smaller than stew meat at Ralphs…it wasn’t super cheap, but I didn’t have to cut up the larger pieces of stew meat…I am not a fan of spending too much time with raw meat! 😉 I think next time the sour cream will me a nice change, too, but it was delish! Next time I will add more fresh mushrooms, too. Enjoy!

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