Tis the season to
eat be jolly! This year is the first year that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be at my house. Previously, we have traveled to our parent’s houses and celebrated. With Christmas in the middle of the week, plans have changed and new opportunities have popped up. We have the opportunity to start new family traditions which are so integrated into this time of year.
Because food and cooking are very much a part of my life, I am excited to plan our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus. It is very evident that when people think of their Christmas traditions, food is so intertwined into the holiday, that the food is often one of the most anticipated parts (after all those great presents, of course). I posted on facebook asking for suggestions of what people eat for Christmas and was blown away with how quickly and freely people shared their meals. The choices were varied from simple soup and sandwiches to more complex Cornish game hens and homemade pasta. But it seemed that many people had “appetizers” of some form on the list.
The problem with too many food options or too complicated of food options on Christmas, is the cook doesn’t get to spend as much time relaxing. So, here is a new, festive, make-ahead addition to your holiday spread!
1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup honey)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
2 tbsp orange juice (I used the juice of 1 orange)
2 tsp orange zest (I zested the whole orange)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 (8 oz each) packages light cream cheese, softened
Whole-grain crackers, for serving
- In a food processor, chop cranberries and jalapeno pepper to a fine dice. Add sugar, cranberry sauce, orange juice, orange zest, onion, cumin and salt. Pulse to combine. Pour mixture in bowl, cover and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Spread softened cream cheese into a large rimmed dish or 9-inch pie plate. Top cream cheese with cranberry-jalapeno mixture. Cover and place in refrigerator 2 hours. Serve with crackers.