Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Party

This year for our small group, we had an "adults only" Christmas dinner. Since we are so blessed with so many wonderful little ones we don't get the chance to just "talk" without interruption. It was very nice to spend an evening together. And I had the privilege of planning dinner and hosting them in our home.
We did miss Norm and Carol very much~they were sick and couldn't be with us.

Ed and Julie

Carla and JB

The Menu:

French Bread

Papa Vino's House Salad


Smashed Potatoes

Grilled Pork Chops


We had so much fun laughing together. What a bunch of crazies!

Heather and Donovan-the ever flexing man....


After dinner we played a really "confusing" game of Maui, Maui….Google this game if you want to laugh with your friends. Remember not to take it too serious!

Here are a couple of recipes you may enjoy making:

Papa Vino's House Salad

This only requires 5 things:

Bacon (fried and chopped)

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Calamata Olives

3 hearts of Romaine lettuce – chopped

1 Bottle of Papa Vino's Salad dressing (which they sell at the restaurant…if you don't have one nearby it is basically a light Italian dressing)
Toss and Serve

Smashed potatoes

13 thin skinned potatoes

½ Cup Ranch dressing

¼ sour cream

½ stick butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Scrub and cut your potatoes and put them in a microwave baker. I cooked them in my microwave for approx. 30 minutes.

When they are tender smash them, skins and all with a potato masher. When they are mashed they will be chunky, this is fine.

Add your dressing, sour cream, butter and seasonings and continue to mix well. Put into a 9x13 pan. This can be made a day ahead. When you're ready to serve, heat oven to 350 and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Grilled Pork Chops:
We rarely grill in the winter but it is such a treat to have that grilled flavor in the middle of December.
I marinate my chops in this sauce…this is the secret to moist, tender chops
4 Tbsp lime or lemon juice

½ C. Oil

4 Tbsp vinegar

2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp. garlic salt

1 Tbsp. Paprika

Blend together and pour over your chops. The longer you marinate the better they are. I like to give them at least 8 hours, however I have, in a pinch, given them 4 hours and they still turn out fine. Grill your chops and…BAM!

They are super moist!

Finally, on to the Cheesecake.
You know people get really freaked out with cheesecake. I love to make it because it really isn't that hard and you can actually make it weeks in advance. I made mine 4 days before the party. It is actually encouraged to let your cheese cake "mature" a bit before eating it. So with a little planning you don't have to worry about that last minute prep. I made New York Style and Pumpkin Cheese cake but today I will give you the New York –Style Cheesecake, which takes me back to my Pampered Chef days…



26 regular size butter cookies(about 1 ¼ crushed)Or 1 ½ Cups Graham Crackers

4 tablespoon butter-melted


4 Packages (8 oz each)cream cheese, Softened

1 Cup Sugar

1 teaspoon lemon(or Orange)zest, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or orange)

4 eggs, room temp (set in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes to bring them to room temp)

½ C. Sour Cream

½ tsp. vanilla

1 can pie filling(optional)

Preheat oven to 325. For Crust, place cookies in resalable plastic bag; crush into fine crumbs. Melt butter in microwave. Mix crumbs and butter together. Spray spring form pan. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 8 minutes.

For filling, place cream cheese in mixing bowl. Add sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes until well blended. Add eggs; mix at low speed 2 minutes. Blend in sour cream and vanilla.

Pour filling into crust. Bake 55-60 minutes or until center appears nearly set .

I like to turn my oven off and crack the door so my cheese cake doesn't go into shock and crack. I leave it in there about 30 more minutes and then remove from oven. Run a paring knife around the edge of pan to loosen. I keep my form around the cheesecake until ready to serve. Run a knife around the edge again before taking form off.

What a great evening with friends! I am so blessed to have so many friends like you!

And one more thing....

Can I just say that I have some pretty awesome kids? Sometimes they just completely impress my socks off! We weren't sure what they should do tonight since the party was at our house...We toyed with the idea of dressing them up in bow ties and aprons and have them help serve plates of food. Or perhaps they could just stand on the stairs singing as the Van trap children did, "Goodbye". But in the end we just decided it would be fine for them to quietly stay up in our room with a big bowl of popcorn and a movie.

They eagerly agreed.

When I was praising them for their above average behavior they assured me it was a very good night for them indeed....Great! Let's try that tomorrow night again..HeeHee!

Tomorrow I will be posting some Christmas traditions we like to do with our children.


  1. Thanks for the sweet comment...you have a baeutiful home and family! May God bless you this holiday season!

  2. What fun! Great menu, too!
    I'm going try the marinade on chops. We like to grill them, too.

  3. Oh my everything looks super yummy. That salad looks so good. I am going to try those pork chops!! Looks like a great time had by all even the kids!

  4. Looks like a festive party with good companty and food! I am going to try your pork chop marinade, sounds yummy! Thank you for sharing it!!

  5. That looks like it was lots of fun! And yummy food too. I'll have to try that salad. That looks so good.

  6. Let me be the first to say....WOW! Delish. I was one of the honored guests! Rose, You are such an awesome cook. Everything went perfect together. I did like the game, and the company was even better. What a great memory. Thanks so much for having us.

  7. Ooohhh, that salad looks sooo good! Yum. And I agree with you...cheesecakes are not hard at all. They are one of my favorite things to bake...yours turned out beautiful!

  8. Sorry we had to miss the party. I can't tell you how truly sick we were....sort of lived with a fog, underthe weather. Looks like a great time.


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