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Every holiday whether Christmas or any other, its the same question (among many of course), “What will be on the menu?”.   If you are taking part of the whole cooking and planning ritual, but don’t know what to make, I’ve listed a few items below to consider, especially if looking for a Italian theme.

Most of these if not all are pulled directly from my site www.simpleitaliancooking.com which has allowed me to post many simple Italian recipes over the years.

I’ve had some great food experiences with cooking holiday meals, and I’ve had some bad ones too… such as this past Thanksgiving where we had the most dry and rubbery Turkey ever, but that’s another post.

So what I’ve decided to do is list a few of my favorite recipes that I’ve used on special occasions – not just Christmas.

 

1.  Mediterranean Roasted Chicken Recipe

Easy recipe for chicken with olives prunes

image by elanaspantry.com

 

This recipe uses a whole chicken, basic ingredients such as green olives, prunes, olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, honey, etc. You’ll see the list by clicking the link above.   To sum up in one word… pure Mediterranean!

One of the biggest most common problems or annoyances I have with roasting chicken is that it always seems to smell better than it tastes.  I feel like it is very easy to have a bland tasting chicken, and that’s the last thing you want to serve for a special dinner (or any dinner).

This recipe’s ingredients not only complement each other, but ends up creating a sauce in the pan that can be used to pour on top of the served chicken pieces.   It is also the type of recipe that still tastes great if not even better when used as left overs.

Why so great?   Because this recipe has two major things going for it… saltiness and sweetness.   The olives give it the saltiness which brings out more flavor and the honey and apple cider vinegar bring out a tangy sweetness that when all baked together creates a beautiful balance of flavors.

 

2. Anti-pasto with artichokes Recipe

food tray

 

Here is one of my very early recipes from 2009!! I can’t believe its been so long.  This recipe is great b/c not only is it easy, it can be made in advance earlier in the day.  You can use the measurements I provide or adjust to your own liking. Some people absolutely love garlic while others do not.   It is also a nice appetizer that can be served with fresh Italian bread.  Alternatively you can serve this as a side dish and will in fact compliment the above chicken recipe.

If you are serving this as an appetizer you can serve it alongside cheese and crackers, or a meat tray.

3. Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

stuffedshells

 

This is a great easy Italian recipe too!    It is so simple it will impress everyone…. and the other nicety about this recipe is that it too can be prepared ahead of time.   In fact, quite a bit of time in advance if you have a freezer to store it in.

Basically you make the inside mixture using the ricotta, spinach and seasonings.   Boil the shells a bit to soften them up then stuff them with the mixture, layer them in a pan with good Italian pasta sauce, and bake them in the oven till done.

Keep in mind its okay to have multiple main dishes.  In fact, this is typical in many cultures especially Italians.  So although you can definitely do this recipe alone, don’t be bashful to use it in addition to a meat dish such as the chicken recipe above.

4.  Ricotta Pie Recipe

ricotta-pie

 

A great Italian dessert!   This recipe I remember I was hesitant to try as I had never heard of a ricotta pie.   Short story made shorter, I loved it!

This recipe is fairly simple, but might be intimidating to anyone who isn’t used to baking at all as it does require whipping eggs into a froth like consistency.  In addition you’ll need a Springform pan, if you don’t have one make sure to get one because at some point later in life you will want one!  One of my readers said he made this for a church luncheon and it was completely demolished!

This pie has a nice creamy texture and if I had to give it basic description I’d say it is like an Italian cheesecake!   You’ll notice in the picture that I recommend strawberries, however any berries such as blueberries will do.

 

I wish you the best this Holiday and God Bless!

Liz

SimpleItaliancooking.com