Celebrating Christmas 2021 {Merry Little Luncheon Menu & Recipes}

I’m back today with the menu and recipes from my Merry Little Luncheon and ornament exchange. I love to pull out all of my recipes and mull over a menu. This one features recipes that my family has enjoyed for decades, and I thought they would be lovely to share with friends. Everything was prepared in advance so it made the morning of the soiree stress free. The hardest job was the salad!

Vidalia Onion Dip

  • 3 large Vidalia onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (grate your own for this recipe)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Saute onion in butter in a large skillet until tender. Combine onion, cheese and remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 1.5 qt casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden. Serve with tortilla chips or assorted crackers.

Fruit & Dip

Dip: Spoon 1.5 cups greek yogurt into a bowl. Drizzle generously with honey. Top with 2 T. brown sugar.
Fruit: Use any variety you like. I served strawberries, blackberries and pineapples.

Layered Arugula Salad

The colors make this a beautiful salad for Christmas!

Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup mild, extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, and salt. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the mustard and pepper. Whisking constantly, add the oils in a slow, steady stream. Whisk again just before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until needed and for up to 4 days.

Salad

  • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 5 cups)
  • 2 firm-ripe pears, peeled if desired, cored, and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • ½ cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
  1. Spread 1/3 of the arugula in a medium glass-serving bowl (preferably with straight sides, such as a trifle bowl).
  2. Arrange 1/3 of the pears over the arugula. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the pomegranate arils, nuts and cheese.
  3. Repeat the layers twice more.
  4. Just before serving, drizzle a few spoonsful of vinaigrette over the salad, just enough to gloss the arugula, and pass the rest at the table.

Make Ahead Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

Two packages Hawaiian Rolls (12 count each), sliced
1 lb. honey ham, coarsely chopped
8 oz. swiss cheese, shredded
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1 cup butter, softened
2 T.  poppy seeds
4 T. prepared mustard

– On bottom halves of rolls, evenly top with ham and cheese.
– Soften butter and mix well with onion, worchestershire sauce, poppy seeds and mustard.  Spread mixture on top halves of split rolls.
– Place sandwiches on baking pan and cover tightly with foil.  Refrigerate. These are great to make a day in advance!
– Before serving, preheat oven to 250.  Bake sandwiches until heated through – you have a lot of liberty here – I allow at least 30 minutes but have left them in the oven for an hour before a party!

Note: I sometimes stretch the recipe to go on 3 dozen Hawaiian rolls and it is fine, depending on how many people you need to feed.  

Marme’s Twice Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium sized baking potatoes (about 5 lbs), baked until soft
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
16 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
1T. fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

  1. Cut baked and slightly cooled potatoes in half length wise.  Scoop out pulp and coarsely mash.
  2. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese and next 8 ingredients.
  3. Spoon into lightly greased 13×9″ baking dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, bacon, green onions and chives and return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Note:  Mother puts everything in step 2 in her kitchenaid mixer and uses that to get it all thoroughly combined.  

Salted Caramel Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar

– 1 c. chopped pecans
– box of graham crackers
– 1c. brown sugar
– 3/4c. butter
– 2 T. whipping cream
– 1 t. vanilla
– dark chocolate chips
– kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  • Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease foil. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, slightly overlapping edges.
  • Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium-size heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to coat.
  • Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
  • Top warm bars with dark chocolate chips.  Let stand 3 minutes and spread chocolate over bars.
  • Immediately sprinkle with salt. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Chill and break into bars.

Christmas Punch

  • 1 gallon apple cider (my favorite is honey crisp from Target in refrigerator section)
  • 4 T. mulling spices tied in cheesecloth (Williams Sonoma)
  • 2 cups dark rum and 1/2 cup Fireball, if desired
  • Festive garnish like star anise, cinnamon sticks, cranberries and fresh rosemary

Gently heat apple cider with mulling spices. Stir in liquor, if desired. Serve warm with festive garnish.

An alternative to mulling spices would be to wrap up cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice berries, etc.

merry little luncheon

I also had prosecco, sparkling water, infused water (cranberries and rosemary) and sweet tea.

You can read all about the party here:

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