Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Day Lunch

[Updated July 2007]

Some people don't really eat lunch on Christmas Day, but we eat breakfast early enough that we're hungry again by lunchtime. These recipes were part of the article "Cooking up Christmas with Your Kids" by Noreen Thomas, published in The Lutheran, December 1998 issue. At one time the whole article was available online (that's where I found it), but now it's available only with a subscription to the website (see the link for details).

Anyway, these dishes have become part of our family traditions by now. These are my own renderings of the original recipes.

Jiggle Bells (the author called them Jiggly Bells, but the name has morphed a bit around here)

In a large sauce pan, sprinkle four envelopes unflavored gelatin over 4 cups cranberry juice (cranberry cocktail works fine); let stand one minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves, pour in a 9-by-13-inch pan and chill until firm. (This part you can do the day before. Actually you could do the whole thing a day or so ahead if you're pressed for time.)

Cut into squares a bit larger than a bell shaped-cookie cutter and let the children make bells (or, more likely, do it yourself while they're playing with their toys). Depending on the size of your cutter, you can probably squeeze about eight bells from the pan.

I usually cut out the gelatin bells and arrange them on a platter of shredded lettuce along with other salad things, like green pepper strips or small broccoli trees.

Star of the East

Mix 2 tablespoonfuls of instant lemon pudding mix with 1 "small container" cottage cheese, which I guessed to be about a cupful. You could double it to use up a 2-cup container of cottage cheese. Turn the mixture out onto a small plate, and mold it (with your fingers or the back of the spoon) into a star shape. I usually garnish this a bit--Clementine sections or canned mandarin oranges are pretty arranged on top, along with any other small sliced fruit pieces you have; and you can arrange other fruit or nuts on the plate between the points of the star. If you don't get around to making this for Christmas, you can save it for Epiphany.

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