Every year, we've planned to cook a fancy meal, something we usually don't cook during the regular year. We've had some success with this, as well as some complete bombs along the way. I remember one year in the duplex, we wanted to do an elaborate appetizers spread. After planning five different dishes, I think about two of them turned out. Another year, I attempted to make one of Rachel Ray's family traditions, Christmas Pasta. I forgot that Rachel Ray comes from a huge family and I was cooking for two. Not only did we end up with a gigantic pot of red sauce, it ended up being quite terrible and we threw it out!
This year, we stuck to the basics with a twist. We decided to stuff and roast an entire chicken in the oven. Due to his expertise in smoking raw birds, I gave this task to Beau. He cleaned it, rubbed it with butter, oregano, garlic, and thyme, and stuffed it with herbs, orange, and onion. Then, he gave it a winter's coat of bacon and baked it in the oven.
I took care of our sides and dessert. I mashed potatoes, made my favorite salad with mandarin oranges and sugared almonds, and had champange with cranberries. The chicken took a little longer than expected (but enabled Beau to break out the digital meat thermomether), but when it was all said and done, the meal was a winner!
Dessert was my specialty for the year. I have a thing for trifles and wanted to tackle individual trifles this year. I found a recipe from Giada on the Food Network. It layered strawberries soaked in sugar and balsamic vinegar, pound cake, Amaretto liquor, and homemade whipped cream. I was a little skeptical on the balsamic vinegar, but it gave it a really zesty, sweet flavor. You hardly needed sugar! The whipped cream was really fun to make. I whipped three cups cream with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and a tsp. of vanilla. They were really yummy!
As the freezing rain covered the streets outside, we stayed nice and warm with a fire inside. We opened lots of presents and just sat around and talked. Beau loved his black and white Wrigley Field canvas, his UFC XBox game, and UNI water bottle, and I was delighted to open a new pair of Rocket Dogs, a couple Victoria's Secret sweaters, and yes, a sheek leopard print snuggie! I'm currently blogging in it now!