We celebrated our first chaotic Christmas with two kids this year, so initially cooking wasn’t really high on our priority list. However, we ended up getting inspired last minute, and found some really yummy recipes that we thought were worth a little effort. The especially great part was that all four of these recipes made very large quantities, giving us the leftovers for days that are like gold when the witching hour gets the best of us some days.

These are not very traditional holiday recipes per se, but they all fit the bill for comfort food and for something a little out of the ordinary. We had a couple of different Christmas celebrations with different family groups, so we ended up making two breakfast casseroles (my favorite!) and two dinner entrees. Here are the recipes in case you’re in need of a little inspiration:

Two Breakfast Casseroles:

  • Southern Living’s Smoky Sausage-and-Grits Casserole – We are not normally grits people, but we may be after having loved this recipe we found on the Southern Living site. It was quite simple to make. I don’t think we modified anything. I can’t say Kid #1 ate it, but he doesn’t eat much of anything these days. The rest of the family were all fans!
  • New York Times Buttery Breakfast Casserole – Many of the New York Times recipes require expensive ingredients and are time-consuming to prepare, so I don’t tend to make a lot of them. This one was my husband J’s idea, and it turned out to be a great one. He said it was Christmas, so a little extra effort and expenditure were worth it – I have to say he was right. The one substitution we did make was to use a few types of white cheeses we had on hand – I think an aged cheddar and another milder type or two – instead of the Gruyere. I’m sure it would be even more decadent with Gruyere, but we still ate this for days and didn’t get sick of it.

Two Dinner Entrees:

  • Crock Pot Mexican Casserole by Well Plated – I’m glad I get to rave about this one because it’s from a food blog I just stumbled upon thanks to Google search, and I can’t wait to try more of these recipes. This one was really yummy AND healthy. I didn’t buy enough of the enchilada sauce, so I added a small can of green peppers instead. It did require a bit of prep and chopping but once it was in the crock pot, it was set it and forget it, and then food for days. I’ll definitely be making this again.


  • Tyler Florence’s Lasagna al Forno – This falls into the category of complicated and expensive, and was also J’s idea. It was also excellent! With a couple of changes, it was a bit more manageable. The recipe calls for a full FOUR POUNDS of meat to fit in a large (it would have to be super, super large) 13 x 9 pan. We are not huge meat eaters, so we swapped out both the beef and the sausage for a total of 1.5 lbs of ground turkey. I was worried this would ruin it, but man was it still good! J was the chef, and he says he “roughly” cut the rest of the recipe in half too, but accidentally still added the full amount of wine (too bad, one less glass for us to enjoy). It turned out excellent, Kid #1 even ate a few bites, and we noshed on this for days too.
Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 1.46.20 PM
Tyler Florence’s Lasagna

Maybe our good luck with recipes this holiday season will inspire us to continue cooking in 2018. I’m sure we’ll still end up with many nights of frozen Trader Joe’s meals or cereal though!


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