In light of family traditions, we’ve been working hard to create some of our own.
With a recent move and a whole host of changes, establishing traditions has been tough. Each of us brings a mix of emotion and an album of memories to the table. Some of those memories reveal true blessing, while others expose a hint of pain. In any case, it’s time. It’s the hour to create our own moments to joy and visions to cherish, year after year.
This year for Christmas Eve dinner, we created an exceptional repeat of last year’s feast. Imagine that.
For my family growing up, the Christmas Eve tradition has always run much deeper than Christmas Day. Juggling between each side of the extended family, amidst the daylight bright, nothing remained truly consistent. Yet, Christmas Eve, was a different story.
My Christmas Eve memories will always remain close to my heart, cherished in every way.
Savory soups, Mom’s Christmas salad, and an evening with close family friends brings a huge smile to my heart. Oh, and lest we forget the Peanut M&M’s.
In any case, it’s time for new traditions ~even as I swaddle and soothe Nancy’s Clam Chowder, Mom’s special greens, and Great Harvest Rolls.
Last year, Brian and I experimented with a butternut squash layering, of sorts. I had forgotten how tasty the meal came to be – amidst the excitement of the snowfall and our new found love.
With a replication and a bit of perfection, our tastebuds delighted in the savory sensory experience.
This dish is amazing.
I think we just might have to break the “rules” and devour this dish on occasions other than just Christmas Eve.
I highly recommend it…
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced through the neck (reserve the bulb for other occasions)
1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1/2 sweet yellow onion, minced
1 c. curly kale, shredded and sliced
1/2 lb. 85% lean grass fed ground beef
1 1/2 c. Muir Glen Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
3 Tbs. fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After slicing the eggplant and zucchini, layer on a paper towel, salt, and allow to “sweat” for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, on a parchment lined baking sheet, bake the squash for about 45 minutes, or until soft. After about 20 minutes, add the eggplant and zucchini to the sheet, and bake until soft and beginning to brown and soften. Once baked to perfection, remove from the oven and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, over medium to low heat, brown the ground beef and salt and pepper. Once cooked through, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add kale and tomato sauce. Cover and reduce heat to low. Once the kale has wilted, add basil and remove from heat.
To assemble, create a beautiful “stack,” beginning with the squash. Add a layer of meat sauce, then some squash and eggplant, followed by another layer of squash and more sauce. Layer as desired, creating as tall of a stack as is pleasing to you.
Create a memory. Create a tradition. Create a smile.