This year, my mother in law finally relented and let us all pitch in to help with Christmas dinner. She asked if I’d bring my all time favorite food- mac and cheese. I’m a Velveeta shells and cheese kind of girl, but I think I’m going to up my game this year. Going to go for the home made, baked variety. I’ll have to report back and let you know how it turns out!
But then she asked me if there was any particular dish that just made Christmas complete. Nothing jumped to mind right away. So I started clicking through the mental list of foods that felt like Christmas, hoping one of them would be winner for dinner at my mother-in-law’s.
The first thing that came to mind was the oyster casserole that we used to have every Christmas Eve. Only about half the people who attended actually liked it, so I figured that that may not be the best crowd favorite.
One year, my family decided to use a pasta maker and make a fancy pasta dinner. It took hours, and everyone snacked while we pressed, laid out, dried, then boiled the noodles. It was more about the experience than the end result, so again, not a match for the ham dinner being planned.
For several years, the Christmas meal consisted of steak and potatoes. I have images of my dad all bundled up in the freezing winter weather to grill the perfect steaks. But there’s already going to be a ham. No need for extra protein.
With the addition of three spouses and seven grandchildren in the last seven years, my parents have opted to get take Chinese takeout the last few years. Great call in my opinion- we get to throw the trash away after eating and get back to enjoying each other. So maybe a big container of egg rolls to compliment the ham?
I told my husband about my conundrum, and he suggested that I tell his mother that fried chicken was my favorite Christmas food. Sneaky boy. Getting me to plug his favorite food his mama makes!
Then it hit me…one of my favorite side dishes that my mom used to make for all kinds of occasions. Cherry Coke Salad. It incorporates several of my favorite flavors. Specifically cherry and Coke. As I write, I’m drinking cherry flavored kombucha! And there was a time in my 20’s when I would drink two or three large Cokes from McDonald’s a day. My metabolism 30 year old metabolism quickly put a halt to that!
This salad combines it all. It’s a nice cherry jello salad with pineapple, bing cherries, and good old fashioned Coca-Cola. So you get a little bit of the sweet, but also the fizzy bubbly flavor of the Coke. Trust me, it sounds like an odd combination of flavors, but it’s a perfect blend!
So today, I want to share it with you. Because that’s what special recipes are for. For you and your family to enjoy too!
What about you? If someone asked you to fix the dish that holds that special Christmas spot in your heart, what would you be fixing this week?