Since our kids are rarely here for Christmas dinner due to location and other commitments, we like to host a dinner for friends in a similar situation – those who might have a grilled cheese sandwich at home or go to Cracker Barrel for dinner. We usually have between 8 and 16, depending or what others have going on. This year there was 8 of us but it was very different. A three generation (mom, daughter, granddaughter) group of lady friends advised last week that we would be doing them a big favor if we allowed them to bring all of the food. Well Duh – even I’m sharp enough to recognize a great deal when it slaps me in the face.
Dinner was a spiral ham, broccoli casserole, spinach maria ala Calhouns, sweet potato pie, fruit salad, hot rolls (the one thing we provided), and pecan pie.
This is my plate.
This is the recipe for Spinach Maria
5 (10 oz) Packages frozen chopped spinach
4 ½ cups Milk
1 tsp Dry mustard
1 tsp Granulated garlic
1 ¾ tsp Crushed (dried) red pepper
½ medium Yellow onion
1 Tbsp Butter
5 Tbsp Melted butter
6 Tbsp All purpose flour
8 oz Velveeta cheese
4 oz Monterey jack cheese
1 ½ cups Grated cheddar cheese (for topping)
· Thaw spinach in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Squeeze as much excess water as possible out of the spinach.
· Heat milk and spices in 4 quart saucepan on medium heat to just below a boil (190 degrees). Reduce heat and simmer.
· Finely chop onion and saute it in 1 T butter on medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add to saucepan.
· Combine the 5 T melted butter with the flour in a small saute pan. (This is the first step of making a roux, which will thicken the sauce.) Mix until completely blended. Cook on low heat 3 to 4 minutes to make roux.
· Add roux to milk in saucepan and mix well. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens.
· Cut the velveeta, cheddar, and jack cheese into small cubes and add to the sauce pan.
· Continue to mix until all the cheese is completely melted and blended into the sauce. Be careful not to burn the sauce while the cheese is melting.
· Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
· Stir in drained spinach. Maybe placed in several containers and frozen.
· Add shredded cheese before freezing or at time of baking.
· Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.
The pecan pie.
Everything was delicious and I told them that since it made them fell good to do the cooking, we could make it a weekly deal if they’d like too. :)
Hope everyone had a great Christmas.