Cooking for the holidays…there is just something about having a house full of people that makes me want to cook. I never say no to anyone as I love to entertain. My motto always seems to be "the more the merrier". I have always been one of those people who prepares way too much food…antipasti tray, relish tray, crudités, chips, dip, u-peel shrimp…you name it….I have to have it out…..and this is before dinner is even ready. I am always afraid I won’t have enough…and I would rather have extra then run out. My relatives have even come to look forward to this tradition and bring their own Tupperware containers for leftovers. Sometimes, they even bring a shopping bag. My Mom and aunts just can't seem to accept the idea of throwing away good food. One of my faults seems to be in that I refuse to keep all the leftovers..I want them gone....I don't want them taking up room in the refrigerator only for me to have to throw them away a week later because no one ate them...and it happens one of two ways....the trash or the container....but either way that food is leaving when the last guest leaves.
Let me give you an example…for my daughters sixth birthday last year, I wanted to do away with all the cooking and have a simple pool party with pizza. After awhile I started thinking…maybe I’ll just make one tray of homemade Italian meatballs in pasta sauce…which by the way are my signature dish…over the years I have received many requests for the recipe….I am really not even sure what I use…it’s more a texture thing…anyway…then, I also have to make a tray of ziti to go along with the meatballs. Before you know it….I am cooking for almost seventy five people. This happens time and time again…I remember when I spent all morning barbecuing 75 chicken quarters for my daughter's fourth birthday party….it was a pirate party, and I wanted that realistic feel…never, ever will I do that again….I had no idea that chicken takes over an hour to barbecue….I thought I was going to die of exhaustion.
Emeril, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray....All big on my list of consults for the perfect Easter meal. Do I want BAM!...Do I want snooty with a touch of elegance that I would never be able to pull off....or... do I want it all for under $40?....This Easter things will probably be more calm….I am planning an Italian Easter dinner for my family….between ten and twelve people…..I am trying to keep things simple, but having some difficulty….I already have the menu partially planned….baked ham, lasagna with meat sauce….which means I will also have to make meatballs….and maybe chicken Parmesan….or I was thinking some crab cakes from Bobby Chez and forget the ham….see how things start to get confusing…..I have also wanted to make braciole for the longest time and did not have the chance this past Christmas….oh, the ideas that are spinning in my head…..see how fast a simple meal can turn into a days labor....the choices are endless.
Since I have waited until the last minute, I will also have to endure the hordes of people shopping on Good Friday. I still have to pick up my free ham….which I earned for being such a “valued” customer…okay…I really just spent enough money and the receipt printed out with my free ham coupon….but, sometimes I like to make myself feel important. So, after my dreaded trip to the mechanics tomorrow, I will be off to fight the crowds at ACME. Now, if I can just settle on a menu and write a shopping list things will be perfect.
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