Family Christmas Meal

We had family dinner with Jeremy's parents the weekend before Christmas.  We took the boys down to Huntsville, opened lots of presents, and ate lots of food.  I helped with dinner, and I thought I'd share some of the delicious things that we ate.

Caprese Bites.  Mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaves, held together with toothpicks.  We drizzled some sun dried tomato pesto on these, and they were delicious.

Mozzarella Sticks.  These were super easy and yum.  Mozzarella string cheese, wrapped in egg roll wrappers and baked.  Dipped in marinara sauce.

Asparagus & Ham Roll-ups.  These were surprisingly really good.  Asparagus spears, deli ham, and mustard rolled up in a crescent roll.

Veggie Ratatouille.  I've always wanted to make a ratatouille, because it looks so pretty.  It was very colorful and delicious!

This little guy had just had surgery and was still not back to his normal happy self, so I had to help make dinner with him attached to me.  No problem!

The night before, I had made some cookies for everyone to enjoy, and that they did.  Everyone loved them.  They are Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Malted Milk Chocolate Buttercream.  

Here are all the recipes!

Caprese Bites
Log of Fresh Mozzarella, sliced into 1 inch slices
1 bunch basil leaves
1 Jar sun-dried tomatoes
1 jar sun-dried tomato pesto (regular pesto would also be delicious)

Place a tomato, piece of mozzarella, and basil leaf together on a toothpick.  Drizzle with pesto!

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
1 pkg of Mozzarella String Cheese
1 pkg Egg Roll Wrappers
Marinara Sauce

wrap string cheese in egg roll wrappers.  Bake at 425 for 15 mins, until cheese sticks are golden brown and crispy.  Serve with marinara.

Asparagus & Ham roll-ups
1 bunch asparagus
1 pkg deli ham
1 pkg crescent rolls

Roll out and separate crescent rolls.  Spread a tsp or so of mustard on each roll.  Place a piece of ham and 2 asparagus spears and roll up in crescent roll.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 mins.

Veggie Ratatouille
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 medium sized potato, sliced
2 small zucchinis, sliced
olive oil
variety of herbs
salt and pepper

line up slices of veggies in a round casserole dish in a concentric pattern.  Drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you have on hand.  (I believe I used oregano, basil, marjoram, and garlic powder).

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Malted Milk Chocolate Buttercream
from Loveandoliveoil.com

for the cookies:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the cream filling:
3 1/2 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp heavy cream, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp malted milk powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

preheat oven to 375.  Sift together the cocoa, flour, espresso, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  In another mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  gradually add in the dry ingredients, until everything is combined.  Drop by Tbsp-fuls onto a parchment line baking sheet.  roll each dough into a smooth ball, and lightly flatten it into a disc with the palm of your hand.  Bake 8-9 mins until cookies are puffed and set.  let cool 5 mins on baking sheet, and then completely cool on a wire/cooling rack. 

For the filling, melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler until smooth.  Remove from heat and let it cool to room temp.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  add the cooled milk chocolate, and mix until combined.  Combine heavy cream and malted milk powder in a separate bowl and mix until smooth.  Add  to the chocolate mixture, along with the vanilla and salt.  Beat until light and fluffy.  You may need to add more cream/powdered sugar until the mixture reaches a spreadable/icing consistency.

To assemble, spread icing on the bottom of one chocolate cookie, and top with another cookie.  Press lightly until filling spreads to the edges.  

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