|(Photo by Taste of Home)|
When I was a child, our family's traditional meal for Christmas Eve was macaroni and cheese. My mother made hers with a rich cheese sauce, loaded with sharp or maybe extra-sharp cheddar. She always topped her macaroni and cheese with crushed saltines sauteed briefly in butter (a much-coveted treat for us children) and then topped the whole with paprika before heating it through in the oven. It was delicious. We often had grilled hot dogs alongside the macaroni and cheese and usually a green salad of some sort.
My mother always made an extra casserole dish full of macaroni and cheese, and took it to a neighbor couple we dearly loved, for their Christmas Eve supper. On New Year's Day, Mrs. F always made a gelatin dessert called pumpkin snow, and sent it back to us in the clean casserole dish, along with a jar of custard sauce to serve with the dessert. It was a sweet tradition between neighbors.
Recently, I tried this recipe for Saturday night supper with baked beans and salad: Ham and Broccoli Mac'n'Cheese. It was very good; the only thing I changed (other than to use, in my case, gluten-free pasta and flour) was to add a little salt. There were some lively flavors in the sauce, but the flavor seemed to fall a little flat so I added a bit of salt and that solved the problem.
It occurred to me as I prepared the dish that it might be a very nice one for Christmas Eve, as it includes the lively colors of red (sweet peppers) and green (broccoli florets). If your family prefers a meatless meal, the ham could easily be omitted. What are your family's Christmas Eve food traditions?