Holidays are all about spending time with family and friends and while we look forward to having them as house guests during the holiday season, we know that it can get a little hectic, especially at meal times. If you want to spend more time visiting and less time in the kitchen, try these two easy, delicious and satisfying meals that will make your house guests want to extend their stay. Of course, that may not be exactly what you want . . .
Chile Relleno Bake combines the savory flavors of traditional Chile Rellenos into an easy one-dish wonder that works well as a main dish for dinner, brunch or lunch. Served with Green Rice, Easy Smoky Refried Beans and a big green salad, Chile Relleno Bake makes an easy “house guest” meal during the holidays.
Dungeness Crab Macaroni and Brie treats your house guests to the exquisite fresh, local, in-season Dungeness crab we are fortunate enough to have available to us this month. Any local grocery store, such as Safeway or Zanotto’s, and any local fish market, such as Race Street Fish Market, has an abundance of local, fresh Dungeness crab sold whole or cleaned. While you can certainly buy whole crabs and clean them yourself, which is time-consuming, we suggest buying the fresh lump Dungeness crab meat and save yourself the trouble of cracking and cleaning. Try serving Dungeness Crab Macaroni and Brie with this Insalata Toscana and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta and, seriously, your house guests may never leave.
Chile Relleno Bake (about 8 servings)
4 large fresh poblano or Anaheim chile peppers
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
6 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the more cayenne used, the hotter this dish will be)
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter the bottom and sides well.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Cut the chile peppers in quarters lengthwise. Discard stems, seeds and white veins. Add the chilies to the boiling water for three minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers from the boiling water and place on paper towels to drain.
- After the peppers are drained well, place them, cut side up, in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Evenly sprinkle the shredded pepper jack cheese over the peppers.
- Evenly sprinkle the crumbled Cotija cheese over the shredded pepper jack.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the lightly beaten eggs and milk. Add the flour, baking powder, cayenne and salt. Blend or process until mixture is smooth. (You can also use a hand-held mixer to do this.)
- Evenly pour the egg mixture over the cheese and peppers in the baking dish.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven, uncovered, approximately 20 to 25 minutes until a knife inserted into the center of the casserole comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Dungeness Crab Macaroni and Brie (about 8 servings)
1 pound dry medium-sized shell pasta
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled, cut in half then thinly sliced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups whole milk
1 pound Brie cheese – rinds removed – cheese cut into small dice plus one small round of Brie, rinds left on, cut into 8 small wedges for garnish
1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat
1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or generously butter the bottom and sides.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. When boiling, add the pasta and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well and cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain well and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté about 15 minutes until onions are tender and golden brown.
- Add the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the cooked onions in the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the milk all at once. Cook and stir until the mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly.
- Gradually add the diced Brie cheese, stirring and cooking over medium heat until the cheese has completely melted.
- Stir together the cheese sauce and cooked pasta until well combined. Gently stir in the crab meat. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish.
- Combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake, uncovered, in the pre-heated oven about 25 – 30 minutes until bubbly and golden on top. During the last five minutes of baking, place the small wedges of Brie evenly spaced on top of the casserole.
For your holiday meal, be sure to check out this complete Christmas Dinner menu, which includes everything you need from drinks and appetizers to desserts, along with the corresponding grocery list and easy-to-follow instructions.
And if you’re wondering what to serve your house guests on Christmas morning, look no further than this Christmas Morning Breakfast menu, also with the corresponding grocery list and easy-to-follow instructions.
Like this article? Get a spam-free e-mail notice every time I post a new one by clicking on the Subscribe button above. Be sure to check out the San Jose Easy Meals Examiner for great recipes, weekly meals plans with corresponding grocery lists and easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions designed to help people with little or no cooking experience. Also, check out the Sustainable Seafood Examiner (me!) for articles on the seafood industry and recipes focusing on fresh, sustainable seafood.