Can you believe that it’s already the middle of December? You know what that means; the holidays are just around the corner…
Life seems to get busier and busier, and at this time of year it seems especially so. I find that planning ahead is a key component (along with a generous glass of red wine) to staying somewhat sane during the busy holiday season.
I often get asked whether or not I make a traditional Christmas dinner for my family, or if I’m too wiped out after such a busy month in the store. Truth be told, I don’t cook on Christmas – I serve our turkey dinner casserole from the shop instead.
My Mom used to prepare an amazing full-blown turkey dinner with all of the sides; but we switched to a casserole version a couple of years ago because it is so much easier (especially now that there are four little boys running around). The “big” boys don’t complain, because we still have turkey on Thanksgiving and for my Dad’s birthday in January.
Anyway, together with the casserole, we serve braised red cabbage (when he first tried it, my husband lost his mind – he’s yet to recover – so my mom always finds a way to include it) and some sort of starch – usually mashed potatoes, but this year we’ll be serving Tina Robert’s rutabaga, apple and cheddar bake, which can be made ahead. The recipe comes from Tina’s “The Two Sisters Cookbook”.
Even if you plan on making a traditional turkey dinner, do yourself a favour and plan on preparing a few “make ahead” dishes such as this one, to save yourself some time (and aggravation) on Christmas Day.
Make Ahead Rutabaga, Apple & Cheddar Bake
- 1 (one) medium rutabaga (cut into small cubes), about 2 – 2½ lbs.
- 1 (one) large tart apple (cut into small cubes)
- 8 (eight) cloves garlic
- 3 (three) tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 (one-third) cup sour cream
- 1 (one) cup grated old Cheddar cheese
- 4 (four) tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- A dash of Frank’s hot sauce
- Unsalted butter to grease baking dish
- Place rutabaga, apple and garlic in a large pot, cover with cold water and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until rutabaga is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- Drain rutabaga and puree batches in a food processor. Spoon into a large bowl. Stir in butter, sour cream, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and blend until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 X 8 inch, 2 quart ovenproof baking dish with butter.
- Spoon rutabaga mixture into baking dish. Bake rutabaga for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
Rutabaga mixture can be made a day or two ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking.