COLUMNS: Christmas meals not just about the turkey feast

When you are thinking about cooking for Christmas day, remember the day is not just about the big meal.

When you are thinking about cooking for Christmas day, remember the day is not just about the big meal of the day with a large turkey and all the trimmings.

It is nice on the Dec. 25 if you can have three nice meals to help with the celebrations of the day and of course one needs to eat some food to recover from all the energy exerted by opening presents.

A good start to the day could be some fresh fruits to enjoy before breakfast while enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Waffles or pancakes with some nice maple syrup are often a hit for a Christmas breakfast.

Porridge with a little brown sugar may also fit into this part of  your early meal.

Some folks would like to have a nice scrambled egg dish with vegetables and perhaps some ham or bacon along with toast for a tasty treat in the morning.

Lunch should be filling but not too much, or you might not be able to eat a good helping of the feast at dinner time.

There are a gazillion different ways to make salads and one of your favourites that is easy to make would probably hit the spot.

A nice warm soup that would please your lunch crew is another idea to satisfy  the taste buds.

Soups are like salads. There are so many ways they can be prepared.

I recently make a soup from a butternut squash that I think you would like for a lunch treat.

I have never made this soup before and frankly would not have thought about making soup from a butternut squash.  I was quite surprised with the pleasant taste. It made my taste buds do a little ‘food’ dance.

Butternut Squash Soup

• 1 medium sized sweet onion, diced

• 3 tbsp butter

• 4 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes

• 3 cups chicken broth

• 1 tsp dried tarragon

• Ground salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and cook until they are tender.

Add the butternut squash, chicken stock, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

You can break the squash with a whisk and then using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth.

At this point you could add in about one half cup of half-and-half cream. I did not and it was still good but a little cream might  make the dish a little smoother. Season with tarragon. Then taste to determine whether you need more pepper or salt.

Some nice bread or buns would go well with this dish. Try this one for your lunch.

It’s not too early to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy festive season with good food and good friends.

Bye for now and Goood Cooking.

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.

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