Our family Christmas celebration is a bit…unorthodox. We’re a blended family. I have three half-siblings– all four of us are married, and we all have kids.
To save hassle and struggle, my parents long ago decided that we’d have the celebration for our family the weekend before Christmas—leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day free for in-laws, other parents, grandparents, whatever.
The unorthodoxy doesn’t end there. We also nixed the traditional Christmas dinner a while back. With each of us going to multiple big, honkin’ turkey dinners during the month of December, we figured we didn’t need one more carbo-load. I love turkey and stuffing as much as the next girl, but it sorta loses its novelty if you have it every week for two months straight.
So instead, we do an appetizer buffet for our Christmas dinner. Every family brings an appetizer or two, plus a dessert. It ends up creating this awesome spread of deliciousness that definitely won’t be repeated the next weekend. Because we’ve been doing this for so long, a few appetizers have become staples. I usually make my Christmas quiche, my sister usually smokes a salmon (she lives in Oregon, so Mr. Salmon flies with her, in her suitcase), we have beer-boiled shrimp, and my Dad always makes stuffed mushrooms.
Dad’s stuffed mushroom recipe is incredibly simple, and like most simple recipes, the success of it hinges on the quality of ingredients. I highly recommend getting some great quality sausage (I get mine from US Wellness Meats) and Parmesan—you’ll really be able to tell the difference—and stick with fresh herbs only.
These mushrooms are just so dang flavorful, delicious, and… poppable. These guys are the perfect little treat for drive-by eating. Stroll by the buffet table on the way to the Christmas tree, pop a mushroom. Stroll back, pop another. Before you know it, the whole tray is empty. It’s like magic.
Oh! And my favorite hidden little secret about these mushrooms is that there is almost always leftover filling. Unless you happen to find the world’s largest button mushrooms, you’ll probably have some of the flavorful sausage filling kicking around once all is said and done. And that leftover filling makes for some insanely delicious meatballs. So just sauté them up, toss them with some tomato sauce, and put them on a bed of hot spaghetti. Yum. Dinner is done.