Throw Open the Doors this Holiday Season

What is the world? Is that a Christmas Table? And it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Let me explain . . .

I’ve put the final touches on my Open House Menu. Planning a menu takes time. I have so many old cook books and clippings for ideas. Now that the planning is complete, I knew I needed to share the menu straight away. There was no time to waste!

Sometimes a dish takes a while to complete. If you are making your own cheese, you need to start early to let the cheese mature. Right? Sometimes a marinade takes time to soak in. I’ve got a recipe for a Portuguese Pork Roast that needs to “ferment” in a marinade for about 5 days before it’s roasted. You get the idea.

While most of the dishes for my Open House Menu can be prepared a day or so in advance, or even the morning of, the fruitcake needs time. Oodles and oodles of time – a full 2 weeks at least to reach the peak of flavor perfection. Longer would be better, but 2 weeks should be fine.

Do people even have holiday open houses anymore? I know church groups do. And schools. And shopping malls. When I was a young girl, back in the day having an open house wasn’t unheard of. You let your neighbors or church group or community know that your house would be open. There was plenty of food, and no set time to formally dine. It was a graze all afternoon or evening menu. People came and went. Hubby and I use to host an open house every year when Kiddo was in scouts. And we attended a few when we were more involved in community volunteer groups and charities.

We spend so much time decorating for the holidays, it would really be a shame not to throw open the doors and invite the world to come inside.

Holiday Open House Menu
Ice Breakers:
Relish Tray
Carrot-Jicama Salad

Main Table:
Southern Style Orange-Glazed Ham
Slow cooker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Southern Slow Cooker Bacon Green Beans

Dessert Table:
Bourbon Fruitcake
Holiday Gingerbread

2 quarts apple cider or juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Combine all the ingredients in crock pot. Let simmer on low for several hours.

You can serve straight from the pot or transfer to a warmed punch bowl and ladle into warm glasses.

Relish Tray
1 cup Bread and Butter Pickle Chips
1 Jar Small Dill Pickles
1 cup Green Olives with Pimentos
2 cups Medium Whole Black Olives

Place Bread and Butter pickle chips in a small bowl in the center of a round serving platter.

Arrange dill pickles and stuffed olives at opposite sides of the dish, filling about a quarter of the platter.

Arrange black olives to fill remaining platter.

Carrot-Jicama Salad
1-2 Cups of Jicama, shredded
1 Apple, shredded
1 Carrot, shredded
1 handfull of Parsley, chopped
1 Lime, juiced
Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Use a cheese grater or food processor with a grater dish to shredd the Jicama, apple and carrot.

Place in a serving bowl. Chop parsley, sprinkle over the salad.

Squeeze the lime over the salad, then season with salt. Toss and chill until ready to serve

Southern Style Orange-Glazed Ham
8 lb Smoked Ham
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Ginger Ale
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

Trim skin away from ham, leaving no more than a 1/4-inch border of fat. Place ham in a large roasting bag.

In a large measuring cup with a pour spout, combine orange juice, Ginger Ale, brown sugar, oil, vinegar, mustard, and ground spices. Whisk to combine. Pour mixture over ham. Tie bag tightly. Place in a large bowl, and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove ham from marinade, and reserve the marinade. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan; insert meat thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat or bone.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the ham in the heated oven for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140-degrees (18 to 24 minutes per pound), basting with reserved marinade every 20 minutes.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
6 large Russet Potatoes, cut in thin slices
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to tate
6 tablespoons Butter
6 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 cups Gouda Cheese, shredded

Spray a slow cooker with nonstick spray. (A “must” for easy clean up!)

Scrub potatoes and slice thin using a slicer. Place potatoes into the prepared slow-cooker.

Peel and dice the onion. Sprinkle over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to blend.

In a small saucepan melt butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle with flour while whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes to create a light roux.

Slowly add milk, continuing to whisk until smooth. Add cheeses and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Remove from heat and pour cheese mixture over potatoes.

Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours. Serve warm

Southern Slow Cooker Bacon Green Beans
2 lbs frozen Green Beans
4 strips Bacon
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Lightly spray the crock of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

Place green beans in a colander and rinse under cold water to remove any ice crystals and thaw beans. Set aside over a plate to drain.

Chop bacon into pieces. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium heat until lightly crisp. Remove from skillet using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the skillet.

Peel and dice the onion. Fry until tender in bacon drippings over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Add the green beans, onion, chicken stock, salt, pepper, and about 1/2 of the bacon to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low to 6 or until the beans are tender. Stir the beans a couple times during cooking. Serve topped with the remaining bacon pieces.

Note: Serve in a warm serving bowl or straight from the slow cooker to keep warm throughout the night.

Bourbon Fruitcake
1/2 cup Red Candied Cherries
1/2 cup Green Candied Cherries
1 cups Golden Raisins
1 1/2 cups Bourbon Whiskey
4 Eggs, separated
1 cup soft Butter
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 cups Pecans

Combine fruit and bourbon; let stand overnight, drain and reserve bourbon.

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch by-5-inch by-3-inch deep loaf pans and set aside.

In small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; set aside.

In 5-quart bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg yolks, reserved bourbon and dry ingredients; mix well. Fold in beaten egg whites. Add fruit and nuts.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake in the heated oven for 2 hours or until cake tester comes out clean.

Remove cakes from pans and cool. Wrap lightly and store 2 to 3 weeks before serving to allow flavor to fully develop.

Holiday Gingerbread
2 2/3 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 teaspoons ground Ginger
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Molasses
1 cup Hot Water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk molasses and hot water until combined. Stir into egg mixture. Gradually stir flour mixture into egg mixture, forming the dough.

Pour batter into loaf pan, filling it 2/3 of the way up. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes before removing from pan, then cool an additional 30 minutes. While the gingerbread is cooling, make the glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Whisk powdered sugar, milk and cinnamon. Drizzle on top of gingerbread loaf.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

8 thoughts on “Throw Open the Doors this Holiday Season”

  1. This is a lovely menu, and I love that you’ve enlisted the help of the slow cooker! I think I’ll try the wassail, never made this before, the pineapple sounds really interesting here, and just the name sounds festive. What time did you say? P.S. We have an open house too, only we just call it a party!


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