Second Sunday of Advent and Saint Nicholas

Today two very special Christmas Season Days happily fall on the same day. December 6th is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas. Today also happens to be a Sunday in the Advent Season.

When Kiddo was a little guy, we celebrated the secular concept of Christmas on Saint Nicholas Day. Santa came to visit, we exchanged gifts with friends and family. Sometimes there was a lavish feast to share, or a gathering at Church with cookie exchanges. It was all about the childhood magic of Christmas with just a hint of the religious significance of the day.

Christmas Day was reserved for attending Midnight Mass and spending time together reflecting with joyful hope that it was the Birth of Christ that was the reason for the season. And before you say a word, most of us know Jesus was not born on December 25. However; it is the day chosen to celebrate his birth and that’s just fine. Celebrations are not about historical righteousness but about the spirit within.

Today we will wish one another a wonderful Saint Nicholas Day. Then, as a faithful family, we will light the second candle. This represents our longing for Peace.

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Lamb of God
Let Yours blessings come upon us
As we light the candles of this Advent wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a symbol
Of Christ’s promise of eternal salvation.

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Light the first Purple Candle (Hope)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
In the darkness and in the light, Holy is Your Name.
We place our hope in you, Oh Lord,
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Lord

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Light the second Purple Candle (Peace)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord; God of all creation.
Let your light shine on those who dwell in darkness.
Let the earth receive her King
And fill our hearts with Your everlasting peace

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

The beauty of Advent is that we come together in the glow of candlelight and enjoy a wonderful meal together. It truly is a magical time.

Second Sunday of Advent and Jolly Saint Nick
Skillet Pork Chops with Pan Sauce
Roasted Potatoes
Buttery Peas

Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites
Eggnog Brandy Delights

Pork Chops with Potatoes and Peas
Roasted Potatoes
4 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 Yellow Onion
Olive Oil as needed
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Scrub potatoes well, cut into chunks, about 1-1/2 inch pieces. Scatter potatoes on a rimmed baking pan.

Cut onino in half from root to tip. Reserve half of the onins for another purpose. Peel remaining half, cut int 1/2-inch slivers. Break apart, scatter over the potatoes.

Drizzle mixture with olive oil. Season well with salt and fresh black pepper. Toss to coat.

Bake in heated oven until potatoes are golden brown and tender and onions are soft, about 25 minutes.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

Skillet Pork Chops with Pan Sauce
1/3 cup Flour for dredging
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons Butter, divided
4 (6 oz.) bone-in Pork Chops (about 1/2-inch-thick)
1/4 cup Flour for sauce
1/4 cup White Wine
1 cup Chicken Stock
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Place flour in a shallow dish or pie tin. Season heavily with salt and pepper, whisk to combine.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.

Dredge pork chops in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess coating.

Place in the skillet and fry for 6 minutes undisturbed. Turn, continue to cook for another 6 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from skillet, arrange on a serving platter and keep warm.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the empty skillet. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup flour. Reduce heat to low, cook roux for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Let roux darken.

Add wine, scraping up all the browned bits in the pan. Add chicken stock, increase heat to medium-high and let come to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

1 can Young Peas
2 tablespoons Butter

Drain peas well, place in a sauce pan. Add butter and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes or until heated through. Lower heat to low, keep warm until ready to serve.

To Serve: Remove potatoes from oven, arrange on platter around the pork chops. Scatter some of the roasted onions directly on top of the pork chops for a little flair.

Drizzle some of the pan sauce over the chops, serve remaining sauce on the side to add as desired.

Transfer buttery peas to a shallow bowl, serve along side the pork chops and potatoes for a complete supper.

Remember, today is more than just the Second Sunday of Advent. While Advent is the reason, Saint Nick is the magic. In honor of Saint Nicholas Day, serve these delightful Cheesecake Santa Hat Bites. And don’t forget a cup of Eggnog Cheere!

Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites
Cookie Crust
18 Oreo Cookies
2-1/2 tablespoons Butter, melted and divided

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two large sheets of foil (one horizontally the other vertically over the first), allowing the foil to hang over the sides of the pan. Press foil smoothly into the pan and flat into the corners. Brush foil with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter. Set aside.

Place Oreos into a food processor fitted with a blade. Finely chop cookies to create crumbs. Empty cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix 2 tablespoons melted butter into the crumbs until combined and moist.

Press mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish (the bottom of a flat measuring cup or glass works well for pressing crust), set aside.

White Chocolate Cheesecake
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1-1/3 cups White Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup Heavy Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend cream cheese and sugar together on medium-low speed, about 30 seconds.

Add in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and mix until well blended. Set mixture aside.

In a separate microwave safe bowl, heat white chocolate chips with the heavy cream at 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to heat at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth.

Pour melted white chocolate mixture into cream cheese mixture and blend on low speed until combined. Remove bowl from the mixer.

Tap bowl against counter about 30 times to release some of the air bubbles then pour mixture over prepared crust in baking dish.

Bake in heated oven for 40 minutes then turn oven off. Without opening the door, allow cheesecake to rest in the warm oven for 15 minutes undisturbed.

Remove from oven and let cool at at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours or refrigerate for 6 hours.

Once cheesecake is fully chilled and set, remove from freezer or refrigerator and lift cheesecake out of pan using the foil overhang.

Cut cheesecake into squares just a little larger than the strawberries. Wipe knife clean with paper towels as needed to insure clean, smooth cuts. Arrange cheesecake squares on a flat work surface.

Santa’s Hat
25 small fresh Strawberries
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Powdered Sugar

In a well-chilled mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with an electric whisk to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Fill pastry bag fitted with small tip with the whipped cream. Set aside.

To assemble: cut bottoms of strawberries (wider end) flat. Pat cut end with a paper towel, then place one strawberry on top of each cheesecake square. top off of each strawberry and lay flat side down over top of cheesecake. Pipe whipped cream around strawberry base, then finish with a small ball at the the top of the “hat”.

Eggnog Brandy Delight
1/2 gallon Eggnog
1/2 cup Brandy
Cinnamon to taste

Fill a small punch bowl with eggnog. Add brandy, stir to blend. Ladle into glasses. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon to taste. Serve and enjoy.

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.

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