We are leaving for Long Island in a few days and you know it – cooking for a crowd every day and I HOPE Christmas Eve with my big Italian family!  I will do an IG live, but not Monday.  It will likely be next Wednesday. I crossed the last gift off my list, made batches of Big Cluster Granola in wide mouth mason jars for the teachers, and now I need to pack. Wish me luck!  Here’s your dinner planner for the week:

Meatless Monday: DIY bowl night with black beans, rice, quinoa, lettuce, salsa, vegan queso, roasted brussels sprouts, chipotle cauliflower, and pickled onions (on page 109 of KM)

Tuesday: Broccoli stalk soup served with grilled cheese sandwiches

Wednesday: Ranch Chicken Fingers p. 227 from Quicker than Quickcoleslaw, baked chipotle sweet potato fries

Thursday: Homemade wood fired pizza night at my mom’s house weather permitting! We serve pizza with this vegetarian antipasto salad.

Friday (Christmas Eve): Normally, this is a potluck dinner at my aunt’s house for 100-120 people!  We always have dozens of fish dishes, including linguine with clam sauce, baccala, stuffed clams, eel, octopus and more.  I have never published a clam sauce recipe, but I do something similar to this one but with a little tomato cooked into the sauce. If you are doing a seafood Christmas Eve, check out Cod Acqua Pazza or the Halibut with Capers and Lentils from my December 2020 online class; a simple arugula and radicchio salad; plus some garlicky broccoli rabe. Here’s a recipe for Whole Roasted Branzino if you’re in the mood for an easy and elegant fish dish or you can do the broiled branzino fillets from QTQ.  I will be making the Sticky Toffee Cake.  And the kids will make loads of cookies and bars that we’ll eat on Christmas as well.  I know Anna wants to make Magic Bars, Emma will make Molasses Ginger Cookies, and my niece is making Peppermint Bark Shortbread.  I received a few recommendations for Cucidati, Italian fig cookies.  Wish me luck and Buon Natale!

Christmas Day: My mom hosts Christmas dinner and we’ll start off with a big cheese board with nuts, salami and crudites.  Plus I’ll make the Italian 7-layer dip, Baked Feta from QTQ, cheesy pull apart bread or broccoli and roasted tomato stromboli wreath from Quicker than Quick. My mom always makes chicken soup with tortellini and beef tenderloin, and a recent tradition is the vegan lentil shepherd’s pie. Last year the Cheesy Broccoli Casserole was a mega-hit. I am also considering a roasted carrot dish with a pomegranate-pistachio relish like this recipe + a basic green salad. We’ll have some of the desserts from the night before + my Aunt Maria’s Christmas cookies and tangerines and sugared almonds.  Although this Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peppermint Ganache has been a hit in the past and so has Pear-Cranberry Gingersnap Crisp MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday: Leftovers! I usually make a mushroom-barley soup and add in yesterday’s leftovers.  The kids love it!  Here’s another great option:  Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup from Food52

Here’s what you can do in advance if it helps you: 

Here’s what you can do ahead if it helps you:


Make vegan queso

Make pickled onions

Cook beans if making from scratch

Make stock

Wash greens

Make seasoning mix for chicken fingers


Make peppermint bark shortbread

Make Magic Bars

Cut vegetables for shepherd’s pie


I have LOVED seeing all your creations of my recipes on Instagram. If you make any of my recipes, please tag me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman so I can check them out!

My cookbook, Quicker Than Quick, is discounted for the first time on Amazon!  If you have 1 minute, would you mind leaving a review on amazon?  I would be so grateful, thank you!

Take a peek at my first cookbook “Kitchen Matters”!

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