Breaking Up with Tradition


Not this year!

For as long as I can remember, my family has served a prime rib for Christmas.  Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, and sometimes it was on Christmas Day, but there was always a prime rib to be eaten.  When the entire family was together, the roast was ginormous and brought out like a spectacle to the dinner table.  I always clamored for an end piece, with all that glorious caramelized coating of garlic and herbs.  Naturally, when I grew up and moved away and it was time for me to make my own Christmas dinner, I knew I’d make a prime rib roast.  Talk about an eye-opening experience.  I’d never paid attention to how much it cost to buy a prime rib.  As I searched for a smallish roast (no more than 5 pounds), I was flabbergasted to see it was going to cost almost my entire dinner budget for the main dish alone!  Looking back, I’m not sure what I expected; I just know I was on my own for the first time, paying rent, paying bills and watching every penny.  After that I began to put money away a couple months before Christmas to carry on the tradition.

Traditions are special, that’s why they’re something people do on special occasions.  I love our annual prime rib (especially when I’m able to get my hands on a bottle of Ponte Holiday Reserve Zinfandel to go with it!), but this year I’ve decided to break tradition.  Due to the fact that my family will be traveling up until Christmas Eve and I’m not about to plan an elaborate Christmas dinner on top of all the packing and planning I’m already doing, our rib will be replaced by a lovely Christmas lasagna.

Now, I’m not one to make lasagna very often either, so in a way it will still be special.  Homemade, yes.  From scratch…yes, I think.  Does using those no-boil noodles count?  Well, if not, I’ll use them anyway, they are amazing: no boiling, no sticking, no tearing, no frustration.  I know that, traditionally, lasagna should take a really long time to make, but I have been using the same, speedy recipe for years and it’s really delicious.  The sauce takes 20 minutes from start to finish, no joke, and tastes like it’s been cooking all day.  Here is a link to the recipe I use.

My plan is to be up early on Christmas morning to make sticky buns, bacon and coffee, open gifts and actually sit down and relax for most of the day.  No rib to marinate, no rib to bring to room temperature, no side dishes to make!  Sometime in the late afternoon I’m sure I’ll prep my lasagna ingredients, then assemble the dish before sticking it in the oven for an hour to bake.  Right before we eat I’ll uncork our bottle of Ponte Barbera.  Grace will be said, we’ll dive in, we’ll fill up.  Dessert? Yes.  Someone gave me a homemade raspberry cheesecake which has been sitting nicely in my freezer, waiting for Christmas Day.  It’s a tough job, making Christmas dinner, isn’t it? Here’s to breaking tradition and having a relaxing and wonderful holiday!


–Erica Martinez


Posted by , December 23, 2014 No comments

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