What's for Dinner #101 - the Holidaypalooza Edition! - December 2023

We just had the feastiest of all American feast days with Thanksgiving. Now, we’ve got Hanukkah and Christmas - time to spend with family and friends…and feast yet again. So…do you go with a copy of your Thanksgiving meal, or mix it up with a ham, salmon, a roast beast with Who-pudding, or do you just have a Scooby Snack kind of day?

In addition to planning the next holiday meal, if you celebrate, there are also non-food things to buy - for family, friends, and/or furry friends who inhabit our lives. So off to the stores to brave the insanity, if you must. There’s presents to buy, there’s wrapping and tags! And trimmings, and ribbons, and boxes and bags! (my little tribute to Dr. Seuss) And whatever you do, don’t forget the Scotch tape!

There’s a tree that needs to be set up - Do you have a Charlie Brown tree or full-figured Blue Spruce or Douglas Fir where the star or angel barely fits on top and you can barely squeeze around it in the living room because Dad insisted on getting the biggest, fattest tree in the lot or at the Christmas tree farm? Remember, those big trees just allow the cats to more easily drag it down as they climb it to undecorate way before you need or want to undecorate!

Having a Yankee Swap at work? I say go with the funny gifts - although those 7 bottles of wine I got one year from coworkers (only 2 were Yankee Swap gifts!) were certainly NOT off-base for me. :wink:

OR…are you just going to relax and not go crazy; enjoy being with family and friends, or even just be by yourself? Whatever you choose to do at the end of 2023, my wish is for peace, happiness, and health for us all.


A few years back, I worked for a small company and we picked names out of a hat for the “Christmas Party Gift Exchange”. I had asked to be “deleted” from the process, but the owner insisted that I participate.

I didn’t mind the “pot luck” Christmas dinner, as I used my slow cooker to make meatballs with duck sauce.

For me, the gift exchange was always a bust, I always got some “re-gifted” crap from the person that got my name. I tried to properly shop for the person whose name I got, but the effort was never reciprocated.

One year, I picked my own name out of the hat and kept my mouth shut. Nobody noticed, so I did dodge the gift exchange one year, but not so lucky the other years.


Ugh - sorry that happened to you. Which is why I always suggest “fun” gifts if it’s an anonymous Yankee Swap. Last year I bought a microwave “coffee pot” type of popcorn popper and some Amish popcorn kernels, and that got swapped multiple times before it ended up in the final hands.

One year, however, at least half the gifts were alcohol - wine, whiskey, beer. :expressionless: Which means people really didn’t put thought into it.

It usually is a crapshoot. But it’s fun!

Our Facebook WFD group has a diligent elf who organizes a Secret Santa every year. It’s always fun to share and receive local foods & specialties from members all over the country :slight_smile:


I wished I had received alcohol, at least I could have gotten some joy from the gift.

Yes, one year I got a pair of ski goggles… I don’t ski and the guy that gave them to me knew I didn’t ski. He skied… so he must have gotten them as a gift and they weren’t to his liking, so he re-gifted them to me.

I dropped them off at the local Goodwill the next day.

Another year I got a coffee mug in a box, it was a clear re-gift, as the person scratched out the To: and From: on the box. I could still see the her name in the To: section from when she received it.


Oooommmmggg love the cat photo :heart::heart::heart::heart:

Yet more proof why cats are my role models. :smiling_face::smiling_face::smiling_face::paw_prints::paw_prints::paw_prints:


I picked up some Andouille Sausages on clearance this morning. I’m guessing I could add them to some homemade soup, but would prefer to make some type of main course with them.

Anyone have any ideas?? favorite recipes??

Thank you in advance.

How about something like Dirty Rice? You could stretch the andouille further with some beans added (like Hoppin’ John with sausage).


Gumbo or jambalaya. Or throw it on a pizza.


Oh… that sounds really tasty. Which would go better a white pizza or traditional tomato sauce pizza??

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Good question :thinking:

In the end I would go with the kind of pizza you generally prefer & just think of it as a ‘special’ sausage topping. That said, Creole jambalya has tomato in it, so… maybe red?


I just mentioned pizza to Sunshine and her eyes lit up as she placed her order of… Thin crust, with tomato sauce, sliced onions, sliced black olives, sliced andouille sausage with just a little mozzarella cheese.
So I guess I’ll put that on the menu for next week. That should use up about 1/3 of the package.

The “dirty rice” idea is also a good idea, but I’ll have to make pizza first.


The horror :wink:

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Yes… As I was pitching other ideas, Sunshine just kept chanting “Pizza… Pizza…”


My kinda gal :rofl: Also, sounds a lot like my PIC.


Secret Santa gift exchanges should always be approached with low expectations.

Like low as in lower than the bottom floor on the elevator to hell.

That way you can fully enjoy the process and joy of giving, which is really what the holidays are about, aren’t they?

Then when no one is looking, you spit in your Secret Santa’s egg nog. Cuz, there’s really nothing quite like vengeance served with yuletide greetings.

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Maybe we’re just ‘blessed’ (hate the term, but 'tis the season :roll_eyes:), but in the 5 or so years the Secret Santa has been happening in our group, I’ve yet to receive any duds. But participation is voluntary, not mandatory, of course, so the folks who take part actually care about what they gift.

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If you are talking about family, yes I would agree.

But with co-workers… not so much. I didn’t even like those people, I barely tolerated them. I just wanted to do my job and collect a paycheck for the services I provided. I guess I should have approached the whole “Secret Santa” gift exchange as just a “sunk cost” associated with working for a small family owned company.

That’s how I approach co-workers who fart in the break room.

I only had to participate in a Secret Santa exchange once and the gifts that were exchanged was the same crappy stuff that everyone else gets at these things. Our director at the time wanted to do this so when he first brought up the idea at a staff meeting pretty well all of us tried talking him out of it. We all knew what was coming. I was still in contact with my family at the time and had nine family members to buy gifts for on my clerical salary. Buying crap at the dollar store that someone is just going to throw out anyway was an added stressor for me. I can’t remember what the director got for his gift but I just remember the look of disappointment on his face. That was the first and last time we did a Secret Santa.