Turkey and stuffing again? Been there and done that already this year. My culinary hubs had an idea that this Christmas we have an Italian Christmas Dinner. When he mentioned that I did an air pump and a little foodie dance as visions of cheese and meaty pasta danced through my head. But then he proceeded to tell me that an Italian Christmas was all about fish! FISH?!? I mean, I love sushi and a nice baked cod is delicious… But on CHRISTMAS? So I did my own research and indeed Italians do enjoy fish, but typically on Christmas Eve. Never one to follow rules I made an exception and pointed to Google on my iPhone, “See!” I said, “Italians eat fish dishes on Christmas EVE. Not Christmas. Sorry!” So, Baked Meaty Ziti anyone? The Gourmet Dad compromised. He would make his fish dishes and I could make dishes that screamed Italian Christmas to me. Perfect… Let’s cook!


Dean got up bright and early Christmas Eve Day and visited the fresh fish market in Santa Monica. He got some amazing fresh picks!


Working his under the sea wonders…


Here’s his amazing Linguini and Clams!

He even made octopus!

The grilled octopus and crab stuffed squid was so delicious! Hattie ate squid and loved it. 

And, then there’s my contribution…


Baked Meaty Ziti

• 1 pound dry ziti pasta
• 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• ½ pound ground beef
• ½ pound ground pork sausage
• 1 ½ (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
• Salt to taste
• 1 (6 ounce) package provolone cheese, sliced
• ¾ cup sour cream
• ¾ cup cottage cheese
• 1 (6 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil
2. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente, then drain
3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in oil until tender.
4. Stir in rosemary and garlic, and transfer to a small bowl
5. Place the ground beef and sausage into a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown
6. Stir in the onion mixture and the spaghetti sauce. Season with salt, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
8. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. In this dish, layer ½ of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, sour scream, cottage cheese, and a little less than ½ of the meat mixture.
9. Then layer the rest of the pasta, mozzarella cheese, remaining meat mixture, and Parmesan cheese
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheese are melted


Extra Sharp Mac(Dermott) N’ Cheese

Everyone makes Mac n’ cheese so what makes mine delicious? Extra sharp cheddar, half n half, and cottage cheese! Makes a delicious creamy cheese sauce you can pour over your pasta and bake! I finish it off with some Parmesan grated on top.


Seafood, Meat, and Cheese all in harmony!


The Gourmet Dad and our little Christmas miracle baby Finn


The Guncles, Nana J, and Cousin Simone joined us for dinner along with my Mom, Patsy’s son and daughter in law and her new Grand-baby Shayal.


And Mitzi-Claus was simply pooped!


Hattie entertained


While Liam chillaxed!


Liam, Stella, and Simone held down the kids table


I went 80’s Christmas with a red satin blouse and green and clear crystal brooch.


My fave Christmas gift this year! Thanks Guncles!


My beautiful Goddaughter Simone aka Nuggy giving me a Christmas kiss. Ok fine… I did bribe her with a life size Barbie.


Our friend Jill made us an amazing Carrot Cake and I finally got to use these green glass dessert plates I found at an estate sale


After a great Italian Christmas with family everyone was full and happy and ready for bed…


Well except Hattie… Who was on a carrot cake high!

All in all, it was a Christmas dinner we’ll never forget. The food, the friends and the family made this night absolutely perfect. And I’ve got to give it to my hubby… the idea to have an Italian Christmas dinner was genius, and I’m thinking it might become a McDermott family tradition. Guess we’ll have to wait til next year to see!

Tell me about your Christmas dinner! What was on the menu? Who was on the guest list?


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