As the house filled up, the noise level grew right along with the inviting scents wafting out of the kitchen. If you happened to be one of the last ones to arrive, a blanket of warmth and comfort enveloped you the moment you opened the door.
Grandma and Grandpa are getting older now, and though they usually still invite everybody over on the holidays, sometimes we just aren't able to make it. Between my kids getting older and having activities that (yes) overlap with the holidays, unpredictable work schedules, scary road conditions, and the overwhelming desire to hunker down in the house for as long as we possibly can, we often wind up celebrating and making meals for a smaller crowd. A much smaller crowd. Usually just the 5 of us.
I have a pretty small kitchen. Okay, it's very small. But there's been many a time that I roasted a whole bird or ham as well, and crowded side dishes in my oven (with 1 rack) before and after. What can I say, I like leftovers. But once the meal was served, I'd find myself feeling absolutely exhausted. The thought of heading back in and doing all of the dishes almost made me cry.
So, I got smart. I pared-down. Instead of a whole turkey, I roasted breasts or tenderloins. In place of a whole ham, I started choosing ham steaks. At first it seemed like cheating. Even the kids would eye their plates suspiciously. But one bite, and any negative thoughts disappeared.
See my original Ham Steak Glazed with Peach, Maple, and Bourbon post and Ham Steak Recipe at Food Fanatic!