The first thing I made was a Cooking Light's butternut squash lasagna. I was nervous because I didn't know how I would like the mix of flavors, but it was really good. Next time I would use even more squash, and definitely a bigger pan (it overflowed a little). The sauce was simple, but very tasty (even though I didn't use the fire-roasted tomatoes), and I can see myself making this for all types of pasta.
Next up was Christmas Eve dinner. I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary, and what immediately came to mind was a dish that my friend Sam made a few weeks earlier - braised short ribs. I sort of followed Cooking Light's recipe for braised short ribs, but also used Sam's instructions. Basically, I sprinkled salt and pepper on the ribs, browned them on all sides, and set them aside. Then I sauteed sliced onions, celery, leeks, carrots, and garlic until tender. I then added about 2 cups of cabernet sauvignon, peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf and let that reduce until the wine had almost completely evaporated. Then I added a few cups of beef broth and poured that over the ribs, adding more broth so that they were almost covered. Then I covered the pan with foil and let it cook at 300 for 3 1/2 hours (at this point I picked up a piece of meat and the bone fell out). It was really tasty and probably the most tender beef I've had, but not an everyday recipe (because of time and money). I also made a mushroom, brown rice, and wheat berry pilaf from the Moosewood cookbook. It was really tasty, and I can't get enough wheat berries! Finally, I made roasted cabbage and potatoes from A Year of CrockPotting, but unfortunately I didn't know that the cooking temperatures on Mom's crockpot are way too low, so the potatoes weren't cooked. I've made it again in mine since I got back to Michigan, and it was really good.
I also made some desserts sweetened with dates and fruit juice. The fudge had grape juice in it, and that's all I could taste. I didn't like it at all. However, the peanut butter chewies were very tasty, and I'm sure I'll be making them again some time.
After that I didn't get much cooking done due to a lot of small trips to Atlanta, Gainesville, and Jacksonville (and because we had to eat up some leftovers!), but I'm trying to make up for that now.