The No Stress Christmas Eve Buffet

December 23, 2019

The countdown has begun. (Actually it began BEFORE Halloween). The holidays are here with all the stress that goes with it. Most of us have limited time to devote to all the things that will claim our sanity from now until January 2nd. But we try to please our loved ones and friends by putting merry into Christmas. One of the most overwhelming jobs for people at this time of the year is cooking. Well, if it were just one day that would not be bad but I am talking about cooking for THE SEASON, you know, from Thanksgiving to New Years. That’s a lot of trips to the grocery store. One of the things I like to do each year is host a Christmas Eve Buffet where I can make all the food ahead of time. That way, I can enjoy the party too without being frazzled and cooking at the last minute. So here is a menu that I am going to use this year. Some of these recipes are from my latest book: Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Itlay.It should really be a gift under the tree! Anyway, I hope you will consider trying some or all of the recipe ideas from the book listed here. They can all be made ahead of time leaving you with a very peaceful and restful holiday.

White Lasagne with Pine Nuts

Fig and Balsamic Glazed Pork Butt– Recipe fromCiao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Cherry Chocolate Tiramisu

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake — Recipe below

This no bake frozen “cake” must be on our Christmas table; it was a favorite of my children, and still is, and I can’t think of the holiday without it. Put it together a month ahead of time and stash it in the freezer. There are only two ingredients, good peppermint ice cream and store bought chocolate wafer cookies. I gild the dessert and serve it with warm hot fudge sauce…..Christmas comes but once a year.

Chocolate Wafer Cookie Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
Serves 8

1 box chocolate wafer cookies
1 quart peppermint stick ice cream, softened)
Hot fudge sauce (optional)
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, and leave at least 2 inches of an overhang.

Place a layer of cookies in the base of the pan. Don’t worry if they do not fill in the entire area. Spread a layer of ice cream over the cookies.

Repeat, making as many layers of cookies and ice cream that your pan can accommodate. Make the top layers cookies

Bring the overhanging edges of plastic wrap over the top of the pan to cover and press on pan with your hands to compact the layers.

Wrap the pan tightly in aluminum foil and freeze until ready to serve.

To serve:

Remove the foil and invert the loaf onto a serving platter or rectangular dish. Remove and discard the plastic wrap.

Cut the cake into slices and serve with warm hot fudge sauce, or whipped cream and nuts.


15 seconds in the microwave will soften a quart of ice cream that is perfect for spreading.

Let the ice cream cake stand about 5 minutes before cutting and use a serrated knife that has been dipped in warm water; re-dip for each cut.

Use vanilla wafers in place of chocolate.

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