Holiday Dinner Series Recipes and Round-Up: Sides

Since Christmas is only four days away, it's time to get crazy with the food. Last week, I shared a holiday appetizer recipe with you and today I've got two sides I think you'll love. One is more traditional in the realm of veggies and the other is a favorite of mine and incredibly versatile. 

Roasted Vegges Wrapped in Bacon
What I love about this particular side is that there are no rules. You can use whatever vegetables you find on sale or have in the fridge. It's all about cutting them into long pieces, that's about it. You can also sub pancetta, prosciutto, soppressata or any other similar meat for bacon. My only note of caution is for asparagus. If you choose to use asparagus, I would do them on their own and use prosciutto. Nothing is worse than soft asparagus and prosciutto can be eaten raw or just cooked a tiny bit.

2 large carrots quartered length-wise
3 large parsnips quartered length-wise
12 long green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 bacon slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the carrots and parsnips accordingly. Bind an equal combination of the veggies together (such as two or three each) depending on how large you want your bundles. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Roast for about 30 minutes until bacon has browned and vegetables are tender.

Makes 4 bundles

Crockpot Meatballs in Marinara
My family's Christmas tradition is to have homemade raviolis. As delicious as those babies are, they dominate the stove. So when it comes to the rest of the food on Christmas Day, it's easiest if it can either be made ahead, made only in the oven or in the crockpot. The best part about a crockpot is that it keeps the food warm. The best part about meatballs is that they are incredibly versatile. You can have them as is, put them in a roll to eat as a sandwich, put them on top of pasta and so much more. This is a recipe that everyone is bound to love. How can they not?!

For the meatballs...
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 egg
1 tbsp. olive oil (for cooking)

For the gravy...
42 oz. tomato sauce
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. thyme, chopped
1.5 tsp. oregano, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs through the egg. Form into 2-inch balls. Heat the olive oil over a large skillet, add meatballs and brown on all sides.

Place all the ingredients for the gravy in the crockpot, mix. Add meatballs gently. Mix together lightly, just enough to coat the meatballs. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Serve.

Makes about 50 meatballs

And if you need a little more inspiration, here are a few recipes that look quite tasty...
Apple Cranberry Fruit Salad - Tastes Better From Scratch
Bacon Wrapped Kielbasa Bites with Brown Sugar Glaze - What the Fork Food Blog
Baked Gnocchi with Sage and Cheese Sauce - Culinary Ginger
Broccoli Casserole From Scratch - Kristine's Kitchen
Broccoli Rabe Arancini with Marinara Sauce - Andy Boy
Christmas Tree Pull-Apart - Eclectic Recipes
Cold Tortellini Salad - The Idea Room
Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing - Cincy Shopper
Crispy Potato Roast - Cake's Kitchen
Garlic & Herb Cheese Bombs - Love Bakes Good Cakes
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower - Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts - The Food Charlatan
Sauteed Garlic and Parmesan Mushrooms - Jo Cooks
The Best Dinner Rolls - Roxana's Home Baking