It’s Christmas time just around the corner that means thinking about traditions and Christmas dinner. We all have our favorite Christmas family traditions. One of my favorite was as a child Christmas Eve was spent at my grandmother’s and grandfather’s house with all the cousins. Everyone had a gift to open and every year my grandmother made a birthday cake for Jesus. We used to sing Happy Birthday to him and blow out the candle. It was precious time.

These traditions over the years help me to get into the Christmas spirit, even though not all my family is around and it’s been years since I’ve seen any of my cousins. I do know that they are all thinking of the times we had growing up and that brings us together. Now enough of my sentimentally and let’s get to the business of Christmas meals.

What makes a meal great are the added spices and herbs. Before you go out on a limb and try to cook “Grandma’s Sauce” first know what spices she’s used, why and how much. Here is a run-down of spices and herbs and what they add to a meal:

  •  Basil~it has a sweet warm flavor and is very aromatic. It is good on lamb, fish, roast, stews, vegetables and omelets.
  • Bay Leaves~(always remove before meal is served) It is good on vegetables, seafood, and stews.
  • Oregano~pungent can be used whole or ground on fish, eggs, pizza, chili, gravy, poultry, and vegetables.
  • Sage~this can be used fresh or dried. Best if used in beef, stuffing, cheese spread, cornbread and biscuits.
  • Caraway~spicy and aromatic taste. Works well in cakes, breads, coups, cheese and sauerkraut.

These are just a few of the spices that in most cases are used in making that Christmas dinner taste extra special. My favorite is Basil. I prefer it fresh with tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella cheese with a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar. Be brave and attempt cooking the meal this year. Don’t be afraid to add your own little spice to make it memorable.