Christmas Family Traditions

Every year I look forward to my family traditions on Christmas. Growing up I lived in a home with four generations under one roof. Yes, four. Living with several generations I’m sure you can understand when I say family parties and holidays were done to the extreme. Throw in a strong Italian background and there was enough food to feed the neighborhood … twice!


zuppa de pesce recipe

Over the years as loved ones have passed and generations have grown older we’ve learned to focus on simplicity around the holidays and what truly brings joy into our lives, being all together and continuing family traditions on Christmas.

With almost two months down of being a newlywed this Christmas Eve and Christmas will be our first time in almost seven years spending the holidays together. Crazy to some, I know! We both just love our families so much that we didn’t want to split holidays until we got married.

I’m so excited for Matt to share in my family traditions on Christmas and OBVIOUSLY try all of the yummy food. I hope you enjoy some of my family’s Christmas tradition recipes below!


stuffed artichoke recipe

Christmas family tradition RECIPES



3lbs Little Neck Clams
1lb Mussels
1 per person Slipper Lobster Tails
50 count Jumbo Shrimp
1lb calamari rings
46oz can of sea clam juice
3 or 4 (14.5oz) cans crushed tomato
1lb Sea Scallops
1/4 cup olive oil
1 stick of butter
2 tbls crushed red pepper
1 tbls chopped garlic
1 tspn dried parsley
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn salt
2lbs linguine pasta

  • Wash clams and mussels
  • Heat olive oil in large sauce pan & add garlic. After one minute add stick of butter, clams & mussels.
  • Let clams and mussels steam until they open and add crushed red pepper.
  • Once clams and mussels have opened, lower heat and remove from pan and place in large covered bowl. If any shellfish do not open over time you must throw them away. This is a sign they are BAD!
  • Add cans of crushed tomato to pan along with clam juice and additional spices. Allow to simmer for one hour. YUMMY FLAVOR!!!
  • About a half hour before you are going to serve add in shrimp, scallops and calamari rings to cook. These ingredients can get tough so do not add them any earlier.
  • Boil linguine. Serve seafood and sauce over pasta. This is where you can add a few clams and mussels to each persons dish.

Note: you can make this sauce a day in advance. The flavor just gets better over time!

Stuffed Artichoke:

6 to 8 artichokes
5 cloves garlic (we’re garlic people!)
2 tbls olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 cups Italian bread crumbs

  • Wash artichokes and trim off any pointy ends.
  • Cut off bottom stem and chop into small pieces. You will be using the stem in your stuffing.
  • Hold bottom of artichoke and smack it face down onto counter. This will help open up the center. You should be able to wiggle your thumbs in the center to open now.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stuff  center of artichokes with mixture.
  • You can either steam artichokes on stove top or in oven. I prefer stove top since it is easier to check on their progress. Fill either large stockpot or large baking dish with 2 to 3 cups of water. For those steaming in oven, preheat to 400 degrees and cover artichokes with aluminum foil before placing in oven.
  • Allow artichokes to steam. Continue to check on water level and add as needed. Both options should take 1 hour to 1 hour and twenty minutes. Check the very center leaves for signs the artichokes are done. You want to make sure they are not tough.
  • Once done, remove from heat and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can drizzle some of the steamed water over the artichokes for extra flavor. Enjoy!

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