The Christmas week here at Wonderland Kitchen annually includes three or more solid days of feeding six adult people. Sure, we get a restaurant meal in one evening and nosh on plenty of cookies along the way, but a little cafeteria strategy keeps us from going hungry without someone spending the entire holiday in front of the stove.

This year, my plan was homemade soups and breads, rounded out with some store-bought meats and cheeses for sandwich-making, so that a variety of meal combinations could be patched together to match the widest variety of tastes and dietary requirements.

To that end, I started researching options that might make a dent in the supplies offered by my (previously!) over-stocked pantry, and we ended up with some real winners. I wasn’t planning to post these dishes, so I didn’t take the usual series of process shots, but some of the recipes I discovered were just too tasty to horde for myself.

The Breads:

I made these both pretty much exactly as outlined in the linked recipes, no real adaptation or tweaks required.

Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco
from Dianna Wara/King Arthur Flour

Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco

Looked like such a challenge, but it really wasn’t (so perfect for entertaining!). I admit I was skeptical about using scissors to cut open my loaf before shaping, so at first I tried using a serrated knife. That was a fail. Just use the scissors. The good people at King Arthur Flour know what they are talking about without my interventions.

New York Deli Rye
from Smitten Kitchen/The Bread Bible

New York Deli Rye

The only switch up I employ here is to form the loaf into a batard shape and slash it deeply across four or five times. I bake it with the ice/steam method suggested.

The Soups:

(Absolutely the Best, Most Awesome) Cream of Tomato Soup (Ever!)
from Smitten Kitchen/The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

Cream of Tomato Soup

I skipped the brandy and the cayenne pepper, because I worried it would scare off my family, and I didn’t think the soup needed any additional salt. I immediately ate two bowls.

Gypsy Soup
from The Yellow House/Mollie Katzen’s The New Moosewood Cookbook

Gypsy Soup

This seemed like a great dish to keep warm on the back burner and feed to arriving family members after their long drives to our house. It made a huge amount, and yet it seems to have disappeared. I’ll be keeping this one in the winter rotation.

I swapped potatoes/sweet potatoes for the squash (that’s what I had), used swiss chard for the greens (my preference in most cooking cases), and mixed a spice combination of 1 tsp. hot curry, 2 tsps. garam masala, and 3 tsps. sweet Hungarian paprika (in place of the turmeric, paprika, bay leaf, and cayenne indicated in the recipe).