I’ve Been Naughty and Nice!

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I’ve Been Naughty and Nice!

By Paula Deen

As you can see, Michael and I are serious about gettin’ into the Christmas spirit. We roam about town, hitting up the holiday festivities. Folks are always coming up to say the nicest things, but Michael, he gets these long, quiet stares from the children, like they’re trying to figure him out. It took me a while to realize that they thought they were seein’ Santa Claus himself!

Come to think of it, maybe that’s what attracted me to him in the first place. Michael and Santa are alike in a lot of ways. Besides the white beard and a jolly belly, my husband and Santa share a great smile, a sense of humor and a heart as big as Georgia. Up until Michael came along, the best Christmas gift I ever received was that beautiful Mary Hartline doll Santa brought me when I was five. But Santa outdid himself when he brought me Michael Groover. Our second Christmas together Michael proposed, and nothin’ can hold a candle to that.

When Michael was all dressed up as Santa, he got to teasin’ me, asking if I’d been naughty or nice. I’d be lying if I said I’ve been a good girl all year and he’d call my bluff anyhow. But that’s the thing I like about Christmas, you get the chance to start off fresh. I know I should be takin’ better care of myself and that should probably begin with the foods I’m putting in my mouth. So this year, I’m going to cook up a Christmas dinner that’s a lot like me: a little naughty and a little nice.

Bobby and Jamie have taken my traditional Christmas menu and lightened it up. ‘Course, some things I’m just not willing to compromise, like my Lady’s Cheesy Mac. I’ve been making that dish my whole life and I believe in my heart that every tablespoon of butter and cup of cheese is absolutely necessary (at least that’s what my taste buds tell me). But I am going to balance out all that delicious fat and flavor with some lighter desserts and sides. “You won’t even know the difference,” Bobby assures me, smiling. “But your heart will.”

He’s probably right. Besides, it shouldn’t matter what we’re making as long as we’re serving it up to a table full of friends and family. That said, it’s still going to be delicious—and give me license for a second helping of cheesy mac!

I’ve included my Christmas favorites here for you to pick and choose what you like. Aim to create a menu that’s balanced, making a few selections from the “naughty” list and a few from the “nice.” No one expects you to be a perfect little Pollyanna at Christmas. In fact, sometimes a little naughty can be fun. At least that’s what my “Santa” tells me.

“Naughty”
Stuffed Turkey Breast
Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
Green Bean Casserole
Lady’s Cheesy Mac
Sweet Potato Bake
Southern Cornbread Stuffing
Peppermint Pie
Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Pumpkin Crunch

“Nice”
The Deen Bros. Lighter Stuffed Turkey Breast
The Deen Bros. Lighter Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
Bobby’s Lighter Green Bean Casserole
Bobby’s Lighter Lady’s Cheesy Mac
Bobby’s Lighter Sweet Potato Bake
Bobby’s Lighter Southern Cornbread Stuffing
Bobby’s Lighter Peppermint Pie
Bobby’s Lighter Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Bobby’s Lighter Pumpkin Crunch

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Christmas.

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Reader Comments:

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You two are beautiful together

By kim on December 23, 2013

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I'm a big fan Paula. My husband brought me to Lady & Son's. And I have a lot of your cookbooks. Thanks for being such a inspiring person in my life. You always motivate me.

By Char Moore on April 23, 2013

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If anyone thinks Paula got diabetics from how she ate, then u are very stupid, Paula it has happened to the best of us, this should give bobby even more reason to make healthy dishes. Don;t give up and be dispeared, it does not mean u can;t enjot your food by any means. U stand tall and proud and we will be behind u. I have had it since 1997 and occasionaly I enjoy reg. food . Nothing to be ashamed of. But for u stupid health people and some are, it is inherited not caused by your diet, and all these so called idiots who claim u can stop it, are just plain ignorant. I never knew who in my family had it but both my brothers had it. hugs Rosie

By R.Herdman on January 17, 2012

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Love your show and your reciepes

By jean price-reynolds on January 02, 2012

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Paula, I just had to comment on your mac n cheese! I always add a little something new to my holiday menu...I'm only cooking for 6 but you would swear it's an army.This year ,"my Santa" gave me a new state of the art slow cooker Whatttttttttt..i had just seen a clip on the internet of this amazing mac n cheese and well...this entire family went haywire on Christmas Day!First they could not believe I did not make my family secret Baked mac(with this crew Holidays are all about mac n cheese)nor could they believe 5 meats aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand tons of sides(email for another day)Thanks Santa & Thanks to you,Paula....You made this girl and her familys Christmas top notch..I love your recipes and show..don't LET those boys make you get a lighter side either you can Eat the whole stick of butter or forget it ...theres no DIET Butter...Yvette

By Yvette Steward on December 26, 2011

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Dear Paula, Once again my family "loved" the new recipe I used from your newsletter....I varied the original and the lighter and put it just a little in between for my health conscious future daughter in law.....Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus. I love when my family asks what is this? And I just say....from Paula! My guests always love your recipes and I do too! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

By Deb LaFever on December 25, 2011

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PAULA ASIDE FROM LOVING YOUR SHOWS AND RECIPES AND LOOKIN A BIT LIKE YOU AND OUR LIVES RUNNING CLOSE (EXCEPT I DIDN'T GET MY MAN)......LOL I MUST TELL YOU THAT YOU AND MICHAEL ARE THE MOST GORGEOUS AND CLASSIEST MR. AND MRS. CLAUS I HAVE EVER SEEN.

By JOYCE HOLSTON on December 24, 2011

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Merry Christmas Paula and Michael and to your family. I love your food and hearing and listening to you.

By Barbara Waddell on December 22, 2011

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Love your shows, watch them every day. God Bless You All!

By Dolly Groh on December 22, 2011

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Paula, I lovvveeeee Savannah & I adore you. You are one of the coolest Southern Gals that I've ever seen!! I love hearing you talk. I love any recipes that contains GRITS. I love GRITS!! Some day I hope to get to meet you. I hope you & yours have a Wonderful Christmas!

By Kathy Love on December 22, 2011

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paula, i don't make anything without your recipes,i love you'''''''''''''''''''

By anita davidson on December 22, 2011

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Paula, You and Michael make Christmas so beautiful and exciting!!!! My Husband and I have been married 39 years and we are trying to come to your place breakfast, lunch and Dinner...I hope are plans don't get cancelled....I have been wanting to meet you for a long time...I watch your show everyday and now my husband does too!! So, if you eat and little naughty with a little nice it's a great thing....You Both keep Loving each other and I hope to one day see you.... Love Sharon and Gary Welker Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

By Sharon Welker on December 21, 2011

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Paula , my husband and I came to Georgia in hopes of seeing you. I tried to get tickets for the food show in Washington DC. I just couldn't afford the tickets. All said and done, we went on your tour in Georgia, visited Uncle Bubba's and Lady and Sons. Had a wonderful time. I use alot of your receipts and enjoy every one. You and Michael look so cute in your Christmas outfits. May y'all have a wonderful Christmas

By Elizabeth Brewster on December 21, 2011

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MERRY CHRISTMAS YA'LL !MUCH LOVE SENT YOU'RE WAY, HAVE A HAPPY HAPPY CHRISTMAS DAY !I AM A BIG FAN OF YOURES AND DON'T MISS A SHOW !JUST WANTED TO LET YA'LL KNOW ! AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR !

By catherine martin on December 21, 2011

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Love this! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

By Elise Johnson on December 21, 2011

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Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas, blessings in 2012 and thank you and your family for great recipes and shows.You two make the sweetest couple!!! Linda

By Linda Hottle on December 21, 2011

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Hi Paula, I have a oven with a closed in element. So when I bake a pie, my pie crust is cooked on top, but on the bottom it is uncooked. So can you give me a tip on how to cook the bottom part of the crusted please. Thanks Paula. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Joanne Brown My E-Mail is joanne65@sympatico.ca

By Joanne Brown on December 21, 2011

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paula i have been trying to get a apron from you for a long time and having no luck. i can't get out because i am a foster mother of 3 special men and it is hard to get out. if you please send me a apron i would gladly pay you for it. just let me know what to do. i have trying for 2 years to get a apron. thank you paula and god bless you. i am so happy for you. you have come a long way. maggie

By maggie whayne on December 20, 2011

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Now you two look like the real Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.Hope you ride around Savannah in one of the white horsedrawn carraiges and drive all the kids wild.

By Liz on December 20, 2011

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MICHAEL & PAULA MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS WE LOVE YOU ALL.... BARBARA R

By BARBARA ROGERS on December 20, 2011

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