'Tis the Season:
Holiday Recipes and other Holiday Fun
Merry Christmas, Wishing you a bright and meaningful Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah. Whichever the greeting, it’s a wonderful month to celebrate.
We all love to leap right into this season full of joy, aspirations, and child-like giddiness. After all, it is a time when friends and families get together to enjoy one another’s company. To tell stories, play games and exchange gifts. For others, it may be a time to reflect and celebrate their faith. Whatever the celebration you may partake in, I am sure food will play a major roll. This time around we’d like to share some of our favorite side dish recipes of the season. From our table to yours. Enjoy.
Let’s get started with an aromatic simmer pot:
Simmer pots are a great way to fill your home with the scents of fruits and spices. These scents will welcome your guests into your home or perhaps make them feel as if they have been transported somewhere else. What a great place to start.
Simple and Satisfying:
Easy Festive Simmer Pot Ingredients:
- Peel from 1 or 2 oranges (you can also use orange slices if you’re wanting to make this as a gift and make the jar look prettier, but there’s a ton of scent in the peel, so if you’re just making this for your own home, the peel will suffice)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- Small fresh Christmas tree branch or a couple of sprigs of rosemary
- Cranberries (just add enough for color – these don’t add any scent, but they sure make the simmer pot & mason jar look gorgeous and festive!)
Simmer Pot Instructions
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on the stove top.
- Pour water into the saucepan – just enough to cover the ingredients.
- Set to simmer over low heat. You’ll start noticing a scent within about 15 minutes.
- Check your pot every 2-3 hours to see if you need to add more water (it’ll evaporate, but just keep adding more – there’s still plenty of scent there!)
- Use your simmer pot for up to 2-3 days just by continuing to add water.
With a deep breath in through the nose, you give a satisfied exhale of the special aromas you just created. As the scents permeate throughout your home, your thoughts may switch over to “What will I serve my guests this year?”. For the most part we tend to focus on the center piece of our meals: Turkey, ham, a roast, or whatever the protein is, it is always complimented with the sides. Potatoes, veggies or perhaps a pasta. A greens salad, rolls, or some special bread. Let’s hear it for the sides. Today you’ll find some of our staff’s favorite side dishes to add or try on your table.
Kelly’s Green Bean Casserole
- 1 lb. fresh (cleaned & trimmed) or frozen green beans (French Style recommended)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 12 oz. mushrooms trimmed and sliced (cremini recommended)
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted recommended)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (oat flour recommended)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 8 oz can French’s ® Fried Crispy onions
- Salt and pepper to your own taste
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- Melt butter in a large frying pan, add mushrooms (salt) cook on medium high heat for 4-5 min. Add garlic, cumin and oregano continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle flour on mixture and stir to combine, cook for 1 min. Slowly add chicken broth and simmer for 1 min. Decrease the heat to low and add half & half. Cook until mixture thickens (5-8 min.)
- Remove from heat add in ¼ of the French’s fried onions, all the green beans and mix well. Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and add French’s fried onions to top, bake for an additional 5-8 minute.
Remove and enjoy!!!
Marlowe’s Roasted Veggies
- butternut squash- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes. You can also use pre-cut butternut squash that is readily available at grocery stores this time of year. This will cut down your prep time significantly.
- brussels sprouts
- baby potatoes
- olive oil
- fresh thyme- you could use rosemary or sage instead, or a combination of the three.
- balsamic vinegar
- saltand pepper
This is such an easy recipe to prep. All you do is chop up your vegetables (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and potatoes), and then throw them into a mixing bowl or directly into a large 1/2" baking pan. Add in the remaining seasonings (olive oil, thyme, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper), and. toss to combine until all vegetables are evenly coated.
Spread the vegetables evenly on the pan into a single layer. Transfer the sheet pan into a preheated 375 F oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the butternut squash and potatoes are tender. Roasting these vegetables intensifies their flavor to another level. So, so delicious and flavorful.
Eddie’s Sweet Potato Mash
Velvety, smooth, and creamy, these savory mashed sweet potatoes dish is quick and easy and can be made ahead of time -- it is the perfect side for your holiday meal.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Salt and Pepper
- Crushes Pecans
- Brown Sugar
- Melted Butter
- Place chopped potatoes and squash in a large pot and cover with salted water to cover potatoes by about an inch. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until tender and soft when you insert a fork, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Drain sweet potatoes and squash and place back in the pot. Mash them using a potato masher (or a fork).
- Add salt and pepper and incorporate into the sweet potatoes.
- Mix oats, crushed pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar to melted butter
- Pour mixture on top and bake until golden brown
Garnish, serve and enjoy.
Aisling’s Family Turkey Stuffing
- 1 ½ loaves bread cut into cubes and slightly stale.
- 2 ribs celery diced into small cubes
- 2 yellow onions chopped small
- 1 apple peeled and chopped; Granny Smith works best!
- 2 potatoes peeled and mashed
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Sage – start with a tablespoon and add as needed
- Add the first 5 ingredients to a large bowl and mix.
- Add seasonings and mix
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Your bread should be slightly stale; if you need to you can leave the sliced bread out on your countertop for a couple of hours before you’re ready to use OR if you’re really in a hurry you can toast the bread cubes lightly in the oven first
- Add a small handful of chopped walnuts for added crunch and texture
- You can make this overnight and keep it in the fridge but you should NEVER stuff your turkey until you’re ready to put it in the oven!
Claire’s Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
Garlic Cheddar Biscuits are a simple but delicious and flavorful no yeast bread that is ready for the oven with less than 15 minutes of prep. They are soft, cheesy, and garlicky. Plus, quick and easy to make with a handful of refrigerator and pantry staples that you likely already have at home.
For the biscuits:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup butter, diced and very cold
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup milk, very cold
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large half sheet baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in cheddar cheese.
- Slowly pour in the cold milk and mix until just combined. Once the batter forms into a soft dough, use your hands to fold in the dry pieces that haven’t been incorporated. Be careful not to overmix. Note that the dough will be slightly sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a ¾-inch thick disk. Flour a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a round glass) and cut out rounds of dough. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Once you have rolled out the dough and cut out biscuits, you can use a smaller biscuit cutter to make the best use of the scraps. The small ones are good for snacking on. The good thing is that the small biscuits cook for the same amount of time as the large biscuits, so you can just throw them all on the same baking sheet.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine melted butter, garlic powder, and dried oregano. Use a silicone brush to brush the tops of the biscuits with half the butter mixture.
- Bake the biscuits for 13 to 16 minutes, or until tops are just golden brown.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining butter mixture. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool slightly and serve.
Pete’s Favorite Pecan Pie
Do you love pecan pie as much as I? Or are you among the unfortunate humans who have never tried pecan pie? I know you’re out there, and if you’re listening, please, please listen to me: make it this holiday season. Give it a try. It’s simple. It’s hearty. It’s basic. And it’s just so good.
- 1 whole unbaked pie crust (Homemade or store bought, your choice)
- 1 c. white sugar
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. corn syrup
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 c. melted butter (salted)
- 3 whole eggs, beaten
- 1 c. (heaping) chopped pecans
- First, whip up your pie crust.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚. Next, mix the sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
- Pour the chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
- Pour the syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. Note: Pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven! If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!
- Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.
Alyssa’s Digestif – The Scofflaw
While the Scofflaw was invented during the Noble Experiment (Prohibition), it didn’t rear its head in some subterranean dive in Chicago. It was reportedly a creation of a bartender named Jaques at Harry’s New York Bar—in Paris.
- 2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 to 2 dashes grenadine
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Add the whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine, and orange bitters into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, (garnish if desired) and enjoy.
I hope some of you get to try these recipes but, most of all I hope you get to enjoy this season with loved ones. Celebrate the season and each other.
From our house to yours; Happy Holidays.