If there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays, it’s food. Big meals, over-the-top treats, far too many rich goodies. And with all those extra calories come a lot of love!
I thought I’d share some of my favorite holiday recipes with you today. Maybe they’ll give you some ideas for a new dish, a new dessert, or just a few extra new-to-you treats!
We’ll start with my most requested side dish.
Heart Attack Potatoes...a rich dish that goes well with ham but can also hold its own with beef or turkey. A wonderful change from the traditional scalloped potatoes, they’ll soon become a favorite!
- 4-5 medium-large potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1 stick butter (do not use margarine)
- 1 medium onion finely diced (any type, but I prefer Vadalia or sweet)
- 8 ounces (small tub) herb and garlic cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
- ¾ cup milk (homogenized, or 2% at least)
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese (real cheese, not the fake stuff)
- Set oven to 350 degrees
- Place thinly sliced potatoes in lightly salted water while you prepare the sauce
- Melt butter in skillet over medium low heat, sauté onions for 3 minutes
- Add cream cheese to pan and melt
- Add heavy cream and milk, stir to combine
- Salt and pepper to taste (be generous)
- Drain potatoes and spread evenly in a 9x13 buttered baking dish, top with sauce, sprinkle with parmesan cheese
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes; allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving
What would a holiday meal be without that perfect dessert?
Sweet Potato Pie...my grandchildren’s preference over the traditional pumpkin pie because of its sweetness.
- 1 lb sweet potato (1 large or 2 medium)
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup milk (preferably whole)
- 2 eggs
- ½ t nutmeg
- ½ t cinnamon
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 pie crust (9”) unbaked (deep dish is best)
- Boil sweet potatoes in skin for 40-50 minutes or until done. Run cold water over the potato until able to handle and then remove skin.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Break potato apart in large bowl, add butter and mix well with mixer.
- Stir in remaining ingredients and then beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
- Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up and then will sink down when it cools.
- Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Finally, we’ll skip backward to a bit of pre-holiday baking with two of my favorite easy-peasy treats!
Traditional Shortbread...quite possibly the easiest recipe you’ll ever make with the most outstanding results. These uber rich, buttery squares are huge favorite.
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup firmly packed medium brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla (another flavor of choice may be substituted)
- 2 cups AP flour (no need to sift)
- Line a 9x9 square pan with parchment paper (no need to grease)
- Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until well mixed
- Add flour, one half cup at a time, stirring between additions. I find it’s easiest after the last addition to flour my hand and thoroughly mix the ingredients by hand until well blended.
- Press into the pan
- Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 22 minutes or until the top of the shortbread it lightly browned.
- Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Remove from pan by lifting out the parchment paper and cut into 24 squares.
Three-Ingredient Fudge...a newly discovered treat that I’m still experimenting with by making a new version each week. My grandchildren definitely have their favorites!
Ingredients: (all store bought)
- 1 can cake frosting (see combos below)
- 1 bag of candy chips (e.g., peanut butter chips)
- 1 add-in ingredient (e.g., mini Reece’s pieces)
- Scoop out frosting into a microwave-safe bowl (I use a 1 quart measuring cup)
- Add in the bag of candy chips and microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst, until chips are melted.
- Let cool slightly before stirring in half of add-in ingredient, mix well
- Pour into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan lined with parchment
- Top with remaining add-in and press slightly into top of fudge
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, longer if possible. About halfway through chill time, I like to flip the fudge over so both the top and bottom set completely.
- Reece’s Fudge: Vanilla frosting, peanut butter chips; mini Reece’s pieces
- Chocolate Mint: Milk chocolate frosting, mint chocolate chips, chopped Andes mints
- Salted Caramel: Buttercream frosting, butterscotch chips, nuts or toffee chips for add-on. Top with coarsely grown sea salt.
- Rocky Road: Vanilla frosting, semi-sweet chips, ½ cup mini-marshmallows for stir in, ½ cup chopped pecans pressed into top
OR ... create your own using flavors your family loves!
~ ~ ~It should be pretty obvious...I love to cook. I'm also a monthly contributor to Still Moments Magazine where I cook up all sorts of goodies in Grandma Nancy’s Kitchen.
When I write romance, I also like to show my character’s actually sitting down to a meal and often share recipes in my books, either as part of the actual dialogue/text, or as an add-on at the end of the book. If you’re looking for that perfect chocolate cookie, you might want to check out my vintage novella, Bewitched, where you’ll find my heroine’s wonderful Choco-Blast cookies.
Chicago, Fall 1964
Allison Stiles is the epitome of responsibility. Guardian to her two rambunctious younger brothers, she also runs a home daycare. While she doesn't have time for a vacation, she really needs a diversion.
Enter Eric Thomas, her new neighbor. Tall, dark and handsome and just what she needs to get her mind off her responsibilities, even if only for a short time.
Moving into the house he inherited from his uncle was not part of Eric Thomas' plan. Yet, starting a new business ties up a good portion of his capital, so he forgoes the fancy downtown apartment for the quaint Rogers Park neighborhood.
Now if he could just get his mind off his sexy neighbor and back on the business at hand.
~ ~ ~
Wishing everyone a safe, happy holiday with lots of good food and love of family and friends.