Best-Loved Family Christmas Recipes

We asked our favorite food bloggers what they serve at their table. And snagged their recipes.

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Braised Leg of Lamb

I grew up with roast leg of lamb, so leg of lamb is very primal for me, reminds me of my childhood and all those good, garlicky flavors that my parents rubbed into the meat. Braising it is more forgiving though, which I like when I am entertaining.

 

-- Melissa Clark is a food columnist for the dining section of The New York Times. She's also the author of Cook This Now, and blogs at Melissa Clark.

 

6 servings

 

Ingredients: 

 

1 shank end leg of lamb (4 1/2 pounds), bone in, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 (750-ml) bottle fruity white wine
3 small onions (3/4 pound), peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
3 large carrots (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large parsnip (1/4 pound), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
4 anchovy fillets
2 rosemary sprigs
2 sage or thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped green olives
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
for the garlicky root vegetable puree
1 large celeriac bulb, peeled and diced
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

 

Directions:


To prepare the lamb: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rub the lamb with 1 tablespoon oil, and season it with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.

 

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock and wine to a boil; allow it to bubble gently and reduce while you sauté the vegetables, about 10 minutes or so.

 

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the carrots and parsnip, anchovies, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, rosemary, sage, and bay leaf. Turn off the heat and pour in just enough of the stock-wine mixture to cover the vegetables. Place the lamb, fatty-side up, on top of the vegetables.

 

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Then add the remaining stock, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to 325°F. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, at a bare simmer, reducing the heat if necessary, then turn the lamb over. Cook 1 1/2 hours longer and turn the lamb over again. Uncover the pot and stir in the olives. Cook another hour, turning the lamb after 30 minutes. At this point the lamb should be soft enough to cut with a serving spoon. If not, cover the pot and continue to cook until it is.

 

To prepare the root vegetable puree, in a large saucepan, combine the celery root, potatoes, parsnips, peeled garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Pour in 12 cups water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, discard the bay leaves, and transfer the root vegetables and garlic to a food processor. Add the butter, remaining teaspoon salt, and nutmeg; process until very smooth. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Keep warm or reheat before serving.

 

Just before serving, mash the finely chopped garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to form a paste. Stir it into the lamb’s pan juices.

 

To serve, make a bed of root vegetable puree on each plate. Cut the lamb with a serving spoon, and lay some of it over the puree, along with some vegetables and pan juices.

 

From COOK THIS NOW by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2011, 
Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
 

Photo Credit: From COOK THIS NOW by Melissa Clark. Color photography by Andrew Scrivani.

Caramelized Pumpkin & Brandy Prune Pudding

My mom wasn't much of a baker when I was growing up, but she did make richly spiced prunes. We would eat them like jam on toast or over oatmeal. This flavor always reminds me of cozy days during Christmas vacation.

 

-- Zoë François of Zoë Bakes is a pastry chef and co-author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and her new book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.

 

Ingredients:


8 cups of 1/2 cubed bread (such as brioche, challah or other soft enriched bread) or pound cake or gingerbread.
1 1/2 cups chopped prunes
1/4 cup brandy

Pumpkin custard:
5 cups half & half
5 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioner's sugar for sprinkling on top

 

Candied Walnuts:


1 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream for garnish, whipped to stiff peak

 

Directions:

 

In a bowl add the brandy to the chopped prunes and allow them to macerate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight.

 

To prepare the pudding: Mix together the half & half, eggs, yolks, pumpkin, salt, sugars, spices and vanilla, using an immersion blender or carefully with a whisk. Set aside.

 

Layer half the bread cubes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and then the prunes ( do not add the liquid with them, save it and add it to the custard).

 

Top with the remaining bread cubes and then pour the pumpkin custard over them. You may not fit all of the custard in at once, but when the bread absorbs some of it, you can add the rest.

 

Gently press the bread down into the custard to make sure they are all soaking it up. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to really absorb the custard thoroughly.

 

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, lined with a kitchen towel. Add HOT water to the larger dish to create a water bath. The towel and the water act as insulation and create a more even baking temperature. Bake for about 45 minutes or until just set in the center of the pudding.

 

Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with confectioner's sugar.

 

Turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven, just until the sugar is melted and caramelized. If you have a Chef's Torch you can achieve the same effect with your torch.

 

To make the candied walnuts:


Turn the oven to 350. In a bowl combine the nuts, maple, salt and spices. Spread the coated nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely toasted and golden brown. Be careful not to over bake or they will turn bitter.

 

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and the nuts!
 

For more information about this recipe, including a cooking demonstration, click here.

Photo Credit: Zoë Francois

A Snazzy Bittersweet Chocolate Tea Bread

The scent that circulates in my kitchen, that of chocolate and butter, channels me right back to baking chocolate chip cookies as a young child. 

 

-- Lisa Yockelson, Baking Style Diary, author of Baking Style, Baking by Flavor and ChocolateChocolate.

 

One tea bread, 10 slices

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (D/e stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size chunks
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (in the cacao range of 60% to 70%), chopped into small nuggets
about 2 tablespoons sparkling sugar, for sprinkling on the unbaked round of dough

 

Directions:


Ahead: best on baking day

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

 

Line a heavy rimmed sheet pan or cookie sheet with a length of ovenproof parchment paper. (The baking pan must be heavy or the bottom of the bread will darken considerably before the interior is entirely baked.) 

 

For the dough, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar into a medium-size mixing bowl. Drop in the chunks of butter and, using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the fat into the flour mixture until reduced to small bits. 

 

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla extract. 

 

Pour the heavy cream–egg-vanilla extract mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle over the chopped chocolate, and stir to form a crumbly dough, using a wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle. With your fingertips, bring the mixture together until a cohesive dough is formed. The mixing and forming of the dough should not take longer than about 1 minute. Note that the dough is mixed only to shape and form, as light kneading frequently results in a dense-textured crumb. 

 

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a well-domed ball measuring about 5 inches in diameter, keeping the dough ball as plump as possible. Place the dough ball in the center of the baking pan. With a small sharp knife, cut a cross on the surface of the bread (about ¼ inch deep).

 

Sprinkle the sparkling sugar over the surface of the bread. 

Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until set and golden. Let the bread stand on the baking pan for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack, using two wide offset metal spatulas. Serve at room temperature. 

 

Notes

 

• the amount of heavy cream needed to bring the dough together depends on the density of the cream (thicker is better), the absorption quality of the flour, and the atmospheric conditions of the day; you can safely add 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream in order to create a cohesive dough, but realize that a too-slack dough may bake out of shape—in other words, aim for a dough ball that holds its shape, but is not too moist (if you are unsure, begin with B/c cup and go from there), keeping in mind, however, that the overall moistness of the dough contributes to the bread’s rich, silky quality and enticing crumb. 

• use a finely serrated knife to cut the bread

 

Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes by Lisa Yockelson (Wiley; 2001)
 

Photo Credit: Ben Fink

Beef Roast with Mushrooms and Pearled Onions

Roasts remind me of my grandma and the many hours she spent in the kitchen, preparing food for our family.

 

-- Erin Chase, Founder of $5 Dinners.com and One Dish Dinners, Author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, The $5 Dinner Mom Does Breakfast and Lunch, and The $5 Dinner Mom's Holiday Entertaining Guide.

 

12 servings

 

Ingredients:

 

16 oz. baby bella mushrooms

2 10 oz. bags frozen pearled onions

½ cup water

4 pound beef round roast

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper

 

Directions:

 

Place the mushrooms and frozen pearled onions in the base of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker with the water. Place the beef roast on top and season with the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.

 

Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours. If you wish to eat earlier in the day, you can cook on high for 4 to 5 hours.

 

Once cooked, remove the meat and place it on the serving platter. Slice and then spoon the mushroom and onion broth over the meat on the serving platter.

 

(I prefer using the slow cooker for beef roasts because of the way the meat cooks and slices, plus it’s one less thing that your oven has to cook for the big feast. Use a traditional roasting pan and cook about 22 to 27 minutes per pound, depending on how done you want the meat, or until the meat thermometer reads 140 for medium or 165 for medium well.)

Photo Credit: Erin Chase

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

The wonderful thing about these mashed potatoes is they can be made ahead of time, then warmed in the oven when you’re ready. This has made a world of difference in my sanity, peace, blood pressure readings, and hormone levels.

 

-- Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story and Charlie the Ranch Dog 

 

Ingredients:

 

5 pounds of regular Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes

1 1/2 sticks of butter

8 oz package of cream cheese

1/2 cup half & half

Seasonings (onion powder, salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic salt, or mashed roasted garlic cloves)

 

Directions:

 

For more information about how to make this recipe, click here.

Photo Credit: The Pioneer Woman

Red Wine Poached Pears

My husband and I enjoy slurping down these pears after the kids are in bed while we're doing last-minute toy assembly and gift wrapping.

 

-- Stephanie O'Dea, A Year of Slow Cooking, author of Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life and the Make it Fast, Cook it Slow cookbooks.


Ingredients: 

 

*This is a dessert for grown-ups, not kids. The alcohol does not cook away—please eat responsibly.

 

2 (29-ounce) cans pear halves (I like it that the recipe calls for canned pear halves. They are found year-round, are terribly inexpensive, and you don't have to peel anything. If you'd prefer to use "real" ones, try 6 peeled and cored pears)

1 (750-ml) bottle red wine (I used an inexpensive merlot)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
6 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream (for garnish, after cooking)

 

Directions:

 

Use a 6-quart slow cooker.

 

Drain pears, and plop them into your empty crock. Add the entire bottle of wine.

 

Stir in the sugar, being careful not to break up the pear halves.

 

Add vanilla, and float the cinnamon stick and star anise on top.

 

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for about 2.

 

Serve warm in bowls with a large dollop of whipped cream.

 

For more information about this recipe, click here
 

Photo Credit: Adam O'Dea

Harvest Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

My grandma was a wonderful woman, so sweet and loving, and I would get feelings of warmth, comfort, and coziness every time she would make her delicious soup. Now every time I make this soup I get those wonderful nostalgic feelings back and they become more alive each time I make it.

 

-- Beth Aldrich is a Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition Expert, Certified Health Counselor, speaker, media personality, and author of the new book, Real Moms Love to Eat; How to conduct a love affair with food, lose weight and feel fabulous (Penguin Publishing, Jan. 2012).

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:


2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press (or minced)
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 30-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
4 cups beef broth
½ cup Coconut Dream Drink

Chives, celery leaves, or croutons for garnish

 

Directions:


In a stockpot, melt the butter and sauté onions and garlic until they are translucent.

 

Add black beans, pumpkin puree, and tomatoes, stirring until combined.

 

Add sugar, cumin, chili powder, pepper, paprika, beef broth, and cream.

 

Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. (This soup can be served as is, or pureed in a blender before serving.)

 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives, celery leaves, or croutons.

 

For more information about this recipe, click here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Beth Aldrich

Holiday Snowballs

I remember the first Mexican wedding cookie I had as a child. I was at an actual wedding and I remember seeing these things that looked like snowballs on the table. They looked so delicate and beautiful.

 

-- Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious

 

2 dozen

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup raw walnuts
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for dusting

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

 

Place the walnuts in a food processor for 30 seconds or until finely chopped.

 

Place the ground walnuts, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and combine.

 

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a standing mixer or bowl using a hand mixer and cream for 3-4 minutes.

 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until combined.

 

Using a cookie scooper, scoop out the dough and place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

 

Bake for 15 minutes.

 

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
 

Photo Credit: Catherine McCord

Sweet Potato Tart Tatin

Sweet potatoes and maple syrup were such a part my mother's holiday menus, so there is the sweet nostalgia. But here it is presented in a fresh, unexpected way. Which I think helps keep tradition alive and relevant to the modern palate. 

 

-- Greg Henry, founder of Sippity Sup: Serious Fun Food, and the podcast, The Table Set on the Homefries Podcast Network.

 

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:


1 sheet all-butter store-bought puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes (try to buy potatoes of relatively even width and few bulges), peeled, ends removed, and sliced into 1/8" rounds
1 pinch each kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon whole milk

 

Directions:


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry sheet on your work surface and cut out a 10-inch circle. Set the circle onto the prepared baking sheet. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate.


Pour the maple syrup into a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place slices of butter evenly distributed across. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top.

 

Cover the syrup, butter and thyme with the sliced sweet potatoes, starting in the center and overlapping in a spiraling outward circle as you go, you should get 2 to 3 layers. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the refrigerated puff pastry circle, tucking the edges in around the edge of the skillet.

 

Beat the egg yolk and the milk together and brush over the pastry. Put the skillet into the hot oven. Bake until the edges are deep amber and the pastry is puffed and golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a large plate. Slice into wedges and serve warm.
 

For more information about this recipe, please click here.

Photo Credit: Sippity Sup

Simple Christmas Candy

I remember my friend's mom, Katie, bringing us bags of this every Christmas. It is almost like a Christmas comfort food in a way. 

 

-- Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef, author of The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life (Running Press; March 2012).

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 40 unsalted saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, or other toppings (suggestions below)

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350.


Line a 10×15 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. On the foil, line up 40 crackers so that they fit snuggly.

 

Melt butter and sugar together over medium heat in a saucepan. Once it is all melted, pour the hot mixture over the crackers. The crackers will “float” a bit, try to keep them all lined up.

 

Bake for 8 minutes, the mixture will be nice and bubbly.

 

Remove from the oven and immediately scatter the chocolate chips on top.

 

As they begin to melt, smooth them with a spatula so that they cover the entire tray.

 

Place pan in the refrigerator until cool and set (at least 2 hours).


Break into pieces and serve.

 

For more information about this recipe, click here.

Photo Credit: The Naptime Chef

Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries

We usually are cooking for only two in our home, so when we have the opportunity to entertain during the holidays, this is one of our favorite side dishes to serve.

 

-- Joanne and Adam Gallagher, Publishers of Inspired Taste, a recipe and food blog

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 whole acorn squash
2 tablespoons. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Cut each squash in half then use a spoon to remove all seeds from and carefully cut each half into 4 similarly sized wedges.

 

Place the wedges into a large baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and brown sugar.

 

Bake the squash in preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until soft and caramelized around the edges.

 

In a small saucepan over medium heat add butter, walnuts and cranberries; heat until butter has melted; drizzle over squash and serve.

 

For more information about this recipe, click here.
 

Photo Credit: Adam Gallagher, InspiredTaste.net

Overnight Sausage and Egg Casserole

My family has been making this for Christmas morning for as long as I can remember. Every year on Christmas Eve, we gather in the kitchen and prep it so it's all ready to go in the morning. We pop it in the oven and while we open presents, the smell starts filling the house.

-- Sara Wells, co-author (along with Kate Jones) of both the blog Our Best Bites, and the best selling cookbook, Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen. Contributing author, Good Bite Weeknight Meals, 2011, John Wiley & Sons Inc.

 

Ingredients:


6-8 slices white bread
about 1/4 C softened butter (just for buttering the bread slices)
4 cups grated colby jack cheese
12 oz pork sausage, browned and drained if necessary
1 4 oz can green chiles, or a 7 oz can if you love ‘em
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

 

*cheese: For extra kick you could use 2 cups cheddar and 2 cups pepperjack. Whatever you choose, avoid pre-shredded bagged cheese for this recipe. It doesn’t melt as well and you might end up with a funny texture.

 

Directions:

 

Start by removing the crusts from your bread and lightly buttering one side. 

 

Place bread butter side down in a 9×13 baking dish. I usually need 6 pieces of bread, plus 1 cut in half to finish up the bottom row. You just want the bottom of the pan covered with no big gaps.

 

Grate your cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bread. Spread the browned sausage on top of that, and top with the green chiles.

 

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add milk and then seasonings and whisk to combine well. Slowly stir the egg mixture while you pour it evenly on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll want to keep stirring or else the spices will all gather in one spot and drop onto one single piece of casserole.

 

Cover well and place in the refridgerator overnight.

In the morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the casserole in there and bake (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes.

 

You’ll want the center to be set and the outside edges to be golden brown. It’s important to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it or it will just fall apart.




 

Photo Credit: OurBestBites.com

Rosemary Fans

As a small child, I loved holiday baking, so many small, cute things to make and so much to do with my hands. Shaping balls of dough into dinner rolls was a favorite, but mine were messy little things compared to grandmother's neat work. 

 

-- Beth Sheresh, kitchenMage, freelance writer and photographer, author and photographer of Picture Yourself Cooking With Your Kids.

 

12 large rolls

 

Ingredients: 

 

1 1/2 cups water (at body temperature)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups flour (bread flour is better, but all-purpose will work)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon rosemary fresh, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)

 

Directions:

 

Put the water, yeast, whole wheat flour, three cups of the bread flour and the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. (Use low speed on a stand mixer.) Sprinkle in the last cup of flour while mixing, stopping when the dough clears the bowl and stops absorbing flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

 

Turn the dough out on a well-floured counter and sprinkle the salt on it. Knead the dough 5-10 minutes (stand mixer: 5-6 minutes on medium) until it is firm yet supple and smooth. (You may need to use a bit more flour on the counter.) Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. (Use the rising amount, not time, to determine if dough is ready for next step.)

 

When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on a lightly floured counter and flatten into a rectangle with your hands. Let the dough relax for a minute while you prepare a muffin tin by lightly coating each cup with olive oil.

 

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12x18 rectangle. If the dough starts resisting and springing back, let it rest for a few minutes and then finish rolling. Brush the dough with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle liberally with chopped rosemary.

 

Cut dough in half crosswise and lay one piece on top of the other. Cut that stack in half and stack the pieces to make one four-layer stack that's about 6x9 inches in size. Make three cuts crosswise and 4 lengthwise to give you 12 rolls about 1 ½ by 3 inches. It doesn't matters if the sides are uneven, it's what gives them their charm.

 

Place in oiled muffin tins, one stack per cup with a short edge facing up. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. When the rolls have increased in size by about half that amount, turn on the oven to 425 to preheat.

 

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then gently turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling. Don't handle the rolls too roughly; they occasionally fall apart when warm.

 

Recipe adapted from, "Picture Yourself Cooking With Your Kids." 

 

For more information on this recipe, click here
 

Photo Credit: Beth Sheresh

Radicchio and Romaine Salad

I love the contrast of sweet, bitter and salty, as well as the contrast of textures from the crunchy lettuce, soft pear and chewy dried cherries.

 

-- Heather Christo, Food & Entertaining Blogger, HeatherChristo.com.

Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

 

4 cups of baby red romaine and red radicchio


½ of a seasonal pear


½ cup of dried cherries

 

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette:


¼ cup red wine vinegar


½ cup olive oil


¼ cup freshly chopped parsley


¼ cup crumbled blue cheese


1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


1 teaspoon brown sugar


Salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

 

Lightly dress the romaine and radicchio with the vinaigrette, and pile onto a salad plate.

 

Sprinkle each salad with ¼ cup of dried cherries.

 

Thinly slice the pear half into ten slices. Carefully fan five of the slices out onto each salad.

 

Whisk ingredients for blue cheese vinagrette together in a separate bowl, or shake together in a mason jar.
 

Photo Credit: Heather Christo

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts

The green leafy smell immediately reminds me of my first Christmas in England, and of sitting around the kitchen table sipping hot tea, plucking sprouts off the stem and cutting crosses into hundreds of tiny sprouts.

 

-- Coryanne Ettiene, kitchen living expert, food writer, TV personality and founder of Housewife Bliss.

 

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

 

1 pound of Brussel Sprouts
1/4 cup of chopped Hazelnuts
1/4 cup of chopped bacon


Directions:


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.

 

While the pot boils, wash and trim your sprouts, taking the time to slice an X through the top of each one to ensure the heat penetrates the core of the sprout.

 

Par boil your sprouts for 5-10 minutes taking care not to over cook them, simply soften them (large sprouts will take longer to cook, smaller sprouts will take closer to 5 minutes).

 

While the sprouts are cooking, dice up your bacon and pan fry for 4-6 minutes until golden brown, and then add the hazelnuts to the pan and allow them to infuse with the bacon for another 1-2 minutes before adding the par boiled sprouts to the mix (if your bacon is especially fatty, you may need to strain out some of the bacon grease at this point).

 

Gently stir the sprouts, hazelnuts and bacon mixture for 1-2 minutes on low heat to allow all the flavors to blend and come together before transferring to a serving bowl.

 

For more information about this recipe, please click here.
 

Photo Credit: HousewifeBliss.com

Bananas Fosters Topped Overnight French Toast

I love serving this Christmas morning for a crowd. Most of the work is done the night before which allows more quality time with the family Christmas morning.

 

-- Gina Homolka, author, recipe developer and photographer of Skinnytaste

 

8 servings

 

Ingredients:

 

cooking spray
10 oz Challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick (Hawaiian or Brioche would work)
2 large eggs
1 cup egg substitute
1-1/2 cups fat free milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup agave or white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Meyers rum or rum extract (optional)


Banana Topping:


1 tablespoon light butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Meyers rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
4 medium ripe bananas, sliced

 

Directions:

 

Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

 

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, egg substitute, milk, vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, agave or sugar, salt and rum until combined well and pour evenly over bread.

 

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight for best results.

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.

Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, while it's baking, in a large deep sauté pan melt light butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla as well as rum, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add a few drops of water if needed and let sauce simmer about 2 minutes. Add sliced bananas and remove from heat. Keep covered until french toast comes out of the oven.


When french toast is cooked, divide among 8 plates and top with bananas. Enjoy!!
 

 

For more information about this recipe, click here

Photo Credit: Skinnytaste

Popovers with Honey Butter

Though our holiday meals have slowly morphed over the years, there are two things that are always on our Christmas table: roast beef and popovers. We scurry around timing everything just right so that we can serve our popovers warm out of the oven with a side of honey butter.

 

-- Caroline Lubbers, founder of Whipped

 

Makes 12 popovers

 

Ingredients:


6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

For Honey Butter:

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

While eggs are still in shells, warm them to room temperature by running hot water over them for three to four minutes. Heat the milk until it is warm to the touch. Mix flour, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl. Beat the eggs at high speed until foamy and pale in color (about three minutes). Stir in the warm milk at low speed. Gradually add the flour mixture to the beaten eggs at low speed. Beat for two minutes on medium speed. Let the batter rest for one hour.

 

Spray (heavily) a 12-cup, Teflon-lined popover tin with non-stick cooking spray. Fill cups almost to the top with batter. Place popover tin on a cookie sheet.

 

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. Popovers should be a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.

 

For the honey butter, combine the honey and the butter. You can make this ahead and store in the refrigerator.

 

Serve popovers warm with the honey butter.

 

For more information about this recipe, please click here.

 

 

 

Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.

Related: Best Holiday Food Gifts

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Photo Credit: Caroline Lubbers
First Published November 4, 2011

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