As the holidays quickly approache, there’s one thing that never ceases to be at the forefront of our minds: Food. After all, November means Thanksgiving—a celebration synonymous with crimson cranberry sauce, decadent pumpkin pie, and gravy-smothered turkey. And of course, as soon as Thanksgiving has passed, comes December. And December means Christmas—a celebration that involves gingerbread cookies, candy canes, eggnog, and meat-stuffed casseroles.
These back-to-back holidays are an excuse to relive the Freshman 15—starting with the Thanksgiving feast, ending with the Christmas meal, and binge-eating homemade Christmas cookies every day in between.
Of course, the holidays are also time with family and friends, sharing heartwarming memories around a smoky fire, drinking hot chocolate. But great food make the memories even sweeter (literally). These recipes, straight from Grandma’s cookbook, are sure to amplify time with your loved ones this holiday season.
- 2 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1 14-ounce can of condensed milk
- 2 large brown eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Mix the flour, sugar, and a dash of salt in a large bowl.
- Cut the sticks of butter into pieces, and let soften. With a pastry blender, combine the softened butter with the mixture. (If needed, add small amounts of ice water at a time to soften the mixture.) Let refrigerate for at least an hour before using for pie.
- When ready, roll the dough until about 1/4 of an inch or thinner. Then, place in a lightly greased pie pan and crimp the edges.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Thoroughly whisk the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
- Pour the concoction into the crust.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Then, reduce oven temperature to about 375, and bake for another 30-35 minutes.
- Let the pie cool, and garnish as desired!
CHICKEN AND KALE CASSEROLE
- Black pepper
- ¾ pound pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bunches of kale
- 48 ounces ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, then cook pasta (according to package instructions).
- While the pasta cooks, cook the chicken on medium heat—about five minutes per side. Then, shred the meat.
- Dice the onion.
- Finely chop and mince the garlic.
- Remove the stems and ribs of the kale, and finely chop the leaves.
- Grate the lemon skins, until you have 3 tablespoons of zest.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and return to the pot.
- In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and garlic, and cook until the onion softens. Then, add kale. Cover the skillet and let cook until the kale has wilted a bit. (This generally takes between 3-5 minutes.)
- Mix the kale, onion, garlic in with the pot of pasta. Then, stir in the cooked and shredded chicken, ricotta cheese, half the parmesan cheese, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once everything is thoroughly mixed together, move the concoction to a baking dish. Top with the rest of the parmesan cheese, and put in oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
MASHED SWEET POTATOES
- 6 sweet potatoes
- Maple syrup
- ¾ cup whole milk
- Brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup Almonds or pecans
- Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into four pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes, and let cook for 20-30 minutes—or until tender.
- In a skillet, bring a bit of butter to medium heat. Roast a half cup of almonds with marshmallows.
- Using an electric mixer on low (or manually using a large fork), blend the potatoes with milk and butter. Mix in cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup, to taste. Continue blending until the potatoes reach desired texture.
- Top with nuts and marshmallows. Serve!
- 4 cups whole milk
- 12 egg yolks
- Cinnamon stick (one per serving)
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups rum
- 4 cups light cream
- Combine the milk, cloves, vanilla, and a heavy dash of cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat on low for five minutes, then bring to a boil.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.
- Combine the rum, cream, vanilla, and a heavy dash of nutmeg to the concoction.
- Top with whipped cream, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
- 4 (4-ounce) hormone-free, grass-fed beef tenderloin steaks
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cherries
- ½ cup red wine (we recommend sweet)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Heat a skillet on high with olive oil.
- Season steaks with salt and pepper, and add them to the skillet. Cook for four minutes, each side.
- De-pit and finely chop the cherries. In a bowl, stir them with red wine, butter, and a glob of melted honey.
- Put steaks in a baking dish, and smother them with the mixture.
- Bake in the oven until reach preferred doneness, generally about 5-8 minutes. Serve!
ALMOND GREEN BEAN
- 1 lemon
- 1 pound green beans
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- Bring a pan to medium heat, with olive oil or butter.
- Roast the almonds, and put aside.
- Cut and rid of bean stems. Cut the green beans in half, and put in pan. Add half of the butter.
- Once the beans are softened, add the rest of the butter, a dollop of honey, a dash of salt, and juice of half a lemon.
- Add the almonds and serve!
Whether you make one or all of these delicious meals, you’re sure to have a blessed holiday season with your loved ones, gathered around the table.