Holiday recipes: Appetizers, main course and dessert

There is so much to love about the holidays: Seeing old friends, visiting with family and taking some time away from work to enjoy the important stuff in life. And then there is the food; so much of it to enjoy! While your waist line may need to be taken out in your pants after the holidays, there’s no reason we should stop eating, right? Here are some awesome holiday recipes, many of which are suitable for Thanksgiving and Christmas and any other holiday parties happening in your neck of the woods.

Appetizers

Baked brie – How can you make brie better? Heat it up and drizzle with honey, that’s how!

Maryland Crab Dip – You don’t have to be from the east coast to enjoy this classic dipping delight. Dig in!

Sausage stuffed mushrooms – Never mind where mushrooms come from. Just stuff them with sausage and enjoy.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp – Add a little zing to your appetizer offerings with these heavenly delights. Bacon makes everything better.

Main Course

Roast Turkey – No one can cook a turkey quite like mom can.

Ham in the Crock Pot – Slow and steady wins the race and this ham will taste absolutely delicious when cooked in the Crock Pot.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing – Skip the Stove Top and make the effort worthwhile with this old-school recipe for stuffing.

Candied Yams – These yummy yams are always a holiday hit.

Mom’s old-fashioned mashed potatoes – This traditional side can’t be beat for its delicious taste—even better with gravy! And speaking of gravy, you can choose from over a dozen innovative recipes to make the tastiest gravy ever.

Dessert

Did you save room for dessert? You better have because this awesome cheesecake recipe is the perfect touch at the end of a holiday meal.

Don’t forget Grandma’s Yule Log recipe. It is a time-honored tradition. And it tastes delightful! And there is always pumpkin roll to cap off a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones.

Recipes: Celebrating Hanukkah

The celebration of Hanukkah is accompanied by foods which are rich in both tradition and flavor. The customary cuisine often involves foods that are fried in oil, symbolizing the miracle of the small supply of oil that kept the flame for the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem alight for eight days.

Sufganiyot are one of the most popular foods during Hanukkah. The classic recipe calls for these delicious doughnuts to be filled with jelly or custard and dusted with confectioner’s sugar while contemporary versions of the recipe call for chocolate or custard fillings. If the idea of frying your own sufganiyot at home seems a bit intimidating, follow this helpful 9-step lesson from the folks at epicurious. Even though sufganiyot are the doughy darlings of Hanukkah, alternatives such as zalabia, a deep fried batter served with sugar syrup, or apple cider doughnuts make for sweet substitutions.

Another fried favorite is the latke. While the traditional potato pancake recipe remains a mainstay, you may want to consider modern updates such as Sweet Potato Latkes or Carrot Scallion Latkes. The kosher / vegetarian blog Cafe Liz offers several takes on the classic dish, including sweet Pear Sage Latkes, spicy Mushroom Ginger Latkes and savory Zucchini Dill Latkes.

Cheese is another traditional menu item during Hanukkah. It is served to commemorate Judith, whose brave assassination of the Assyrian general Holofernes was the catalyst that aided the Jews in their defeat of the Assyrians.

When selecting a dessert, you simply can’t go wrong with a cheesecake! Instead of a New York style offering, consider a European-style cheesecake which features a delectable farmer-cheese filling.

A Hanukkah cheese dip is another guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you really want to wow your guests, try serving it in a handmade round challah bread bowl.

Cheddar gelt wafers are a tasteful homage to the traditional giving of Hanukkah gelt, which is typically chocolate money wrapped in gold foil. For those of you who prefer sweeter fare, prepare some chocolate dipped apricot gelt, which makes for a healthy & tasty alternative. Of course, if you simply must have chocolate, we suggest homemade chocolate truffle gelt as a truly memorable and decadent reward for your Hanukkah guests.

Festive recipes for Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community and culture, which begins on December 26 and ends on January 1. Kwanzaa culminates in a feast and gift-giving on New Year’s Eve. Here is a sampling of some of the most festive recipes which are often served while celebrating Kwanzaa.

Vegetarian stew – Stews are often served at Kwanzaa celebrations on December 31. While many stews use chicken, pork or beef, having vegetarian options for non-meat eaters goes a long way.

Pork lovers will enjoy Posole Con Puerco (Pork Hominy Mexican Stews) which makes for a great meal. Another long-time pork favorite is Hoppin’ John which is a traditional recipe that seems to have originated from the South.

Collard greens are a popular side dish and can be prepared a number of ways. Check out celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for collard greens and mustard or or add some pork to the mix with pork-stuffed collard greens.

Black-eyed peas can be made easily if you’ve got a slow cooker at your disposal. These spicy peas sound like they have plenty of zip and taste divine. Or you can add pork and rice to your black-eyed peas and have enough food to serve as a main meal.

Hot chocolate is a satisfying way to finish off a Kwanzaa celebration meal. Try a frothy hot chocolate or go another route with a chai chocolate pots de crème.

You can’t go wrong with spiced pumpkin cookies as a tasty dessert option. And if you really want to have a delectable dessert, go with bananas in brown sugar-rum sauce.

 

Christmas cookies: What’s not to love?

There are so many delicious Christmas foods that have become tradition and one of the all-time favorites has to be Christmas cookies! Even the most inexperienced person can whip up a batch of Christmas cookies that meets the bare minimum requirements to be a good cookie (It’s baked all the way through.) Then there are family members and co-workers who make enough cookies to go around. Don’t you just love Christmas (cookies)?

Here are five websites that will help you this season with your Christmas cookie endeavors, whether you’re making them or eating them.

Would you believe that Christmas-Cookies.com has 28 different categories of Xmas cookies? It would probably take you an entire year to make every cookie recipe here. Your best bet is to stick with the Top 25 recipes and start cranking out cookies in your kitchen.

Not only does the Food Network have a website called 12 Days of Cookies, it also has more than 100 cookie recipes! Oh, the sweet tooth! Get started a.s.a.p. cooking up batches of some Christmas classic cookies. Yes!

Not to be outdone by the Food Network, Rachel Ray has cooked up nearly 60 days’ worth of cookie recipes in her Christmas cookie collection. Starting in November with Thanksgiving cookie ideas, things get even sweeter as the days count down until Christmas.

If melt-in-your-mouth cookies are your style, you will want to check out this insanely long list of Christmas Cookies for the Holidays. The Secret Kiss cookies sound like a great surprise and the Cocoa Drop cookies are probably even better than they sound.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Martha Stewart and her collection of cookie craziness for Christmas. A little Martha can go a long way, which is why it’s best to just stick with this video where she shows how to make the perfect batch of butter cookies.

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the most famous Christmas cookie of them all, The Gingerbread Man cookie.  This classic recipe is part of Christmas traditions past and present. Enjoy!