The recipes of the holiday season
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado When I think of all the presents Ive received on Christmas, just a few jump to mind. Actually, its only really Keyboard, that soft little hamster I got when I was 10.Hey, she was awesome and never bit, but its strange that all my other gifts blend together in a haze, one that smells something like my familys douglas fir Christmas trees.Naming off my favorite holiday dishes, however, is so much simpler. I can close my eyes and, in an instant, I imagine the taste of my moms fudge, my grandmothers stuffing and those ubiquitous, golden rolls that always seem to be around this time of year. While the holidays are about giving and receiving, seeing family and watching sports, I think theyre also just about good food. I know were all weary right now about the economic times and our own expanding waistlines, but maybe its possible to just drop all that at least for a few days and simply chow down. Really, I cant think of a better time in recent history to eat, drink and be merry.Here a few recipes from me and the PI crew to get you started. Stina Sieg, Options Editor
Waking up at sunrise on Christmas morning has never really been my familys thing. We prefer a lazy morning of opening gifts and enjoying a festive holiday brunch. The highlight of the big day is my moms scrumptious egg casserole (prepared the night before and baked in the morning) and bubbly champagne punch, which fashionably crosses over as a New Years Eve libation. Cheers!9 x 13 buttered pan8bread slices10eggs1 poundham, diced8-ounce package shredded cheddar cheese2 cupsmilk1 teaspoondry mustardSalt and pepper to tastePlace bread in bottom of buttered pan. Sprinkle diced ham over bread slices. Sprinkle cheese over ham. Break eggs into bowl, add milk, dry mustard and salt and pepper. Beat well with whisk. Pour mixture over cheese. Cover casserole with foil and let sit overnight. The next day, bake at 350 degrees for one hour (1/2 hour covered, 1/2 hour uncovered). Let cool, slice into squares and serve. Serves 8-10.April Es Champagne Punch1 12-ounce canfrozen orange juice concentrate, thawed1 12-ounce canfrozen lemonade concentrate, thawed1 quartapple juice6 cupswater2 bottleschampagne, chilledCombine concentrates, apple juice and water. Chill 4-6 hours. Serve in punch bowl by adding chilled champagne to juice mixture.
When Kay Vasilakis is not busy singing to Zeno, her new parrot, or playing with her grandkids, with Charlie and Zoe, shes watching the Food Channel and dreaming of holiday cooking.Crust1 cupchocolate cookie crumbs1/3cupsugar2 tablespoonsmelted margarineFilling22 oz.soft cream cheese3/4 cupsugar1/2 cupsour cream1/2 teaspoonsalmond extract4eggs1 packageinstant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix2 cupswhite chocolate chips1/2 cupchopped pistachios1/3 cupwhite chocolate chips1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and 1/3 cup sugar; mix well. Fold in butter. Press mixture in bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.2. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Wrap outside of pan, bottom and sides with heavy-duty foil.3. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese in large bowl at medium speed until creamy, add sugar until creamy. Add sour cream and almond extract; beat well. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time until mixed.4. Beat in pudding until well mixed. Stir in chips and pistachios. Pour into crust-lined pan.5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until sides of cheesecake are set and slightly puffed but center still jiggles. Cool in pan for 1 hour.6. Melt remaining white chocolate chips. Drizzle over cheesecake. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours before serving.6. Remove sides of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. Yum!
This isnt as much a holiday bread as is a sweet one with cranberries or pumpkin, but it is a family favorite. Dill apparently comes from a Norse word meaning to soothe, so maybe this bread will help relieve some holiday stress.Makes 1 loaf1 1/4 cupswhole wheat flour1 1/4 cupswhite flour2 teaspoonsbaking powder1/2 teaspoonbaking soda3/4 teaspoonsalt2 heaping tablespoons minced fresh dill*1/4 cupoil1/4 cuphoney3/4 cupmilk1 egg, well beaten1 cupcottage cheese1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.2. In a large bowl mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and dill.3. In a small saucepan combine the oil and honey, and heat just until blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, beaten egg and cottage cheese.4. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined; do not overbeat. Scrape into the prepared pan and press down the batter with a rubber spatula to prevent any air pockets from developing. Smooth over the top, then give the pan a good thump on the counter.5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing the bread from the pan, and let cool at least 1 hour before slicing.* One tablespoon of dried dill weed could be substituted for the fresh dill but the flavor will not be as distinct.
This potato dish has been a family favorite since I can remember. My mom found it and is asked every year to make it for her family. Sour cream, cream cheese and butter there is nothing better than that. (Can you tell Im a cheesehead?)Serves 10 4 poundspotatoes (approx. 12)1 package (8oz)cream cheese, softened1 cupsour cream2 teaspoonssalt1/8 teaspoonpepper1 clovegarlic1/4 cupchives4 tablespoons butterCook potatoes in boiling water in large pot until tender. (30-60 minutes)Mash potatoes in large bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, 4 tablespoons salt, pepper and garlic. Stir in chopped chives.Spoon into a 10 cup baking dish and dot with 1 tablespoon of butter.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly golden.Sprinkle with parmesan cheese for an extra touch.
Here is a yummy soup great anytime in the winter. Its a family favorite!Makes about 9 cupsIngredients:Three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained 1 cupdrained canned tomatoes, chopped 1 1/4cups chopped onion 1/2cup minced shallot 4garlic cloves minced 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoonsalt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 stick (1/4 cup)unsalted butter 4 cupsbeef broth a 16-ounce can pumpkin pure (about 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 cupdry Sherry (you can add 1/2 cup chopped ham; I choose not to) 3 to 4 tablespoonsSherry vinegar (you may substitute apple cider vinegar; its just as good!)In a food processor coarsely pure beans and tomatoes. In a 6-quart heavy kettle, cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean pure. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Just before serving, add vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.
These rich little cookies have been a staple in my house as long as I can remember, thanks to my mom. I seriously doubt she has the recipe written down anymore. Its just that ingrained in our family. Sometimes called Russian tea cakes, they are basically just butter and sugar but, really, what more do you need?1 cupsalted butter1 cuppowdered sugar2 cupsflour1 cupchopped nuts1 teaspoonvanillaPlus extra powdered sugar to roll the cookies inPreheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix everything until its crumbly. Roll the dough into little balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the cookie edges start to brown. After theyre cool, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.
This fantastic coffee cake is a traditional Christmas morning delight in my family. The joy of smelling it bake is as good as the taste.3 cupsflour, sifted2 cupsbrown sugar1 teaspoonsalt1 teaspooncinnamon1/2 cupCrisco2 eggs, well-beaten3/4 cupmilk2 teaspoonsbaking powderMix and sift flour, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add sugar and mix with hands. Cut in Crisco with a knife or rub in with fingers. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture to sprinkle on top of cake. To the remainder of the mixture, add the baking powder and mix well. Add beaten eggs and milk and beat thoroughly. Pour into two greased 9-inch layer cake pans (dont flour) and sprinkle tops with reserved mixture. Bake in 400 degree oven for 2025 minutes. Serve warm.Oh, yeah dont forget to sip a good cup of coffee while you eat the cake!
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