While the holidays will most likely look a little different this year, one thing that does not have to change is the spirit of togetherness that comes when we gather with loved ones. If your house is anything like most, the kitchen tends to be the place where everyone congregates. That is, until it is time to do the dishes.
Sure, this year it may just be our immediate family instead of our great-great second cousins twice removed, but who says that we can’t still enjoy slowing down and building new memories in the kitchen?
Below, we have included some of my favorite holiday recipes that are perfect to make whether you are serving 4 people or 40.
Classic holiday recipes to make you feel at “home” even when you’re not
Overnight jumbo cinnamon rolls
Makes 12 rolls
Start the prep for these cinnamon rolls the day before you would like to serve. They will rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight and be ready to pop in the oven in the morning! If you prefer, you can make the icing in advance and just bring to room temperature before topping the cinnamon rolls.
The last step before the rolls go into the oven is to pour cream over the top. The cream seeps into each cinnamon roll, resulting in a soft, gooey texture that cannot be beat!
For the dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, warm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
For the filling:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
For the icing:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, warm
Add 4 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, warm milk and granulated sugar. Slowly pour the mixture into the flour and beat on medium-low speed until mixed together well. Cut the softened butter into small pieces, then add individually to the dough with the mixer on low speed. Once all of the butter is mixed throughout the dough and the dough is well combined, transfer it to a greased bowl. The dough will be very sticky at this point!
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour. Remove the covering and gently pull the bottom sides of the dough up and to the center top of the dough ball, to gently knead the dough inside the bowl. Repeat until all sides of the dough ball have been kneaded. Cover the bowl and allow it to rise for another 1 hour, then knead the dough in the same way again. Cover the bowl again and place into the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to a few hours.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and place the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with a bit more flour, then let it sit for about 20 mins to come down to room temperature. Next, roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle about 12” x 18”
Prepare the filling. In a bowl, melt 6 tbsp of unsalted butter. To the butter, add the brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until well combined. Spread the filling evenly on top of the dough using a rubber or offset spatula, leaving about 1/2″ of dough clear alongside the bottom edge of the long side of the rectangle. Starting from the top of the rectangle, begin to roll the dough towards the bottom. Using a sharp knife, slice off the very edges of the rolled dough to create even ends. Slice the roll in half, then slice each of those halves in half again. This will give you four pieces of the roll all equal in length. Slice each of these quarters into 3 equal pieces, which will yield 12 rolls in total. Place the rolls swirl side up in a greased 9” x 13” pan or large braising dish, leaving some space around each one to allow for rising. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator and uncover. Allow the rolls to come to room temperature on the counter for 30-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before the cinnamon rolls go into the oven, warm 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You want the cream to be warm, not hot. Pour the cream over and around the cinnamon rolls, then place the pan into the oven. Bake for about 25 mins, or until golden brown on the top.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, beat together 6 tbsp unsalted butter and 4 oz. cream cheese until free of lumps. Add in 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt, then mix until well combined.
When the pan comes out of the oven, use half of the icing to frost the tops of the cinnamon rolls. This ensures that the tops do not get too hard! After the cinnamon rolls have cooled for about 20 mins, spread the rest of the icing on top and serve warm.
Sausage, tomato and spinach strata
This is another make-ahead dish that will leave your mornings free to snuggle up in bed just a little longer! Prepping this casserole the night before allows the bread to soak up all of the creamy custard mixture, which makes for the perfect consistency once baked. Feel free to try variations of this recipe with different meat (think ham or bacon), as well as your family’s favorite veggies!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground breakfast sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 oz. leftover or crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes (about 8 cups)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the breakfast sausage and diced onions. Cook for 6-7 mins, or until no longer pink. Add in the drained spinach and garlic, cooking for an additional 1-2 mins. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the half and half, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk together.
Spray a 9”x13” baking pan with cooking spray. Add in half of the bread cubes, followed by half of the sausage mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and half of the tomatoes. Repeat with the remaining bread, sausage mixture, cheese and tomatoes. Pour the egg mixture over top of everything, then place the pan in the refrigerator, covered with aluminum foil, overnight. Let the pan sit for 30 mins at room temperature before baking for 50-60 mins, removing the foil about halfway through cooking to brown the top.
Leftover creamy turkey soup
We all do it. Buy that 22lb turkey at the grocery store because it was “such a good deal”. Since you inevitably will have leftover turkey the day after a big holiday feast, here is a great soup recipe that capitalizes on the fact that you were such a savvy shopper.
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
12 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces (fresh, canned, or leftover)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 1/2 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn kernels
1 1/2 lbs cubed leftover turkey
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Add 3 tbsp olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Dice the onion and celery. Peel the carrot and potato and cut into a small dice. Add the onions, celery, carrot and potato to the pot, along with the salt and pepper (use the full amount of pepper if you don’t mind a little bit of heat in your soup). If you are using fresh, raw green beans, add them at this point as well. Sauté the veggies for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 1 min. Stir in the green beans (if using canned or leftover), corn, turkey, chicken stock, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and nutmeg. Cook for 5 mins, or until veggies are cooked through to the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and flour until smooth. Add the milk mixture to the pot and stir. Bring the soup to a low boil, then reduce the heat to med low. Soup should thicken to a nice, creamy consistency in 1-2 mins. Taste, adding more salt & pepper, if desired.
To serve, scoop some of the soup into a bowl and serve with a side of sliced bread.
Makes about 12 latkes
Often made as part of a meal to celebrate Hannukah, these potato pancakes are so flavorful and just the right mix of crunchy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside. They are seriously addicting, so one batch just might not be enough to satisfy hungry bellies.
1 lb white potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dry matzo ball mix*
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Vegetable oil for frying
Sour cream or applesauce for serving
Wash the potatoes, then pat dry. Remove the potato skins and discard. Shred the potatoes, either using the grating disk on a food processor, or with a handheld box grater. Cut the onion in half, discard the skin, then shred the onion-like the potatoes.
Place a clean kitchen towel over a bowl and put the shredded potatoes and onion into the center of the towel. Gently lift the edges of the towel so that the potato and onion mixture are wrapped inside. Squeeze the towel so that all of the excess liquid is drained from the vegetables. Continue squeezing until no more liquid can be removed.
Place the potatoes and onion in a mixing bowl, then add in the eggs, matzo ball mix, salt and garlic powder. Stir until well combined.
Heat about 1/4” of oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan on the stove. Once hot, drop 2 tbsp-sized spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the oil. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down the latkes to flatten. Cook for about 3-4 mins on one side, or until golden brown. Flip the latkes and fry on the other side for an additional few minutes. Drain on paper towels, then serve immediately.
Top with chives, sour cream and/or applesauce, if desired.
*Matzo ball mix should be available at most grocery stores. It differs from matzo meal in that it is already mixed with a leavening agent (baking powder) and some spices. If you cannot find the premade dry mix, you can substitute with plain matzo meal, or even all-purpose flour. Following this substitution, you will also need to add 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, and an additional 1/4 tsp salt.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding is a dish most likely more familiar to those in the U.K. than in the U.S. While the origins of the dessert are somewhat disputed, what is clear is that it has become a staple sweet during the holidays.
For the cake:
8 oz. dates
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup demerara sugar*
2 tbsp molasses
2 large eggs
6 tbsp milk
1 1/3 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tbsp molasses
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the dates into 1/4” pieces, then add to a small pot along with 3/4 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for about 3-4 mins. Remove from the heat, then use a potato masher or spoon to mash the dates, forming a loose paste. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together 6 tbsp softened butter and the demerara sugar for 1-2 mins. Add in 2 tbsp molasses and the eggs, beating until well combined. Stir in the milk and the date mixture. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, then mix until combined. Pour the batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for about 35 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before inverting out of the pan.
Meanwhile, add 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar, 1/2 tbsp molasses, and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream to a small pot over medium heat. Stir until combined, then cook for 6-7 mins, or until all of the sugar has melted. Add in the remaining heavy cream, stir, then remove from the heat. Pour the sauce over top of the cake and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
*demerara sugar is a raw cane sugar with a golden brown color and large granule crunchy texture. It can be found at most grocery stores in the baking aisle. If demerara sugar is not available, you can substitute with turbinado sugar (preferred) or light brown sugar.