What are Your Favorite Foods for the Holidays?

A wide variety of folks visit the Forum; I’m interested in what you like for holidays and other special occasions?

At Christmas, we often eat curried or honey chicken, and at my extended family, Dutch Banket (long, flaky almond pastries) and Korean chapchai when my aunts visit. We mix that with chicken, dressing, guacamole, pecan, apple and pumpkin pies; the hunting members bring canned venison; and the more health conscious among us mix in fresh veggies.

Maybe you will be willing to share some of your (not secret) recipes.


Wow, so many choices! One tradition for snacks is sausage balls, simple recipe with sausage, mix and cheddar and cream cheese, formed and baked in little balls. Pumpkin pie is also a standard, made just like the recipe on the back of the pumpkin can, but add two extra eggs, cut the spice to just a quarter teaspoon of pumpkin spice, add a tsp. vanilla, and use 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar instead of all white. And bake in two pie shells instead of one. Other than that, just like on the can. And you can add a tsp of corn starch to firm it up a little, makes a more custardy milder pumpkin pie that people who do not like pumpkin pie like.

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Oh, that sounds good! Brown sugar and vanilla, with extra eggs, sound good.
I was surprised to hear in Africa, that the English and Asian and Aussie missionaries were rather bemused at the US and Canadian habit of making pies out of squash.

I did my very first turkey dinner this last thanksgiving. Before this it was my mother who did that, but she has lost all of her mobility this last year. She is 80 years old. I usually do pork pies for Christmas or New Years Day. And I may do a Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding dinner since it looks like I have both days this year. My mother, wife, and I were taking turns, 2 days a week each, but now I am cooking 4 days a week. Ham is another possibility, though I have done that a few times already this year. It depends on the prices.


This is a little different Christmas in that I retired and the sweets that patients bring by no longer are there to tempt me. I had one patient who made sugar cookies every year and brought them in the same tin (which I returned to her) for about 20 years.


We tend to do traditional fare for Thanksgiving. I love getting cranberry apple cider that a local orchard sells. Christmas is usually ham and salmon and whatever the many relatives bring for sides. Lately I’ve been doing more gluten-free things since my husband is gluten free, and I’ve found that a trifle works well for dessert… it’s not a big deal if the cake falls apart because I’m going to tear it up anyway. For Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin gingerbread one.


I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but years and years ago I found a recipe for a two-layer, no-bake version that’s great. And … it’s the easiest thing in the world to make. Always a consideration for me.

Simply, the bottom layer is cream cheese and Cool Whip, and the top is a can of pumpkin puree mixed with instant vanilla pudding and spices. Put it in a graham cracker crust, cover with Cool Whip and stick in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Love it! The professional version:


Looks good. I have a pumpkin cheesecake topped with pecans that is good also

My dad does a Prime Rib that is delicious. And he also makes shrimp scampi as an appetizer. He makes pecan pie cheesecake for dessert. I need to not eat for the next week to prepare. :joy:


The one constant here is a steamed persimmon pudding that Lia makes using her mother’s recipe. We used to serve that with hard sauce (literally butter and sugar) but then we decided we’d like to experience old age. Now we just serve it with honey sweetened whip cream with a trace of brandy. Not sure what we’ll have this year so I am reading all the suggestions with interest. I’m partial to doing a bird because I love the soup the carcass makes. One year we did a couple of Muscove ducks and the next day’s soup from that was amazing.

This past Saturday we went to the yearly holiday party for Lia’s walking group which we’ve been doing for more than 30 years now. Usually there is a regional theme for the dishes we all make. But this year the hosts asked that we make all finger food eaten on small dishes anywhere rather than a formal sit down dinner. I made meatballs and olive oil rubbed, seasoned and baked marble sized potatoes. This was inspired by the meatballs we had at an Italian restaurant for Lia’s birthday last month and they were a revelation. So this year, after googling a bunch of recipes I settled on 3/4 ground beef and 1/4 sweet Italian sausage. But my secret ingredient was glazing the mined onions, garlic and green pepper in pancetta. I also substituted some sun dried tomato paste for part of the milk. But the cooking method was also interesting, baking them in thin layer of bone broth. Not as good as those at the restaurant, but there weren’t any left to take home.

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I’m sure this would be wonderful. My aunt makes her own pepper jelly which she serves on crackers spread with cream cheese. Strongly recommended.

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For a number of reasons Christmas Day for us is a fairly sedate affair (just me, Abi and the two boys). We tend to stay with family in between Christmas Day and New Year so in the last few years we’ve dialled back what we do for Christmas dinner.

One year we got some high-quality chicken breasts and stuffed them with a generous lump of cheese (a nice hard cheese or a soft goats cheese work well). I then wrapped the breasts in bacon, and then that is wrapped in para ham. Cooked until piping hot in the middle. Served with crispy roast potatoes and one’s choice of seasonal vegetables.

But my all-time favourite is twice cooked coca-cola ham. Essentially you boil a joint of smoked ham in coke (no need to buy coca-cola, we find the cheaper stuff works better anyway) and then roast it off in the oven. Fully recipe here:

Serve the ham with crispy roasted skin-on potatoes, buttery and smooth carrot and sweet potato mash, corn on the cob, crispy cauliflower and broccoli cheese (generously dusted with paprika), and any other veg of your choice. Instant food heaven!


Sounds good! Interesting how ham varies as to how it is sold in various places. It seems that most hams here are sold fully cooked and often preslised, with just a glaze and a warm up done at ham, though cured uncooked ham is available.

It is interesting in that soft drinks are used in other recipes with my daughter using Dr Pepper to cook pork loin in the crock pot. My mom used to make a jello congealed salad with Coke, bing cherries nuts and pineapple. Hum, that would be good for Christmas, have to look for the recipe.

However, interestingly, the most iconic food around here for Christmas in Texas has become tamales. Sales of tamales boom around the holidays, with many cottage industries popping up to make them.


Cheesecake used to be my favorite until I got violently ill after eating it at a restaurant in LA. I can still eat it, but the love is gone. :cry:

That must be part of our species inheritance. My brother got ill after eating lamb one time and prefers not to eat it. When I was a kid I got I’ll after eating mayo on white bread and now I avoid mayo as far as possible. Somehow retching seems to make a big immediate impression on our appetites.

Unless it involves alcohol … Lol

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Good point. Glad to say it has never had much hold on me. Besides, I can’t afford the calories.

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It makes sense from a survival point of view. Maybe it developed as a survival mechanism somewhere in our genetic history. Distant human ancestor sees red berries, eats red berries, gets a stomach ache, and pukes up red berries. Those with brains that the ‘mark’ the taste and pattern of those berries as dangerous are more likely to survive, they pass on the gene that controls this process and viola. Now, several million years later or whatever, I can no longer eat flapjack…


Our neighbors brought us some Christmas tamales last night! They were great. I think this year when my parents come to visit, I might try to get the girls to try our hand at them with my mom. An afternoon of making tamales together is kind of a traditional feminine generational holiday bonding activity here in Mexico, kind of like baking and decorating sugar cookies in the States. Tamales are also big on New Years Eve and King’s Day.


For me inn December I can still go out and find blue oyster mushrooms in the forest. I’ll pick some and clean them store them in the fridge. Sometimes I can find candy caps as well. I like to boil them and then rip them longways along their gills and fry them with salt and pepper, sweet onions, and potatoes. I then make gravy and mix it together and toss in cranberries. I really like it.

I also like getting tofu about 1/2 inch thick and in a 4x4 square and bake it. I’ll make sweet potatoes that are baked and then mash them cinnamon, anise seeds, and vanilla extract and top it on the tofu.

Dessert wise, I really like buying chocolate licorice , chopping it, and mixing it with soy vanilla icecream and pumpkin spice.

The main thing in winter for me is typically overall in winter my diet moved towards more roots and gourds, and pecans and walnuts. I’ve not actually seen chestnuts for a while and I’ve never seen store chinquapin nuts. Maybe I’ll find some good blight immune ozark chinquapins or american chestnuts one day and be able to eat them.

I want to have roasted American chestnuts before I die lol. I hear about them in old Christmas songs and want to try it.

Additionally in fall and winter my coffees tend to be flavored with seasonal flavors and I enjoy it. But since I live alone and have since i was 17 except for when married, I don’t really cook anything special for holidays. Just flow with seasonal foods and flavors.


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