12 Days of Christmas: 9 recipes to try for Christmas dinner

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Michelle@tns/Flickr

Christmas is only a few days away, so it’s time to start finalizing your dinner menu.

If you want to try something (or a lot of things) new or different, check out one of these nine recipes.

1. BUTTER FLAKE DINNER ROLLS

From Dessert Now, Dinner Later. Makes 2½ dozen rolls.

Start out with warm rolls to pass around in the bread basket, just be sure to make plenty to share. 

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 5 ¾ cups flour
  • 7 tbsp. sugar
  • 7 tbsp. shortening
  • 7 tbsp. milk powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 5 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients except the butter in a stand mixer with the hook attachment on low speed for 20 to 25 minutes. The dough should form a ball and pull away from the bowl so the bowl looks clean.
  2. Take the dough out of the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a square, cover with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a half-inch thick square. Spread the softened butter on two-thirds of the square. Do a tri-fold by folding the non-buttered side over first, then the buttered side on top of that. Place the dough on a baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  4. Once the butter has chilled inside the dough, flatten the dough again vertically about one-fourth of an inch thick. Brush the melted butter on the center half of the dough. Fold the bottom fourth of the dough up and the top fourth of the dough down so that the ends meet in the middle. Flatten gently with a rolling pin.
  5. Brush the melted butter on the bottom half of the fold and fold the top half over.
  6. Using a rolling pin, flatten the strip of dough to 1 inch thick and 3 inches wide, cutting into half-inch thick pieces. Take each piece, lay flat and roll from the top down.
  7. Put the rolls into a sprayed muffin pan and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise for two hours.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Brush the hot rolls with the remaining melted butter.

 

2. SPINACH APPLE SALAD WITH MAPLE-CIDER VINAIGRETTE

From Southern Living. Makes 8 servings.

A little bit of salad on the side can be festive too — dress it up with ingredients that are perfectly in season.

Ingredients

For the pecans: 

  • 6 oz. pecan halves
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. curry powder
  • ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground red pepper

For the maple-cider vinaigrette:

  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup olive oil 

For the salad:

  • 10 oz. package fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 1 Gala apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. package crumbled goat cheese

Directions

  1. Prepare the pecans by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Toss pecans in the butter. Stir together sugar and spices in a separate bowl. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Spread a single layer in a nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes and separate the pecans with a fork.
  2. To prepare the dressing, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly blended.
  3. To prepare the salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle pecans on top. Serve the salad with any remaining dressing.

 

3. CRANBERRY AND POMEGRANATE BRUSCHETTA

From The Café Sucré Farine. Serves 50.

Bruschetta are perfect for small plates, or as an appetizer to your main event.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cranberries, washed
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Finely chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1 thin baguette, sliced about one-fourth of an inch thick
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

Directions

  1. Place the cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey and Sriracha in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off several times until the cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don’t overprocess.
  2. Add cilantro and pulse a few more times.
  3. Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate seeds and orange zest.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with foil or parchment paper.
  5. Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating the pans halfway through.
  7. To assemble, whisk cream cheese until creamy. Spread about a tablespoon on each crostini. Top with a scoop of the relish and garnish with more orange zest, if desired.

 

4. LENTIL MUSHROOM WALNUT BALLS WITH SAUCE

From Oh She Glows. Makes 13-14.

These hearty faux-meatballs are perfect for vegan and gluten-free guests

Ingredients

Lentil balls:

  • ½ cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, halved and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale leaves
  • ⅓ cup cranberries, chopped
  • ½ tsp. rosemary, fresh and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax plus 3 tbsp. water
  • ½ cup rolled oats, ground into flour
  • ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cranberry sauce:

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • Small pinch fine-grain sea salt

Directions

  1. Add lentils into a medium pot along with 2¼ cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, adding more water if the lentils dry out. Once the lentils are fork tender, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher until the mixture is a coarse paste with some lentil pieces still intact. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toast the chopped walnuts for 9 to12 minutes, until light gold. After toasting, increase oven temp to 350.
  3. In a large skillet, add the oil with the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt. Saute over medium-high heat for 7 to 9 minutes.
  4. Add the kale, toasted walnuts, cranberries, herbs and sherry vinegar. Stir until combined and continue cooking until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the mashed lentils when ready.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Stir for 10 seconds, then immediately pour into the skillet mixture. Stir to combine. Stir in ½ cup oat flour until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape lentil mixture into balls and pack tightly with your hands. Place on baking sheet an inch or so apart.
  7. Bake the lentil balls at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip over and bake for another 11 to 13 minutes, until golden.
  8. For the sauce, add the cranberries, pear and maple syrup into a medium pot. Bring to a low boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 20 minutes until thickened. Use a potato masher to mash the pear.

 

5. CREAMY MACARONI AND CHEESE

From Food Network. Makes 12 servings.

Slow cooker macaroni and cheese will give your busy oven a break, and this recipe is perfect if you’re entertaining for guests trickling in and out for bites on Christmas. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
  • 2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk (can use whole, but I used skim)
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Directions

  1. Boil the macaroni in a 2-quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix the butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.
  3. In a slow cooker, combine the cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper, and stir well. Add the drained macaroni and stir again.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

 

6. MASHED POTATOES 

There’s no wrong way to prepare potatoes for a special family dinner — sweet, plain, mashed or baked. This is my mom’s recipe for the mashed potatoes she makes each year and I hope your family enjoys them as much as I do. 

Ingredients

  • Bag of russet potatoes (About one per person. So if you are expecting 10 at your table, you need 10 potatoes)
  • 1 to 1½ cup butter or non-dairy buttery spread (such as Earth Balance for vegans)
  • Milk or original, unsweetened soy or almond milk (for vegans)
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half vertically, the horizontally two to three more times, given the length of the potato. Try to get all of the pieces as close to one another in size as possible, that way “they will all cook to the same tenderness at about the same time, give or take a little,” my mom suggests.
  3. Rinse the pieces and submerge in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low-medium heat to let the potatoes cook.
  4. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain the pot and place the potatoes in a mixing bowl — you can use either a hand- or stand-mixer.
  5. Start with adding 1 cup of butter and mix. Slowly add the milk and continue mixing. Add the amount of milk needed to reach the desired consistency (For thicker potatoes, use less milk.) Salt to taste.

 

7. CROCK POT CRANBERRY PECAN STUFFING

From Krafted Koch. Makes 12 servings.

Whether it’s for the turkey or heaped onto your plate as a side, nothing says Christmas like cranberry. 

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. bag cubed stuffing
  • 1 cup leeks, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard

Directions

  1. Toss the cubed stuffing with leeks, cranberries, raisins and pecans in a sprayed slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk chicken broth, melted butter, egg, ground mustard, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour over the bread mixture in the slow cooker and gently fold. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

 

8. HONEY-ROASTED MAPLE CARROTS

From The Café Sucré Farine. Makes 4-6 servings.

The maple syrup takes these roasted carrots to the next level, and you can even make your own maple syrup in a snap

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced vertically
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a sheet pan.
  2. Place carrots on prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Sprinkle with coriander, sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat by using hands or a spatula until well-coated. Spread carrots on pan in a single layer.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes and stir. Return to oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until tender and caramelized.
  4. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and herbs over the carrots and serve, adding salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle in pomegranate seeds.

 

9. BÛCHE DE NOËL

From Bon Appetit. Serves 10-12.

Polish it all off with this traditional French dessert that looks like a Yule log but tastes way better. Vegan guests can even tuck in to this treat

Ingredients

Chocolate cake:

  • Vegan butter, just enough for greasing
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1⅓ cup vanilla sugar
  • 9 tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1½ cups water

Chocolate Mousse:

  • 5 packages extra firm tofu
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dehydrated sugar cane
  • ½ tsp. plus ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups vegan, non-dairy chocolate chips 

Ganache:

  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
  • 2½ cups dark dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a half-sheet pan lined with wax paper for the cake.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar, oil and water. Mix into a batter-like consistency. If using a stand mixer, medium speed with the paddle attachment will do. Pour the mixture into the prepared sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake springs back to a light touch in the center.
  3. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and strip off the wax paper. Allow to cool completely.
  4. While cooling, prepare the mousse. Place the silken tofu, sugar cane, vanilla extract and salt into a food processor and pulse until ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
  5. Place chocolate chips and canola oil in a double boiler and melt the ingredients slowly so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Stir constantly until chocolate is smooth and silky.
  6. Add the melted chocolate mix to the food processor with all the ingredients and process for about five minutes. Place the mousse base in the refrigerator for about 5 hours to set.
  7. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine all of the ganache ingredients. Stir frequently and cook until the mixture is combined well. Remove from heat, add coconut oil and continue to whisk.
  8. To assemble your bûche de Noël, flip the spongecake out of the pan and onto parchment paper. Spread a thin, evenly applied layer of the mousse onto the sponge. Using the parchment paper as a guide, roll the coated sponge cake. To finish, give the log a final roll and squeeze to secure. Frost with the ganache to look like a log and decorate as desired. Can also dust powdered sugar or add fruit to the top.

 

efcd8d8e-fa18-4696-a9ea-4e89aadf0e25From the Flavor 574 family to yours, Happy Holidays! Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter at @DanielleWaldron.

 

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