Holiday Recipes and Decor

Hello and welcome to this week’s post.

Happy Holiday season! I hope y’all are getting festive and enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.  If Christmas isn’t your thing, well, I hope you’re eating to your hearts content. 

This week we’re going to talk about my holiday favorite recipes, perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years dinner. Many of these recipes came from an amazing cook book that some friends bought me for my birthday. It’s called the Food Lab and it’s basically a foodies dream.  It explains the science behind why things should be cooked a certain way and gives you the perfect outcome every time. If you’re going to order the book, make sure you buy the physical book over the Kindle version.  It’ll be a lot easier to navigate!

‘Melanie’s Salad’ is a recipe from a friend who introduced this to me last Thanksgiving and this salad is now one of my go to’s for any special occasion.  The Oreo bites are from Pinterest. 

In terms of the turkey and gravy- this is Yannick’s specialty.  He is the master of the bird.  One of these days, hopefully before Christmas, I’ll get him to write down exactly what he does and share it with the rest of you.

Now let’s get started.

Melanie’s Salad

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  I leave the dressing on the side so people can add as much or as little as they want.

Mac and Cheese 

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • Kosher salt
  • One 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 tsp ground mustard (found in the spice section)
  • 1 lb extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 8 oz American cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks
  1. Place the macaroni in a large pot and cover with salted water by about 2 inches.  Add large pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking.  Cover the pan, remove from heat and let stand until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.  Side note: this is one of the best ways to cook pasta to the perfect done-ness.
  2. Meanwhile, whist together evaporated milk, eggs, hot sauce and mustard in a bowl until well mixed.
  3. Toss cheeses with corn starch in a separate bowl
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot.  Place over low heat and add the butter, stirring until melted.  Add the milk mixture and cheese mixture, stirring constantly until the cheese s completely melted and the mixture is creamy.  Serve immediately.

Feel free to add more salt or pepper, hot sauce (or ketchup) if desired.  You could also cut of some bacon and its fat to the mix to give it even more flavor.

Mashed Potatoes 

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into rough 1- 2 inch chunks.  Transfer to a colander and rose under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat.  Add potatoes and cook until completely tender when pierced with a knife.  This usually takes 15- 20 minutes.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, heat milk and butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted. 
  4. Drain potatoes and transfer back into colander to rinse under hot water of 30 seconds.  Place potatoes in a sieve (or a food mill if you have it) and pass the potatoes through.  Add the milk and butter and fold gently with a rubber spatula to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Biscuits

Literally just made Pilsbury buttermilk biscuits.  The girl is ambitious, but not that ambitious.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, bottoms cut off, outer leaves discard, and sprout cut in half
  • 4 oz. shallots, finely slices or approx 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • I added 1-2 slices of bacon, uncooked, and chopped into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Optional: balsamic vinegar
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-mddli position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack.  preheat oven (and baking sheet) to 500° F.
  2. Toss all the above ingredients (minus the balsamic) together. Make sure to season generously with the salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer brussel sprouts to the sheet.  They will start to sizzle immediately.  Return to oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until completely tender and well charred.
  4. Remove from oven and drizzle balsamic if desired

I forgot to take a picture of these.  Oops.  but we make them frequently in this house so the next time I do, I’ll post a picture on Instagram stories.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Option to replace 1/2 cup water with 1/2 orange juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, strong occasionally wth a wooden spoon until the berries start to pop.  Mash the berries against the side of the pot wth the spoon, then continue to cook, stirring until the berries are completely broken down and have achieved a jam like consistency.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.  Stir in extra 1 Tbsp increments of water to adjust consistency to your liking.

Oreo Cheesecake Bites 

These were amazing.  I will say that I refrigerated them after I cooked them for about an hour and it improved the texture significantly.  In the original recipe, the author said to cook them until the became firm n the middle, but for some reason, that never happened with men and you definitely don’t want to overcook these.

  • 12Oreo cookieswhole
  • 6Oreo cookieschopped
  • 16ouncescream cheese,softened
  • 1/2cupgranulated sugar
  • 1/2tspvanilla extract
  • 2largeeggslightly beaten
  • 1/2cupsour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F with rack in the lower 1/3 of oven.  And line a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake paper liners and place an Oreo in the bottom of each up
  2. Beat the cream cheese and gradually add sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream, mixing well after each ingredient is added
  3. Stir in chopped Oreo pieces.  I placed men on top and that could be why they don’t firm up as the original recipe had said they would
  4. Spoon mixture into the cupcake liners, filling almost to the top
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until firm.  I baked mine for the 30 minutes
  6. Transfer to cooling rack for 15 minutes and then place in the fridge for an hour or until ready to serve.


That’s it!  I learned that timing s everything when it comes to cooking for larger groups.  We had my parents and my aunt and uncle here for Thanksgiving which was such a blessing and it gave Yannick and me the opportunity to test our our cooking skills and how well we work together.  It turned out really well!  

Here are a couple pictures of the decor and our dining room.  Nothing too special but the last thing I was thinking about was taking pictures of my furniture.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below or send them over through Instagram!  Also, stay tuned because I’ll be hosting another giveaway this week- either tomorrow or Tuesday.  Thanks so much for reading and I’ll talk to you soon.

Sincerely,

Kayla Price