You don’t have to be a professional chef or baker to whip up delectable dishes around the holidays. In fact, we have a handful of recipes — from sweet treats to mouth-watering meals — that might help you expand your holiday menu, no matter your culinary skills.
Benefits of Baking and Cooking with Family During the Holidays
Not everyone loves to bake and cook around the holidays, but it’s easy to understand why preparing food has become a generations-spanning tradition for many families.
- It’s an opportunity to spend time together. The holidays generally revolve around communal experiences, and gathering in the kitchen to help prepare a meal or a pan of cookies is a simple way for family and friends to work together and connect.
- It’s a learning opportunity. Unless you are a culinary master, there is always something to be learned in the kitchen, whether you are teaching the basics to a young child or learning the family tricks of the trade from the matriarch of the family.
- It’s a chance to work together. You can set aside any friend or family drama and simply work together on something simple and fun. The holidays are the perfect time to set aside our differences and enjoy the time we have together..
Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes
Normally dessert comes after dinner, but why not help yourself to a cookie to hold you over until dinner? If whipping up a batch of cookies is on your holiday to-do list, try these simple recipes.
Classic Sugar Cookies
A blank canvas waiting for a dollop of frosting and a sprinkle of sprinkles, this sugar cookie recipe produces four dozen delicious morsels.
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually blend the dry ingredients from step one to this mixture.
- Once mixed, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees until cookies are golden brown.
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
If you love combining chocolate and peanut butter as much as we do, give this recipe a try.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 36 unwrapped chocolate kisses
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg together in a large bowl until well blended.
- Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until dough forms.
- Shape dough into one-inch balls and roll in a small amount of sugar.
- Evenly space balls on a cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Immediately press one chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie.
Whether you are looking to raise a small army of gingerbread men or build a gingerbread house, this recipe for gingerbread cookies is certain to be a holiday crowd pleaser.
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup molasses
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Mix butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add egg and molasses to mixture.
- Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Gradually add to wet mixture and mix well.
- Cover dough and refrigerate until easy to handle, about 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll dough to approximately ⅛ inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Place each shape one-inch apart on baking sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are firm.
Holiday Meal Ideas
Now that we’ve satisfied your craving for cookies, let’s turn our attention to the main course. Many of the dishes that make up a holiday meal are actually simple and easy to make. All you have to do is follow the recipe and you’ll be well on your way to a home-cooked meal.
No holiday meal is complete without mashed potatoes. Try this recipe for buttery, creamy potatoes that will serve as the perfect side dish for your festive feast.
- 4 pounds of potatoes (russet or Yukon gold work best)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ⅓ cup melted, salted butter
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and quarter potatoes and place in a pot of cold, salted water.
- Add garlic and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered approximately 15 minutes until tender. Drain well.
- Heat milk on the stove top until warm.
- Add butter to potatoes and start mashing. Pour heated milk in gradually and continue mashing until potatoes reach a creamy consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve!
Cranberry sauce is a crowd-pleaser that goes well with most holiday dishes. This recipe is incredibly simple and sure to be requested year after year.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- Rinse cranberries in cold water, discarding any damaged berries.
- Combine water and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add cranberries to the saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and let cool. Once at room temperature, chill in the refrigerator until sauce thickens.
Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
Add color to your holiday meal with this simple preparation of Brussels sprouts with bacon. Even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to resist this dish.
- 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ large white onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in skillet until crispy. Remove and roughly chop.
- In the same skillet with the bacon fat, melt the butter.
- Once melted, add onion and Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally 8-10 minutes until sprouts are golden brown.
- Season with salt and pepper and add bacon to skillet. Stir and serve immediately.
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
The most intimidating component of your holiday meal is undoubtedly the turkey. But this turkey breast recipe cuts right to the good stuff, rather than having to prepare an entire bird.
- 1, 6-7 pound turkey breast
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Preheat the oven to 325. Place turkey breast skin side up on a rack in the roasting pan.
- Combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste.
- Spread half the paste on the skin and the other half on the meat underneath the skin.
- Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Cover with foil and rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with the pan juices.
The Holiday Season at Village on the Green
The holidays are a special time of year at Village on the Green and that is reflected in our community life. Our team strives to ensure we are providing a warm and supportive environment with engaging events and activities for every resident. That includes restaurant-style dining venues that offer chef-prepared meals, including seasonal delights around the holidays. As a community, we’re also committed to ensuring the health and wellness of our residents, especially around the holidays, which can often be a period of sadness and loneliness for older adults.
If you’d like to learn more about Village on the Green or see for yourself what makes our community so special, please fill out the form below or call us at 407-682-0230.