The holidays are a time to show love and appreciation for those who mean the most to us. For many, the preferred way to express these feelings is through cooking. Fortunately you don’t have to be a culinary rockstar to prepare a few choice dishes. Use these easy holiday recipes to create something delicious that everyone will enjoy.
Benefits of Baking and Cooking with Family During the Holidays
As families gather together to celebrate, the festivities tend to revolve around the kitchen. It’s warm and cozy, filled with amazing smells and provides the perfect platform to catch up and connect with loved ones. Beyond the occasional free sample fresh out of the oven, these are some of the many benefits to baking and cooking with family during the holidays.
- Spend time together. Cooking as a family is one activity that can bring multiple generations together through a common interest. It provides an opportunity to connect and work together to accomplish something larger. It’s also an approachable way to engage those who might be feeling lonely or isolated during the holiday season.
- Learn something new. No matter your age, there’s always something new to be learned in the kitchen. Whether that’s teaching young children the basics of measurements or putting a modern twist on a traditional family recipe, there are many valuable skills that can be passed across generations.
- A shared experience. Cooking is an activity that encourages teamwork. Everything from chopping vegetables to setting the table plays a critical role in the overall outcome. This shared experience can do everything from building confidence in new skills to increasing appreciation for the time and effort that goes into creating something special as a group.
Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes
Sweet treats are a signature of the holidays, and cookies provide the perfect platform to get creative and show your festive spirit. If you want to whip up a batch that friends and family are sure to enjoy, try any of these simple recipes.
Classic Sugar Cookies
A blank canvas for your holiday decorations, 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
It doesn’t get much better than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter in this recipe. Plus, these holiday classics can always be customized and decorated to your liking.
- 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.
Gingerbread cookies are always a holiday crowd pleaser. Full of flavor and easy to bake, this recipe can be used for everything from a simple snack to an elaborate gingerbread house.
- 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
Holiday meals may seem very elaborate, but many dishes are actually quite simple to make. If you’re in need of inspiration, you can impress your friends and family by preparing any of these easy recipes.
Mashed potatoes make the perfect accompaniment to just about any meal, and no holiday feast is complete without them. Try this recipe for buttery, creamy potatoes every time.
- 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
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. With this simple preparation you’ll change the hearts and minds of even the most picky eater. Further proof that bacon makes everything better.
- 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
Making an entire bird can be quite the ordeal. Instead of spending the day hovering over the oven, this turkey breast recipe gets right to the good stuff and simplifies the whole process.
- 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 Querencia
The holidays are a special time, and at Querencia we want to make sure that experience is shared by all of our residents. As the premier independent living community in Austin, Texas, our focus is on comprehensive wellness that helps every individual meet their goals. We also offer a wide variety of skilled health services ranging from memory care to rehabilitation. If you’d like to learn more about Querencia or see for yourself what makes our community so special, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.