My husband’s siblings live in our general area, so on Christmas afternoon our family tradition takes us all to my brother’s home for a pot-luck holiday meal. His family, with a few dollars contributed by each of us, provides a ham and a turkey. The rest of us bring the trimmings—rolls, salads, relish plates, potatoes, vegetables, and desserts. These can vary from year to year, but here are some favorites:
Sour Cream Party Potatoes—(known locally as “Funeral Potatoes” because they’re so often included at after-funeral luncheons!): Shredded cooked potatoes baked with Cream of Chicken Soup, sour cream, green onions (optional) and grated cheese, topped with a crunchy layer of crushed cereal or potato chips. (See recipe below)
Cranberry Orange Relish: chopped fresh cranberries; ground orange with some peel, sugar, and nuts; mixed into a black cherry or raspberry gelatin base. It tastes like Christmas!
Green Bean Casserole—the usual combination of green beans (fresh-cooked, frozen, canned, or reconstituted freeze dried) mixed with French’s Fried Onions and some Cream of Mushroom Soup. Some folks add cheese, others slivered almonds or mushrooms. A delicious variation is fresh-cooked asparagus bites with Cream of Asparagus Soup.
Raisin Sauce for Ham—a slightly thickened sauce of ham drippings, pineapple juice, and brown sugar, with a few plumped raisins to spoon over sliced ham.
Butter-browned Parsnips—parsnips peeled and cut like carrot sticks, boiled a few minutes until just tender, then lightly browned in a skillet with butter.
Layered Salad—Bite-size lettuce bits layered with ranch dressing, frozen green peas (they’ll thaw), shredded Swiss cheese, crumbled crisp bacon, and chopped green onions. Chill in layered state and toss just before serving.
Christmas Jello—red and green layers of gelatin (with fruits as desired), separated by a layer of cream cheese mixed with whipped topping (and a little pineapple if you like). Top with a dollop of whipped topping on each serving.
Sweet Potatoes and Apples—alternate slices of each in a casserole dish, top with melted butter and brown sugar and bake until tender. Variations: sweet potatoes and pineapple dices, or broiled pineapple and apple slices.
Chocolate Peppermint Dessert—using a recipe for cream-puffs, spread pastry on cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned and puffy. Spread generously with mixed instant chocolate pudding, then a layer of whipped topping, finished with finely-crushed peppermint candy. Cut into squares.
And a few fondly-remembered dishes from my southern childhood:
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (and I’m not the only one—be sure to see Mac and Cheese: A Holiday Tradition--and by the way, don’t miss Apple Cinnamon French Toast—a Christmas Tradition—I’m trying that one this year!)
Cornbread Stuffing for Turkey—Use the same seasonings as for bread-crumb stuffing: sage, thyme, onion, celery, and chicken or turkey broth--used to moisten crumbled cornbread instead of wheat bread crumbs. (See recipe below)
Pecan Pie—whole pecans topping a rich filling made of dark Karo syrup and eggs
Sweet Potato Pie—similar to pumpkin, but made with cooked, pureed sweet potatoes instead, making a slightly thicker texture.
Recipe: “Sour Cream Party Potatoes” (the mostly-food-storage version)
4 cups reconstituted Provident Pantry Hash Browns, drained
1 tablespoon Provident Pantry Green Onions (or any of our Onions)
1 ½ cups Provident Pantry Shredded Freeze-Dried Cheddar Cheese
Whisk together in a medium saucepan:
3 ½ cups cold water
1/2 cup Provident Pantry Cream Sauce and Soup Base mix
1 tablespoon Provident Pantry Chicken Broth mix
½ cup Provident Pantry Sour Cream Powder
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Fold drained potatoes into sauce. Add onions and cheese and stir well. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and top with crushed potato chips or crushed cereal such as crispy rice or corn flakes. Dot with Red Feather Butter. Bake at 350° F for ½ hour or until bubbly.
Recipe: Cornbread Stuffing (the mostly-food-storage version)
1 batch of Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix, prepared the day before if possible, cut in slices and allowed to dry out
½ cup Provident Pantry Chopped Onions, reconstituted
¾ cup Provident Pantry Celery, reconstituted
1 ½ teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon Provident Pantry Black Pepper
3 tablespoons Red Feather Butter or Clarified Butter
About 2 cups Provident Pantry Chicken Broth, prepared
In butter, sauté the onions and celery for a few minutes, then add seasonings. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Crumble the dry cornbread into fine pieces and add to skillet, stirring to absorb the liquid. Add more chicken broth as needed to get the consistency you like. If you’re planning to stuff a turkey or a chicken, make your stuffing a little on the dry side, as it will absorb juices from the bird. Otherwise, spoon stuffing into a casserole dish and cover. Keep warm until it’s time to serve.
There you have it—some of my favorite traditional holiday foods. Do you have a favorite holiday meal? Leave a comment and let us know!