Holiday Eatings!

By Renee Cabaup and the Communications Committee

It’s the holiday season! Time to rejoice, spend time with family and friends, exchange gifts, catch up on each other’s lives, and eat!

Feasting has always been an important part of any holiday, and almost everyone has favorite dishes that grace their holiday table. We at the Communications Committee are sharing a few of our own favorites, so from our house to yours…..Happy Holidays!

Croissant Stuffing with Sausage and Apples

From Cynthia Giles

 

 

Croissant Stuffing with Sausage and Apples

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

12 oz. breakfast sausage, casings removed if necessary

6 tbsp. butter, plus more for baking dish, divided

4 celery stalks

4 medium leeks, finely chopped

1 sweet-tart apple, such as pink lady or granny smith, cored and chopped

Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine

10 cups torn croissants (about 8 croissants), dried overnight

2 tbsp. freshly chopped sage

2 tbsp. freshly chopped thyme

2 large eggs

3 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Add 2 tablespoons butter to skillet along with celery, leeks, and apple. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl with sausage and add croissant pieces, sage, and thyme and toss to combine.

2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 cups broth. Pour over croissant mixture and toss until evenly moistened, adding more broth ¼ cup at a time until croissant pieces seem hydrated (you might not use it all).

3. Butter a 3-quart baking dish and add stuffing. Dot with remaining 4 tablespoons butter and cover dish with foil. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the stuffing comes out warm, 30 to 35 minutes. Increase heat to 425° and continue to bake until top is deeply golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Perfect Cranberry Sauce

From Tammy Hartford and David Bergeron

 

One of our favorite holiday recipes is based on one we found online from Food Network Magazine.  It is much easier than you might think to make Perfect Cranberry Sauce.  When I was a child, cranberry sauce came out of a can in a log my mom sliced into circles.  Pretty and tasty, but plain.  It is much easier than you might think to make Perfect Cranberry Sauce.  We usually double the following recipe as we love it so much.

INGREDIENTS

12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup of sugar
1 strip of orange or lemon zest
2 tablespoons of water
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

DIRECTIONS

1. Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan, keeping a ½ cup of them aside.

2. Add 1 cup of sugar (don't try to cut the sugar below this amount as it will not gel properly).

3. Add 1 strip of orange or lemon zest (I add multiple strips and prefer orange).

4. Add 2 tablespoons of water (don't add too much even though at this stage this doesn't look like enough) to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, approximately 10 minutes.

5. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, approximately 12 minutes. You may hear the cranberries start to pop.

6. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining ½ cup of cranberries you set aside.

7. Add sugar (I don't), salt (I use sea salt & very little) and pepper (I use fresh ground) to taste and cool to room temperature before serving. Mine is usually served cold as it is one of the dishes I can generally make the day before it is needed.

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While my cranberry sauce is perfect by itself and I serve it that way, I also use it in a variety of other recipes. One favorite is Cranberry Brie Phyllo Cups, another very simple recipe:

Cranberry Brie Phyllo Cups

From Tammy Hartford and David Bergeron

Cranberry Brie Phyllo Cups

INGREDIENTS

Perfect cranberry Sauce (above)
1 box small frozen phyllo cups
Brie cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan, keeping a ½ cup of them aside.

2. Add 1 cup of sugar (don't try to cut the sugar below this amount as it will not gel properly).

3. Add 1 strip of orange or lemon zest (I add multiple strips and prefer orange).

4. Add 2 tablespoons of water (don't add too much even though at this stage this doesn't look like enough) to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, approximately 10 minutes.

5. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, approximately 12 minutes. You may hear the cranberries start to pop.

6. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining ½ cup of cranberries you set aside.

7. Add sugar (I don't), salt (I use sea salt & very little) and pepper (I use fresh ground) to taste and cool to room temperature before serving. Mine is usually served cold as it is one of the dishes I can generally make the day before it is needed.

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While my cranberry sauce is perfect by itself and I serve it that way, I also use it in a variety of other recipes. One favorite is Cranberry Brie Phyllo Cups, another very simple recipe:

Sweet Dough Braided Bread

By Renée Cabaup

I first learned to make this crusty, slightly sweet, yeasty bread in my 8th grade home economics class. It was a huge hit with my family, and became our special occasion and holiday bread. It can be baked in a braided round, elongated, made into rolls, or even shaped for various holidays (heart for Valentine’s Day, braided around eggs, for Easter, etc.) - whichever you prefer. It is meant to be pulled apart as opposed to slicing. And while it is delicious buttered, it is just as good on its own.

INGREDIENTS

2 ½ - 3 cups of all purpose flour

1 package of dry yeast

¼ cup of sugar

¾ teaspoons of salt

¼ cup of soft margarine

¾ cups of HOT tap water

1 egg – room temperature

cooking oil

Sweet Dough Braided Bread

DIRECTIONS

 

1. Combine 1 cup of flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to blend. Stir in soft margarine.

2. Add hot tap water to ingredients in bowl all at once. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for two minutes, scraping the sides occasionally.

3. Add egg and ½ cup more of flour. Beat with electric mixer at high speed for one minute or until the mixture is thick and elastic. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.

4. Gradually stir in remaining 1 cup of flour with a wooden spoon. Use just enough flour to make a soft dough which leaves the side of the bowl.

5. Turn out onto a floured surface. Round up into a ball.

6. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and then with a towel. Let rise for 15 minutes on the board.

8. Punch down, then let stand for 10 minutes.

9. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 48 hours.

Braided Round Bread

1. Place chilled Sweet Dough (recipe above) smooth side down on a lightly greased board.

2. Roll into an 18” x 6” rectangle.

3. Cut lengthwise three strips (I usually just eyeball it and cut the dough into three separate pieces instead of rolling out). Pinch each strip to make a rope.

4. Braid the three ropes together, beginning at the center and breathing out to each.

5. Place in a greased , 9 inch round pan.

6. Generously brush the top with oil (I prefer to use butter).

7. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes. Sometimes, it takes a little bit longer depending on how thick your bread ropes are, so keep an eye on it. You want the top of the bread to be a nice golden brown, and slightly crispy.

8. When finished, remove the loaf from oven, and allow it to sit in the pan about 5 minutes to finish baking. Serve warm.

Wrap leftovers tightly, and store in the refrigerator.

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Another favorite treat in our house is Saltine Toffee, also known as ‘Christmas Crack.’ This sweet and salty treat can be made with a variety of toppings, which can be switched out for various other holidays or birthdays. It’s also a great item to bring to an office party or a bake sale, Be forewarned - It’s addictive!

Saltine Toffee (Christmas Crack)

By Renée Cabaup

Saltine Toffee (Christmas Crack)

INGREDIENTS

35 - 40 saltine crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
One bag of chocolate chips (milk chocolate works best)
Toppings (nuts, M&Ms, jimmys, crushed pretzels, etc.)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a jelly roll pan (or any large rimmed baking sheet).

3. Place crackers, salted side down, on parchment, leaving spaces in between.

4. Melt butter and brown sugar, mixing well, then allow to boil for 3 minutes, making sure it does not burn.

5. Pour brown sugar butter mixture over crackers - spread evenly.

6. Bake for five minutes. Remove from oven, and turn oven off.

7. Sprinkle crackers with chocolate chips, then returned to the still warm oven for five minutes more to melt the chips.

8. Remove, and spread the chocolate evenly over crackers.

9. Sprinkle with desired toppings while the chocolate is still hot.

10. Put the entire pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to an hour.

11. When the batch is cold, break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

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While my cranberry sauce is perfect by itself and I serve it that way, I also use it in a variety of other recipes. One favorite is Cranberry Brie Phyllo Cups, another very simple recipe:

Wishing you all the Merriest of Holidays and a Happy New Year!