New holiday favorites to try

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Holidays aren't always a time for culinary experimentation, but sometimes a great gift to your friends and family is trying a new dish.

New holiday favorites to try

When the holidays roll around, tradition abounds. Families celebrate the season with the same meals, which is good. Knowing what to expect gives everyone something to look forward to and can reduce tension during a stressful time. On the other hand, variety is the spice of life, so a little experimentation around the holidays can’t hurt too much. 

Here are a few new dishes, perfect for the holidays that you can bring to your next party. Instead of doing away with old traditions, work with these twists on old favorites so that everyone can enjoy them.

Couscous stuffing

Traditional stuffing can be heavy, but this couscous stuffing is light, flavorful and surprisingly enough, goes great with gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When it is melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until the carrots are soft, about 12 minutes. Turn the skillet to low once the vegetables are ready.
  2. While the vegetables are sautéing, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Put the couscous into a bowl and pour the broth over it with the two tablespoons of oil. Cover the bowl.
  3. In 10 minutes, the couscous should be ready. Fluff it with two forks, then mix in the vegetables. Serve.

Cinnamon lentils

A dish with a Middle Eastern flavor, these lentils blend sweet and savory into one unforgettable dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

  1. Pour the lentils, chicken broth and four tablespoons of cinnamon into a saucepan. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat and then cover. Cook the lentils 35 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the rest of the cinnamon and the milk, sugar and honey. Bring the milk to a boil and serve.

Christmas-dinner-in-a-dish

Take potatoes, add Christmas (or Easter) ham and cheese, and you have the best parts of a Christmas dinner all rolled into one.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use the butter to grease a baking dish with at least inch-high sides.
  3. Put all of the ingredients into the baking dish and mix well. Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done and the liquid is bubbly.

Pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin is great around Halloween, Thanksgiving and if you save a couple of cans, Christmas, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 can of pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Set the butter out to soften. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Slice the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and put it in a bowl with the sugar. Cream (mix well) the sugar, vanilla and butter. Add the eggs one at time, mixing well after each has been added. Next, add the pumpkin filling and mix. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the salt, flour, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips. Then add that to the wet ingredients.
  5. Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls and put them on a greased cooking sheet. Bake the cookies eight minutes, then remove from the oven.

Fruit cake cookies

OK, no one really likes fruit cake for all the obvious reasons. Try these cookies though -- it might give you a different viewpoint on candied fruits.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup candied fruits, minced
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Set the butter out to soften. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Slice the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and put it in a bowl with the sugar. Cream (mix well) the sugar, vanilla, orange extract and butter. Then add the eggs one at time, mixing well after each has been added. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the salt, flour, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips. Then add that to the wet ingredients. 
  5. Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls and put them on a greased cooking sheet. Bake the cookies eight minutes, then remove from the oven.