Recipes for the Winter Holidays


Christmas Package Cheese Snack


8 oz cream cheese softened                                          ½ tsp. dried dill

¼ tsp. garlic powder                                                     1/8 tsp. salt

1 – 2 scallions                                                               ½ red bell pepper

  1. Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream cheese.
  2. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you can reuse the cream cheese box).
  3. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
  4. Before serving time, set the unwrapped block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper polka dots (or small squares) and give tag made from cut red pepper.
  5. Note: Final product is to look like a rectangular package, complete with green “ribbon” and red polka dotted paper, with red gift tag.
  6. Serve with choice of crackers or veggies.



Makes 1 ½ gallons


1 gallon apple cider                                    1 quart orange juice

1 quart pineapple juice (unsweetened)   1 c. lemon juice (fresh)

1 c. sugar                                                      24 whole cloves

4 sticks of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients.  Don’t boil.  Let simmer until hot.  Serve warm.


Potato Latkes

Serves 6


2 c. peeled & shredded potatoes                                  2 tbsp all purpose flour

1 tbsp grated onion                                                       1 ½ tsp salt

3 eggs, beaten                                                                ½ c oil

  1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
  2. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, and salt together.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot.  Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form ¼ to ½ inch thick patties.  Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other.
  4. Let drain on paper towels.  Serve hot with applesauce or sour cream!

Time saving tip: buy the pre shredded potatoes at the supermarket to use instead of shredding your own.


Yassa (originally from Senegal)

Serves 4


4 large onions, thinly sliced                        ½ c. fresh lime juice

1 tsp salt                                                         ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 (3 ½ lb) chicken, cut into 8 pieces           3 tbsp olive oil

1 medium carrot, chopped                            1 medium celery rib, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced               1 fresh hot chile pepper seeded and minced

½ c chicken broth                                      hot cooked rice or couscous

  1. In a large bowl, combine the onions, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Add the chicken and toss to coat well.  Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 6 hours.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.  Drain the marinade in a colander set over a large bowl, and reserve both the liquids and the solids.
  2. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven.  In batches, cook the chicken over medium-high heat, turning often, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch.  Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
  3. Add the reserved marinated onions and the carrots, celery, garlic, and chile pepper to the Dutch oven.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir the chicken broth and the reserved marinade liquid; bring to a boil.  Return the chicken to the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the chicken shows no signs of pink at the bone when prodded with the tip of a sharp knife, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Serve over hot rice or couscous.

Eid al-Adha

Kheer (Rice Pudding)


1 c. cooked basmati rice                               8 green cardamom pods, crushed

2 tbsp rose essence                                       2 tbsp ground pistachio nuts

7 ½ c whole milk                                           12 tbsp sugar

The rice is to be ground finely and placed in a saucepan with the cardamoms. Add 6 3/4 cups of milk and boil over medium heat stirring continuously. Add remaining milk and cook over a medium heat until the rice mixture thickens to a creamy consistency. Add sugar and the rose water and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Serve chilled, and garnished with nuts.


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