Gathering for a holiday meal is an annual tradition here in The Telegraph newsroom. It’s been happening decades longer than I’ve been editing this page -- and I’ve been here 10 years.
The variety of food offered for our afternoon meal reflects our unique and creative newsroom personnel (bacon chocolate chip cookies, anyone?). Charles Richardson, without fail, makes a turkey or two. Oby Brown’s spinach casserole is a staple, although it got a healthy makeover this year. Paulette Fountain and Liz Jarvis Fabian always can be counted on to provide something sweet and delicious. I always look forward to Ben Yoder’s holiday meatloaf.
As the years have passed, writers have come and gone. And for some of them, their recipes live fondly -- or perhaps in infamy -- in our memories. Former writer S. Heather Duncan’s cheesecake was always a standout. And the late food editor Clara Eschmann’s jello shooters (yes, really) livened up an afternoon or two.
After enjoying this feast for several years, I thought it was time to share some of this holiday love with you, dear readers. So today we present a collection of recipes from our family to yours.
May they fill your bellies with goodness and warm your hearts as well. Happy holidays!
-- Renee Martinez
Charles Richardson’s Fried Turkey
1 turkey (totally thawed)
Dale’s seasoning for injection the night before frying
3 gallons of peanut oil
Heat oil to 400 degrees (takes about 45 minutes depending on the outside temperature).
Slowly lower the turkey into the oil and cook approximately 3 minutes per pound. Check the breast with a meat thermometer. When fully cooked the temperature should be 165 degrees.
Ben Yoder’s Meatloaf
1 pound 80/20 ground chuck
1/4 cup dehydrated chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic
1 large egg
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
Equal parts brown sugar and ketchup (I usually do about 1/2 cup)
Thoroughly mix first five meatloaf ingredients. Add half of breadcrumbs and mix. Add remaining breadcrumbs a little at a time until meatloaf comes together (may take a little more or less depending on moisture of meat and size of egg). Form into a loaf and place in a pan. Mix topping ingredients in a separate bowl and place aside.
In a preheated 350-degree oven, cook meatloaf uncovered for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, pour on topping. Return to oven for about 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and cook until topping is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
Ed Grisamore’s True Gris Stew
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 pound barbecue of your choice
3 boneless chicken breasts (cut in small pieces)
4 cans sliced tomatoes
4 cans sliced potatoes
2 cans whole grain corn
3 cans cream corn
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans green peas
1 can beef broth
1 bottle ketchup
Makes 20 cups or 10 pints.
Mix all ingredients together in a large pot. Simmer well until cooked through.
Linda Morris’ Chinese Noodle Salad
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 medium Napa cabbage, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
2 packages Ramen noodles, seasoning removed
1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup butter
Mix dressing ingredients in a jar or sealable container and refrigerate.
Break noodles in bag into small pieces/crumbs.
Melt butter over low heat, add noodles, seeds and nuts and lightly brown. Drain on paper towels.
Just before serving, mix cabbage, onions and noodle mixture with dressing and serve.
Renee Martinez’s Autumn Panzanella Salad
12 ounces ciabatta bread, torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 ounces pancetta, cut into 2-inch strips
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon honey
5 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss ciabatta with1/4 cup olive oil, plus salt and pepper on a baking sheet; spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 12–15 minutes; transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
Heat pancetta in a skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with bread; set aside. Add shallots to pan; cook until soft, about 4 minutes; transfer to bowl with bread.
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, honey, salt, and pepper in another bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in remaining 1/2 cup oil until dressing is emulsified.
Add arugula, pine nuts, cranberries, salt, and pepper to bowl with bread. Drizzle dressing over the top; toss to combine.
Recipe from www.saveur.com.
Andy Drury’s Million Dollar Greek Salad
6 small cucumbers
4 large ripe tomatoes
2 jars of Almito Greek Salad with feta cheese
Peel and slice the cucumbers and tomatoes. Combine the cucumbers and tomatoes with the two jars of Almito Greek Salad. Mix well and serve.
Oby Brown’s Spinach Casserole
20 ounces frozen, chopped spinach
4 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup spinach water
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 ounces high quality pepper cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain, reserving at least 1/2 cup of the water. Melt butter in sauté pan. Sauté onions and celery. Remove veggies from pan. Add flour to the melted butter, a little at a time, until all the butter is absorbed (you may not need it all) and continue to stir until the flour is slightly brown. Add pepper, garlic and Worcestershire and stir briefly, about 30 seconds, then add cream.
Add enough of the water to make gravy consistency. Add cheese and return sautéed veggies to pan and stir until cheese is fully melted adding more spinach water as needed to make a thick sauce. Remove from heat and stir in spinach until thoroughly incorporated. Poor mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
Jeremy Timmerman’s Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni elbows
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sour cream
1/2 stick butter, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni and set aside.
Mix 1 1/2 cups of each shredded cheese with eggs, sour cream, butter, salt, pepper and garlic.
Mix in macaroni, and pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top (or wait later into bake time to keep cheese softer). Bake for 40 minutes.
Sherrie Marshall’s Collards
1 bag of collards (from farmers market or grocer)
2 medium smoked ham hocks (or substitute smoked turkey legs; the butcher will cut them up if you ask)
Salt, black pepper and red pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Wash greens thoroughly (unless using pre-washed), discarding damaged and discolored greens.
In large pot, boil ham hocks covered in water or a mix of water and chicken broth for about 45 minutes.
Add greens until just submerged in water. Add salt and peppers to taste. Add vinegar. Cook until tender. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Renee Martinez’s Cranberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash (or 2 or 3) of ground cloves
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
Combine first six ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat; stir in rind. Cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe from Cooking Light magazine.
Woody Marshall’s Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 cup uncooked grits
6-8 ounces freshly grated smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 ounces bacon bits (one package of ready to serve bacon bits)
Chili oil to garnish
Bring chicken broth and heavy whipping cream to a boil. Add grits and pepper, turn heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until grits are done. Add grated smoked Gouda cheese and 3/4 of the bacon bits. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Garnish each serving with bacon bits and just a little chili oil.
Paulette Fountain’s Mexican Jalapeno Cornbread
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup milk
1 can creamed corn
2 eggs (stir them up with a fork in a bowl before pouring in)
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/2-1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon garlic powder (to your taste)
1 small onion, grated
3-4 cups pre-shredded (or more if desired) grated mild cheddar cheese
3-4 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers (to your own taste)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir with a spoon.
While the oven pre-heats, put a small amount of oil in an 8 1/2-by-11-inch pan. Let it heat up to just warm.
After you’ve got all your ingredients mixed up in the bowl, pour about 1 teaspoon of that hot oil into the batter and stir. Then pour the rest out of the pan just keeping enough to coat the bottom.
Pour cornbread mixture into pan and bake 30-45 minutes (don’t over-cook), it’s usually soft to the touch and firms up when cooled. Cut into squares and serve.
Becky Purser’s Aunt Sue’s Pineapple Cheese Ball
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 large green bell pepper
1/2 small onion (I used a sweet onion)
2 packages Philadelphia (brand preferred) cream cheese
Crackers for serving
Recipe makes enough for a large gathering.
Set out cream cheese to soften. Drain pineapple in fine mesh colander and squeeze out all the juice from the pineapple. Finely chop bell pepper and onion and pat dry, set aside. Finely chop pecans
Mix softened cream cheese, pineapple, bell pepper and onion. Fashion into ball and roll over chopped pecans on wax paper.
Aunt Sue’s secret is to squeeze all the juice out of the pineapple with your hands and to pat dry the chopped bell pepper and onion before mixing. She recommends serving with Pepperidge Farm Cracker Trio crackers.
Paulette Fountain’s Old Fashion 14-Layer Chocolate Cake with Boiled Chocolate Icing
3 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 sticks soft margarine
1/2 cup milk
4 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cans evaporated milk
1-2 tablespoons Parkay margarine
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat sugar and margarine. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat good. Beat in flour alternately with milk. Add vanilla and beat. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons batter into greased and floured cake pans. Cook for about 2-3 minutes each in 405-degree oven until lightly done. (over-cooking makes hard dry layers).
To make the icing: Boil first 3 ingredients together on medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and no gritty feel to it (about 5 minutes). Take off burner and add vanilla and butter, stirring until smooth and melted.
Pour over cake layers as you stack one at a time. I bore holes and let the chocolate icing run down in the cake -- yummy!
Liz Jarvis Fabian’s Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa, sifted to remove lumps
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup buttermilk
1 ounce red food coloring
FOR THE ICING:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 4-ounce stick of butter, softened to room temperature
1 16-ounce box confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans, or line cupcake tins. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together oil and sugar for a couple of minutes, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Reduce mixer to low and alternate adding flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Add vinegar and vanilla and stir to combine before adding food coloring. Divide batter into pans and bake about 30 minutes for cakes, 20 minutes for cupcakes and about 10 minutes for mini cupcakes.
While cakes are cooling, take butter and cream cheese out of refrigerator, cut each into 8 pieces and let them reach room temperature for making the icing.
To make the icing: Cream together the butter and cream cheese until no lumps remain. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Add extract and mix until combined.
Recipe adapted from the recipe of Gloria Williams of Milledgeville.
Mike Stucka’s Chocolate Chip-Bacon-Pecan Cookies
1 pound bacon (microwavable will simplify life), prepared, well drained
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
21/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (a bit less than a half-pound)
Makes about two dozen big cookies.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pull out your butter and let it warm up, likely near the vent of your oven.
Cook your bacon however you need to. The microwavable variety will save you a bunch of time and mess. Aim for crispy. Drain it well. Put it on paper towels. Put paper towels on top of it. Offer it a loving pat. Pat some more. Put a fresh paper towel on top, and pat a little bit more.
Throw bacon on a cutting board. You’re supposed to try to “chop finely,” but you may wind up crunching it into bits more than cutting. Either way, you’re going for pretty small pieces, like the size of one or two grains of rice.
Grab cookie sheets. Line with foil, then spray with cooking spray. This will dramatically simplify cleanup.
In a good-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. This should go quickly with either a whisk or a real mixer.
In a larger-than-that bowl, throw in the butter. Start mixing. Throw in the sugar, which will start eroding the butter faster. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just blended. Then start mixing in your flour mix until it’s dissolved. Then mix in the chocolate chips, pecans and bacon.
This is the part where I should remind you that raw eggs carry a high risk of salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. This is also the part where I casually mention that the raw cookie dough tastes incredibly good.
Take a big soup spoon, and drop heaping teaspoons onto your cookie sheets. They’re supposed to be a few inches apart, but they’ll get cozy no matter what you do. They’re supposed to bake in 10 to 12 minutes, but it won’t happen. Keep a good eye on them until, you know, until they look like cooked cookies. Then grab the foil and let them cool off on a counter while you bake any remaining cookies.
Recipe has been tripled and adapted from one by Susan Russo for www.npr.org.
Jennifer Burk’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
8-10 drops green food coloring
12-ounce bag semisweet or milk chocolate chips
Makes 4 dozen.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs, peppermint extract and food coloring until blended.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Make tablespoon size balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes until bottoms ar just brown, don’t over-bake. Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes until transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe by Mother Thyme at www.motherthyme.com.