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Guide to 14 of the Best Holiday Foods

| December 21, 2021
Category: Featured
holiday foods
holiday foods

‘Tis the season for spending time with family and friends, curling up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and getting busy in the kitchen to feed your hungry relatives. Stuck on what to add to your menu this holiday season? We asked the Dogwood staff to share their favorite holiday foods and recipes— check it out! 

Sides

Mashed Potatoes

Nick, Dogwood’s Audio/Video Strategist, enjoys a healthy helping of mashed potatoes on his plate along with other holiday foods like stuffing. There isn’t an official recipe that he follows for his mashed potatoes— he prefers to cook from the heart instead. We think this Southern Living recipe sounds pretty good, though.

Cranberry Sauce

Savanna, our newest Digital Media Specialist, recently learned how to make homemade cranberry sauce and it’s one of her new favorite holiday foods. While some argue that nothing can beat the classic canned cranberry sauce, the homemade version is worth trying at least once. It’s fresh, incredibly easy to make, and delicious.

Sweet Potato Casserole 

Kristen, Creative Director, and Seth, Website Developer, agree that sweet potato casserole is one of the most iconic holiday foods out there. This dish typically only takes around 30 minutes to make once you cook the sweet potatoes, and it can be served as a side or even as a dessert as long as you make it sweet enough. Just make sure you’re using a classic Southern recipe and your sweet potato casserole is sure to be a hit. 

Watergate Salad 

Megan, one of our Digital Media Specialists, just can’t get enough of Watergate salad around the holidays. Here’s her Mawmaw’s signature recipe: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 large can undrained crushed pineapple
  • 9 oz. Cool Whip 
  • 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 12 chopped maraschino cherries

Directions: 

  1. Mix ingredients together. 
  2. Pour into greased pan. 
  3. Freeze. 

Don’t forget to take your Watergate salad out of the freezer at least a couple of hours before you plan on serving it to your guests! 

Mac and Cheese 

Lauren, our Digital Media Manager, loves making baked mac and cheese around the holidays. The recipe she uses is simple and only calls for six easy-to-find ingredients, but it really packs a punch in the flavor department. The best part about mac and cheese? It’s easy to reheat, so it’s perfect for leftovers! 

Roasted Veggies

Of course, you always need something that’s at least a little bit healthy on the table during the holidays. Erin, our Client Experience Specialist, is a huge fan of roasted veggies. Her go-to recipe can be made in the oven or the air fryer, so it’s super convenient no matter what your kitchen set-up looks like. 

Entrees

Jerk Chicken with Rasta Pasta

This is admittedly not one of the most traditional holiday foods on our list, but it sure is delicious! Plus, it’s fun to take a little break from tradition and try something new every once in a while. Alex, one of our Graphic Designers, recommends this recipe for making jerk chicken and pasta. The dish doesn’t take too long to make, and it’s typically served with garlic bread and garnished with both parsley and green onion.

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls 

Matt, Dogwood’s Director of Operations, will never pass up a cream cheese sausage ball during the holidays, and we can’t blame him! Here’s his favorite recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. uncooked hot sausage
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ cups Bisquick
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉. 
  2. Mix all ingredients until combined. 
  3. Roll ingredients into 1-inch balls. 
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown. 

If you or someone in your family is eating gluten-free, just replace the regular Bisquick with gluten-free Bisquick and you’re all set. 

Desserts

Pecan Pie 

Brian, Dogwood’s General Manager, craves Priester’s signature pecan pies when the holidays roll around. He prefers to buy them ready-made, and we can’t argue with that. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, Priester’s does have a recipe you can follow to make your very own pecan pie. 

P.S. You can read all about Brian’s love for pecan pie here

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Jesse, our Content Specialist, and his family enjoy chowing down on his Grandmother’s peanut butter cup cookies during the holiday season. The recipe calls for simple ingredients that you might already have laying around your kitchen, and the cookies take less than 45 minutes to make. Plus, these cookies are easy to wrap up and give out as Christmas gifts! 

Chocolate Pound Cake 

According to Sara Kate, one of our Digital Media Specialists, no spread of holiday foods is complete without her Grandmother’s famous chocolate pound cake. The family recipe is pretty simple, but the outcome is out of this world. We think there’s just something extra special about recipes from grandparents! 

Turkish Delight

Looking for a unique dessert that will wow your guests during the holidays? You can’t go wrong with a batch of Turkish delight! Slayton, one of our Website Developers, is a huge Turkish delight fan and would most definitely agree. The recipe and prep methods are a little bit complicated, but all the hard work is so worth it in the end. 

Tea Cakes 

Beth, Dogwood’s SEO Specialist, enjoys making her mom’s famous tea cakes during this time of year. Here’s the recipe for Connie’s Favorite Tea Cakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  cups sugar
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cream sugar and Crisco.  
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  
  3. Beat in Bisquick a little at a time.
  4. Place small spoonfuls on a cookie sheet about two inches apart.
  5. Bake at 325℉ until the edges begin to turn brown for a soft cookie. For a crispier cookie, cook a minute longer.
  6. Cool for one minute before removing from the cookie sheet.  

According to Beth, this recipe usually yields around 30 cookies, so it’s the perfect thing to make if you need to feed a lot of people dessert during the holidays (or any time of year). 

Drinks

Breakfast Punch

Beth loves holiday foods so much that she couldn’t share just one recipe! It’s a tradition in her home to have breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve, and she always makes breakfast punch for the occasion. The punch recipe is pretty easy to follow, but Beth usually makes a few changes like using less water for more flavor and adding cut lemons and oranges to make the punch look prettier. 

Looking for more recipe inspiration? We’ve got you covered! Click here to check out our other food-related blog posts. 

If you have a submission that you would like to share, send it our way!

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The Dogwood Journal is an online magazine produced by Dogwood Media Solutions based out of Montgomery, Alabama.

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