Last year I participated in Holiday Cooking Blogger Style and got some great recipes! I want to say a HUGE thank you to Overwhelmed with Joy for hosting this again this year. Last year when I shared I shared my heart about the holidays, so I won’t type that all out again, but if you didn’t read last year’s post or just want to be reminded, then please go back and read it. If you want to share your own holiday traditions and holiday recipes (really you could share ANY holiday, not just Thanksgiving and Christmas) or want some new ideas for this year’s holidays please visit Overwhelmed with Joy by clicking on the banner above.
In light of my re-prioritizing of things, this year’s holidays will include some (quite a bit actually) make-ahead and crockpot items. I’m not sure yet what we are doing for Thanksgiving, but here’s what I’m making for Thanksgiving to go with whatever/wherever we go. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and the whole family LOVED it! I THOUGHT that I had first seen it in a crockpot cookbook, but now that I’m looking in that book, it’s not there. So, unfortunately, I am not sure who to credit this recipe for, but when I made this it was more from the concept, not the literal recipe that I made it.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes & Apples
(I made this in a 7 quart crockpot, could EASILY be made smaller, you’ll just have to adjust the amounts. The amount listed will easily serve 12 people.)
6 medium size sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into 1/2-3/4 inch slices)
4 apples (I used fuji, but granny smith would be wonderful also, or really any of your favorite variety), cored, peeled and sliced into 8 slices (vertically, not horizontally)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3-1/2 cup real maple syrup
3/4 c. whole or broken (but not chopped) pecan halves (OPTIONAL)
Place sweet potatoes in slow cooker crock. Layer apple slices over the sweet potatoes. If using the nuts, arrange them over the top of the fruits/vegetables. Mix together the melted butter and maple syrup and pour over entire mixture in slow cooker. Cover with lid, let cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Notes: This dish was SOOOO good and so sweet, it would make an awesome dessert! 🙂
For my second recipe, I would like to share our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. When D and I were first married almost 19 years ago (we will celebrate our 19th anniversary in late January) we started our own holiday traditions. Part of our Christmas Tradition that we started was to share dinner together, and then go to church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service. The first couple of years I made ham, scalloped potatoes, veggies and salad and we LOVED that meal. And then while I was pregnant with our oldest daughter, I was on bedrest for a while and had LOTS of time for reading, and one of the books that I read was about creating traditions in your own family based on both sides of the family’s cultural heritage. Well, D is part Italian, and I read that part of the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner includes stuffed pasta dishes. So that year I started make raviolis with my homemade marinara sauce, french bread and green salad. For the next several years we alternated between the ham/scalloped potato dinner and the ravioli dinner, and then when our children were old enough to voice their preferences, they made it abundantly clear that they prefer the pasta dinner, so we do that every year now for Christmas Eve dinner. The dish has morphed over the years from a plate of raviolis with sauce to a baked pasta dish. So, now I present to you the Scott Family Christmas Pasta Bake…..
Scott Family Christmas Pasta Bake
3 pound bag of frozen raviolis (we prefer the cheese type, but the type really doesn’t matter too much)
6 cups of pasta sauce mixed with 1 cup of water
1 pound grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a deep 9 x 13 baking dish spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce around in the bottom of the dish. Layer with 1/3-1/2 of the still frozen raviolis. Spread with 2 cups of the sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese. Layer another 1/3-1/2 of the raviolis, 2 more cups of the sauce. If you have remaining raviolis and more room in your baking dish (when the ravioli’s cook they will expand a bit so make sure that you have 3/4-1″ of space at the top of the baking dish) add 1/3 of the cheese and then repeat layers using remaining ingredients. If you don’t have room for more raviolis then add enough sauce to cover the pasta and remaining cheese. VERY loosely cover with aluminum foil (I also bake on a big sheet of aluminum foil in case of any spills). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60-90 minutes or until the raviolis are heated all the way through. If you like a browned top you can remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time.
And one more recipe to share with you all. D’s step-mom made this for dessert a few years ago for Christmas and it was SOOOO rich and delicious! I may just make it again this year 🙂 Along with a chocolate cheesecake.
Candy Apple Pie
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse as shown on Good Morning America
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chopped pecans
5 granny smith apples (peeled/cored/sliced)
5 T. butter
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 t. cinnamon
8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. heavy cream, whipped
2 T. sugar
1/2 C. caramel topping
1/4 C. chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into a 10 inch pie plate, and up the sides. Bake for 6-8 min until golden in color. Remove pie shell from oven and cool completely. Pour caramel into pie shell and sprinkle with 1 c. chopped pecans. Refrigerate while making filling.
In a large skillet melt butter, add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add apples & stir. Cook 15-20 minutes until apples are soft & tender. Let cool 10 minutes and pour into pie shell. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
For Cream Cheese topping:
In a medium bowl, using a mixer on low speed combine cream cheese and sugar for about 1 minute until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute until fully blended. Pour over apple filling in pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean. Remove pie from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Let stand outside the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
For the topping:
Top whole pie with whipped cream, caramel and pecans and swirl with a knife. Slice and serve.