Flavorful recipes full of festive cheer

The holiday season is here, and now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to break out the baking sheets and start warming up the kitchen to prepare everyone’s favorite holiday dinner. Though people rarely have time to bake and cook amid the rush of shopping and spending time with family, there's no easy way around it. Having a few prepared meal ideas ahead of time is a great start to beating the rush. Don’t wait until the last minute to cook an entire dinner, prepare drinks and worry about cleaning up. Instead, the recipes below will help get your holiday feast on the table in record time without the stress and hassle. 

Ham Wrapped in Puff Pastry 

The show-stopping iconic glazed ham with pineapple seems to be a go-to for every Christmas meal. The ham in this recipe is perfectly wrapped under a golden puff pastry with pineapple glaze. With sweet flakiness on the outside and salty ham on the inside, this holiday meal is essential for the whole family. 


A 6-pound boneless ham

2 17.3-ounce packages puff pastry (4 sheets) 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 8-ounce cans of crushed pineapple

3/4 of a cup of light brown sugar

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

5 cloves

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

3 maraschino cherries


For the ham, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the ham cut-side down in the middle of one baking sheet. After the puff pastry is rolled in layers, drape it over the ham and pull it gently to cover. Trim any excess pastry on the corners and set the ham aside with a 3-inch-wide strip. Brush the wrapped ham with egg wash and bake until the pastry is golden and the ham is hot throughout, which takes approximately 2 hours. 

For the pineapple glaze, combine pineapple, sugar, cloves and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring them to a boil and stir in cornstarch until thickened, which takes approximately 2 minutes. Remove the cloves, transfer the sauce to a small bowl and top it with cherries. 

Potato Latkes 

A classic Hanukkah dish, latkes are perfect to eat around the holiday table. This recipe is great for a small dinner appetizer or even a breakfast snack. These latkes are easy to make and are sure to be a hit for the holiday season. 


1-1/2 pounds of peeled russet potatoes

1/4 of a cup of finely chopped shallots

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons of flour or matzo meal

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Preheat the stove to 200 degrees. In a food processor, grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer the potatoes to the sieve. Set the sieve over a bowl, twist the cheesecloth into a pouch and squeeze out some moisture. Let the mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl, but leave the white potato starch that settles at the bottom of the bowl. From there, add shallots, eggs, flour, salt and freshly-ground pepper to the starch. Return the drained potatoes to this mixture and toss the ingredients to combine them. Finally, drop tablespoons of the potato mixture in a heated skillet with oil and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. 

Santa’s Sleigh Cocktail 

Nothing beats a classic cocktail during the holidays, especially after a filling meal. Quick and easy to make, this drink yields four servings, perfect for a small dinner party with friends.


White sugar crystals, preferably coarse

2 cups of eggnog, chilled

1/2 cup of brandy

1/2 cup of amaretto liqueur

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

4 cinnamon sticks


Dampen the rims of four martini glasses and line the rims with sugar crystals. Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg and ice cream in a blender, processing the ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

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