4 Tasty Holiday Family Recipes

4 Tasty Holiday Family Recipes

Warm up on cold holiday nights with these 4 easy family entree recipes. 

Vanessa’s Pear, Chicken and Walnut Salad

This is a festive holiday salad that can also be made from leftovers for a lighter, post-holiday meal. It’s hard to go wrong with salads, and the measurements are loose. Leave the chicken out for a side salad to go with a larger meal, or make this salad an entree with a side of fresh bread.
You will need: 
  • 8 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 large, boneless chicken breast, cooked, cooled, and sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup walnuts (candied or raw; either will work)
  • 1-2 pears, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles 
Add ingredients together with spinach as the base, layering the others on top. Add balsamic vinaigrette dressing to taste. Balsamic vinaigrette dressing: ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper 1-2 tspns honey for a sweeter taste Blend together, and pour over salad to taste.

Boiled Ham

Still not sick of holiday ham? Check out this retro recipe for boiled ham.

You will need:

  • 1/2 ham or shoulder
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar

Soak ham in cold water if very salty. Place it skin side up in the cooker kettle. Cover with water, add sugar and vinegar, and cook slow over the fire. Quickly place the kettle, covered, in the fireless cooker, and do not open for twelve hours. If the ham is tender, let it stand until perfectly cold, then remove from water, and skin. If not tender, reheat on the stove, and repack in cooker three hours longer.

Kathy’s Christmas Lasagna   

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Vanessa Wieland of Family Tree University says: “We have this every Christmas eve for dinner. You can’t go wrong with lasagna served with garlic bread and a side salad. There are tons of lasagna recipes, of course, but in our family, we tend to go with simple and easy – especially on busy days.”
You will need:
  • Pre-cooked lasagna noodles (who needs the extra step of cooking noodles on Christmas eve?)
  • Spaghetti sauce – 24 ounce can
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large tub ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large package shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop or mince garlic clove and in a large skillet, brown with Italian sausage in olive oil, along with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Once meat is browned, turn down heat and add spaghetti sauce; stir and let simmer until it’s heated through and mixed well (generally at least 10-15 minutes). In a large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, parmesan, and 4/5 package of shredded mozzarella cheese together until well-blended. In a 13×9 baking dish, pour a small amount of sauce into bottom, then set a layer of noodles. Add a bit more sausage mixture, then a layer of cheese mixture. Follow with another set of noodles and repeat until pan is filled. Add remaining shredded mozzarella to top. Back on middle rack for 45 minutes to an hour and noodles are soft. 


Lisa Alzo, author of The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide, shares her family’s recipe for making pierogies, a traditional Eastern European dish. This video excerpt comes from her course, Polish Genealogy 201, through Family Tree University

Madge’s Lazy Latkes 

There is nothing traditional about this recipe, but it is perfect for the day after a big holiday dinner. If you have a tupperware full of mashed potatoes in your fridge that you don’t feel like snacking on the next day, transform them into potato pancakes. This recipe is also incredibly easy and kid-friendly; loop in the little ones by letting them form the pancakes.

You will need:

  • Cold mashed potatoes
  • Flour
  • Butter 
  • Optional: egg. I usually make my mashed potatoes thicker to begin with, but if you find the mixture is too runny, add an egg to help bind the potatoes together.
Heat up a skillet with plenty of butter. Flour a surface to use and your hands, then form the cold mashed potatoes into pancake shapes. A thinner pancakes fries up crispier and a thicker pancake has more substance. Drop the pancakes gently into the heated butter and cook until brown and crispy on both sides. Serve with your favorite condiment. 

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