Think back to the most nostalgic of holidays in your past—the most memorable, the most enjoyable. Odds are they involved delicious food. You may remember the preparations, the mouthwatering aromas, the look of the food arranged on the table, or the special tastes of the season. Whatever the memories, food usually plays a large part in the holidays. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of some of the best-loved holiday recipes that you may want to incorporate in your celebrations this season to create new delectable memories with your friends and family. And remember to include your kids in some of your food preparations. Cooking together is a great way to build lasting memories, and your kids can even learn from it!
You probably have the turkey covered, but if not, the Food Network offers an easy and tasty way to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey. Now for the side dishes:
Green Bean Casserole
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak via Foodiesfeed
Green bean casserole is a classic dish that has graced many of our Thanksgiving tables. The standard, go-to recipe uses a can of mushroom soup and a can of fried onions, but why not kick it up a notch and make yours from scratch this year? The green bean casserole recipe from allrecipes.com features fresh mushrooms, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.
Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing
A Thanksgiving standard, the stuffing (or dressing) should complement and enhance the main dish. The recipe on epicurious offers simple ingredients with all the right herbs to give it that homemade, back-home taste that everyone wants at Thanksgiving.
While Thanksgiving is known for the turkey, Christmas is all about the cookies. From sugar cookies to gingerbread, this is the season to indulge in that homemade snack that takes you back to your childhood. And cooking with kids can be a fun and educational activity for them, too. You’ll find a simple peanut butter cookie recipe here on Learning Liftoff that is perfect for making with your children.
Christmas cookies can be fancy or simple. Better Homes and Gardens offers a collection of all the favorites, plus some fun and creative presentations for when you really want to make an impression!
Christmas Breakfasts and Brunches
For many families, Christmas morning is when the celebrations start. That’s often when the kids, still in their pajamas, find and open the presents under the tree. So, many families make that time special with a family brunch or breakfast. Southern Living offers a selection of top rated brunch recipes, many of which you can prepare the night before.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, this Jewish holiday celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. Those who took part in this rededication reported a miracle in which a single day’s oil supply to light the menorah lasted eight nights. This extra time allowed them to find more of the scarce oil to keep the eternal flame alight. Since the miracle involved oil, many of the traditional foods are cooked in oil, including latkes and doughnuts. Use the experience of cooking and enjoying these treats to teach your kids the history and traditions of this holiday.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Willen, FoodFixKitchen used with permission
A specialty of Hanukkah, these fried potato pancakes can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even as a snack. Chabad.org offers a how-to video for making classic potato latkes using only the most essential ingredients. If you like your latkes light and fluffy, try this recipe from Rachel Reuben’ Food Fix Kitchen. and get tips for making the best homemade latkes at PBS.org’s food site.
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak via Foodiesfeed
Established in 1966, Kwanzaa celebrates the African harvest, observed from December 26 through January 1. Meals during this seven-night celebration often include traditional foods from African nations or countries in the Caribbean and South America. Preparing such meals offers an ideal teaching opportunity for your children to learn about other cultures and traditions. If your family roots are from one of these countries, take the opportunity to teach your kids more about their family heritage.
Peri Peri African Chicken
This traditional African dish is spicy, but you can cool it down with some Greek yogurt and a salad. The recipe on allrecipes.com has high ratings.
Creole Black-Eyed Peas and Rice
Photo courtesy of MyTurnForUs used with permission
Also a favorite at New Year’s, this dish is nutritious and tasty. The spicy recipe on FoodNetwork.com includes cilantro and green onions for extra flavor! And MyTurnForUs.com offers a recipe for Creole black eyed peas and rice that includes smoked sausage for more protein.
Do you have a favorite holiday food that you enjoy every year? Let us know what it is in the comments section.
This post originally published on Learning Liftoff November 17, 2014, and has been revised and republished.