Holiday Staples with New Flavors



I am all for family traditions…can anyone say “green salad”, and no I don’t mean lettuce, but that is a recipe for another day. When it comes to the holiday table, I like to vary my flavors. I cannot have the same foods on the holidays year after year after year after year after year. You get the picture right? Today I would like to share with you two new recipes for traditional holiday side dishes: stuffing and sweet potatoes. I encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to your holiday menus.

I must confess….I love just about any kind of stuffing, but I get sick of the same general flavors of poultry seasoning or apples. A few years ago, we were at my Aunt’s house for one of the holidays (Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can’t even remember which now!) and she had a new stuffing recipe that has become my new favorite! It’s spicy and flavorful and not your “typical” stuffing. I LOVE it! Even my non stuffing eater of a husband likes this one. I am not sure where the recipe originally came from, so I cannot give credit, but I will share it will you all.  At least this way I will have it online too, instead of jotted down on a piece of scrap paper! Note: I have never made this inside a bird.

Cornbread, Chorizo and Jalapeño Dressing

3/4 c butter

1 1/2 c coarsely chopped onion

2  jalapeño peppers seeded and minced

1/2 lb chorizo sausage with casings removed browned, drained and crumbled

1 6 oz. package cornbread stuffing mix

3 c dry bread crumbs

2 c warm chicken stock

1 egg beaten

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

5 chopped celery stalks

1 red or green bell pepper

1/2 c fresh parsley chopped

1 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp dry coriander

1/2 tsp dry sage

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Melt butter in a pan and add onions, celery, and bell pepper. Saute 5 min. In a large bowl add bread crumbs, sausage, chicken broth and remaining ingredients. Stir together and place in 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes at 375º.

Now, for the sweet potatoes pictured above. Don’t they look wonderful? They sure taste wonderful! One thing, I don’t like your normal marshmallow covered sweet potato casserole. And the thought of canned sweet potatoes or yams make me want to hurl. This is for the real deal…fresh sweet potatoes or yams. I bought the  ones to make this recipe on sale last week for 4 lbs for a $1! Time to stock the freezer. I am not sure how well this recipe will freeze. I will sure try it out and let you know! If it freezes well,l it would be a great side dish to make ahead for your holiday meal and just heat it up on your big day!  Update: It can be frozen! I stuck mine in a ziplock and froze. I then thawed  it in the fridge and microwaved to heat. Tasted great! This recipe is loosely based off a pomegranate glazed sweet potato recipe that I have had in the past and would work with pomegranates instead of cranberries. I just had cranberries and cranberry juice on hand, so I made my own version!

Cranberried Sweet Potatoes

3 large fresh sweet potatoes or yams or about 5 cups

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp honey

1 cup fresh cranberries

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Place in 9 x 13 baking dish. Add oil, honey, salt, pepper and cranberries and give it a stir. Roast at 400º for 45-50 minutes or until tender. Stir a couple times during roasting.


2 Tbsp cranberry juice

2 Tbsp honey

Simmer for a couple minutes on the stove. Pour over roasted potatoes and stir just before serving.

Note: You could also add some chopped toasted walnuts or pecans…my boys won’t eat it with them, so I leave it out.


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