Holiday Cooking Made Easy
CREAMY AU GRATIN POTATOES
Prep Time: 30 minutes ● Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes ● Yield: 4 servings
4 russet potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch slices
1 onion, sliced into rings
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
1-½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. salt
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
2. Layer ½ of the potatoes into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 1-½ hours in the preheated oven.
HONEY-GLAZED SMOKED HAM
Prep Time: 30 minutes ● Cook Time: 6 hours ● Yield: 12 servings
1 6-lb. “ready to eat” ham
1 c. pineapple juice
¾ c. chicken stock
½ c. honey
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. ground cloves
1. The night before you smoke, mix together the black pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard and cayenne. Rub over the surface of the ham, wrap in foil and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
2. In the morning, remove the ham from the refrigerator and let sit for 1 hour. Remove foil. In the meantime, prepare the smoker. You will be smoking at about 210°F.
3. Mix together the chicken stock, ¾ cup of pineapple juice, vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon dry mustard and cloves. Warm over medium heat until completely mixed.
4. Place ham in smoker and baste with sauce once every hour. While ham is smoking, prepare the glaze by mixing together the honey, ¼ cup of pineapple juice, ½ teaspoon dry mustard and a pinch of ground cloves. Brush generously with glaze a couple of times during the last hour of smoking.
HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIES
Prep Time: 10 minutes ● Cook Time: 10 minutes ● Yield: 5 dozen cookies
1 c. butter
½ c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Ornamental frosting (optional)
Coarse sugar crystals, silver dragèes, holiday decors (optional decorations)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy. On low speed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt until blended.
2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or place dough in freezer for 30 minutes).
3. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8-inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased large cookie sheet.
4. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
5. When cookies are cool, prepare ornamental frosting, if you like; use along with sugars and candies to decorate cookies. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store in a tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.