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Holiday Recipes for Every Family

Delicious Holiday Recipes for Families Big and Small

Around the holidays, cooking for a crowd is relatively easy thanks to a turkey or ham, but what if you're cooking for a small family?

While turkey is the traditional meat of choice for holiday fare, know that there are other options that are easier to prepare and won't leave you with tons of leftovers. Cornish game hens, quail and squab are great, elegant alternatives. Cornish game hens are readily available at most grocery stores. Quail and squab can be found in some stores, but if you have a hard time finding them, simply ask your butcher.

If your smaller family still wants a turkey or ham, cook one! Use the leftovers in other recipes after the holidays, or pack it up and share with a less fortunate neighbor or family. Your butcher can cut a turkey or ham in half for you. You may be able to purchase only half the turkey, or simply freeze it for another time.

And remember, cooking the holiday dinner should be a joyous occasion. Don't worry if things don't go perfectly – they seldom do. Relax, enjoy yourself and enjoy your family. It doesn't matter if there are a few lumps in the gravy or if the turkey – or squab! – is a little dry. What matters is your family, regardless of the size, being together to share and make memories.

Main Dishes – For a Few

Honey Mustard Cornish Game Hens

4 Cornish game hens
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced, fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the hens in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Combine the melted margarine, honey, Dijon mustard and parsley in a small bowl. Pour over the hens, making sure to cover all areas. Bake at 350 degrees F about one hour or until meat juices run clear. Baste every 15 minutes with sauce. Let the hens rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Quail With Mushroom Sauce

6 quail
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 package (8 ounces) fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup apple juice

Combine the 1/3 cup flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the cleaned quail in the flour. Set aside.

Pour half of the olive oil into a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about three minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Brown the quail on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and place in a 2-quart baking dish.

To the skillet, add the flour. Cook, stirring, for about one minute. Gradually whisk in the apple juice and chicken broth. Cook until thick and bubbly. Mix in the mushrooms. Pour mixture over the quail. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for about an hour.

Main Dishes – For a Crowd

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

1 6- to 7-pound ham
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the ham, fat side up, in a shallow baking dish. Cover with foil and bake one to two hours at 325 degrees F.

While ham is cooking, mix together the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, mustard and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush over ham and continue to bake about 30 minutes more. Uncover the ham and bake about 15 more minutes to brown.

Garnish with maraschino cherries, orange slices and cloves.

Orange-Glazed Turkey

12 tablespoons margarine, divided
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 (10-pound) whole turkey
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine 6 tablespoons of the margarine, the oil and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook one minute. Turn off heat and let cool.

Clean the turkey, and then rub the remaining margarine all over. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Cook according to the directions on the turkey, basting every 20 minutes or so with the orange sauce.

The Sides

If you're cooking for five or less, make the recipe as directed. Cooking for more? Simply double or triple the ingredients.

Cheesy Carrot Casserole

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
5 to 6 carrots, cut into rounds
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup crushed crackers

Combine the orange juice, carrots and onion in a baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F about 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese and cracker crumbs. Bake another 10 minutes.

Rice and Orzo With Lemon and Parsley

2 tablespoons margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
1/4 cup orzo
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely-grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh, minced parsley

Melt the margarine in a skillet. Add the rice and orzo; cook, stirring, about three minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and parsley.

Oven-Roasted Squash and Potatoes

1 pound yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks
1/2 pound tiny red potatoes, whole
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
1 onion, cut into wedges

Pour the oil and lemon pepper into a large bowl. Add the potatoes and squash. Toss to coat. Spread into a baking dish, and cook at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Stir, then turn the oven up to 450 degrees F. Cook until browned.

Note: To ensure the squash and potatoes cook evenly, cut the squash into chunks a little big bigger than the potatoes.

Pecan Green Beans

2 packages (9 ounces each) frozen French-cut green beans, thawed
1/3 cup margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the margarine in a skillet. Add the green beans, brown sugar, lemon peel, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until beans are crisp-tender, about seven minutes. Stir in pecans. Serve.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Wash sweet potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees F for one hour or until done. Allow potatoes to cool to touch. Cut a 1-inch lengthwise strip from top of each potato and carefully scoop out pulp, leaving shells intact.

Combine potato pulp, orange juice, butter and salt. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in pineapple. Stuff shells with potato mixture and sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Sweet Endings

Apple Dump Cake

Just as delicious as an apple pie – without the paring! If you're cooking for a larger family, simply double or triple it.

1 can apple pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Pour pie filling into a buttered 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover with dry cake mix. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over cake mix. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until brown. Serve warm or cold. It's great served hot with vanilla ice cream!

Note: You may also use peach, cherry, etc. pie filling instead of apple.

Apple Pie Sheet Cake

A wonderful ending to a great meal that feeds a houseful!

3 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
8 cups sliced, peeled apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 egg white, beaten

Combine the flour, salt and shortening in a bowl. Mix together with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs and milk. Form the mixture into a dough. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and then divide the dough in half. Roll one half to fit on the bottom and up the sides of a lightly-greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Arrange the apples over the crust.

In another bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflake crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples. Roll the other half of the dough to fit over the top of the apples. Seal the edges and cut a couple of slits in the top. Brush the top with the beaten egg white. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking about 25 minutes more.

Great served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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