Simple Holiday Recipes
Finally, December is here and we all know what that means: The time of year when we can stuff our faces with sweet treats and feel "no ragrets." Nothing gets the party started quite like food, so this week, we've decided to ask around at the ICO headquarters and dig up the best, grandma-worthy holiday recipes, from appetizer to dessert.
Starting with the appetizer, we've discovered the Antipasto Wreath. All the taste of an appetizer platter, served on a wreath. It doesn't get more fun, simple, and festive than that.
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cup cubed cheddar
- 15 slices salami
- 4 oz. block blue cheese
- 1 small bunch grapes
- 8 oz. prosciutto, rolled into bunches
- 1 small round goat cheese
- 1/2 cup cured olives
- Toast baguette or crackers, for serving
On a serving platter, arrange rosemary around the edge like a wreath. Leave enough room for another small ring on the inside for bread and crackers in the middle.
Arrange cheddar, salami, grapes, prosciutto, goat cheese, and olives on the serving platter in a fashionable manner.
For the main course, we thought a traditional dinner roast would deck the halls in your bellies this Holiday season. The Cider Roasted Chicken with Walnut and Goat Cheese + Grapes is the perfect dish.
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 8 oz. goat cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 (4-5) pound whole chicken
- 1 head of garlic, bottom sliced off to reveal cloves
- 2 apples, quartered
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh red grapes
- 3 cups apple cider
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts + honey and cook until toasted and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove the walnuts from the skillet and spread out on a plate in a single layer. Allow to cool and then finely chop the walnuts.
In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, chopped walnuts, sage, and rosemary
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat the outside dry. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the garlic and 1 quartered apple. Slide your hand in between the meat and skin of the chicken and then carefully stuff the goat cheese mixture under the skin, pushing it as far back as you can get it without actually ripping the skin. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may not use all of the goat cheese. If this is the case, just sprinkle the goat cheese around the grapes before roasting.
Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and then sprinkle generously with salt + pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Place grapes and remaining apples in a roasting pan or a large cast iron skillet. Drizzle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add a few fresh sage leaves and any remaining goat cheese.
Place the chicken onto the grapes, add four tablespoon size parts of butter around the chicken.
Roast the chicken for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Add the cider to a medium size pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until it thickens and is reduced by about half. Halfway through cooking the chicken, brush the bird with half of the cider. About 5 minutes before the chicken is done cooking, brush it again with the remaining cider, If desired, you can also reserve some cider for serving.
Allow the chicken to sit for 10-20 minutes, covered with foil and then slice and serve!
If you haven't already skipped straight to this section of the blog, then you're in for a real treat! We struggled a bit trying to decide which sweet we would dub worthy of the dessert section, but Eggnog Cheesecake Bars take the cake.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
For the crust, combine the 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter with a fork until evenly combined. Transfer the crumb mixture to an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Press crumb mixture down flat in an even layer. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
For the filling, in a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat 1 minute more. Add egg; beat until smooth. Add the eggnog and bourbon, if desired; beat on medium speed 1 minute more, until the mixture is light and no lumps remain.
Pour the filling over the crust in the baking pan. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the center is just set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. If you like, garnish bars with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs and/or crystallized ginger.
- Aubrey W