We asked our readers to share their favorite holiday recipes. We were seeking noteworthy and unforgettable recipes that are the highlight of your meal—the memorable dishes that really define the holidays for your family.
All recipe submissions were reviewed by local celebrity chef Christa Carretero of Cooking Girl, who evaluated them on the basis on “traditional with a twist”—a classic dish made tastier, healthier, more local or unique.
Sweet Potato and Banana Puree with Buttered Pecan Topping
Submitted by Allison W., Norman
I found this recipe about six years ago, and it has become a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas (or any other time I feel like eating sweet potatoes!). Over the years, I have made it my own and adjusted the recipe to suit my family’s taste. The secret ingredient is definitely the banana. Everyone always senses something “else” in the dish. They never believe it when I tell them it is a roasted banana!
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 ripe banana (skin on)
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ pound pecan, chopped
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Poke sweet potatoes several times with fork. Bake on cookie sheet for 45 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, and place the entire banana on the cookie sheet. Return sweet potatoes and banana to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool. At that time, peel the sweet potatoes and banana and place in food processor or mixing bowl. Mix until the potatoes are chunky.
Add the softened butter and syrup, and puree until smooth. Add cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt, and mix to combine. Pour mixture to a baking dish and smooth out.
While the potatoes and banana are baking, melt the remaining butter in a skillet over low heat. Add pecans and salt, and sauté for approximately five minutes, stirring frequently. Drain pecans on paper towels. Layer the nuts on top of the sweet potato mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
This recipe can also be made ahead and refrigerated. After putting the potato mixture in the casserole dish, it can be covered and refrigerated one day ahead of serving. On the day of serving, remove from refrigerator and sauté pecans. Increase baking time to 30 minutes to insure it is warmed through.
This recipe is also easily doubled.
Aunt Patsy’s Pineapplie Pie
Submitted by Kendra M., Fort Worth
This is a must have at any holiday. Sometimes if you use 9″ pans – you can make two pies.
- 1 large can crushed pineapple
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 5 T flour
- dash/pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 sticks margarine
- 3 eggs (slighty beaten)
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 – 10″ pie crusts
- 1 T Evaporated milk (not all of it may be used)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together in a large sauce pan. Cook over mediuim high heat until mixture thickens, stirring oven to prevent sticking and scorching. Pour mixture into bottom pie crust . Cover with top crust. Brush with evaporated milk. Cut slits in top and bake until golden brown. (About 45 mins)
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
Submitted by Tracy S., Grove
Cook sweet potatoes in the slow cooker and save stovetop/oven room! I get this requested a lot at potlucks!
- 3 29oz. cans sweet potatoes (mashed)
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 3 TB sugar
- 3 TB brown sugar
- 1 TB & 1 1/2 tsp Orange Juice
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 Cup milk
- 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 Cup brown sugar
- 3 TB all purpose flour
- 1 TB melted butter
- Lightly grease slow cooker.
- In large bowl, blend sweet potatoes, 1/3 Cup butter, white sugar and 2 TB brown sugar. Beat in Orange juice, eggs and milk.
- Transfer mix to slow cooker
- In small bowl, combine pecans, 1/3 Cup brown sugar, flour, and 2 TB butter. Spread over top of sweet potatoes.
- Cover and cook on High for 3 – 4 hours.
Sweet Potato Orange Cups
Submitted by Robin W., Edmond
I found this recipe years ago when I made my first Christmas dinner, tinkered with it a bit and since then it has become a staple at my family’s “special” meals. The presentation makes standard sweet potatoes become interesting and eliminates that pile of goo so ubiquitous to holiday meals 🙂 Plus it is YUMMY!!
- 3-4 large sweet potatoes
- 6 oranges (with firm, thick skin)
- ½ cup + ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Dash nutmeg
- ½ cup + ½ cup softened butter
- 1 T grated orange peel
- ½ tsp flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Bake 3-4 large sweet potatoes (~45 min at 400 degrees)
- Mash to make 3 cups
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut “lids” off oranges, about ½ inch down. Scoop out flesh so just the orange shell remains.
- In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, ½ cup brown sugar, orange juice, eggs, vanilla, ½ cup butter, nutmeg and orange peel. Spoon mixture into orange shells. Place filled shells in a deep casserole dish with approximately ½ inch of water in bottom.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining ½ cup butter, ½ cup brown sugar, flour and nuts. Simmer until sugar dissolves in butter. Arrange nuts on top of individual orange cups and drizzle with sauce.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!!
Old Fashioned Dressing
Submitted by Rachel T., Edmond
I took my moms dressing recipe and changed it up to make it healthier.
Bake a pan of cornbread with one yellow onion.
Bake a full pan of biscuits.
Crumble in large bowl.
Boil giblets and necks with a good amount of water, little bit of butter, salt and pepper, let cool.
Remove meat from necks, divide meat in half and save half for any gravy that you might make.
To bread/cornbread mixture add 6 or so hard boiled eggs (Minus the yolk) cut up, a handful of sage and broth from the meat till very wet.
Bake at 400 until brown.
*I removed the yokes from this recipe to help make it healthier. I also do not add as much butter or salt. *
Apricot Jello Salad
Submitted by Floris R., Norman
This is a tradtional Thanksgiving dessert served in our family. It’s the unique taste of apricot jello mixed with fruit, nuts and marshmallows. The topping is the part that makes this dish, in my opinion. It is absolutely delicious!
- I Lg. Apricot Jello Let mxtr gel
- 2c hot water (to dissolve gelatin) 2c cold water
After jello gels, add the following:
- 1 lg. can crushed pineapple (drain and save 1/2 c juice
- 1c sm. marshmallows
- 2 mashed bananas
- 1/2 c nuts (pecans or walnuts)
- 1/2 c sugar,
- 2 Tbls. Flour,
- 1 egg,
- 1/2 c pineapple juice
- 2 Tbls.butter.
Cook until thick. Let cool, then add cream cheese (3 oz.) and cool whip. (I usually use whipping cream because I don’t like cool whip.) Fold whip cream into topping mixture. Put mixture on top of fruit jello. Let set in fridge.
Submitted by Erika J., Oklahoma City
A delicious side dish!
- 2 C chicken stock
- ½ C brown rice
- ½ C wild rice
Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes until rice is tender.
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 3 onions, sliced
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
Sauté until onions are translucent and soft; lower heat and cook for another 20 minutes until onions are caramelized.
- 1 C. craisins
Add craisins to the onions and cook a few minutes longer
- ½ C toasted slivered almonds
- Salt and pepper
Mix rice, onions, craisins, almonds and spices together. Cook over low heat for a few more minutes.