We all have holiday dishes and festive treats that we love to make, enjoy and share this time of year. This year in particular, we could all go for some extra cheer. That’s why we interviewed all the members of the Able&Co. team and asked them for their favorite holiday dish (or drink).
Are you ready to say yum? Then let’s get started!
Jenny’s Dish: Christmas Tamales
“I know this will be a shocker, but there is no recipe for how my family makes tamales, we have just been doing them for years and we make a different option every year. Instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, we go all out with a ‘Mexican-meets-Native American’ fiesta. We also make all our own sauces.”
- We always use stock (never water) for the dough
- We use that “whipped oil” a.k.a “lard,” never just oil
- We add tons of spices to the dough
- I like to cook my grandfather’s tomato roast and use Mexican spices for the meat filling. He always used coffee and lots of garlic cloves and then cooked the roast all day.
- Our go-to sauce for Beef Tamales is a Hot Tamale sauce which is not “spicy” hot, it is more how it’s prepared. These are typically wrapped in paper and then smothered in the bright red sauce.
Pork or Chicken Tamales
- We pretty much cook our pork and chicken tamales the same way so I have lumped these together. Basically, we slow-cook either protein all day in fresh tomatillos, garlic, tons of cumin and serrano chilis.
- Shred the meat and then these are wrapped in corn husks and steamed.
- Our go-to sauce is charred green chili crema
- This is my sister Julie’s specialty. She only uses vegetables that are in-season and then adds tons of spice and flavor. Squashes, sweet potatoes, greens, onions, peppers – really whatever is available and then she will add a manchego or pepper jack cheese.
- For the sauce, it’s really whatever she’s feeling that year but some of my favorites have been her Pepita Sauce and Green Chili Cheese Sauce.
- We are in camp “more filling” vs. camp “more masa”. We typically use corn husk and make our own ties from the husk as well.
Holly’s Dish: Chocolate Delight
I think my mom made this for every Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was growing up – at least that’s how I remember it. When I became an adult I shared it with my husband and his family and now they have started to ask for it on holidays too.
Access this Recipe Here!
Extra Recipe from Holly!
I had never heard of this until I met my husband’s family in Pittsburgh and they had it at a gathering and it was AMAZING and very addicting! Years later, his Aunt shared the secret recipe with me that I still have never shared with anyone. I’ve taken this to parties and everyone always asks for the recipe and I just tell them to google it and find one that sounds good to them – but… you will never find the version that we make. 🙂
Hugh’s Dish: Crack Dip
Super easy and ubiquitous at Able&Co. “Dip Day”. Everyone knows this one, but its always good to have it handy.
1 Package of Ranch Dressing Mix
1 Bag of Shredded Cheese
1 Bag of REAL Bacon Pieces
1 Container of Sour Cream
Mix and let sit so the bacon flavor infuses everything. Super duper yummy and addictive.
Extra Recipe from Hugh!
This is an Insta-Pot recipe that has become a favorite in our family, so it is definitely one of our new classics. The rich creamy sauce is so delicious we reserve what’s left after all the chicken is gone for lunches. Serve over pasta or over spinach to keep it low carb.
Pro-Tip – sometimes we double up on the sauce ingredients to have extra!
Reynee’s Dish: Chinese Pickles
Prepare the Cucumbers
- Kirby “pickling” cucumbers – 4 to 8 cukes, cut into ½” pieces
- Wash the cukes. Cut into ½” pieces. Salt generously. Set aside so the water drains. Make the sauce.
- Scallions – One to two bunches, sliced into ¼” pieces. About ¾ – 1 cup.
- Oil – Just enough to coat bottom of pan so the scallions don’t stick. Use a pan that’s large enough so the scallions are mostly in one layer. The scallions will shrink while browning, so there will be enough oil to finish the browning.
- Ginger – Preferably fresh. Julienne about ½ to 1 Tbsp. Minced ginger is okay but some people don’t want to bite into a piece. Dry, ground ginger can be used as substitute, if fresh is not available.
- Red pepper flakes – to taste
- Brown sugar – about ¼ – ½ cup, to taste. Options: use honey, or white sugar.
- Soy sauce – about 2 Tbsp to ¼ cup, to taste. I prefer LaChoy brand.
Brown the scallions. Note: Watch carefully as it takes a while before they begin to brown, then it goes rather fast.
Add the ginger and red pepper flakes, cook 1-2 minutes.
Turn off heat.
Add brown sugar.
Add the soy sauce on top of the sugar so it liquefies, then stir to mix thoroughly.
The sugar should caramelize and become syrupy as it cools.
For more sauce, add sugar/soy sauce.
While sauce cools, squeeze out excess water from the cukes. Pour sauce over the cucumbers. Refrigerate.
Extra Recipe from Reynee!
From “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dayton’s, Marshall Field’s, Hudson’s” cookbook.
2 chicken breast halves, diced
4 tsp curry powder (I used SW brand)
1 cup julienned carrots (about half bag pre-shredded carrots)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small onion, cut into thin strips
1 can artichoke hearts, cut into halves or quarters depending on size (not marinated)
1/2 cup dark raisins (I mixed with craisins, for color)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 pkgs Near East herbed chicken couscous
1-2 pkgs baby spinach/arugula
2 cups plain yogurt [or coconut milk ‘yogurt’]
¼ cup orange juice
2 Tbsp honey (add more, to taste)
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and add the curry to toast it and bring out flavor. Follow the couscous instructions – add water and flavor packet and heat to boil. Add the couscous, and raisins. Stir, take off heat and cover. After five minutes, uncover, fluff and let the couscous cool.
- Heat some olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add peppers and carrots. Cook til tender-crisp. Remove vegetables to a plate or bowl to cool. [Note: I don’t cook the veggies with curry because everything turns the same color.]
- Coat the chicken with cornstarch and about ½ tsp salt. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and gently stir until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. You may wish to add salt and curry powder to taste. Remove chicken to plate or bowl to cool.
- In a large bowl, gently fold the chicken, vegetables, artichoke hearts and parsley into the couscous. Chill well.
- For dressing: Combine the yogurt, orange juice and honey.
- To serve: Plate the baby spinach/arugula. Add dressing, then the couscous.
Cynthia’s Dish: Apple Dump Cake
I use to make this all of the time, just because. It’s quick & easy and delicious.
Stay Tuned for More!
The rest of the team will share more holiday desserts and dishes in Part Two of this series. Stay tuned