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A Twist on Traditional Christmas Side Dishes

Have a twist on traditional Christmas side dishes this holiday season.

Ho-Ho-Hold up — side dishes are coming in hot this Christmas season. While tradition has a place at the holiday table, when it comes to food, change can bring about a new kind of merry. Follow along as we tweak some traditional side plates, creating tried and true favorites with a yuletide twist. 

Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

It’s a classic: the dinner roll. Passed around the table, bread is a staple when it comes to meal sharing. But this garlic bread recipe from the Pioneer Woman gives basic bread an upgrade with melted garlic butter and nutty parmesan cheese. 

For this recipe, you can buy store-bought pizza dough to make your garlic knots, but if you have extra time, creating your own dough is both recommended and easier than anticipated. 

Ingredients: 

Pro Tip: If making your own dough, give yourself enough time for the dough to rise. 

Dough: 

  • ¼ cup of warm water (around 110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast (can be purchased at a local grocery store, often comes in small packs)
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk, warm to about 110 degrees
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 and ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cups of bread flour
  • Non stick cooking spray

Garlic Butter:

  • ½ cup of unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves grated
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary
  • ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions: 

  1. When making the dough, whisk together the water, yeast and ½ tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes or so. 
  2. Next, beat the milk, eggs, salt, butter, yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Make sure all ingredients are well combined, mixing for about 10 seconds. 
  3. Then slowly add the flour to the mixer, increasing the speed of the mixer to medium. Once the flour is added, continue to mix the dough until it is smooth and elastic, which will take about 6-8 minutes. 
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap tightly. Let the dough sit for about 1 to 1 and ½ hours until it has doubled in size. 
  5. While the dough continues to rise, now is the perfect time to make your garlic butter. Combine the butter, garlic and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Remove the butter from the heat and add in the parsley and rosemary. Place 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter to the side for brushing on the baked loaves. 
  6. Next, lightly grease 2 (9X5 inch) loaf pans. Take the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Then divide the dough into 40 ( roughly 1 ounce) pieces. Shape those pieces into balls. 
  7. Roll 20 of those dough balls in the garlic butter and arrange them at the bottom of the loaf pans. Sprinkle the dough balls with half of the parmesan.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the remaining dough balls, placing them in the garlic butter and parmesan. Drizzle the remaining garlic butter evenly over the top of the loaves. 
  9. Next, cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise again until they are doubled in size. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and uncover the loaves. Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Check the center of the bread with a thermometer, which should read 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  11. Brush the last tablespoon of garlic butter (the one set aside from step 5) and cool the loaves in their pans. Serve warm!

Holiday Herby Green Bean Salad

Bring a little green to the holiday table with this herby bean salad. Natalie Mason’s recipe enhances the flavor of green beans with a lemony vinaigrette and feta cheese topping. 

It’s not Aunt Ida’s bean casserole, but this one feels fresher, healthier, and festive.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag of green beans 
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 2 small shallots thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Pine nuts

Instructions:

  1. Wash and chop the green beans.
  2. Using a pot, bring water to a boil and add the chopped green beans for about three minutes. 
  3. Immediately remove the beans and blanche them, which means putting the beans in an ice bath. This helps keep the beans crisp for the salad. 
  4. Let the beans cool in the bath and then pat them dry. Place the cooked beans in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon over them and sprinkle with salt. 
  5. Toss the salad together, adding in the cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, shallots, pine nuts, parsley and chives. 
  6. Next, whisk together the olive oil, dijon mustard, the juice of a second lemon, and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix it all together again. 
  7. Serve the dish right after it is made or at room temperature. 

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries, and Pecans

Brussel sprouts are trying to shed their reputation of being, well— gross. The horror stories our parents told us about boiled brussel sprouts made us shudder, but it seems that this mini green cabbage has gone through a major marketing campaign. Fortunately, many of us have come to discover the delectable components of roasted brussel sprouts, deeming them a must-have holiday side dish, especially when bacon is involved. This recipe from Julia of Julia’s Album is the perfect plate to pass. 

Ingredients: 

  • 12 ounces of brussel sprouts with the ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries (pre-packaged)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the brussel sprouts in half.
  3. In a bowl, combine the halved brussel sprouts and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt. Then, mix to combine. 
  4. Put the brussel sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes and then after about 15 minutes, turn the brussel sprouts over to continue browning evenly. 
  6. Next, cook the bacon, which can be made in a pan or on a baking sheet with foil. If baking, the bacon can go into the oven at the same time as the brussel sprouts for 20 minutes or until done. Slice bacon into small pieces. 
  7. To toast the pecans, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pecans evenly on the sheet. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes or until the pecans brown.
  8. Combine the brussel sprouts, bacon, pecans and dried cranberries in a bowl. Toss the ingredients together. 
  9. To add to the flavor of this dish, it is recommended to drizzle the brussel sprout mixture with a balsamic glaze. 

Holidays bring our people together — gathered around the table, we share the warmth of good food and good company. Whether it’s a new recipe or an old one that graces the dinner scene, the important part is sharing it with the people you love. 

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