Some tasty foods to cook for you and your friends this holiday season

Photo Courtesy of Jed Owen, Unsplash

Winter months bring with them some of the best cooking of the year. Holiday recipes go beyond turkeys and stuffing if you take advantage of fall vegetables and warm spices. It’s more than just dinner, too: there’s something autumnal for every meal.

Sides can easily take center stage when you deviate from the classics — there’s nothing to dislike about mashed potatoes, but how about something new? Expanding your cookbook for the year can be as simple as finding a good box mix or two, or as complex as baking from scratch if you’re up for the challenge. All of these fall dishes are sure to add flavor and a homemade quality to your table.


Maple Butter

Maple butter is a great addition to breakfast foods like pancakes and muffins, but can also give a sweet note to baked vegetables. It can be made in advance to store in the fridge, or made fresh in only 20 minutes. 

With the recipe from Seasons and Suppers, you’ll need only pure maple syrup, unsalted butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. You will need to keep an eye on the temperature while the syrup boils down with the cinnamon and salt, as it needs to reach 240 degrees before adding in butter. Then, simply mix with a hand or stand mixer until creamy.


Fresh Apple Cider

For yourself or a holiday dinner, fresh apple cider is an easy recipe that makes all the difference in its flavor compared to store-bought. Once everything is measured out and cut, you get to walk away while it simmers for a few hours. 

Different recipes will have different additives because, yes, apple cider is more than just apples. To follow Delish’s you’ll need apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, whole allspice, nutmeg and brown sugar. All go into a pot covered with water to boil, then reduce to low heat for two hours.

When two hours is up, remove the oranges and mash the apples, then let it continue cooking uncovered for another hour. Once strained, this cider will have a warm, crisp taste to it that you’ll be dying to cook up again.


Pumpkin Bread

A personal favorite fall dessert, pumpkin bread is a classic hit for dinner parties, or simply to keep in the kitchen for a snack. Baking from scratch can require a good deal of time, so to keep this one simple go for Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix.

All you need to do is add in eggs, oil and water for the perfect airy loaf. This can be made to match your taste by adding in additional spices, dried fruit or chopped nuts.


Fresh Biscuits

Pillsbury pre-made biscuits are perfect as they are, but baking fresh ones, like Adrianna Adarmes for A Cozy Kitchen, will add a homemade touch to a cozy dinner or breakfast. Flaky biscuits aren’t difficult either, especially if you have a few extra kitchen tools like a food processor. If not, no worries, it’s completely doable by hand.

You’ll mix the dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda — with shortening, then crumbled or grated butter. After your dough is combined, it’s all in the kneading and folding, which you’ll do three times to create a slab you can cut the biscuits out of.


Honey Roasted Carrots

This side dish is a flavorful take on what is often seen as a boring vegetable. All you need is olive oil, honey, salt and pepper to coat your carrots in before roasting in the oven for a half-hour. If you’re looking for a slightly different taste in this recipe, heat the honey with butter and fresh garlic.