We’re filled with holiday happy and Christmas cheer at the AQUILA offices this time of year.

And we’re sharing our festive glee with you through these 10 delicious Christmas recipes from our AQUILA cookbook.

In this article you’ll find crowd-pleasing appetizers for your holiday parties, yummy Christmas morning favorites, Christmas day traditions, a few cookies to share with Santa, and one adults-only night cap.

Enjoy!

 

1. Holiday Cheese Ball

The perfect appetizer for your holiday party or the perfect gift for neighbors and coworkers.

Holiday Cheese Ball Recipe

From the kitchen of Ali Tebbe, wife of Todd Tebbe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cream cheese
  • 5-oz. jar dried beef (Hormel)
  • 3 – 4 green onions
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Place cream cheese on counter for about 15 – 20 minutes to soften.
  2. Place cream cheese in large bowl.
  3. Dice the dried beef and green onions, and add to cream cheese.
  4. Add paprika, garlic powder and cayenne to taste.
  5. Mix together, and form one large ball or two small balls.
  6. Roll in pecans.
  7. Serve with crackers.

 

2. Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole

A crowd pleasing casserole to serve the family on Christmas morning. Make ahead for an easy holiday.

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

From the kitchen of Jenny Mays, Lauren Little‘s stepmom.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. flavored breakfast sausage
  • 3 cups potatoes, shredded, drained + pressed
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 12 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
  • ½ cup onion, shredded
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ cup green chiles, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×13” baking dish.
  3. Brown sausage in skillet, then drain and crumble.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together potatoes and butter.
  5. Line bottom and sides of baking dish with potato mixture.
  6. Add cheeses, onion, eggs and chiles to the sausage and combine.
  7. Pour sausage mix over potato mixture.
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

3. Christmas Crepes

Serve these crepes any way you like, or create a build-your-own bar and let the family get creative.

Christmas Crepes Recipe

From the kitchen of Bethany Perez.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted + divided

Directions

  1. Combine the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender, blend on high speed for 1 minute.
  2. If the batter is lumpy, strain it through a sieve.
  3. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour. At this point it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
  4. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. Skim the foam off the rest of the butter.
  5. Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or skillet to medium-high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan. If they sizzle, the pan is ready to use.
  6. Brush pan with a bit of the remaining melted butter.
  7. Pour ¼ cup of batter into skillet. Immediately pick up the pan, and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl.
  8. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a metal spatula, then quickly flip the crepe over in the pan. Cook on the other side until lightly golden (typically less than 1 minute).
  9. Slide crepe onto a plate. Cover with waxed paper.
  10. Repeat with the remaining batter.

 

4. Wheless Family Cinnamon Rolls

Family of all ages will love these made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

From the kitchen of Jon Wheless.

Ingredients

Dough

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups hot water (not boiling)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 eggs

Filling

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (or raisins if preferred)

Icing

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Dough

  1. In a bowl, combine the butter and hot water. Let the butter soften, but not melt.
  2. In another large bowl, mix together sugar, salt, 3 cups flour and yeast.
  3. Add softened butter and water mixture to dry ingredients, and beat with mixer until smooth.
  4. Add eggs, and beat until smooth.
  5. Add 3 more cups of flour (one cup at a time) to make a soft, sticky dough.
  6. Cover and put in fridge until ready to shape into rolls. This should be left in fridge at least two hours or leave it in the fridge overnight and bake warm rolls for breakfast.
  7. When dough is ready, or the next morning, divide the dough in half. Work with half of it at a time.
  8. Knead the dough on a floured board or counter for about 3 minutes.
  9. Roll with a rolling pin to about ½-inch thick into a rectangle about 8×14” (it may spread to be a bit larger.)
  10. Spread softened butter liberally on surface.
  11. Spread about half of filling mix generously over top of rectangle.
  12. Starting at wide edge of rectangle, roll dough into long roll.
  13. Cut rolls in 1-inch spiral pieces. Lay rolls close to each other in a lightly greased baking pan.
  14. Repeat steps 8 – 13 with remaining half of dough and filling.
  15. Cover with a light kitchen towel and let rolls rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
  16. While dough rises, heat oven to warm (not hot).
  17. Turn oven off, uncover rolls, and place in warm oven for about 20 – 30 minutes to let rise. Rolls will double in size.
  18. Once rolls have risen, bake at 375°F for about 15 – 20 minutes, until light brown.
  19. Glaze rolls right out of the oven.

Filling

  1. Mix all ingredients in bowl. This mixture should be crumbly

Icing

  1. While rolls are rising, begin by mixing softened butter with an electric mixer.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, then gradually add milk to get the desired consistency.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Icing should be a little thick because it will melt on the warm rolls.

 

5. Bart’s Christmas Duck Gumbo-Yaya

This is a Matheney family tradition and was adapted from the late, great Paul Prudhomme.

Christmas Gumbo with Duck, Chicken and Crawfish

From the kitchen of Bart Matheney.

Ingredients

Gumbo

  • 4 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 cups green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Seasoning mix (recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 10 cups chicken or duck stock
  • 2 lbs. hot venison or andouille smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 lbs. crawfish tails
  • 1 – 2 Mallard, Pintails or other full duck (Other game birds acceptable – Grebes will do in a pinch!)
  • 5 cups white rice, cooked

Seasoning Mix

  • 4 bay leaves, whole
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

Directions

Gumbo

  1. Combine onions, bell peppers and celery in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke, about 5 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the flour, whisking constantly with a long-handled metal whisk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until roux is dark red-brown to black, about 2 – 4 minutes. Be careful not to let it scorch or splash on your skin.
  4. Immediately add half the vegetables and stir well (switch to a spoon if necessary). Continue stirring and cooking about 1 minute.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables and cook, continuing to stir, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the seasoning mix (ingredients and directions on following page) and continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the garlic, stir well. Cook and stir about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
  8. Meanwhile, place the stock in a 5½-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
  9. Add roux mixture by the spoonful to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Bring mixture to a boil.
  10. Add the sausage and return to a boil. Continue boiling 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the duck in the last five minutes.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the crawfish and return to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  12. Remove from heat and skim any oil from the surface. Serve immediately.
  13. To serve as a main course, mound ¼ cup rice in the middle of each serving bowl. Spoon 1 cup gumbo over the top, making sure each person gets an assortment of the seafood and sausage. Serve half this amount in a cup as an appetizer.

Seasoning Mix

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Set aside.

 

6. Cider Beef Stew with Cheddar Smashed Potatoes

This is a perfect recipe to make when you have family in town for the holidays. It makes plenty and is just as delicious as left overs.

Cider Beef Stew | AQUILA Christmas Recipes

From the kitchen of Bethany Perez.

Ingredients

Stew

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lbs. top sirloin, trimmed + cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Salt + black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled + chopped
  • 1 lb. turnips, peeled + chopped
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups good quality apple cider
  • ½ cup beef consommé

Smashed Potatoes

  • 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled + chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp. chives, chopped

Directions

Stew

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven on medium-high. Add olive oil and butter.
  3. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on all sides, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  4. Add onions, carrots and turnips, and cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
  5. Add flour; stir to combine and coat.
  6. Add the apple cider and the beef consommé; stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 1 – 1½ hours.
  8. After beef has been in the oven for about 40 – 45 minutes, start cooking the mashed potatoes.
  9. When the beef is done, remove from the oven.

Smashed Potatoes

  1. Place potatoes in a large sauce pot, cover with water by at least 1 – 2 inches and place on the stove over high heat.
  2. Once the water comes to a boil, add salt and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the pot.
  4. Add the milk, sour cream and the cheese to the potatoes.
  5. Smash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
  6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Add the chives.
  8. Cover and reserve until you are ready to serve.
  9. To serve, place a spoonful of potatoes in a wide serving bowl. Make a well in the middle of the potatoes and spoon the beef into the center.

 

7. Gingerbread Cookies

What’s a more traditional Christmas cookie than gingerbread men?

Gingerbread Cookies | AQUILA Christmas Recipes

From the kitchen of Bart Matheney.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • Frosting of choice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in molasses, egg and water.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  5. Divide the dough in half, then shape each into a disk, and wrap in plastic.
  6. Refrigerate the dough until easy to handle, about 30 minutes.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
  8. Cut with a floured 4-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
  9. Bake until the edges are firm, about 8 – 10 minutes.
  10. Place on wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Frost as desired.

 

8. Festive Funfetti Shortbread Bites

Although these can be made any time of year, make them festive by using red and green sprinkles.

Funfetti Shortbread Bites | AQUILA Christmas Recipes

From the kitchen of Kathleen Brennan.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, cold and diced
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. nonpareils sprinkles (any color), plus more for topping

Directions

  1. Butter a 9×13” baking dish and line with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one horizontally and one vertically – they should hang over the edge a bit). Set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in almond extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour and mix until combined. It will take a while and will appear dry and sandy at first but it will come together.
  3. Fold in sprinkles. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Lift dough from pan. Cut into ½-inch squares using a pizza cutter. Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top and gently press into dough.
  6. Transfer some of the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Keep the remaining dough that isn’t currently being baking refrigerated.
  8. Repeat the process with remaining bites, adding them to a cool baking sheet. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

9. Grace’s Delicious Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

This recipe will have even the pickiest cookie eaters going back for seconds!

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

From the kitchen of Grace Young, Kendall Guinn‘s sister-in-law.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. almond flavoring

Royal Icing

  • 3 oz. egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Gel food color, any colors

Directions

Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture slowly, stirring as you add. Add milk, vanilla and almond flavoring.
  5. Roll out dough onto floured surface and cut into desired shape, then carefully place onto a cookie sheet. To maintain the shape of your cookies, chill the cookie sheet for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.
  6. Bake for 5 – 8 minutes.

Royal Icing

  1. In a large bowl, combine ingredients. Add the powdered sugar while mixing and mix until frothy.
  2. Separate icing into bowls to mix colors. Using a toothpick, add gel food coloring until you reach your desired shade.

 

10. Homemade Spiked Eggnog

This makes a lot, so you can cut the recipe in half if you want. Or, pour into glass milk jugs and share with neighbors – makes a cute Christmas gift!

Spiked Eggnog Recipe

From the kitchen of Bethany Perez.

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 qt. whipping cream
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 1 qt. half + half
  • Nutmeg, for garnish

Directions

  1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  2. Beat the egg whites; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until thick.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, then slowly sprinkle the sugar into the yolks.
  5. Slowly dribble the bourbon, dark rum and brandy into the yolk and sugar mixture to cook the eggs.
  6. Add in the milk, half and half, and whipping cream.
  7. Fold in the egg whites.
  8. Whisk together, then taste and add more alcohol if desired.
  9. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
  10. Store in refrigerator. Shake or mix before serving – it will separate.

 

Hopefully, you have found a yummy recipe to share with your family this holiday season.

Found something you want to save for later? Be sure to bookmark or pin to your Pinterest so you can come back when you’re ready to cook.

All of our recipes are straight from the kitchen of our employees, so be sure to let us know what you think when you taste them! We love sharing our kitchen with yours.

Ready for more recipes? Download our free AQUILA Eats cookbook to get cooking.

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