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Holiday Recipe Guide

Holiday Recipe Guide

Posted on December 03, 2019

The key to an excellent holiday dinner table is having the best dishes to serve your guests - there may not be leftovers but everyone will be delighted. To help make your day tastier, our chef Phillip Schaaf, put together a variety of side recipes to pair with your mains.

  1. Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Bacon and Onions

  2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Vinaigrette and Hot Honey

  3. Ham and Swiss Scalloped Potatoes

  4. Braised Greens with Jowl Bacon

  5. Braised Cabbage with Italian Sausage

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Bacon and Onions

There are a few staple holiday side dishes that I will actually feel a tinge of sadness if they don’t make the spread. Green bean casserole is at the top of that list. I am a fan of almost any version, although I prefer this recipe with fresh green beans and the addition of crispy bacon to the onion topping. For the purists out there I have included a recipe for homemade cream of mushroom base, as well as a recipe for crispy onions, although it is still perfectly respectable and acceptable to buy these ingredients already prepared. The holiday prep list is already pretty long. No one will judge if a few corners are cut. The end result will be every bit as delicious.

The Ingredients

1 ½ Fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

½ lb Bacon ends or bacon strips sliced

1 onion, diced

1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced or quartered

3 C Cream of mushroom soup(recipe below) OR 2 10.5 oz cans prepared cream of mushroom soup with ½ C of milk added

1 ½  C crispy fried onions, recipe below OR 1 ½ C prepared French fried onions

For homemade cream of mushroom soup:

4 T butter

½ Yellow onion, diced

2 # cremini mushrooms, diced

4 T flour

4 C of chicken stock

3 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

For the French fried onions:

2 large yellow sweet onions, thinly sliced

⅔ C rice flour

1 C neutral oil, canola or grapeseed

The Recipe

  1. To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. In a medium sized stock pot, render the bacon ends and pieces over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure proper browning of all pieces. Once the bacon is rendered and crispy, remove it from the pan and set it aside on a paper towel. Once the bacon is cool it can be crumbled up for use later in the recipe. Use a knife to chop the bacon into small crumbles. Alternately, a blender or food processor will work well.

  3. Add the diced onion to the bacon fat and cook until they start to become translucent. Add the mushrooms and let them cook until they start to brown a bit. Now add the fresh green beans. Cook the green beans for about 3 minutes, stirring all of the vegetables together. Add the cream of mushroom soup and stir until evenly mixed. 

  4. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and bake in the oven on 350 until the soup is bubbly around the edges. Sprinkle with the onions and crumbled bacon and bake for about 5 more minutes until the onions are golden brown.

For homemade cream of mushroom soup:

  1. Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

  2. Melt the butter in a large pot. 

  3. Add the onions and sweat until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft. 

  4. Add the flour and stir until it is fully incorporated. Let the flour cook for a few minutes.

  5. Add the stock slowly, whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

  6. Remove from the heat and discard the herbs. Working in small batches, blend the soup in a blender until it is silky and smooth. Be careful, as blending hot liquids in a blender can cause pressure to build. In order to avoid injury, remove the cap from the hole in the blender lid and  use a folded dish towel to tightly cover the hole. This will let hot air escape.

  7. Pour the pureed soup into a large mixing bowl and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

For the French fried onions:

  1. Slice the onions as thin as you can, using a mandolin or a very sharp knife. Coat with the rice flour and a teaspoon of kosher salt.

  2. In a deep cast iron skillet or saucepan, heat the oil to 325 degrees. Set up a landing pad for the onions, such as a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

  3. Working in batches, fry the onions in the hot oil until they are just golden brown, stirring often with a long fork, breaking up any clumps that might try to develop. This will not take very long as the onions are sliced very thin.  Remove the onions from the oil carefully using a strainer. Continue this process until all the onions are fried and crispy, Set aside to cool before using. Try not to pick at the delicious pan of fried onions in the center of your kitchen. 

PRO TIP: strain the onion oil and let it cool. It can be used for salad dressings, drizzles, etc.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Vinaigrette and Hot Honey

The Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

½ lb Chorizo

1 shallot, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ C Sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

½ C high quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

For the hot honey:

12 oz honey

3 serrano peppers, halved

1 tsp cayenne

For the brussels sprouts:

2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, halved and trimmed

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 ½ Tbsp neutral flavored oil

The Recipe

For the vinaigrette:

  1. Crumble the chorizo in a pan and cook on medium high heat, until the chorizo is browned and a bit crispy. Do not drain the fat from the pan.

  2. Stir in the shallot and garlic and cook for a minute or two longer.

  3. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar and olive oil and stir to incorporate.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the Hot Honey:

  1. In a small pot on the stove, heat the honey, peppers and cayenne over medium heat, simmering for about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the honey.

  2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. This can be made ahead of time and can also be stored in the fridge for quite awhile. This is a great condiment for almost everything; biscuits, pizza, fried chicken, ham sandwiches… the list goes on. Hot honey should become a staple in your pantry.

For the brussels sprouts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450.

  2. To trim the Brussels, cut the exposed tip of the stem and then remove any loose leaves from the outer layers.

  3. Halve the brussels and toss them with the oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl then spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Roast until they are tender and charred, about 18-22 minutes.

  5. Remove them from the oven and toss them with the chorizo vinaigrette.

  6. Just before serving, drizzle a bit of the hot honey, about two tablespoons, over the brussels.

  7. Garnish with a generous smattering of fresh chopped cilantro.

Ham and Swiss Scalloped Potatoes

Cheesy scalloped potatoes are a great addition to any holiday spread. This is a decadent side, rich and filling. A little goes a long way and the efforts won’t go unnoticed. This recipe requires that the potatoes all be sliced at the same thickness, and the thinner the better. Using a mandoline will ensure accuracy, but they can be hand cut with a sharp knife and a steady hand. 

Smokey ham and creamy swiss make for a classic combo in any setting, but especially in the same dish as these buttery scalloped potatoes. The best potatoes for this dish are either Russets or Yukon Golds, sliced about an ⅛” thin. The ham, cheese and potatoes are all shingled in a buttered casserole dish and baked to golden perfection and sprinkled with chives.

The Ingredients

3 lbs potatoes, Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled and sliced ⅛ to ¼ inch thin

2 C Swiss Cheese, grated

½ lb smoked ham, sliced

1 C heavy cream

5 T unsalted butter

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

1 bunch fresh chives, thinly sliced

The Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Spread a tablespoon of butter on the edges of a 9 x 9 baking dish, coating the bottom and sides of the pan.

  3. Pour the cream into a mixing bowl. Peel and slice the potatoes lengthwise, placing them in the cream to keep them from oxidizing.

  4. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the bottom of the casserole dish.

  5. Layer the potatoes in a single layer, then add a ⅓ C of the grated swiss and ⅓ of the ham.

  6. Add another layer of potatoes and then season with a ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper before repeating the process until all of the potatoes and ham have been layered in the casserole dish.

  7. Pour the cream into the dish until it just reaches the top layer of potatoes. You should be left with about ⅔ cups of Swiss to top off the top layer.

  8. Place the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in 1 tablespoon increments, each placed equidistant from the other in the center of the four quarters of the dish.

  9. Cover the dish in aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about an hour, until the potatoes are fork tender.

  10. Remove the foil and bake for 15-20 minutes longer until the top is golden brown.

  11. Remove from the oven and let the potatoes rest for about 10 minutes before sprinkling with the fresh chives.

  12. Slice into 2.25” squares and serve.

Braised Greens with Jowl Bacon

Jowl bacon gives braised greens a rich and smoky finish. Greens can be a polarizing addition to the holiday spread, but this recipe will change the hearts and minds of anyone that has been a victim of poorly prepared greens in the past.

Fresh greens are a necessity. It doesn’t really matter if they are turnip, mustard, or collards, or even kale or chard for that matter. A combination of several varieties can be nice. Curly mustards are going to add a spicy, horseradish-like kick. Collards and turnips are a bit earthy, and kale and chard can be nutty and bittersweet depending on the time of year. Greens grow best in the cool fall weather so it is a perfect time of year to add them to the menu.


The first few steps of the process are the most crucial. Greens are very fibrous leafy vegetables with hearty stems that can be very unpleasant to chew. There are some byproduct uses for some stems, such as kale stem pesto, or pickled chard stems, but they can also be discarded to the compost if there isn’t much time to spend on secondary recipes. To stem the greens properly, hold the point of the leaf nearest the top of the stem with one hand, grabbing the top of the stem with the other. Pull the leaf and stem in separate directions. Pull away any excess stem that is left on the leaf and set the leaf in a large mixing bowl or basin. Continue until all leaves and stems have been separated from each other.

Washing the greens is also an extremely important step. Greens must be washed a minimum of three times, even more for a particularly dirty bunch. After stemming, the leaves should be in a large enough receptacle that they can be completely submerged and agitated under water. A large mixing bowl or a clean and sanitized kitchen sink will do. Fill the bowl or sink with cold water, covering the greens by at least an inch. Now vigorously agitate the greens, shaking them about underwater for a minute or two. Lift the greens out of the water and set aside in a colander to drip dry. Drain the dirty water from the bowl or basin, rinse out any dirt left behind and repeat at least two more times.

Now we are ready to cook the greens.

The Ingredients

2-3 bunches greens, mustards, collards, or otherwise, stemmed and washed

½ lb jowl bacon, diced

1 yellow onion, julienned

2 C homemade chicken stock

2-3 T cider vinegar

1 T brown sugar or other sweetener(optional)\

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

The Recipe

  1. In a 5 qt pot on medium heat, render the jowl bacon until it begins to brown and crisp.

  2. Add the onion and sweat for about 3-5 minutes.

  3. Add the greens a handful at a time, letting them wilt a bit before adding more.

  4. After all of the greens have made it into the pot, let them cook down for about 5-6 minutes. It looks like a lot of greens at first but once they get to cooking you will see that the yield will be much less that you started with.

  5. Add the chicken stock and let the greens simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are tender enough for your liking.

  6. Now add the vinegar, the brown sugar if you’d like, and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

These greens are delicious enough to make the holiday lineup, but they are also great on a blustery day with a bowl of beans and a slab of cornbread. 

Braised Cabbage with Italian Sausage

This recipe doesn’t require much time or effort to make and it is extremely flavorful and pairs well with any holiday meal. The cabbage is cooked until it is still just a bit toothsome, with still just the slightest bit of crunchy texture amidst the spicy sweet pork sausage and vinegar spiked braising liquid. This is a great dish to add to the holiday table due to the ease of execution and the fairly quick cook time.

The Ingredients

1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced into ¼”strips

1 yellow onion, peeled and julienned

1 lb spicy Italian sausage in bulk

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 ½ C chicken stock

¼ C pepper vinegar

1 T butter

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

The Recipe

  1. In a 4 or 5 qt heavy bottomed sauce pot, crumble the sausage and cook it on medium heat until the fat is well rendered and the sausage begins to crisp up.

  2. Add the sliced onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

  3. Add the cabbage, stirring until it is evenly coated with the sausage fat and mixed well with the onion.

  4. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Add the garlic, a teaspoon of kosher salt and a couple of turns of black pepper and cook for a minute or two more.

  6. Now add the stock and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, checking the doneness of the cabbage every few minutes so as not to cook all of the texture out of the cabbage. 

  7. Finish the dish with the vinegar, butter and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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