LALtoday’s holiday cookbook

Lakeland’s holiday cookbook | Image via 6AM City

Earlier this week, we asked y’all to send in your favorite holiday recipes so that we could compile a LALtoday cookbook. From cocktails to sides, desserts, and turkey recipes, we’re getting a taste of your favorite traditions.  

So, whether you’re looking for inspiration for your Thanksgiving Day meal, just need a dinner idea for tonight, or want to indulge in a neighbor’s concoction, check out these holiday recipes from our local master and at-home chefs in LAL. ⬇️

Disclaimer: Don’t read on an empty stomach.

🍗 Entrees

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Crispy Sage

Submitted by Ryan H. 


Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Crispy Sage | Photo by Ryan H. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 20-25 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 pound turkey sausage (from Ryan: I like to use spicy for some extra flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup reduced or low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds of whole wheat, lentil, or chickpea pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prep the squash (wash it, peel it, cut off both ends, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds).
  2. Using a large pasta pot with a steamer basket, steam the squash pieces until they are fork-tender, about 30-35 minutes.
  3. Remove the squash and puree with a food processor or blender until it is smooth.
  4. Meanwhile, saute the sausage until brown and broken into bite-sized chunks. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside. Reserve the pot and drippings for the shallots, garlic, and the next steps in the sauce making.
  5. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter, then sizzle the sage leaves on each side until crisp. Place the leaves on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Reserve the sage butter to saute the shallot and garlic, and for adding to the sauce.
  6. Saute the shallot and garlic until translucent. Add additional olive oil if needed.
  7. Once the aromatics are softened, add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
  8. Add the blended squash to the aromatics and stir until combined. Stir in the milk. Gently simmer the sauce until the pasta is ready, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente, reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  10. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the cup of pasta water, until the sauce reaches a silky consistency.
  11. Serve with crispy sage leaves and parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!

Dinner in a Pumpkin 

Submitted by Angel T. 


Dinner in a Pumpkin | Photo by Angel T. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 (4oz) can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (15oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1⁄2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnuts

Instructions

  1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out the pulp and seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) In a large skillet sauté onions in vegetable oil until tender.
  3. Add meat and brown.
  4. Drain drippings from skillet.
  5. Add soy sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar, and soup.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts.
  8. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin shell.
  9. Replace the pumpkin top and place the entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 1 hour or until the inside meat of the pumpkin is tender.
  11. Put the pumpkin on a plate.
  12. Remove pumpkin lid and serve meat.
  13. For your vegetable, scoop out the pumpkin and serve.

🌽 Side dishes

Corn Casserole

Submitted by Cindy P. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 package (8.5 oz) cornbread mix (Jiffy)
  • 1 can whole corn, drained
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 8 oz sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease or spray 9×9 pan.
  2. Combine all ingredients, pour into a baking dish. 
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden and the middle is set.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Submitted by Diane G.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • Mushrooms to stuff

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
  2. Let cream cheese come to room temperature. 
  3. Brown sausage and drain fat. 
  4. In a large bowl, mix sausage and cream cheese together. 
  5. Stir in shredded cheddar and mix well. 
  6. Prepare mushrooms (rinse if needed, remove stems, pat dry)
  7. Spoon sausage mixture into mushroom caps and place in baking dish.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browning and bubbly.

Bonus: The leftover topping is great on crackers!

Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese

Submitted by Carson R. 

Ingredients

  • 1 box of elbow macaroni, cooked according to instructions
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of Colby jack shredded cheese
  • 2 (8 oz) bags of sharp shredded cheese
  • 1/2 half stick of butter, cut into a few slabs 
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  2. Put the butter into a 2-quart baking dish and stir cooked noodles with butter. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix cheese soup, milk, sour cream, and mustard together, then add to noodles. 
  4. Add Colby jack cheese and 1 bag of sharp cheese. 
  5. Mix in salt and pepper. 
  6. Mix all together. 
  7. Add the other bag of the sharp on top. 
  8. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly.

🥧 Desserts

Pineapple Pie

Submitted by Carson R. 

Ingredients

  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8oz) sour cream 
  • 1 (8oz) whipped topping

Instructions

  1. Combine pineapple with juice, milk, and sour cream.
  2. Fold in whipped topping. 
  3. Pour into the prepared crust. 
  4. Refrigerate until serving.

Italian Cherry Cookies
Submitted by Dawn C.

Italian Cherry Cookies | Photo by Reader Dawn C. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Crisco
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder 
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar to roll cookies in after cool
  • 2-3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice to mix, with leftover confectioners sugar after rolling to make a little glaze to drizzle over cookies after they are rolled in confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix wet ingredients first, and then add in dry
  2. Drop with a small cookie scoop or roll in 1-in. balls onto a cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 10-12 min. At 350°F
  4. Cool and then roll in confectioners sugar
  5. Mix cherry juice and leftover confectioners sugar using a fork
  6. Just drizzle a little cherry glaze on each cookie for a little color

Guava Swirl Cheesecake

Submitted by Shelley R. 

Ingredients

  • 1 and 2/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 2 large sleeves)
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 12 oz guava paste, cut into small pieces
  • 5 large egg whites, divided
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. 
  2. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, crumbs, and butter. 
  3. Press mixture into bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of a 9 in. springform pan coated with cooking spray. 
  4. Bake at 400ºF for 7 minutes. 
  5. Cool on the wire rack. 
  6. Reduce oven to 325ºF
  7. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, juice, and guava paste in a small saucepan. 
  8. Bring to a boil. 
  9. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. 
  10. Pour mixture into a blender and process until smooth. Cool completely. 
  11. Stir in 1 egg white. 
  12. Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. 
  13. Beat at low speed until smooth. 
  14. Beat in vanilla and salt. 
  15. Gradually add the remaining 4 egg whites, beating well after each addition. 
  16. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan over the crust. 
  17. Drizzle guava mixture over cheese mixture; swirl with the tip of a knife, gently pushing some down into the cheese. 
  18. Bake at 325ºF for 45 minutes or until the cheesecake center barely moves when touched.
  19. Turn the oven off and cool cheesecake in a closed oven for 30 min. 
  20. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the outside edge. 
  21. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.

Holiday Drop Cookies

Submitted by Dawn C. 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ cup chopped candied fruit
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. 
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl. 
  4. Stir oats, candied fruit, coconut, and nuts into the flour mixture.
  5. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir well.
  6. Drop by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
  7. If desired eliminate chopped nuts & press half walnut onto the top of each cookie.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.

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