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Elevate Your Christmas Feast With These Chef-Approved Holiday Dishes Every Dinner Table Needs
Food & Drink

Elevate Your Christmas Feast With These Chef-Approved Holiday Dishes Every Dinner Table Needs

The holidays are a time to be grateful for the things that bring us joy and ease daily. It’s also a time when we should be thankful for those responsible for cooking Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. The pressure to cook a dinner for our loved ones can come with a lot of stress. Despite the menu being the same yearly - turkey or ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, rice, and a good pumpkin or sweet potato pie! Cooking one of the most important dinners of the year can be a lot on any holiday host's plate.


Chef D. Arthur is a personal chef and an event caterer who knows the pressure of cooking for many people. Arthur says, “You gotta remember that people are grateful for you stepping into the role of creating this environment, especially the people who can’t cook.” It’s also important to acknowledge that cooking for the holiday season is a choice that should be made in good spirits and mental health. “Food is a universal love language,” says Arthur, “I think it’s such a great way to connect, but it should be done out of love.”

If you’re mentally and physically ready to shake things up this holiday season, we've got you! Chef D. Arthur has curated his go-to recipes that anyone can use if they’re tired of keeping things traditional. Arthur adds, “These recipes can be achieved by beginner cooks and those who’ve been in the kitchen for some time now.” Show off to your family members with these not-so-complicated but extra-fancy holiday dishes!

Honey Pecan Banana Pudding 

“If you are allergic to nuts, you can stick to traditional cream cheese with this recipe,” says Arthur. This recipe is dairy-free and lactose-friendly; just substitute the milk for almond or oat milk. Banana pudding is a heavy dessert best suited for large families. This recipe can serve a family size of six, with seconds!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 - 5 oz. box of instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk (Whole, almond, oat)
  • 1 - 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 - 8 oz. package of honey pecan cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 - 12 oz. container of frozen whipped cream
  • 6-8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 bags of vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Supplies:

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 large casserole dish/dessert bowl
  • Whisk/blender

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer or whisk.
  2. Next, add the cream cheese, condensed milk, and cinnamon to the same bowl and mix until smooth.
  3. Lastly, fold the whipped topping into the mixture until smooth.
  4. Layer your dessert dish with pudding mixture, then bananas and wafer until you reach the top.
  5. Add chopped pecans. Let cool for up to an hour.

Homemade Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Pie

Getty Images

Sweet Potato Pie Truffles 

Who doesn’t love holiday leftovers? You can turn last night's dessert into a sweet family treat! “This desert is perfect for those who have kids. It’s a simple, fun recipe that can be a great family activity,” says Chef D. Arthur.

What You'll Need:

  • 5 large slices of sweet potato pie
  • 1 cup of dark unsweetened chocolate chips, add more if necessary
  • Finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Supplies:

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 microwavable bowl for chocolate
  • Wax paper

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash sweet potato pie slices.
  2. Take 2 tablespoons of sweet potato mixture and form into a ball. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. The sweet potato balls should look like meatballs.
  3. Once done, set aside on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. Freeze balls for 10-15 minutes until they harden.
  5. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  6. Coat each sweet potato ball in chocolate using two spoons or your hands (with gloves). Cover the entire ball with chocolate and sit on parchment paper. Adding finely chopped walnuts to the outside of your balls is optional.
  7. Refrigerate for an hour and serve.

Blackened Green Beans 

Green beans are a staple at any significant dinner party. Blackened green beans might be the trick if you want to eat healthy, but still enjoy a little flavor! Chef. D Arthur says, “This recipe is healthy but extra flavorful, and you’re not overboiling the nutrients.”

What You'll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium purple onion, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Blackened or cajun seasoning (to taste)

Supplies:

  • Medium-sized spot
  • Large skillet, preferably cast iron
  • Colander (strainer)
  • Large bowl with ice water

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to boil on medium-high heat in a large pot filled with 60% water.
  2. In batches, boil green beans for 1-2 minutes. Remove and place in ice water.
  3. Remove green beans from ice water and drain until completely dry.
  4. Add cooking oil to bast iron or large skillet on medium-high heat.
  5. Add green beans, peppers, onions, and blackened/cajun seasoning. Cook until green beans are tender with a slight crunch. It should take 3-4 minutes.
  6. Stir often to ensure all green beans are coated in seasoning. Cook in batches if necessary.

Turkey Dinner

Getty Images

Easy Turkey And Dumplings

Leftover turkey is arguably one of the best things about Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners; however, there’s only so much turkey one person can take. Chef D. Arthur reminds us, “There is so much you can do with leftover turkey, and this is just one of those ways to spice it up.”

What You'll Need:

  • 2 cups of shredded turkey, bones, and skin discarded
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped or 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits, 8-count
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cajun seasoning
  • 1 - 32 oz. chicken broth/stock
  • 1 - 10.75 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Supplies:

  • 1 large pot or Dutch oven
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 chef's knife
  • Rolling pin (optional)
  • 1 large stirring spoon
  • 1 medium-sized mixing bowl

Instructions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil on medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot.
  2. Add shredded turkey and cajun seasoning. Cook until warm and remove from pot.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoons of cooking oil and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook vegetables until tender for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix in garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add turkey, chicken broth, cream of chicken, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stretch or roll each pre-made biscuit until thin, then cut into fours. Roll each fourth into a small round ball (dumpling style). Adding salt, pepper, or fresh herbs to each dumpling to taste is optional.
  8. Add dumplings to the turkey mixture, one at a time. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Let simmer and thicken for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally with the back end of the stirring spoon. Add some water or broth to loosen if your mixture gets too thick.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

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Featured image by Georgijevic/Getty Images

 

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