The holiday season is finally here – a time to get together with family and friends, share gifts and indulge in lots and lots delectable food and drink.
Some of our Mitch Insurance teammates have shared recipes for their favourite holiday dishes and bevvies. Check them out below, put on your stretchy pants and celebrate the season by treating yourself to some tasty treats.
Have a holiday recipe that you’d like to let everyone know about? Please post it in the comments section. We’d love to try it out.
Jessica Glazer, Personal Insurance Advisor: Potato Latkes are a staple side dish at most Hannukah celebrations. These pancakes used to be made with cheese, however in the 1800s potatoes became more common to use as they were cheaper to produce. I’ve always had them at every family dinner, so it’s something that I look forward to making each year together with my dad. I like using recipes that are more traditionally Jewish because being part of that culture is very important to my family and it makes me feel close to them. Most Jewish holidays are solely about being together, being healthy, celebrating life, and consuming copious amounts of food and drink. I hope anyone who makes these enjoys them as much as me and my family do.
1 ½ pounds baking potatoes (3 – 4 potatoes)
½ medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 large egg
2 tbsp matzo meal or unseasoned, dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz (or a combination of both)
Applesauce and sour cream (for serving)
- Heat the oven to 200°F and prep a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack, so the latkes can stay warm and crisp. Line another baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels for the latkes to drain on.
- Grate the potatoes and onions using the shredding blade on your food processor or a box grater.
- Transfer the grated potatoes and onions onto a large triple layer of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and tie them around the handle of a wooden spoon. Dangle the bundle over a large bowl, then twist and squeeze the potatoes and onions as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out.
- Leave the liquid in the bowl for a few minutes to allow the potato starch to settle. Once it has, discard the liquid but keep the potato starch.
- Add the potatoes, onion, eggs, matzo meal (or breadcrumbs), salt and pepper to the bowl of starch. Mix with your fingers, making sure that the potato starch breaks up and is evenly distributed with the rest of the ingredients. Set the batter aside for 10 minutes.
- Place the oil or schmaltz (or a combination of the two) in a large skillet so that when melted there is a depth of ¼ inch. Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.
- Form the latkes one at a time. Scoop ¼ cup of the mixture onto a flat spatula. Flatten the mixture with your fingers to form a four-inch patty.
- Slide the latkes into the hot oil, using a fork to nudge them into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full but the latkes aren’t crowded. Cook until golden brown. This should take about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Adjust the heat as necessary.
- Transfer the latkes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain for two minutes.
- Serve the latkes immediately with applesauce and sour cream, or transfer them to the wire cooling rack set in the baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you continue cooking the rest of the latkes.
Quirky Christmas cookies
Kathryn Lebert, Account Manager: I make these cookies every year for Christmas. They may look kind of plain, but trust me – they’re incredibly yummy and super addictive. After the first bite, you’ll be unable to stop yourself from eating all of them. And why should you? It’s the holidays!
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup Corn Flakes cereal
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup butterscotch chips
- Beat the butter, white and brown sugar until fluffy. Slowly add in the vegetable oil until it’s well incorporated. Then mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Then add it to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.
- Combine the Corn Flakes, rolled oats and butterscotch chips and add it the cookie mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Use a cookie scoop to produce consistently sized cookies (rounded teaspoonfuls work as well). Place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with fork.
- Bake at 375°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Sugar cookies with buttercream frosting
Lena Perkins, Creative and UX Designer: This has been my go-to sugar cookie recipe for years, and I can always count on being asked to bring them to family Christmas parties. The cookies themselves aren’t too sweet and they don’t spread a lot, which makes them great for cutting into shapes. The buttercream is sweet and fluffy and can be customized by replacing the vanilla with different extracts like almond, lemon or peppermint.
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp artificial vanilla extract (or ½ tsp for pure)
1 cup unsalted butter
3 – 4 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp artificial vanilla extract (use half that amount for pure or other extracts)
2 tsp lemon juice
Milk or cream as required
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and then set it aside.
- In a mixer, blend the butter and sugar, and beat them together until nice and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix it at low speed until just combined.
- Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for one hour.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out and cut it into shapes. Or you can create balls and flatten them into disks using your palm.
- Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 350°F for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and fluffy.
- Slowly add the three cups of powdered sugar and mix until it combines well and becomes thick.
- Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix on medium-high until it becomes fluffy.
- Adjust the consistency by adding milk to make it thinner or sugar to make it stiff. If you’re piping the frosting, you’ll want a stiffer consistency.
Shawn Despres, Head of Communications: A stack of delicious pancakes is always a great way to start the day, and adding gingerbread to the mix makes this a fantastic breakfast to share with your loved ones during the holiday season. I’m a firm believer that calories don’t count in December, so top your gingerbread pancakes with whatever brings you joy. Maple syrup, whipped cream, red and green sprinkles … if it puts a smile on your face, go for it.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk
Whatever yummy things you want to top your pancakes with
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and brown sugar together in a bowl.
- Add the molasses, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk and stir until the batter is just combined.
- Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and then add a ¼ cup of the batter.
- Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until bubbles start forming on the surface and then flip and continue to cook until golden brown.
Cassie Gilroy, Retention Manager: The holidays are a lot of fun but also a lot of work. Sometimes you need to pour yourself a tasty cocktail, put your feet up and watch Christmas specials. The Grinch movies are staples in my household each year, and this is a great drink to have while enjoying them.
1 bottle Pinot Grigio
1 ½ cup melon liqueur
1 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp lemon-lime soda
1 lb strawberries (sliced)
3 tbsp honey (optional)
2 tbsp red sprinkles (optional)
- Add the Pinot Grigio, melon liqueur, pineapple juice and sliced strawberries to a large pitcher or punch bowl.
- Stir the ingredients together and add the lemon-lime soda.
- Pour the honey onto a plate and the red sprinkles onto another plate. Dip the rim of your glass into the honey and then the sprinkles to add even more festive fun to your drink.
Get to know more about our award-winning team here. They’re always happy to share their favourite recipes, and to help you save on your insurance too!
I’m going to try some of these, especially the Grinch sangria.