Cook Up Some Holiday Cheer this Season


And create not only memories but new traditions with some fun recipes.

By: Cathy Blatnik

Between the parties, family gatherings and the general rush that comes with holidays, remember that the holidays are about family and spending time together. With these fun, kid-friendly recipes, the hours spent in the kitchen around the holidays can double as bonding time. All of these recipes are easy to make with multiple hands, and cooks of all ages can pitch in. Plus, who doesn’t love to have a pair of helping hands in the kitchen? Cook up some holiday cheer and create not only memories but new traditions with some fun recipes. What better way of gathering with friends and family to celebrate the holidays than with an array of delicious treats? Some of these delightful dishes create extras so you can share with family, neighbors or co-workers. These festive ideas will keep your loved ones full and loving the holidays even more.

Recipe: Family Breakfast – Hot Cocoa Pancakes

Courtesy of MCC

With so many activities scheduled and places to be during the holidays, starting the morning with a filling breakfast can help set your family on the path to enjoyable moments with loved ones.

These Hot Cocoa Pancakes require little time in the kitchen, leaving you more time to spend with the family before hitting the road or working on decorations for seasonal gatherings. Made with Aunt Jemima pancake mix, containing no artificial coloring or flavors, this recipe makes it simple to put breakfast on the table quickly while still achieving a meal full of flavor.


  • 2  tablespoons unsweetened  cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup 2% or non-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Aunt Jemima Original Complete or Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • marshmallow spread (optional)
  • chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Aunt Jemima Syrup (optional)


1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 F.

2. In microwave-safe bowl, mix cocoa powder, sugar, milk and vanilla until well combined. Heat in microwave 30 seconds, or until warm. Stir again to ensure mixture is combined.

3. Combine cocoa mixture, pancake mix and water. Stir until large lumps disappear (do not beat or overmix). If batter is too thick, add additional 1-2 tablespoons water.

4. Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto lightly greased skillet or griddle. Cook 90 seconds, or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook additional 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.

5. Top pancakes with marshmallow spread and drizzle chocolate syrup, or top with syrup.

Makes 12 pancakes.

Recipe: “Stained-Glass” Cookies

By: Cathy Blatnik

These cookies are so cute and surprisingly easy to make.

Grab your kids and enjoy spending time in the kitchen together this holiday season


  • Jolly Rancher hard candies (20)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups white flour plus 1 tablespoon white flour (reserved)


1. Unwrap 20 Jolly Rangers – four different colors (five of each). Put into four small zip-close baggies. Crush each of the four different candies with a meat mallet. You don’t want powder, more like crushed ‘glass’ pieces. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, put the butter, sugar and salt, and mix by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

3. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla extract. Combine well again.

4. Add in the flour, one cup at a time until well blended.

5. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of flour on a board or counter. Take out the dough and roll out to a 9-by-15-inch rectangle. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

6. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cut out as many 3-inch stars as you can with the dough. Put 15 stars at a time on the cookie sheet. Cut a smaller star (1 ½-inch) in the center of the larger star and remove. Keep re-rolling using the scrap dough (you should be able to get a total of 30 3-inch stars if you make them as thick as I did).

7. Fill the entire small star about ¾ of the way with the crushed Jolly Ranchers. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge to let them get firm. While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

8. Bake the cookies for 16-18 minutes until set and the candy centers have melted.

9. Let cool on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes until hardened and store in an airtight container.

Makes 30 cookies.

Recipe: Party-Perfect Potatoes – Brown Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash

Courtesy of MCC

Served mashed, fried, scalloped, sliced, diced, boiled, roasted or just about any style in between, potatoes are ideal for matching with the centerpiece of your family meal. These Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash call for Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes to achieve a dense, creamy texture with their just-buttered appearance.

Almost every holiday meal calls for side dishes to complement the main course, and as one of the most versatile base ingredients available, potatoes often provide home chefs with a multitude of options.


  • 1 pound (3 medium) Wisconsin yellow-flesh potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, for taste, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8-10 fresh (2-3 inch) sage leaves, stacked and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk
  • freshly ground black pepper, for taste
  • water


1. In 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with water; add 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes.

3. In small saucepan over medium heat, mix 2 tablespoons butter and sage. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; keep warm.

4. Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake 1-2 minutes over low heat. Using hand masher, roughly mash to create chunky mixture. Over low heat, gently mix in remaining butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Spoon into serving bowl and drizzle with brown butter and sage.


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