3 Recipes for Your Holiday Table

There are so many different types of recipes that families share together at their holiday tables. Whether you want to keep it classic with a traditional spread or add in some twists this year, we have you covered with these tasty recipes.

Oven Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Courtesy of YMCA of Central Florida

Switch up the star of the holiday table this year by serving Cornish game hens instead. Of course, if you can’t give up the turkey, roast it with these tasty fall flavors.


-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (raw unsalted if you can find them)
-Kosher salt
-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
-½ cup water
-1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
-2 green onions roughly chopped
-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus zest
-1 small garlic clove minced
-4 Cornish game hens, gizzards discard


In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons olive oil, the pumpkin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt (no salt needed if you are using pre-salted seeds) and 1 teaspoon paprika. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the seeds begin popping and some turn brown (be careful not to burn them), about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer the seeds and oil to a food processor, add 1/2 cup water, the parsley, green onion, lemon juice and pulse until pureed. Remove about 3 tablespoons of the pesto for the hens and set aside the rest for serving.

Slide your fingers under the breast skin of each hen to loosen. Slide 2 heaping teaspoons of the pesto under the skin of each hen, and rub the pesto all over. In a separate bowl, mix the garlic, tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon paprika and lemon zest, then rub all over the outside of the hens. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the hens on a rack in lower half of the oven in a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Roast, rotating the pan halfway through, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 1 hour. Let rest 15 minutes, then cut each hen in half. Serve with the reserved pesto.

Cranberry Chutney

Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Is it really a holiday spread without the cranberries? Make yours anything but ordinary with this sweet and tart side dish.


-3 cups dried cranberries
-1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
-2 cinnamon sticks
-10 whole cloves
-10 whole allspice berries
-Orange juice


Make a pouch with cheese cloth containing cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice berries. Add cranberries and spices to sauce pot. Cover ingredients ¾ with orange juice and then cover the rest of the way with water (fresh and frozen cranberries will float, so don’t add too much). Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Fresh/frozen cranberries should pop. Blend slightly with stick blender, leave mostly chunky. Or if you don’t have a stick blender, remove approximately 1/3 of the sauce and blend it in a regular blender then mix it back into the sauce.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Courtesy of Lyndsay Fogarty

From our table to yours, this family recipe puts a twist on your typical sweet potato dish. With creamy sweet potatoes topped with a flavorful crunchy topping, you will definitely go back for seconds.


For Potatoes:

-3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (approximately 3 potatoes)
-1 stick butter
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 cup sugar
-2 eggs, beaten
-1/3 cup milk

For Topping:

-1 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup butter
-1/2 cup flour
-1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or mix both)


Mix all ingredients for the sweet potato base together and add to a greased casserole dish. Combine brown sugar, butter, flour and chopped nuts then distribute evenly across the top of the potatoes. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.


What do you think?

385 points
Upvote Downvote
Avatar Super Influencer

Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

Frequent UserContent AuthorVerified User

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *