Joni Sare, cooking instructor

Best Holiday Recipes to Make Your Own Unique Dishes

What if you could free yourself from the holiday cooking stress of following a recipe and having to get just the right ingredients? Instead, use this guide to make your own unique dishes. You’ll have autonomy and flexibility for the most versatile meal ever. You’ll be able to turn one dish into ten dishes. Talk about stressing less!

If you plan to use these methods for the holidays, don’t be afraid because no matter what, your results will be tasty. Conduct a trial run and eat your results for dinner that evening! That’s a win win.

Meet the cooking method -
my gift to you for the holidays.

Holidays come once a year and so do your favorite recipes. But here’s a news flash — you can use those recipes all year long. Change the seasoning or an ingredient or two and viola! — you have a new dish.

Being autonomous from recipes gives you flexibility. This means that you will be able to make decisions easily and with certainty. And this can only be obtained by knowing what to expect with making a recipe.

You’ll be able to:

  • Change the flavors to avoid getting bored with the same-old recipes.
  • Save money by using what is already in your pantry.
  • Stay healthy by tweaking the recipe to match your dietary needs.

When you have an understanding of the recipe’s process — when to add items, when to change the heat and the cooking time — then you will be able to put the recipes away, and develop your own favorite dishes.

In order to alter a recipe, create your own, or improvise as you go — you will need:

  • an understanding of most cooking methods.
  • to predict an outcome when you change the ingredients in a recipe based on food texture and how it reacts to heat and time. A simple example is using broccoli instead of carrots. The broccoli requires a much shorter cook time than carrots so you’ll add it to the dish at a different time and you might need to cook it at a different heat setting.

Here are the 3 best holiday recipes that you can turn into a cooking method.

Use them all year long to make new dishes with my suggested substitutions or use your own. Tap each one to jump down to see their method and my suggested versions. Which ones will you make? Share in the comments, below.
Steaming green beans and stew on white plates
Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels

Recipe #1: Classic Holiday Green Bean Casserole

This is a baked dish with three layers: a mushroom cream sauce on the bottom, green beans and then topped with fried onions.

The method:

  • Step One: blanch the green beans.
  • Step Two: make the mushroom cream sauce.
  • Step Three: transfer to a baking dish, bake it.
  • Step Four: top with fried onions.

Version #1: Green beans, tomatoes and sausage

  • Step One: grill the beans.
  • Step Two: mix tomato sauce, Cajun seasoning blend and Boudin or Andouille sausage.
  • Step Three: transfer to a baking dish, bake it.

Version #2: Asparagus, Gruyère cheese and fried leeks

  • Step One: blanch the asparagus.
  • Step Two: fry the leeks.
  • Step Three: transfer to a baking dish, add the cheese and a bit of cream, bake it.
  • Step Four: garnish with large-sliced fried garlic.
cream, potatoes, gratin
Photo by jereskok on Pixabay

Recipe #2: Classic Potato Gratin

This is a baked dish with four components: Yukon potatoes, cheese, garlic cream sauce, and herbs/spices.

The method:

  • Step One: cook everything including the sliced (un-rinsed) potatoes in a saucepan until the cream comes to a boil.
  • Step Two: transfer to a baking dish, bake it.
  • Step Three: sprinkle grated cheese during the last 10 minutes.

Version #1: Sweet potatoes, bacon and ricotta cheese

  • Step One: use sweet potatoes, reduce the cream by half, and in Step Two add ricotta and bacon.
  • Step Two: transfer to a baking dish, add ricotta cheese and cooked bacon pieces, bake it.
  • Step Three: garnish with fresh-cracked black pepper.

Version #2: Vegetables, Mozzarella and balsamic glaze

  • Step One: use any root vegetables, reduce the cream by half and in Step Two add mozzarella slices.
  • Step Two: transfer to a baking dish, add mozzarella cheese, bake it.
  • Step Three: garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Close up photo of pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Photo by Kasumi Loffler on Pexels

Recipe #3: Classic Holiday Pumpkin Pie

This pie is made with three main components, the pumpkin puree, sweet spices, evaporated milk and pie crust.

The method:

  • Step One: blend all the ingredients.
  • Step Two: pour into pie crust.
  • Step Three: bake it.

Version #1: Canned cherries, cream cheese, black pepper

  • Step One: blend all the ingredients.
  • Step Two: pour into pie crust.
  • Step Three: bake it and serve with toasted almond slices.

Version #2: Mashed bananas, almond butter and toasted almonds

  • Step One: mix all the ingredients.
  • Step Two: pour into pie crust.
  • Step Three: bake it.

What recipes have you converted to use as a method?

Interested in one of my versions? Let me know and I'll share measurement details.

2 thoughts on “Best Holiday Recipes to Make Your Own Unique Dishes”

  1. Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas! I love adapting recipes for your dietary needs or just to use what you already have on hand. Brilliant!

    1. FIFO! “first in first out” — YES — use what you already have. It’s such a good feeling to do that. Someone told me they had success with using the pumpkin pie method but with a can of black beans, chocolate powder, a sweetener, eggs and cream and viola! A chocolate pie! I have used black beans in brownies before — but her Chocolate Bean Pie is definitely intriguing.

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