Holiday Ready Recipes

The holiday season is upon us. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing you with recipes for your upcoming gatherings.

Let us know if there is something you would like us to put in our column, or if you have a recipe to share, please submit to

Baked Brie with Cranberry-Pecan-Bacon Crumble


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 15 min

(includes cooling time)

Active: 20 min

Yield: 6 servings


4 strips bacon

2 T. candied pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

2 T. dried cranberries, finely chopped

6 dried apricots, finely chopped

1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 (7 to 8 oz.) round high-quality Brie

Sliced baguette, crackers & apple and/or pear slices, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lay the bacon in a large skillet, then cook over medium heat until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain the bacon on paper towels, let cool, then finely chop.

Combine the bacon, pecans, cranberries, apricots, rosemary, vinegar, pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl.

Remove the Brie from its packaging. Cut off the top rind of the round of Brie, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges (use a sharp knife and go in from above at a slight angle). Discard the rind you have removed. Put the Brie in a small baking dish. Top with some of the cranberry-pecan-bacon crumble, and scatter the rest around the Brie. Cover the dish with foil, and bake until the cheese is warm and gooey, 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve with bread, crackers, and apple and/or pear slices for dipping.


Fig and Blue Cheese Bruschetta


Level: Easy

Total: 20 min

Active: 15 min

Yield: 16 servings


1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 baguette, sliced into 16 slices

2 T. fig spread or preserves (or you can use plum, apricot, etc.)

4 oz. blue cheese, cut into chunks

Torn fresh basil, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the baguette slices and toast on both sides until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool, then spread with a little fig spread/preserves. Top with blue cheese chunks. Sprinkle on some basil.


Sunday Rib Roast


Level: Easy

Total: 2 hr 25 min

(includes resting time)

Prep: 20 min

Inactive: 20 min

Cook: 1 hr 45 min

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1 (3-rib) standing rib roast (7 to 8 lbs.)

1 T. kosher salt

1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mustard Horseradish Sauce, recipe follows

Mustard Horseradish Sauce:

1-1/2 c. good mayonnaise

3 T. Dijon mustard

1-1/2 T. whole-grain mustard

1 T. prepared horseradish

1/3 c. sour cream

1/4 tsp. kosher salt


Two hours before roasting, remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (see Cook’s Note).

Place the oven rack on the second lowest position.

Place the roast in a pan large enough to hold it comfortably, bone-side down, and spread the top thickly with the salt and pepper. Roast the meat for 45 minutes. Without removing the meat from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for another 30 minutes. Finally, increase the temperature to 450 degrees F and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meat is 125 degrees F. (Be sure the thermometer is exactly in the center of the roast.) The total cooking time will be between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the sauce.

Mustard Horseradish Sauce: Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustards, horseradish, sour cream, and salt in a small bowl.

Cook’s Note: Be sure your oven is very clean before setting it at 500 degrees F.


Spinach-Basil Lasagna


Prep Time: 20 min.

Bake Time: 45 min.

Yield: 9 servings


1 lg. egg, lightly beaten

2 c. reduced-fat ricotta cheese

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce

9 no-cook lasagna noodles

3 c. fresh baby spinach

2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350°. Mix first 7 ingredients.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 3/4 cup ricotta mixture, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 2/3 cup sauce. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; bake until lasagna is heated through and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked lasagna. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake lasagna as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°.


Sausage and Cornbread Dressing


Prep Time: 30 min.

Bake Time: 40 min.

Yield: 12 servings


1 pkg. (19-1/2 oz.) Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed

4 med. onions, chopped (about 3 c.)

1/2 c. chopped celery

6 c. cubed day-old white or French bread

6 c. coarsely crumbled cornbread

2 lg. eggs

2 T. steak sauce

2 tsp. onion salt

2 tsp. poultry seasoning

2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. baking powder

2-1/2 to 3 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 350°. In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook sausage over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pot.

Add onions and celery to drippings; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in sausage. Add cubed bread and cornbread; toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs, steak sauce, seasonings, and baking powder until blended; stir into bread mixture. Stir in enough broth to reach desired moistness.

Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. or 3-qt. baking dish. Bake 40-50 minutes or until lightly browned.


Cranberry Cornmeal Cake


Level: Intermediate

Total: 1 hr 12 min

Prep: 12 min

Inactive: 20 min

Cook: 40 min

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


3/4 c. (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp., plus extra for the pan

1 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan

1/2 c. yellow fine cornmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 c. orange zest (from 2 large oranges)

3/4 c. dried cranberries, chopped into 1/4” pieces

1-1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 lg. egg yolks

2 lg. eggs


Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Measure 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture into a small bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and toss until coated. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into wedges, arrange on a serving platter and serve with the Caramel Walnut Sauce. (The cake can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in a plastic container.)


Gingerbread Roulade Cake


Level: Intermediate

Total: 1 hr 30 min

(includes cooling time)

Active: 45 min

Yield: 8 servings


4 T. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking sheet

3/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the baking sheet

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. plus a pinch fine salt

6 lg. eggs, separated

3/4 c. plus 1 T. granulated sugar

2 T. unsulfured molasses

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


6 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.

3 T. unsalted butter, at room temp.

3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch fine salt

8 gumdrops, for decorating


Special equipment: a 10-1/2 by 15-1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet, a large clean kitchen towel (preferably not terrycloth or microfiber)

For the cake: Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 10-1/2 by 15-1/2-inch baking sheet with parchment paper so it fits the bottom snuggly. Butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, allspice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and falls into heavy ribbons when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted butter, molasses and vanilla. Sift the spiced flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until just incorporated.

Rinse the egg beaters and beat the egg whites and remaining pinch salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until frothy. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Fold one-third of the whipped egg whites into the cake batter to loosen it up a bit. Then gently fold in the remaining whipped egg whites until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread it out in an even layer. Bake until the middle of the cake springs back when pressed, 12 to 15 minutes.

To roll up or train the cake: While the cake is still hot, use a knife to cut around the sides of the baking sheet to release the cake. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Spread a large clean kitchen towel (preferably not terrycloth or microfiber) over the top of the cake. Quickly invert the baking sheet onto the towel. Tap the bottom of the baking sheet and slowly lift up; the cake should release and be positioned squarely on the towel. Carefully peel away the parchment paper, making sure not to tear the cake. Trim away any rough edges if desired. Then, while the cake is still warm and starting at the long side of the cake, roll it up into a tight log, taking the towel with it. Let the cake cool completely, rolled up, about 30 minutes.

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and beat until thick and smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the filling.

To fill and roll the cake: Unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling over the top in an even layer. Then roll the cake back up (without the towel this time) and put it seam-side down on a serving platter. Dip each gum drop in some of the reserved filling and evenly space them down the center of the roulade. Dust the cake with more confectioners’ sugar. Slice and serve.

Cook’s Note: When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)


Quote of the Week:

“You just need a little perspective. Hot chocolate can give it to you.” 

~ Giada De Laurentiis


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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