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Yum! What wonderful recipes you sent to us when we asked for our readers’ favorite holiday recipes. Out of the 85 recipes submitted, we chose 25 that were then cooked by staff members here at Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives in our first-ever “Bake & Taste” event. But the most fun—we spent all afternoon tasting and judging the recipes until our tummies bulged like Santa’s.

All the recipes we tested were great, but we’ve only got space to run the top 11 recipes scoring the highest points. To get the other 14 recipes we tested, click here: holiday recipes.

We hope you’ll enjoy these holiday recipes as much as we did.

Happy Holidays!

First Place Overall & First Place Other Recipe

HAM BALLS3 lbs. smoked ham, ground
1-1/4 lbs. lean pork shoulder, ground
2 cups oatmeal, uncooked
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup pineapple juice
4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup

Soak oatmeal in milk. Mix remaining ingredients into mixture very well. Form into 1-1/2-inch balls. Bake at 300° for 1-1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, cook sauce in pan until thick. Drain grease from saucepan. Add sauce and bake an additional 25 minutes, covered.

“Fantastic dish that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, even the sauce. You may want to double the recipe for the sauce.”

Phyllis Hogston, Somerset
South Kentucky RECC

Second Place Overall & First Place Cake

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups salad oil
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (18-oz.) can crushed pineapple
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups bananas, mashed
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Make the cake first, combining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs and salad oil, stirring by hand until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and one cup of crushed walnuts. Stir only with a spoon. Do not use an electric mixer. Spoon batter into three well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. Check cakes at about 30 minutes with a toothpick, by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of each cake. When no batter sticks to toothpick, cakes are done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually, beating until at spreading consistency. Beat in vanilla. Frost each layer, assembling. Finish frosting cake and sprinkle remaining chopped walnuts onto top.

Janet I. Poynter, Glasgow
Farmers RECC

Third Place Overall & Second Place Other Recipe

SPANISH LIMA BEAN CASSEROLE2 cans green lima beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped and drained (okay to use canned tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2-3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tablespoons hot sauce
Velveeta cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook lima beans until tender, about 30 minutes. (Note: if using canned lima beans, there is no need to cook.) Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and green pepper in butter until tender and golden in color. Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes. Add seasonings and beans; simmer a few more minutes. In a buttered casserole dish, add a layer of bean mixture and cheese. Do another layer of beans and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or longer, until bubbly all over.

“This is an easy recipe to make and goes well with all your holiday fixings.”

Mrs. Tressie M. Houchens, Glasgow
Farmers RECC

First Place Cookie

MARG’S OATMEAL DROP COOKIES1 cup butter flavor Crisco
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 Tablespoons water
1 cup raisins
1 cup coconut
1 cup walnuts
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
2-1/2 cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, and salt until well-blended. In small bowl, beat eggs. Add eggs, vanilla, and water to the shortening mixture and mix together. Add raisins, coconut, and walnuts, stirring into mixture. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients and fold into first mixture. Stir in oats. Blend well. Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 50 cookies.

“For as long as I can remember, my mom always made tons of cookies and candy for the holidays. One of the family favorites was her oatmeal cookies.”

Pat Alexander, Hardinsburg
Meade County RECC

Second Place Cake

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 (18-1/2-oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (3-3/4-oz.) pkg. Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1/2 cup light rum (80 proof)

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light rum

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. In a medium bowl, mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake one hour.

Meanwhile, make glaze by melting butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

Cool cake in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top and sides with fork. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Go over all cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up. You can decorate top with additional chopped pecans if you wish.

“This is my favorite holiday recipe because it’s easy to make, looks good, and everyone I have given this rum cake to says it is the best-tasting cake they have ever eaten.”

Swanna Doyle, Clarkson
Farmers RECC

Second Place Cookies

ORANGE SLICE COOKIES1 (9-oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix (I use Jiffy)
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans
10 orange slice candies, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together all ingredients until blended. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove and place on wire racks to cool. Makes 2 dozen.

“My recipe was published in the Spring 2004 Out Here magazine by Tractor Supply Company in Nashville, Tennessee. They called to tell me my recipe was selected to be in their first edition, and sure enough it was.”

Hattie Jane Norvell, Danville
Inter-County Energy

First Place Salads & Other Desserts

CRANBERRY HOLIDAY SALAD2 (3-oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jell-O
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (16-oz.) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup sour cream (non-fat or regular)
2 cups hot water

Mix whole-berry cranberry sauce and one cup of hot water in blender, just until blended. Berries can be left whole. Dissolve Jell-O in one cup of hot water. In a medium bowl, combine the two mixtures, and add pecans. Put half of the mixture in an 8-inch square pan or a round 2×9-inch glass bowl so you can see the pretty layers. Chill in freezer until set. Spread sour cream over chilled mixture and slowly add second half of cranberry mixture. Chill until firm.

“This recipe looks colorful and festive and says ‘holiday time.’ It is easy, can be made ahead of time, and is not real expensive to make.”

Glyna M. Gallrein, Louisville
Shelby Energy

Second Place Salads & Other Desserts

2 cups powdered sugar
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Roll
6 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Powdered sugar for dusting

Note: Recipe makes two rolls; recipe may be divided to make only one.

Preheat oven to 350°. You’ll need two jelly roll pans, 10x15x1-inch, greased and floured, two cooling racks at least 10×15-inch, and two dish towels.

Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Set aside.

Beat eggs in a separate bowl two to three minutes, until frothy. Add granulated sugar. Gradually add pumpkin, beating well. Add flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and lemon juice, beating well. Pour batter into the greased and floured jelly roll pans. Bake at 350° for 11 to 15 minutes.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on the clean dish towels that have been placed on the cooling racks. Carefully turn cake out onto towel by inverting the towel/rack on top of the cake pan and flipping. Trim any hard edges and sprinkle with more powdered sugar. Roll up towel and pumpkin cake together, starting at a long side. Let cool 35 to 40 minutes on the cooling racks.

Gently unroll cake and spread cream cheese filling to edges. Re-roll without towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Trim both ends of each roll for a neater look. Chill at least two hours before cutting in 1/2-inch rounds and serving. You can roll the completed rolls in plastic wrap after dusting to keep the rolls from unrolling. Store in the refrigerator.

Pat Reed, Winchester
Clark Energy Cooperative

First Place Candy

TURTLE BARS1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups Special K cereal
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips

In large saucepan, mix together sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter. Add cereal, pecans, and vanilla. Stir together and press into a greased 9×13-inch pan. (Note: for thicker bars, use smaller pan.) In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together. Spread over mixture. Let icing get hard and then cut into squares.

“It is not hard on your teeth and it is something quick and easy to fix when you are in that holiday rush.”

Charlie Nunn, Hodgenville
Nolin RECC

Second Place Candy

WHITE CHOCOLATE FUDGE1 (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz. white chocolate (chips or bark)
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with mixer. Gradually add in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Melt white chocolate in microwave, making sure not to overcook, by cooking one minute at a time, then stirring. Add melted chocolate to mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into a butter-greased 8×8-inch pan. Chill in refrigerator until firm. Cut into small squares.

“Everyone at the beauty shop where I work looks forward to the white chocolate fudge during ‘treat week’ that we have for our customers during the holidays. The fudge is talked about all year.”

Lee Ann Moore, Glasgow
Farmers RECC

Third Place Salads & Other Desserts

STRAWBERRY CHARLOTTE1 (3-oz.) pkg. ladyfingers
1 large box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
4 cups 1% or skim milk
1 quart fresh strawberries
2 packets of Splenda sweetener
1 (8-oz.) tub light frozen whipped topping, thawed

Wash and slice strawberries and add the two Splenda packets to them, and set aside. Line a deep glass dish on the bottom and up the sides with the ladyfingers. Prepare pudding; allow it to thicken, then spoon it over the ladyfingers. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the pudding. Spread the thawed whipped topping over the strawberry mixture. Can decorate top with additional whole strawberries. Put in the refrigerator and serve when ready. Can be made a day ahead of time.

“My favorite holiday recipe is a very light dessert that I make for my diabetic friends. This dessert is so good, no one guesses it only has 162 calories per serving.”

Jan Samuels, Lebanon Junction
Salt River Electric

KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: More reader recipes

For 14 more reader recipes, click here: holiday recipes

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