The holidays always seem to creep in without any warning. One minute you’re lounging by the pool and enjoying the summer sun. The next minute, you’re organizing holiday dinners and wrapping gifts. If you plan on hosting this year’s holiday feast, these two winter recipes are sure to impress your mother in-law and have your guests begging for seconds.
1. Stuffed Pumpkin
Part of what makes food so appetizing is its presentation. Rather than stuff your holiday turkey, try stuffing a pumpkin instead. The pumpkin adds a hint of sweetness to the savory stuffing flavors, while the pumpkin creates a beautiful presentation. The best part is that this recipe is incredibly easy to make.
Prepare the Pumpkin:
Begin by carving around the pumpkin stem just as you would when carving a Halloween pumpkin. Make sure that you save the stem for presentation purposes. Wrap the stem in foil and set it aside.
Next, give the pumpkin a thorough cleaning by removing its seeds and “guts,” or pulp. A rounded metal spoon is great for this task. Once the pumpkin is cleaned out, brush the inside and the outside with olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the inside of the pumpkin and roast for one hour at 350F.
Tip: Save the seeds from your pumpkin! Rather than discarding them, you can soak them in water to remove the pulp and roast them for a delicious healthy snack.
While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare and cook the stuffing. Any stuffing recipe will work well. The key is to ensure that the pumpkin retains its shape so that it may act as a serving bowl for the stuffing.
Once the stuffing has cooked, stuff the pumpkin and bake it in the oven for 45 minutes at 350F. Allow your stuffed pumpkin to rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Take care when placing the pumpkin onto a serving dish. Be sure to support its bottom when removing it from the pan.
2. Apricot Glazed Ham
Ham is often the centerpiece of holiday meals. It can satisfy a large crowd and complements many different flavors. If you are looking for a healthy way to serve your dish, choose a shank instead. With the addition of sweet apricots and a savory mustard glaze, this holiday ham packs plenty of flavor.
• 7lb fully cooked bone-in ham (choose a smoked ham if you wish to reduce fat)
• 6oz dried apricots
• 2 tablespoons whole fresh cloves
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• ½ cup apricot jam
1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
2. Using a sharp knife, remove the skin from the ham along with all but 1/8 inch of fat.
3. Use fresh cloves to secure the apricots to the fat side of the ham. Line the apricots in rows, leaving space between each one.
4. Place the ham fat side up in a large roasting pan with one cup of water. Cover the pan with foil and roast for two hours.
5. 15 minutes before the ham has finished roasting, begin preparing the glaze.
6. Heat the apricot jam and mustard in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
7. Remove foil and brush glaze on top of the ham. Continue baking the ham for another 40 minutes or until the meat thermometer reaches 135F. During this time, brush the ham with the glaze every 15 minutes.
These delicious yet simple holiday recipes are sure to delight your holiday guests and impress your loved ones. With the right presentation, an uncomplicated recipe can turn into a gourmet masterpiece that’s a feast for both the eyes and the stomach.