7 Holiday Recipes That Bring Good Cheer

By Ann Foster Thelen

Deck the halls, turn on the Christmas music and roll out the wrapping paper! The holiday menu is about to get a whole lot easier – and scrumptious – with these seven recipes guaranteed to bring holiday cheer.

From brunch and appetizers to soups and desserts, these recipes are gifts themselves, thanks to the high-quality ingredients grown and raised by Iowa’s hardworking farmers. While holiday celebrations will likely take on a different look this year, food has a way of bringing comfort and joy to the soul.

During this season of making memories, invite the kids to grab measuring spoons and cups to help serve up these soon-to-be family favorites. Savor each dish by sharing the good tidings of Iowa agriculture.

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Peppermint Chocolate Eclair Wreath | Iowa Egg Council

Image courtesy of Iowa Egg Council.

This dessert could earn you a spot on the popular Holiday Baking Championship show! Wake up to a sensory explosion of flavors with melted chocolate and peppermint, combined with the beauty of oblong eclair pastries. Piped with creamy filling, it’s a dessert that the entire family will be dreaming about in the days leading up to Christmas morning. Easy-to-assemble, the wreath-inspired design is picture-perfect. Find the recipe here.


Good Tidings: One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and high-quality protein, all in just 70 calories. An egg also contains several important nutrients, such as vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function; choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus; and lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that support eye health.

Turkey Bacon Biscuits | National Turkey Federation & Iowa Turkey Federation

Image courtesy of National Turkey Federation & Iowa Turkey Federation.

These flaky biscuits topped with egg and cheese sandwiched between crisp turkey bacon are an easy breakfast or brunch recipe for your family that’s ready in under 30 minutes. With 6 grams of protein in every muffin-sized biscuit, the savory bites will power you through a Christmas morning filled with assembling toys, searching for batteries and keeping up with the kids’ wide-eyed excitement of the holiday! Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Turkey is rich in protein and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins. Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance. It gives structure to cells and helps transport nutrients around your body. Iowa has about 130 turkey farms with the majority comprised of second- and third-generation turkey farmers.

Holiday Mini Beef Meatball Skewers with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce | Iowa Beef Council and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

Image courtesy of Iowa Beef Council and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

Ground beef and zucchini mini meatballs will have you on Santa’s nice list! A cranberry barbecue sauce further elevates the splendidly delicious appetizer. The flavor of these meatballs, combined with being a certified heart-healthy recipe, will have the "elves" in your family sneaking into the kitchen to snack on these spheres of goodness. With red and green peppers lined up on a skewer, the meatballs look like beautiful garland for the table. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Beef is filled with zinc. A serving of the meatballs in this recipe gives adults 20% of the recommended daily value. Zinc is needed for the body’s immune system to properly work and is also needed for the senses of smell and taste.

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Bruschetta | Iowa Pork Producers Association

Gather around the Christmas tree for a celebration because this bruschetta has the feeling of the holidays in individual, gift-sized morsels. Use your favorite types of bacon to change up the taste – maple, mesquite, applewood – any mouthwatering, crispy strip works in this recipe. You can also prepare and refrigerate the topping ingredients in advance and bake the toast rounds ahead of time. With just the final assembly required, you’ll have more time to sing carols and dance around the Christmas tree. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: One in nearly 10 working Iowans has a job tied to the pork industry. During the year, Iowa pigs will eat the corn and soybean rations equivalent to 22% of Iowa’s total corn acres and 23% of Iowa’s total soybean acres!

Slow Cooker Bacon Potato Corn Chowder I Iowa Corn Promotion Board

Move over clam chowder; there’s a new soup in town for the holidays! This delectable Bacon Potato Corn Chowder is made using a slow cooker, giving you additional hours for last-minute gift wrapping. Perfect for a cold and snowy holiday, it is a bowl full of warm, creamy, delicious flavors. It comes together so easily that, like a favorite holiday tune, you’ll want to have it on repeat constantly! Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: A kernel of field corn is made up of four major components – starch, fiber, protein and oil – that can be processed in different ways to be used in all kinds of products. In fact, a typical grocery store contains more than 4,000 everyday items made from corn in all forms.

Cornmeal Raspberry Linzer Cookies | Midwest Dairy

Photo courtesy of Midwest Dairy.

Dairy ingredients, including milk, cream cheese, butter and sour cream, are essential to many holiday recipes’ deliciousness. Expand your cookie repertoire with these pretty, festive cornmeal raspberry linzer cookies. They’re a great go-to option since they use many ingredients you may already have in your pantry. If you’re looking to make them extra special, purchase a linzer cookie cutter set, which can make cutting these cookies a snap. The raspberry filling adds holiday flair, and the beauty of the cookies can be taken up a notch by adding fresh greenery or mint to a plate of these goodies. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: The U.S. dairy industry is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Dairy farmers are using "cow power" and other sustainable practices, like optimizing water use and maximizing recycling, to ensure dairy is part of the environmental solution. Watch this video to learn more.

Honeyed Soynuts | The Soyfoods Council

Photo courtesy of The Soyfoods Council.

Stuff the stockings or pass a bag of these out to your holiday delivery carriers for a honey of a sweet (and healthy) treat! Soynuts are a crunchy snack made from mature soybeans and have been soaked in water, drained, and baked or roasted. Due to the honey, they’re best stored in the refrigerator. For an extra-festive treat, use them in a trail mix with dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate-covered soynuts and mixed nuts. They’re also great in salads with some feta or bleu cheese. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Because soynuts are rich in fiber, plant protein, isoflavones and several other nutrients, these crispy legumes may promote weight loss and boost heart and bone health, among other benefits.