Deck the Halls with 12 Holiday Recipes

By Ann Thelen

Deck the halls – and menu – with new foods for the holidays! It’s easy to be merry with a list of new recipes guaranteed to deliver savory and sweet flavor combinations filled with delicious and nutritious benefits.

We’ve rounded up a dozen recipes featuring familiar favorites with new twists. During this joyous season, we’re incredibly thankful for Iowa’s hardworking farmers, who take great pride in raising the high-quality ingredients featured in the recipes. We’re sure they’ll bring joy and delight to your family and friends!

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1. Seasonal Deviled Eggs

If Mrs. Claus was in the kitchen, she might be whipping up a plate of these seasonal deviled eggs. Festive and fresh, these bite-sized snacks are decked out with creative touches like pumpkin puree, smoked paprika, bacon and Dijon mustard.

Eggs are all they are cracked up to be and more! One egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein, which keeps you feeling full longer and boosts mental and physical energy throughout the day. So, whether you’re donning a Santa suit or wrapping gifts like a busy elf, fuel your day with egg-cellent foods!


2. Cheesy Bourbon Hot Brown Skillet Dip

This dip is filled with holiday spirit in the form of a cheesy, beefy, flavorful appetizer. A couple dashes of liquid spirit give a nod to the roots of this Southern-inspired dish. Serve this hearty dip with crackers, toasted bread, carrots or celery. If the kiddos are watching, don’t forget to save a few carrots for Santa’s reindeer! 

Speaking of kids: Research shows infants and toddlers need high quantities of iron and zinc, which cannot be found in breastmilk or formula alone. Nutrient-rich pureed beef can be a great complement to milk to aid in proper growth and development.




3. Bacon Wrapped Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Thai Chili Glaze

With so many wonderful things wrapped up in one appetizer, this dish is a gift in itself. Crispy, sweet and savory, it’s sure to have you on everyone’s nice list! It’s easy to make a double or triple batch to ensure every guest has plenty to enjoy.

Aquaculture is the term for raising aquatic animals like shrimp. With a growing number of Iowans enjoying the traditionally seaside-raised delicacies, the industry is making quite the splash in our state!




4. Individual Beef Wellingtons

Experience all the flavors of a decadent holiday meal with an amazing presentation and less work. The combination of juicy beef tenderloin, mushrooms, onions and thyme baked in a crispy dough is pure joy. Your family will be dashing to the table for this savory dish!

‘Tis the Season: Colder weather ushers in the holidays and also cold and flu season. One 3-ounce serving of beef offers 10 essential nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins, which contribute to a strong immune system.



5. Crispy Edamame

With its subtle flavor and great nutritional profile, edamame has become a popular food at many restaurants. Treat guests to a holiday surprise by putting crispy edamame on your menu at home. This easy-to-make appetizer will top the holiday food wish list for years to come!

No beans about it! Iowa ranks No. 2 nationally in total soybean production. In 2020, Iowa soybean farmers produced nearly 550 million bushels of soybeans or roughly 13% of the nation’s total!


6. Turkey Bruschetta

Before gift-giving gobbles up the spotlight, unwrap a festive new recipe. Protein-packed turkey sparkles alongside basil, peppers and tomatoes, turning this twist on traditional bruschetta into a dish as colorful as the Christmas tree!

In many European countries, turkey has long been a customary Christmas dish, but in the U.S., turkey is especially associated with Thanksgiving. However, turkey’s popularity all year long continues to grow. Since 1970, turkey consumption has increased nearly 110%!

7. Sun-dried Tomato Tofu Dip

Pair holiday sweets and treats with a plateful of fresh vegetables and dip for a jolly good balance! Tofu’s flavor profile and ability to absorb flavors perfectly adds texture as a complementary addition to a veggie tray. Sundried tomatoes, minced onions, ranch dressing and cream cheese dress up the flavors for a gift-worthy dip.

Making a top grade: Sun-dried tomatoes are high in vitamin A and C and are a good source of potassium and fiber. Do you know what else is high in vitamin A? Dairy products! Vitamin A plays an essential role in maintaining vision and immune function. This must be why Santa likes to have a glass of milk (and cookies!) at each stop on Christmas Eve!



8. Croque Madam

Check your list twice, and make sure this sandwich recipe is on your holiday meal list! While visions of sugar plums dance in children’s heads on Christmas Eve, dreams of serving this French-inspired sandwich on Christmas will have you racing to the kitchen in the morning. The slightly nutty flavor of Gruyere cheese paired with ham slices and topped with a fried egg is pure perfection. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

Ham is often the centerpiece of many holiday tables. Iowa’s pork industry is also the centerpiece of the U.S., as the state ranks No. 1 in the nation in pork production.


9. Egg Shakshuka

The perfect way to wake up a houseful of family members on Christmas morning is to dish up a hearty and healthy breakfast. This recipe for Shakshuka (Arabic for “a mixture”) delivers a magical blend of warm and spicy notes in a beautiful red sauce with gorgeous green herbs and poached eggs. All will be calm with this bright dish as guests settle in for a day full of giving and gratitude.

Egg-stra eggs? If you stocked up on eggs for holiday baking and meals, you’re in luck! The “Sell By” or “Expiration Date” labels on cartons ensure eggs aren’t kept on grocery store shelves past a specific date. Eggs can be safely eaten 2-3 weeks beyond the expiration date.

10. Eggnog Waffle Cookies

Part cookies, part waffles and part eggnog combine for a recipe of holiday goodness. These cookies are a delightful addition to a dessert buffet or just right for a frosted food gift your friends and family are bound to love.

Can’t get enough eggnog? You can enjoy this “liquid gold” year-round! Purchased eggnog – like that from Iowa’s own AE Dairy – can be stored in its original carton for up to one year in the freezer! Break it out as a decadent creamer in your morning coffee or substitute it for other liquids in recipes such as pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie (just reduce the recipe’s added sugar by 1/3 cup).


11. Baked French Toast with Maple Yogurt and Fruit

This thick and delicious cinnamon French toast, drizzled with warm maple syrup and yogurt mix, makes for a satisfying breakfast. It’s so wonderful you could even serve it for dessert! Treat yourself; it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Did you know: Dairy cows need a hearty breakfast each morning, too! Lactating cows can eat up to 100 pounds each day and enjoy a protein-rich diet of alfalfa hay, soybean hulls, wet corn gluten and various other vitamins and minerals!


12. Red Velvet Roll Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Filling

Roll out the red velvet this holiday season with a gorgeous rendition of a Yule log. Yule log, or bûche de Noël, is a traditional Christmas cake. It’s often served as a dessert near Christmas, especially in France, Belgium, Switzerland and several former French colonies (or your house!).

The Yule log tradition reportedly began in Norway, where a giant log was hoisted onto the hearth to celebrate the sun’s return each year. To mark the shortest day of the year, and the subsequent return of longer days, the Yule log was burned to welcome back the sun. Create a fun holiday tradition by having each family member write down wishes for the upcoming year and read the wishes next December!