Unwrap 12 New Recipes this Holiday Season

By Ann Foster Thelen

In the St. Nick of time for holidays, these 12 recipes celebrate Iowa’s wholesome proteins and are sure to dazzle and delight family and friends.

Unwrap a sleighful of new holiday recipes this season. It’s easy to be merry with a list of new recipes guaranteed to deliver delicious foods to please everyone’s palates. When you serve these recipes, everyone is sure to feel like they are on Santa’s “Nice List!”

We’ve rounded up a dozen recipes featuring familiar favorites with new twists and holiday flair. During the season of gratitude and celebration, we’re incredibly thankful for Iowa’s hardworking farmers, who take great pride in raising the high-quality ingredients featured in the recipes. With each of these dishes wrapped in wonderful nutritional benefits, you are sure to dazzle and delight family and friends!

To make holiday memories more special, invite the kids to grab measuring spoons and cups to help create these soon-to-be family favorites. Savor each dish by sharing the good tidings of Iowa agriculture.

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Photo credit: Midwest Dairy

1. Homemade Holiday Eggnog

Add cheer to your holiday with our rich and classic homemade eggnog. This recipe blends egg yolks, milk and cream, and other key ingredients and calls for the mixture to be cooked. The result is a smooth, creamy texture primed for adding a jolly good spirit. Indulge in a tradition from medieval Europe, when consuming milk and eggs were signs of wealth and health. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Milk is one of the freshest items in the grocery store. Fresh and wholesome milk makes its way from the farm to your local dairy cases in an average of 48 hours. That’s about as fast as Santa’s sleigh travels the world on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Milk goes through several steps to ensure freshness and purity during that brief time. The high-quality milk begins with diligent farmers providing their dairy cows with exceptional care through nutritious food, fresh and clean water, comfortable bedding, sanitary living conditions and climate-controlled temperatures.


 Photo credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council

2. Beef Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic-Feta Spread

Ring in the holidays with an appetizer that is like a beautifully wrapped gift! Beef flat iron steak is served on crusty bread with a garlic-feta spread, tomatoes and olives and topped with fresh basil. This cut of steak is exceptionally tender, well-marbled and flavorful. With the bright colors of red and green from fresh ingredients, it’s a picture-perfect Christmas appetizer. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: This year’s holidays are being ushered in with cold temperatures and a spike in 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. Beefing up your immune system is a gift to give yourself all year long!


Photo credit: Iowa Turkey Federation

3. Cranberry Turkey Pinwheels

If the holiday season – starting with Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s – had a signature fruit, the beautiful and tart cranberry would undoubtedly be a contender. This recipe is as easy as it is festive. Cranberry sauce adds a pinch of tart sweetness to each bite when paired with cream cheese, mayonnaise and protein-packed turkey. Add green “décor” to plates by swapping out spinach tortillas instead of white flour ones for a color-perfect twist. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: In many European countries, turkey has long been a customary Christmas dish. According to historians, turkeys became ‘fashionable’ to eat for Christmas in the U.K. in the 1840s and 1850s. While turkey is especially associated with Thanksgiving in the U.S., turkey is a favorite protein throughout the year. Since 1970, turkey consumption has increased by nearly 110%!


Photo credit: Iowa Pork Producers Association

4. Bacon Cheese Log

Cheese logs are an easy Christmas appetizer that can be made before gatherings and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. It will leave you more time for decking the halls, baking and caroling around the neighborhood. Bacon and pecans add crunch, while fruit and cheeses make it the ideal sweet, savory, sensational appetizer. Guests will enjoy grazing their way to this plate while watching the kids open gifts and play with their new toys. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Bacon is just one of many popular pork items produced in Iowa, the No. 1 pork-producing state in the U.S. and the top state for pork exports. Beyond the significant economic impact the pork industry makes on Iowa, the state’s pork producers also focus on the environment. Compared to 1960, the use of natural resources per pound of pork produced has been reduced significantly. Nearly 76% less land is used, 25% less water and 7% less energy.


Photo credit: The Soyfoods Council

5. Western Tofu Black Bean Cheese Dip

It’s easy to feel jolly when this protein-packed, incredibly cheesy dip is on the menu. Tofu adds creamy goodness and a punch of plant-based protein. Serve this hearty dip with crackers, toasted bread, carrots or celery. If the kiddos are nearby, remember to save a few carrots for Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph! Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Black soybeans contain a variety of phytochemicals. These phytochemicals in black soybeans are potentially effective in human health, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. The antioxidants, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates in black beans make them nutritionally powerful.


Photo credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council

6. Tiny Taco Beef Tarts

An easy-to-prepare appetizer, Tiny Taco Beef Tarts will win over any crowd. They are proof that great things come in small packages! Make a variety of toppings available, including lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and olives, so that guests can decorate each bite of goodness with their favorite flavors. It’s an appetizer that kids and adults will add to their “Christmas List” year after year. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Speaking of kiddos and beef, research shows infants and toddlers need high quantities of iron and zinc, which cannot be found in breast milk or formula alone. Nutrient-rich pureed beef can greatly complement milk to aid in proper growth and development. When making these tarts, consider preparing some beef on the side for the littlest elves to enjoy.


Photo credit: Iowa Turkey Federation

7. Turkey Chili Party Bites

Take a bite out of your prep time with these easy-to-make Turkey Chili Party Bites. These are the perfect addition as a quick snack before watching a full menu of college football bowl games. Crunchy, savory, spicy goodness all in one perfect package! 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.


Photo credit: The Soyfoods Council

8. Tofu Dip with Roasted Red Pepper, Basil and Pine Nuts

This simple, four-ingredient dip will be the hit of the party! The dip pairs well with vegetables, crackers, fresh or toasted bread, or even as a spread for sandwiches. Store-bought roasted red peppers work great in this recipe. Or, you can roast the red peppers in the oven or on the stove. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: Tofu is a soft food, similar to the texture of cheese, which comes from the coagulated protein in soymilk. It’s highly versatile and has multiple uses in cooking. Tofu is a complete protein – meaning that it has a well-balanced amino acid profile – in addition to fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese.


Photo credit: Midwest Dairy

9. Baked Potato Cupcakes

When you're serving the main feast – whether it’s beef, pork or turkey – a side dish of potatoes is a must. Step outside the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy fare with potato cupcakes. They are flavor-packed and just the right size for guests to have the perfect serving. And with “cake” in the name, even the youngest holiday guests or family members might start dancing around the Christmas tree, waiting for these to be served. Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: The U.S. dairy industry is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Dairy farmers use “cow power” and other sustainable practices, like optimizing water use and maximizing recycling, to ensure dairy is doing its part in environmental sustainability. Watch this video to learn more.


Photo credit: Iowa Pork Producers Association

10. Cranberry Stuffed Pork Loin

Don’t stop at “stuffing the stockings” this holiday season! Stuff a tender, juicy pork loin roast with all the flavors of the season – apples, cranberries and breadcrumbs along with rosemary, thyme and sage. Your home and kitchen will delight the senses, and your family might want to delay gift-giving and opening presents until after Christmas dinner. Cook the pork loin roast to an internal cooking temperature of 145-160 degrees F, followed by a 3-minute rest. 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 approximately 22% of Iowa’s total corn and 23% of Iowa’s total soybean acres!


Photo credit: Iowa Egg Council

11. Prosciutto and Parmesan Egg Cups

Lean into the bustle of the holiday season with a hearty and healthy breakfast. Prosciutto and Parmesan egg cups take a holiday brunch to the next level. Prosciutto becomes slightly crispy while baking and serves as the ideal vessel for an egg, cheese and tomatoes. Parmesan cheese adds a subtle nutty goodness and chives give the egg cups a finishing touch. 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.


Photo credit: Iowa Egg Council

12. Overnight French Toast

The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads ... Or, in this case, dreams of French toast! Knowing that their favorite breakfast dish awaits – French toast (made easier for mom in this one-dish-wonder), dusted with powered “snow,” adorned with berry ornaments and served with warm maple syrup – is a gift that might have Santa requesting a serving on Christmas morning! Find the recipe here.

Good Tidings: 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.