Holiday recipes

A few days following the conclusion of fall semester, Provo, once a winter wonderland bustling with students anxious to finish finals and reunite with family and friends, will suddenly transform into an icy ghost town, silent and white.

To the small population of students left behind, unable to travel home for the holidays, do not despair.

It may seem impossible to imitate the nostalgic sounds and smells that only home can bring this time of year, however, there is no void (even the melancholy aches of holiday loneliness) that food cannot fill.

With a few comforting recipes and innovative ideas for new traditions, your tiny apartment or dorm miles away from home will exude the holiday spirit you remember without days of preparation or breaking your budget.

This is the ideal time to begin practicing cooking simplified versions of classic holiday recipes and beginning new holiday traditions.

Find a few fellow solitary companions, bust out the Mannheim Steamroller or Amy Grant albums (or whatever), and have a fabulous meal.

Orange-glazed Chicken and Stuffing
Chicken is smaller, so it cooks faster, and it doesn’t leave you with an obscene amount of leftovers. Plus, it’s less expensive than turkey.

1 roasting chicken, about 4 pounds
1/4 cup melted butter
Zest of one orange (reserve 1/2 for stuffing)
1 cup orange marmalade

Prepare stuffing and spoon into cavity of chicken. Combine melted butter, zest and marmalade and rub over the chicken. Place chicken breast-side up on a roasting pan and cook uncovered for 60- to 90- minutes in a 350 degree oven.
After chicken begins to brown, baste with pan drippings and loosely cover with foil. Chicken is done when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat reads 180 degrees. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.     

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Remaining orange zest
2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper

Sauté onion, apple and celery in butter over low heat until tender. Add cranberries and orange zest and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and combine the remaining ingredients.  

Mashed Golden Potatoes and Gravy
Yukon Gold potatoes are smaller, so they cook fast and their waxy skin does not need to be peeled.
1 medium bag Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sour cream
Milk, added to desired consistency 

Boil clean potatoes in water until tender when poked with a fork. Completely drain water from pot. Mash potatoes, leaving some texture. Mix in butter, sour cream and milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Chicken broth

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook until slightly brown. Whisk in chicken broth and raise heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and add more chicken broth to adjust consistency. 

Green Beans with Bacon Crumbles and Toasted Pecans
1 package frozen green beans
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Steam green beans over boiling water for about 5 minutes until bright green and tender. In a small frying pan, melt butter until bubbly. Add chopped pecans and stir until lightly toasted. Pour butter and pecans over green beans in a serving bowl. Crumble bacon on top.

Mini Chocolate Chip Pecan Pies
1 package mini pie crusts
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Place pie crusts on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips in the bottom of each crust. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla; stir until blended. Pour filling into pie crusts over chocolate chips. Evenly sprinkle chopped pecans on top of each pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until center of pies are set.

A Few Ideas for Holiday Traditions:
* Make homemade ice cream with friends or family. You can add pumpkin pie filling and cinnamon or cranberry sauce for holiday variations.
* Make chicken noodle soup with the leftover chicken and bones.
* Sing carols and deliver treats to neighbors.
* Share favorite holiday memories around the dinner table.
* Re-enact traditional holiday stories around the fireplace (or furnace).
* Drive around neighborhoods that are decorated in lights while sipping hot chocolate with candy canes.

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