When they’re not out exploring and finding the coolest places for families in the city and suburbs to share with you, Chicago Parent bloggers are whipping up delicious drinks and dishes at home.
These family favorites are staples at their holiday tables.
German glühwein (mulled wine) from Taylor Wood
This recipe for German glühwein is one my husband uses and it’s pretty much what gets us through the holiday season/winter. It’s a great way to get some mileage out of your boot mugs from Christkindlmarket, too!
2 bottles dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about three oranges, or use store-bought, just make sure it’s not from concentrate. Tropicana works well)
2 more oranges (one to float on top, and one for garnish wedges)
¾ cup white sugar
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
Open the wine. Depending on how your holiday season is going, resist urge to drink wine straight from the bottle. (But I won’t judge you either way.) Mix in the orange juice, sugar, and ground spices. Float the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves on top. Slice one of the oranges in rings, and float the rings on top if using.Heat over low heat until warm/hot and all sugar is dissolved, being sure not to boil or simmer.
This recipe also works very well in a slow cooker. We have had good luck setting it on high without it boiling.
Simple 3-Ingredient Fudge from Shannan Younger
1 package (12 oz.) of Nestle chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Combine chocolate chips with can of sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on high for three minutes. This is a good time to line your pan with foil. Stir in vanilla extract until mixture is shiny. Pour into an 8×8 pan.
Once you remove it from the foil, I find it is easiest to cut with a knife run under some warm water. I cut the pieces pretty small. A little fudge goes a long way.
The Merriest Margaritas from Katie Niekerk
OK, so a margarita might seem more fitting during warmer months, but this drink is everything the holidays should be: festive, zingy and SUPER jolly-ifying. Which is why the adults in my life love it!
Youll be merrier than most after a couple of theseand youll never go back to margarita mix. The key is lime juice squeezed by hand (so put down that lime-shaped plastic bottle!). The drinks light green hue haloed by rosy chili salt makes a festive presentation.
Because these are best made to order, this recipe is for one drink.
3 oz.100 percent agave tequila
2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon high-quality orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
Chili salt (recipe follows)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. salt
½ to ¾ teaspoon chili powder
Simple Syrup Directions
Bring water to a low simmer. Gradually mix in sugar while stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and orange liqueur. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled (about 30 seconds).
Coquito from Tatiana Hauk
Puerto Ricans are a festive bunch, and for Christmas, they like to go particularly hard. If your family is anything like mine, Christmas Eve consists of every relative you know packing themselves into your aunt’s living room and loudly sharing round after round of Coquito until the kids open their gifts when the clock strikes midnight. Because it’s technically Christmas at midnight, so why wait? No need to keep up the “Santa is totally real” pretense with my little cousins.
Coquito is basically an awesomely Latin version of the eggnog traditionally served during the Christmas season.
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
2 egg yolks
2 cups fresh coconut milk or 1 can (15 oz.) coconut milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup Puerto Rican white rum
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix for three minutes at high speed until frothy. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator. Serve chilled, with a pinch of cinnamon on top. It takes 10 minutes.You’ll be glad you did. Merry Christmas!
Kate’s Lahmajoon from Keely Flynn
It’s not a family gathering unless someone brings the Armenian meat pies. Even though Ill probably get in trouble for saying this, my sister Kates recipe is totally the best.
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 lbs ground beef
1 bunch flat parsley, chopped
? c dried mint, crumbled
1 ½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp pepper
¼ tsp allspice
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ c pignoli nuts
3 bags of white or whole wheat refrigerated pizza dough
Combine raw ground beef, veggies, and spices, and set aside. Take the dough, cut off pieces about the size of an egg and place on a floured surface. Cover the dough with Saran Wrap to let it rise until youre ready for the next step.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease cookie sheets (just before the first batch and then no need to grease again). Take each dough ball, flour it up and flatten it out so they its about 4 in. in diameter. Line up all of the flattened doughs and re-cover with Saran until ready to cook. One at a time, take the meat mixture and spread it in a thin layer over the dough, nearly out to the edge as the meat will shrink back when cooking. (If any extra meat mixture remains, it freezes well!) Bake for 15 minutes or until edges brown. Let cool on a rack. Serve with lemon wedges!
Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie from Michelle Elfvin
1 deep-dish pastry crust (9 in.)
½ c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 c thin sliced Granny Smith apples
½ c chopped pecans
¼ c caramel topping
½ c quick cooking oats
½ c butter
1 c packed brown sugar
½ c flour
1/2 tsp salt
Crumb topping: Stir together sugar, flour and oats. Cut in butter until topping is like coarse crumbs and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add apple slices and gently toss together until coated. Transfer apple mixture to pie shell. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture.
Place pie on cookie sheet. Cover edges with aluminum foil. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with chopped pecans and drizzle with caramel on top. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.