Easy, elegant holiday recipes

Make your Christmas dinner an unforgettable evening with these dishes from local chefs and restaurants.

Eat more chicken

If you’re into chicken thighs, consider this French favorite from the good folks at Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte. Coq au vin might sound fancy but it is really just a simple, great-tasting chicken dish that anyone can master.

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte – Chicken Coq au vin


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

7 ounces pancetta, small dice

2 large carrots

1/2 Stock Celery, large batons

1 medium onion, diced

6 chicken thighs

1/4 ounce thyme sprigs

10 large mushrooms, halved

2 cups red wine

4 garlic cloves, sliced

4 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch (mix with water)

3 tablespoons water

Directions [1] Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with a Dutch oven over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil. Cook pancetta until golden brown, 8-12 minutes. [2] Once the pancetta is cooked, pull out of the pot and set aside. [3] Now salt and pepper the chicken thighs and start to sear them, skin side down. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side. Set chicken to the side. [4] Take out 1/3 of the oil in the pot and add vegetables along with herbs. Sauté until vegetables start to brown and tenderize about 6-10 minutes. [5] Add wine and deglaze the pot. Cook for 2 minutes then add chicken stock and chicken. Bring to a boil and cover the pot, place in oven 45-60 minutes. [6] Using tongs, remove chicken from the pot. Place pot back on stove and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. [7] Add cornstarch slurry and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. [8] Add chicken back to pot to warm. Serve.

Pasta la vista

There’s nothing like the smell of lasagna in the oven to make the holidays come alive. Best off all, this recipe from the team at Sprout Momma is easy, delicious, protein-packed, and vegan friendly. Make it a part of your family tradition.

Sprout Momma – Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna


4 cups torn spinach

2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced 

1/2 cup commercial pesto

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded provolone cheese

1 15-ounce carton fat-free ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup  grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

1 25.5-ounce bottle fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

Cooking spray

1 8-ounce package precooked lasagna noodles (12 noodles)

Directions [1] Arrange the spinach in a vegetable steamer; steam, covered, 3 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain, squeeze dry, and coarsely chop. Combine spinach, mushrooms, and pesto in a medium bowl, stirring to combine; set aside. [2] Combine mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and beaten egg in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan, and set aside. Combine the pasta sauce and the tomato sauce in a medium bowl. [3] Spread 1 cup pasta sauce mixture in the bottom of a 6-quart oval electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce mixture; top with 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup spinach mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with spinach mixture. Arrange 3 noodles over spinach mixture; top with remaining 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce mixture. Place remaining 3 noodles over sauce mixture; spread remaining sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover with lid; cook on low 5 hours or until done.

— Recipe by Kim Tavino

Just peachy

For a vegan/gluten-free alternative to gravy, Moss Creek executive chef Lenny Giarratano offers up this tangy peach chutney. Cover all of your favorite holiday foods with it, or brush it on your meats in the last few minutes of cooking.

Moss Creek – Peach Chutney


Group 1

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups diced multi-color peppers

3/4 cup diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Group 2

1 cup apple juice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon curry powder

Pinch of ground clove

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger puree

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Group 3

2 1/2 pounds frozen sliced peaches

1/2 pounds raisins or dried currants

.33 cup rice wine vinegar

3/4 cups sugar

Group 4

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup apple juice

Directions [1] Sauté first group of ingredients together until onions are translucent. [2] Add second group of ingredients and mix well. [3] Add third group and mix. [4] Bring to boil and then simmer on low, 8-10 minutes. [5] Make a slurry of the apple juice and corn starch. [6] Bring mixture briefly back to boil and incorporate the slurry, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. [7] Cook 2-3 minutes while stirring. [8] Set aside and serve warm or chilled.

— Recipe by Lenny Giarratano, executive chef at Moss Creek

Take the cake

Impress the rum lovers at your dinner party with this boozy cake from the team at Hilton Head Distillery. The recipe calls for HHD’s Mountain Peak Espresso Rum, which was voted the top spirit in the 2019 Crafted in the Lowcountry Awards.

Hilton Head Distillery – Mountain Peak Rum Cake

Ingredients (cake)

4 cups of Swans Down cake flour

3 cups of sugar

6 eggs

4 sticks of butter

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup and one tablespoon Mountain Peak Espresso Rum

1 tablespoon vanilla

Ingredients (rum glaze)

8 ounces butter

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup Mountain Peak
Espresso Rum

Directions [1] Blend butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and then add 2 cups of flour. Then add milk and Mountain Peak Espresso Rum, and then two more cups of flour. [2] Pour mixture into a greased bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 25 minutes. [3] Use a long wooden skewer to poke holes in the cake and pour the rum glaze over the holes. When the cake is completely cooled, flip over onto serving dish.

Good gravy!

If you’re looking for a delicious brown mushroom gravy to smother all of your holiday favorites in, look no further, This vegan recipe from Sprout Momma looks and tastes great on nearly everything, plus, it’s the perfect hot lava for your mashed potato volcanoes.

Sprout Momma – Mushroom Gravy


4 cups water

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped shallots

8 ounces assorted mushrooms (white button, shiitake or cremini), trimmed and sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions [1] Bring water to a boil. Transfer dried mushrooms to a medium bowl. Cover with water and let stand 30 minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Drain liquid (and reserve) through a sieve, and slice mushrooms. Set aside. [2] Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and cook until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and reduce liquid by half, about 3 minutes. [3] Meanwhile, slowly whisk cornstarch into 1 cup of mushroom liquid until smooth; set aside. Add remaining 3 cups mushroom liquid and chopped rehydrated mushrooms to gravy. Bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

— Recipe by Kim Tavino



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