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Care.com Interview Series: 16 Easy Holiday Recipes I Would Actually Eat!

Melissa Roja Lawlor
June 5, 2017

Top food bloggers (and moms!) share their favorite kid-friendly side dishes for the holidays.



The holidays are a wonderful time for family gatherings (with and without kids), fun traditions, and great food. We bend over backwards to make sure our kids will eat dinner and enjoy it, but we don't always have to make chicken fingers and fries, and that definitely won't work for a holiday dinner! We turned to the experts for advice on how to make a holiday meal for the adults that kids will love, too. In return? These food bloggers you know and love have shared some amazingly fresh, tasty, and fun recipes for holiday side dishes. The best part: your vegan aunt, your gluten-free sister-in-law, and your pickiest kiddos will all love them. Check out our menu of six of our favorite recipes (there are links to 16 in all!), and let the holiday feeding frenzy begin!

(Scroll down to get the recipe ingredients and instructions)

  1. Rosemary Black Pepper Dinner Rolls
    Whether they're served plain or stuffed with turkey or ham, Courtney Champion of Cook like a Champion knows this is a definite crowd-pleaser!

    See the recipe

  2. Maple Ginger Pear Sauce
    Make this creative alternative to applesauce -- Mom's Kitchen Handbook packs a tasty punch with this spin on a kid favorite that adults love too!

    See the recipe

  3. Mini Turkey Turnovers
    There's nothing better than a turkey dinner packed into a flaky pastry pocket with The Year in Food's reinvention of the traditional centerpiece.

    See the recipe 

  4. Orange Cranberry Sauce
    Try this fresh new twist on a traditional holiday favorite from Saving Dinner.

    See the recipe 

  5. Cauliflower and Potato Mash
    Make this healthy spin on a time-honored family favorite from Amy the Family Chef!

    See the recipe

  6. Gluten-Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
    For gluten-free eaters, Amy the Family Chef believes this is a surefire delicious hit!

    See the recipe


Rosemary and Black Pepper Dinner Rolls
Courtney Champion, Cook Like a Champion

Makes 14 rolls (1 9-inch pan)


1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoon oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl and pan
1 large egg
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Add the water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
  2. Add the oil, egg, sugar, pepper and rosemary to the bowl. Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, just until the dough comes together. If the dough doesn't clear the sides of the bowl, continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and mix on low speed for an additional minute. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch baking pan. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Equally divide each half into 7 pieces about the size of a golf ball (2 ounces each if you're weighing). Gently roll into rounds and place in the pan, leaving about half an inch of space between them. If freezing, wrap pan tightly in foil and place in freezer. Thaw and rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours the day of baking and continue. Cover rolls and allow to rise for at least 20 minutes, or until they've expanded to fill the pan.
  6. Preheat oven to 350� Brush with half of the melted butter and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Check out three holiday recipes from Cook Like a Champion 

Maple Ginger Pear Sauce
Katie Morford, Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Makes about 4 1/2 cups


8 large ripe pears, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup water


  1. Put the pears, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and water into a medium pot, stir well, and set over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, drop the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer.
  2. Cook the pears, stirring occasionally, until they are tender enough to mash with a fork, about 20 minutes. Be sure that a little liquid remains in the bottom of the pot at all times. If not, add a tablespoon or 2 of water as needed. If quite a bit of juice remains when the pears are nearly cooked, remove the lid and turn up the heat so excess liquid evaporates.
  3. Transfer the pears to a blender or food processor and puree until silky smooth. Pour into a bowl or storage container and refrigerate. The sauce will firm up as it cools.

Check out three holiday recipes from Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Kimberley Hasselbrink, The Year in Food

Makes about 12 calzones


2/3 cup roast turkey meat, diced small (breast meat is ideal for its mild flavor, but not necessary)
1 12-oz ball of pizza dough (found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and the like)
1 small onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/3 cup mild Brie, cut into small cubes if the cheese is firm enough
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt + pepper
olive oil

For the mini turkey turnover recipe, click here.

Check out three more holiday recipes from The Year in Food

Orange Cranberry Sauce
Leanne Ely, Saving Dinner

Serves 12 (with leftovers)


4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (1 pound bag)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice


  1. Rinse the cranberries (even if they are frozen) in a strainer with cool water, and remove any stems and bad or blemished berries.
  2. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the water, juice and sugar to boiling stirring occasionally. Continue boiling 5 minutes longer to assure sugar is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the cranberries. Heat back to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put a lid on the saucepan and continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, still stirring occasionally, until you hear the cranberries begin to pop. Remove the saucepan from the heat, give it a good stir and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl or container and allow to completely cool before refrigerating.

Check out three holiday recipes from Saving Dinner 

Cauliflower and Potato Mash
Amy Fothergill, Amy the Family Chef

Serves 4-6


1 pound (about 3-4) Russett potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in quarters (you can optionally leave the skin on if you are short on time; just make sure to wash well)
About a head of cauliflower (or 1 small head), chopped
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4-1/2 cup milk (whole works best but you can use any type)


  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes and cauliflower with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and cover. Bring to boil and lower to a simmer.
  2. Cook until both the cauliflower and potato are fork-tender and drain, leaving a little liquid in the pot.
  3. To the drained potatoes and cauliflower, add butter, pepper and 1/4 cup of the milk and mash well. To make extra fluffy, whip with the masher or blend with a hand mixer. Add more milk as needed.
  4. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or butter if needed. If mixture is too thick, add more milk.

Tip: Cutting the cauliflower smaller than the potatoes means that they will cook in about the same time. Otherwise, the potatoes will become mushy before the cauliflower is done.

Variation: Dairy-free/Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Substitute 3-4 tablespoons butter substitute or olive oil for the butter. Use plain unsweetened milk substitute like soy or coconut milk for the regular milk.

Check out four holiday recipes from Amy the Family Chef 

Amy Fothergill, Amy the Family Chef

Makes 18" x 8" pan


4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup oil, melted coconut oil, or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar (or brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 325캟. Grease an 8" x 8" square baking pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate with the oil or butter either in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave. If you use the microwave, make sure to stir every 30 seconds until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, agave nectar, eggs, vanilla, and salt, whisking until they are mixed together. Finally, pour in the chocolate mixture and stir, carefully, with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has become smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out slightly wet. Be careful not to overcook.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate bar
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and stir with a whisk or fork until well mixed. Use immediately. Spread over brownies.

Page photo credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink.

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