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The Most Delicious Time of the Year

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By: Andrea Lynn
The Most Delicious Time of the Year

To keep the peace around the holiday dinner table, some traditions can't be changed. Do away with the traditional turkey or roast and you might invite a revolt among family members, but there's a good chance even your wacky brood is more openminded about other parts of the meal. Retain your sanity by keeping the holiday goose or lamb and shaking up the meal by highlighting new, exciting flavors via cocktails, side dishes or desserts.

Scandinavian Glogg

Vodka is infused with a variety of winter flavors, like cinnamon sticks, cloves, crystallized ginger and orange peel for at least 24 hours in this Scandinavian Glogg recipe. Mix the spiced vodka with red wine and sugar, letting it simmer on the stove top to greet guests with a fabulous smell as they arrive for a holiday feast. Let them ladle the drink into mugs and garnish with raisins and almond slivers.

Spiked Apple Cider

Just as with the glogg recipe, let the apple cider simmer on the stove-top along with the aromatic cinnamon sticks and cloves. Just add 1½ cups of bourbon or rum into this traditional apple cider for a welcoming drink when guests enter the door, or omit the alcohol in favor of a family-friendly drink.

Curried Cranberries

A combo of Spice Islands® curry powder and pumpkin pie spice bring a dash of the exotic to this curried cranberries recipe enhanced with orange marmalade and port wine. This baked variation on cranberry sauce is served warm, adding another interesting element.

Tomato Apple Chutney

This make-ahead chutney takes advantage of fall apples and tomatoes with a little cinnamon and pickling spice thrown into the mix. Able to be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, this can be made well in advance of the big day and served as a garnish to turkey, goose or a roast.

Southwestern Dressing

Go for a Southwestern take on the holiday staple of stuffing with this Southwestern dressing recipe spiked with chorizo, cornbread, corn and mild green chiles. A dash of thyme and sage keeps those traditional dressing flavors in play while the corn and chile combo add a touch of new flavors.

Citrus and Fennel Salad

Not only does this salad of orange segments, cabbage and fennel seeds take just 10 minutes to whip up, but its light and refreshing flavors balance out the heavier parts of a feast.

Roasted Stuffed Onions

Instead of a traditional stuffing, opt for roasted stuffed onions. Sweet red onions are hollowed and filled with a stuffing made from figs, pine nuts, fennel and pork sausage. Another option is to double the stuffing recipe and cook half in a casserole dish as an option for traditionalists, while the rest is placed in the onions.

Baked Alaska with a Cinnamon Twist

For smaller celebrations, consider individual desserts for each guest, such as this baked Alaska with a cinnamon twist. The cardamom-kissed cookie crust can be made in advance, and the ice cream can be scooped onto each portion ready and waiting in the freezer. After the holiday dinner, make the meringue and top over the ice cream. Bake just a few minutes until meringue is golden and serve as an unforgettable and impressive treat.

Caramel Budino with Sea Salt Caramel Sauce

This silky smooth caramel budino is as dreamy as it gets when it comes to wrapping up the meal. Prepare a day or two before the big feast, adding the budino into small mason jars if you don't have enough dessert bowls, and enjoy the calm of having another make-ahead dessert at the ready.

Andrea Lynn is a recipe developer and cookbook author, most recently of the culinary guidebook/cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport.

Spice Islands® spices deliver high quality, authentic flavors from all over the world so you can put the most delicious meals on your table.

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