Recipe Roundup: Festivities, December 2017

December sort of escaped me, and I confess I didn't make as many new dishes as I was hoping to. Things like gift shopping, wanting to loaf around, traveling to see family, and rock climbing kept me from routines and healthy meals.

But as I've been told, it's best to regret nothing. A good way to start out the New Year, eh?

Christmas always seems to take it's time coming, and then disappears in a flash, leaving me staring rather nervously at the New Year's date, wondering how another year is slipping from my hands. The amazing thing is, Christmas is not limited to a day or even a few weeks of anticipation. It is held in God's eternal love for us, and our constant anticipation of His coming back to earth.

What parts of Christmas are your favorite? Which ones can you keep holding on to throughout the new year? Maybe keeping in touch with family more or making cookies and giving them to neighbors or sending little gifts just because. These things don't have to have Christmas trees stamped on them to be important.

Without further ado, here is the scant handful recipes I tried last month that managed to turn out right. I hope you enjoy them! (Sorry for the lack of photos...)

Crustless Taco Pie - this low-carb dinner option is easy, filling, and can be personalized by serving it with any number of your favorite toppings.

  • To make this meal a bit more budget-friendly, I used half the amount of ground beef, subbing in a similar amount of beans.
  • Make your own taco seasoning (recipe here). I make a double or triple batch and keep the extra in my cupboard.
  • Go wild with the toppings! We chose lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, more salsa, and a side of rice (though that does take away the low-carb-ness of the recipe...haha).

Chicken in White Wine Cream Sauce - remember that Beef Bourguignon I made awhile ago? This is another recipe along those same lines. It is rich, decadent, simple, and French. And it involves wine (white instead of red this time) and a long time in the oven. What's not to love?

  • I'd say the most important part of this recipe is the browning. Since everything cooks to perfect tenderness in the sauce, you want to make sure you get a good crispy brown crust on everything before it goes into the oven. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE BROWNING. I got impatient and nervous; this took away that deep golden color and flavorful fried skin. Crisp up that bacon real good. Fry those chicken sides nice and hot.
  • Don't rush the recipe. I did, because there was a hungry toddler whining (my own stomach may have been growling a bit). But as I am learning from the French, good food takes time and everyone needs to learn to wait patiently to achieve this dinner perfection.

Crockpot Pork Carnitas - this is one heck of a crowd-pleaser, fool-proof recipe! Amazingly easy and incredibly yummy. I'll be making it again for sure.

  • Freeze ahead of time. I froze the pork and a halved orange so that I could whip this up anytime I needed an easy dinner.
  • Serve with anything you like - tortillas and salsa, with rice, over noodles, piled high on veggies...this is a really versatile main dish.
  • Seriously. You can't screw this one up. Enjoy!

Light and Rich Mini Fruit Pizzas (GF) - I turned this recipe into some adorable little mini "pizzas" for a Christmas party we went to. They were a perfect treat to follow those rich, heavy holiday feasts; light and fruity, gluten-free and healthy, with a cream cheese frosting that makes them still feel decadent.

  • Definitely go with the mini version! They looked so much more sophisticated and fun than one large pizza shape. A fruit pizza tends to have a rather blah look, even if decorated well. You could use cookie cutters to cut out interesting shapes.
  • The recipe uses the word "blend" instead of "mix" in the instructions for the cookie dough/crust, and I thought that was a bit odd. I mixed the dough by hand and it did not hold together at all. I had a rough time of it cutting out little circles. Use a blender/food processor to get a firmer dough.
  • If your dough still doesn't hold together, maybe use a second egg white. The cookie part had great flavor but stayed rather crumbly.
  • Top with any kind of fruit you would like! I used strawberries, bananas, and blueberries; I meant to add kiwis to keep up a Christmas color scheme, but they weren't ripe enough.
  • After frosting and decorating your pizza/cookies, stick them in the refrigerator for 30+ minutes. This insures that the whole thing will hold it's shape (and that fruit juices won't bleed all over the frosting).

Overnight Whole Wheat Pancakes - last month I tried overnight soaked grains for the first time in the form of these muffins, and they turned out wonderfully! I was surprised that simply soaking wheat flour can turn normally dense baked goods into fluffy masterpieces. This pancake recipe went off without a hitch. Perfect for Sunday morning breakfast with the family.

  • Don't worry about leaving diary products out overnight! I was wary of doing it, but nothing bad happened to me, even after eating several of these. So now I'm a believer.
  • The one oversight in this recipe is the lack of sweetener. I added a little cinnamon sugar to mine, but honey or maple syrup would work, too.
  • Add vanilla.
  • To create a light golden color, fry the pancakes on a little lower heat than normal; they take a few extra minutes to cook through.
And, last but not least: this Korean Roast Chicken.

My husband snagged some secondhand cook books for me (for free!). After spending hours and hours going through Pinterest recipes, flipping through real, tangible cook books has been an absolute joy. You should try it some time.

This particular recipe turned out really yummy, though a little on the salty side because of the soy sauce. It even held it's flavor and texture well as a leftover dish.

Hit me up with some of your favorite recipes from the holidays!


  1. I agree about Christmas. There were a few things I had planned that we didn't get to either. It just flies by so quickly! I love the Korean Roast Chicken Recipe you posted - it looks absolutely delicious!

    1. I think that's why it's so great to allow ourselves the freedom of doing "special" things throughout the year - not just at Christmas! <3

  2. I love the magic of the season, esp. now that we have kids. :) I'm still impressed with all the new recipes you tried!

  3. They all sound so good! The crustless taco pie is definitely something I need to try, and the whole wheat pancakes sound like a yummy and filling breakfast my whole family would love!

    1. Yes, both healthy, simple recipes! I love trying complicated-sounding dishes, but keeping things simple goes a long way towards stress relief haha

  4. My husband loves carnita tacos so I bet that recipe would be a hit in our house!