Arketi’s Holiday Cookbook

The winter holidays are upon us! That means friends, family, gifts, and of course great food!

So dive on in and check out Arketi’s favorite winter recipes. We’ve got appetizers, sides, main courses and of course desserts.

Happy holidays everyone!

Use our list to jump to a specific recipe.

Winter Chili

Arketian Cody's headshot
by Cody

What makes this winter chili? The fact that you’re eating it in winter! This recipe has some heat to warm you up. Of course, you can always reduce the amount of cayenne and pepper if you prefer a milder chili.

If you want to exclude the bacon for some reason, substitute the lean beef with an 85% to 15% ground round/chuck/sirloin instead.

This recipe also uses beans. I opt for black beans because their texture is less blatant than kidney beans and their flavor is more like beef like and less like beans. Some people find beans in chili to be sacrilegious, but I think they make this recipe better.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef, pick your favorite cut. You want either a 93%/7% or 96%/4% ratio
  • ½ Pound of hickory or Cherrywood bacon
  • 1 onion, red or yellow
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 cups beef stock (less for a thicker chili, more for a smoother chili)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 6 oz sundried-tomato ketchup (combine 1 part sun-dried tomatoes and 1 part ketchup. Blend until smooth. It’s amazing, trust me, ad way better than the tomato paste you use in most chili recipes)
  • 2.5 tablespoons chili powder (make sure it’s chili powder and not just ancho chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (it’s a red pepper based spice and one of my favorite spices to use)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine spice blend (chili powder, paprika, cumin, shichimi, coriander, allspice, ground brown mustard, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper) and set aside. It’s just easier to have them ready.
  2. In a large pot, cook bacon until desired doneness. Remove from the pot and set aside. Drain excess grease, keep just enough to have a thin layer on the bottom of the pot. Brown ground beef on medium-heat in the same pot.
  3. Chop or dice onion and add to the beef. Cook until tender or just starting to turn translucent. Be sure to time this right, you don’t want to overcook the meat.
  4. Mince garlic and add to pot, sweat the garlic until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and added canned tomatoes, sundried-tomato ketchup and spice mix. Mix well and cook until the mixture just starts to bubble. You want to let the flavors mix and get to know each other.
  6. Add beef stock and bacon, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot, grab yourself and a drink and get comfy. You need to let simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours. Stir occasionally (I only stir it once or twice.)
  7. After you’ve let it simmer, add the black beans, grab another drink and let simmer, uncovered this time, for 30 – 45 minutes. Stir once, halfway through.
  8. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Top with a sharp cheddar if you’d like, or eat it as is. Also goes great with sourdough or cornbread. Pair with a good stout or porter for a real treat.

Bavarian Pretzels

Arketian Charles's headshot
by Charles

I’ve learned bread is a weird beast. Cup measurements can throw things off in things like loaves and such but they are genuinely close enough in this recipe.

If you have a scale, I included the weights as well too.

Makes 6-8 pretzels depending on how big you want them.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided (375g)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (10g)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (4g)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (30g) (Not Melted, it won’t combine right when melted.)
  • 1 1/3 cups water (710ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (2g)

For Bath:

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda (40g)
  • 3 cups water (710ml)

Before Baking

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1 1/3 cup water. Let this mixture stand until bubble begin to form, about 15 minutes. This is critical, should look frothy. If you want to have a better rise, make sure to use water at about 90Deg F, and should have set out for an hour or so to let the chlorine in the water to evaporate out. I boil the water and let it cool myself to fix this. Chlorine kills the yeast if you add it in straight from the tap.
  2. Stir in the salt and gradually stir in the remaining flour until dough can be picked up and kneaded on the counter. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Usually takes 1/2 cup or so more than the recipe ask for. It should be smooth to the touch. I like to let the dough rise in a plastic container for about an hour or so. If you do this, punch it down before you divide the dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 – 8 pieces and let them rest for a few minutes. Roll out one piece at a time into a rope about 15 inches long. Loop and twist into that cool pretzel shape. (here’s how) Set on a baking sheet while you roll out the remaining portions.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Bring the remaining 3 cups of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Remove from the heat. Dip pretzels into the water bath for about 45 seconds, flipping over about halfway through. Place the soaked pretzels on a greased baking sheet. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. Put the pretzels in the bath upside down first! So that when you flip them and pull them out on the tray they are the right side up.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Mini Apple Pies

Arketian Dan's headshot
by Dan


  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, and additional apple pie spice (about ¼ teaspoon) for sprinkling on top of crescent rolls
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 8 (1/2-inch) slices
  • 1 (8-ounce) can Pillsbury Original crescent rolls


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and apple pie spice. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter and toss apple slices in butter, set aside.
  4. Arrange crescent roll triangles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Evenly distribute brown sugar mixture onto each triangle.
  5. Sprinkle each triangle evenly with the chopped pecans.
  6. Place an apple slice on the wide end of each triangle. Wrap crescent roll dough around each apple.
  7. Brush each crescent roll with remaining butter. Sprinkle lightly with additional apple pie spice.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Holiday Dressing

Arketian Star's headshot
by Star


  • Giblets
  • 2 lbs sausage
  • 3 medium onions
  • Bag of celery
  • Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
  • Butter
  • Water


  1. Take the giblets and neck from the raw turkey and cover them with water by 2 inches in a small saucepan; bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer it for 1 hour; remove from heat and let cool; once cooled, then chop
  2. Brown 2 lbs of sausage; set aside
  3. Cut up 3 medium onions and almost a complete bag of celery
  4. Sauté onions and celery; set aside
  5. Fill large sauce pan with water and add one stick of butter; bring to a boil
  6. Mix all ingredients – sausage, onions, celery, giblets and water – with stuffing mix
  7. Place in over to warm 30 minutes at 350 degrees prior to serving

White Chocolate Covered Trail Mix

Arketian Rachael's headshot
by Rachael

Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

I grew up making this mix during the holiday season. Put it in a jar for an easy gift, or just keep it for yourself!


  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Wheat Chex
  • 1 cup Pretzel Sticks
  • 2-3 cups of M&Ms
  • 24 oz White Chocolate (Plus an extra 4-8 oz if needed)


  1. Combine the Cheerios, Chex, Pretzels and M&Ms in a large bowl, make sure that all ingredients are evenly distributed. As you are doing this, melt the white chocolate according to the directions on the package.
  2. Once the chocolate is smooth and melted, drizzle it over the cereal mix with a wooden spoon. Double check that all the cereal is covered in the chocolate.
  3. Lay out the mix on a large sheet of parchment paper and let dry for 1 hour. Then, break the mix up into medium pieces and place in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Arketian Jen's headshot
by Jen


  • 1 loaf bread cubed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 packages cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup syrup


Grease 13x9 inch baking pan. Cube bread and cream cheese. Add blueberries. Mix remaining ingredients separately. Add to bread, cream cheese, and blueberries. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning bake at 375 degrees in oven for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls

Arketian Mike Neumeier's headshot
by Mike Neumeier


  • One box of powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • Two sticks softened margin
  • 1/2 block of paraffin
  • 2 tablespoons of margarine
  • 12 ounce package of real chocolate chips


  1. Mix together one box powdered sugar, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, two sticks of softened margin with a spoon until creamy. Rolled into small balls and put on a cookie sheet. Chill until firm, at least one hour.
  2. In the top of a double boiler melt 1/2 block of paraffin, 2 tablespoons of margarine, 12 ounce package of real chocolate chips. Stir until smooth and melted. Keep water from vigorously boiling so you do not burn the melted chocolate.
  3. Dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate use a toothpick or fondue fork. Put them on wax paper and smooth over the top where the toothpick or fork was.
  4. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

Christmas Pudding

Arketian Rory's headshot
by Rory

What used to be known as Plum Pudding is these days usually called Christmas Pudding and uses prunes – dried plums, rather than fresh. Every family has its own recipe. This one is courtesy of Nigella Lawson and is what my family will be having this year. It sounds heavy but it is surprisingly light. And it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really just mixing and then steaming for a few hours. So give it a try! Best made at least two weeks ahead.


  • 1¼ cups currants or raisins
  • 1 cup sultanas or golden raisins
  • 1 cup prunes (dried plums), stones removed, and roughly chopped using scissors
  • ¾ cup port or sherry - Pedro Ximénez is the best
  • ⅔ cup plain flour
  • 2⅓ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 14 tablespoons coarsely grated vegetable shortening (freeze overnight to make it easier to grate)
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 green apple, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup vodka or brandy to serve

You will need a heatproof bowl, like a mixing bowl, that holds approx. 3 pints. Also parchment paper, aluminum foil and some string.


  1. Put the currants, sultanas and chopped prunes into a bowl with the sherry, stir and then cover with plastic wrap and leave to steep overnight or longer (up to a week).
  2. When the fruits have steeped, put a large pan of water on to boil, and butter the heatproof bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients (except the vodka/brandy). There are various traditions about who should stir the pudding, and how, and when, but honestly the taste will be just as good regardless. Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix thoroughly. Scrape the mixture into the prepared bowl and press it down.
  4. Cut a circle of parchment paper, about 2” larger than the width of the bowl, and put it over the bowl as a lid. Follow with a similar circle of aluminum foil. Fold the excess paper and foil down the sides of the bowl and secure them by tying a string around the top edge of the bowl. The aim is to seal the bowl watertightly. I also recommend tying additional string around the bowl from top to bottom, like a package, to ensure the lids stay in place.
  5. Gently lower the bowl into the pan of boiling water. The water should come about halfway up the bowl – it’s essential that water does not get into the bowl. Cover the pan and keep the water at a low boil for 5 hours (yes, you read that correctly). Check it every once in a while and top up the water if necessary.
  6. After 5 hours, turn the heat off and allow the pan and bowl to cool. Remove the bowl and put it away somewhere cool until December 25th.
  7. On Christmas Day, repeat the cooking process, this time for 3 hours. Again, ensure that water does not get in, and make sure the pan does not boil dry.
  8. To serve, remove the bowl carefully from the pan – it will of course be extremely hot – take off the lid, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give it a little shake. The pudding should drop out so that when you remove the bowl, there it is in all its black, steaming glory.
  9. Put the vodka or brandy in a small pan and warm it gently on the stove – it must not boil. At the table, pour the hot liquor over the pudding and light it with a match. The whole pudding will be wreathed in blue flame for a moment.
  10. When the flames burn out, you can serve the pudding. Traditional accompaniment is Brandy Butter (basically, butter combined with powder sugar, lemon zest and brandy) but whipped cream or vanilla ice cream work just as well. This is the taste of an English Christmas!

Sweet Potato Pie

Arketian Jackie's headshot
by Jackie

Recipe courtesy of: All Recipes


  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell, unbaked
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND(R) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat hot sweet potatoes with butter until smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except crust; mix well. Pour into pie shell.
  4. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Cool. Garnish as desired.

Simple Seasonal Salad

Arketian Erica's headshot
by Erica


  • Olive oil
  • One package of shaved brussel sprouts
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • One tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • One package of Kale
  • One cup raisins
  • One cup chopped walnuts
  • One cup of goat cheese


  1. Turn oven on to broil (high setting is best)
  2. In a large bowl, add shaved brussel sprouts
  3. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of ground black pepper on to the brussel sprouts
  4. Drizzle olive oil on brussel sprouts and mix in bowl (roughly two tablespoons worth)
  5. On a large baking sheet, lay out freshly tossed brussel sprouts and place in the oven for 12 minutes
  6. Once brussel sprouts have broiled (they should have a little crunch to them), place in a large bowl
  7. Add a small package of Kale, one cup of raisins, one cup of chopped walnuts, one cup of goat cheese and one tablespoon of olive oil
  8. Mix ingredients in bowl and serve

Quick and easy sausage balls

Arketian Micky's headshot
by Micky


  • 2 lbs. ground sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ cup bisquick
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese


  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Form into small to medium size balls
  3. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes

Baked Apple and Prosciutto d’oeuvres

Arketian David's headshot
by David


  • 3 Apples (Best with Gala)
  • ¼ lb. of thinly sliced prosciutto (about 16 slices)
  • Goat cheese
  • Cracked peppercorns
  • Honey


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F
  2. Cover a sheet pan in parchment paper/aluminum foil
  3. Slice apples into ¼-½” discs, removing the core as you go (If you have an apple corer, remove core prior to slicing)
  4. Cut prosciutto into pieces equal in size to your apple discs
  5. Place one piece of prosciutto on each apple disc (Any remaining pieces can be distributed evenly as well)
  6. Top with 1 tsp of goat cheese
  7. Place your discs evenly spaced on sheet pan and place in the oven
  8. Bake until the cheese is melted and slightly browned (about 8 to 10 minutes)
  9. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground pepper
  10. Drizzle with honey to taste
  11. Serve while still warm for best results
  12. Optional: Garnish with sprigs of rosemary
  13. Notes - A tasty vegetarian option:
    Replace the prosciutto with a baby spinach leaf or two

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