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Farm News favorites

By Staff | Dec 14, 2018

Brandied cranberry apricot relish is always a staple at the holidays for Darcy Dougherty Maulsby.

As you start preparing for your holiday meals, you might want to try some of these dishes that are favored by some of the staff at Farm News.

Kriss Nelson, Farm News editor, shared two staples that are always included at family holidays and gatherings.

“This is a favorite of mine to prepare for family gatherings because I can get the mess of peeling, boiling and mashing potatoes out of the way and it also helps free up time during the holiday,” she said.

Make ahead mashed potatoes

15 medium potatoes (or 5 pounds) peeled and quartered

Butternut squash not only has flavor, but eye appeal when served, in this case with meat and Brussels sprouts.

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 egg whites slightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chives (optional)

Cook potatoes until tender and drain.

Mash potatoes and add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper and egg whites, blending well.

Place in a slow cooker or baking dish and dot with the four tablespoons of butter and refrigerate.

To bake, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and bake, loosely covered for 40 minutes at 350-degrees.

For a slow cooker, remove from refrigerator three and a half hours before serving. Cook on low for three hours, stirring once or twice.

Add more butter before serving. Makes 12-25 servings.


“This recipe comes from the Xi Eta Sigma sorority cookbook and is served at their annual hamball dinner,” Nelson said. “It is also a favorite of my family’s and served at every holiday dinner or gathering.”

3 pounds ground ham

2 pounds ground pork

1 pound ground beef

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

3 packages graham crackers, crushed

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together. This makes 40 large meatballs (20 per a 9 by 13 pan).


2 cans tomato soup

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup white vinegar

Mix sauce together and pour over the meatballs.

Bake at 350-degrees for one hour.

Note: I will buy six pounds of ham loaf versus mixing the ham, pork and beef.

Farm News staff writer Kristin Danley-Greiner shares some of her favorite sweet treats.

“My 74-year-old mom, Sharon Danley, has created amazing homemade holiday candy for years,” Danley-Greiner said. “It’s a tradition for our family. But when I found the microwavable fudge recipe, I decided to give it a try with my daughter Chloe, 11. It seemed to be a bit easier for her to attempt, as long as she carefully handled the glass bowl with oven mitts.”

Microwavable fudge

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwavable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Stir in nuts, if desired.

Pour into well-greased 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.

English toffee

“English toffee is a family favorite at the holidays, along with peanut brittle, peanut clusters, chocolate-covered cherries and more,” said Danley-Greiner. “It’s a delicious blend of salty and sweet and is addictive.”

1 cup butter

1 1/4 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 cup chocolate chips

Butter a 10 by 15 inch jellyroll pan.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar and water. Bring to a boil and add almonds. Cook, stirring constantly until nuts are toasted and the sugar is golden. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan; do not spread.

Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Let stand for a minute, then spread the chocolate over the top. Let cool completely, then break into pieces.

Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Farm News staff writer shares a favorite side dish

“I’ve made this relish for a number of years now after finding the recipe in a free, store-branded cooking magazine at a local grocery store,” Maulsby said. “I love this recipe because it’s easy, it can be made ahead of time, it has great flavor, and it includes a lot of healthy fruits. I adapted the recipe a bit and make this at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s so good, though, I should make it more often.”

Brandied cranberry apricot relish

3/4 cup apricot or apple juice

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup thinly sliced dried apricots (or 1 can sliced apricots)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries (3 cups)

2 tablespoons brandy

In small saucepan, combine fruit juice, sugar, apricots, cinnamon and allspice. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries; return to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 12 to 14 minutes or until most cranberries burst; stir occasionally.

Remove saucepan from heat; stir in brandy. Allow relish to cool slightly before spooning into serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or up to 4 days. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Laura Carlson, Farm News staff writer, shares a popular cookie recipe.

“I don’t think we’ve gone through a Christmas season yet without multiple batches of these delicious cookies stored in the cookie jars,” Carlson said. “My son eats them for breakfast all winter, since, as he said at age 5, they have peanut butter for protein.”

Peanut butter kisses


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I always use low sodium powder)

Additional granulated sugar to roll dough in prior to baking in small dish

About 36 Hershey’s Kisses brand milk chocolates, unwrapped

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, all the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder until dough forms.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. On ungreased cookie sheets, place about 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove baking sheet from oven.

Immediately press one chocolate candy Kiss in center of each cookie. Return to oven for 2 minutes or until edges crisp and chocolate softens.

Let sit on baking sheet for 3 minutes to firm up before removing cookies to cooling rack.

(Carlson said she always doubles or quadruples the recipe.)

Farm News staff writer Clayton Rye reaps the benefits of his garden harvest each year. Some years better than others.

“We first planted butternut squash on a whim two years ago in our garden,” Rye said. “It was a good year for butternut squash and our one plant yielded several very large butternut squash that we used for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year, probably because of the poor growing conditions, our solitary butternut squash plant yielded a solitary butternut squash. This is how it was used.”

Panko crusted butternut squash

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

1/4 cup butter

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (or garlic powder to taste)

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Peel the squash and remove the seeds, and then cut into half-inch slices. Arrange sliced squash in the baking dish. Melt butter over low heat and add chopped garlic. Cook over low heat a few minutes, but do not brown the garlic. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle or brush melted butter over the squash, reserving one tablespoon of melted butter mixture. Stir the crumbs and cheese into the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the squash. Bake for 45 minutes, or until squash is tender and the crumbs have browned.

Karen Schwaller, Farm News staff writer, said there are a few food traditions that find their way to the Schwaller family table each year including soup and crescent rolls.

“Crescent rolls are a tradition, and it would not be our Christmas dinner without them,” she said.

Her crescent roll recipe came from her aunt, the late Martha “Pat” Kohout, who hailed from Orange City.

“We first tasted those rolls at a holiday gathering at her house and they have been on our table every Thanksgiving and Christmas since then,” she said. “I still remember the scripture she read from the Bible before we ate our meal that day, which stayed with me as much as the taste of these delicious dinner rolls.”

Crescent rolls

1 3/4 cup milk

1 stick butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 package yeast (I use rapid rise)

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 egg, beaten with mixer (room temperature is best)

4 3/4 cups flour, divided

Scald milk in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Add butter, salt and sugar to scalded milk and allow to cool. Soften yeast in water and add to milk mixture and stir well. Add beaten egg and stir. Lastly, add 3 cups flour with mixer, then fold in remaining flour by hand. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for 8-10 hours). For smaller dinner rolls, separate dough into four balls and roll each ball out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Use pizza cutter to cut into triangles. Roll into roll-ups, beginning with large end and ending with the point. Cover and let rise in a warm place. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the rolls. (For larger rolls, divide dough into fewer but larger balls to roll out. For nice large rolls, divide into two or three balls of dough, then roll out, etc.)

Ham and cheese soup

“Ham and cheese soup is something we have served on Christmas Eve for many years, with our crescent rolls,” Schwaller said. “It comes from my sister-in-law, Diane Warburton, from Milford. It’s chock full of the good stuff, served up in a cheesy soup base.”

2 cups (2 medium) chopped potatoes

1 cup (1 medium) sliced carrot

2/3 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup onion

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon flour

2 cups milk

1 cup (4 ounce) cheddar cheese

1 cup (4 ounce) American cheese

1 cup cooked ham, cubed in bite-size pieces

In 3-quart saucepan, combine water, vegetables and seasonings and cook until vegetables are crisply tender. Do not drain. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, create a white sauce by melting butter then stirring in flour and mixing well. Using whisk, slowly add milk. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Allow to boil for one minute. Remove from heat and add cheeses, allowing them to melt. Pour cheese mixture and cubed ham into pot with cooked vegetables and stir well. Heat through.

Note: This recipe keeps well if made ahead. Also, flavors can be adjusted by using whatever kind of cheeses you most enjoy – pepper jack, Velveeta, sharp versus mild cheddar, jalapeno, etc. We usually quadruple the water for this recipe for our family gathering, and I usually use more vegetables and meat than the recipe calls for, because my husband really appreciates a full-bodied chowder-like soup.

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