No. 323 & 324: Asiago-Sage Smashed Potatoes & Orange-Honey Carrots + Bonus Salad

In addition to the best ever smoked turkey, we had a few new items and some other family favorites at our table for Christmas Day.

Asiago-Sage Smashed Potatoes

I have to confess that I was originally going to make these beautiful scalloped potatoes seasoned with asiago and sage. Aren't they lovely and fancy?

But then, I ended up taking a Christmas Day nap. I awoke at 1pm and realized that I had not only slept for 90 glorious minutes but that the turkey was done and family would be walking in the door in an hour. Thus, a game time decision to simplify this recipe.

Basically, this is your usual smashed potato recipe (I don't peel the red potatoes) flavored up with butter, grated asiago, fresh chopped sage, milk and salt/pepper. Play with the amounts as you see fit. We made enough mashed potatoes for 8 adults and used about 2 tablespoons of sage and 1 cup of cheese with plenty of butter and milk to make it nice and creamy. MMMM.

Orange-Honey Carrots

Inspired by Ina, I decided to add some color and crunch/sweetness to our Christmas table. I LOVE carrots, and a bit of orange/honey flavor sounded amazing.

Ingredients

3 bunches carrots, peeled*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*I eyeballed this. It was probably about 10 big carrots.

To make

Cut the carrots diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. You should have about 5 cups of carrots. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place 1/2 cup water, the butter, honey, 2 teaspoons of salt, and the ginger in a large saute pan and bring to a boil. (Or you can be like me and just melt the butter and combine it all in a bowl to save time).

Mix the carrots in the orange-honey coating then toss onto sheet pan covered in foil. Be sure not to dump all the liquid from the bottom of the bowl onto the pan, you want a roast on these instead of a steam.

Roast carrots, turning occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a bit of zest sprinkled over top.

Note: Ina's original recipe sautes the carrots in the sauce on a stovetop. It's worth trying, but I love roasting.

Family Holiday Favorites

We're not shy about our love for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls around here. You could basically make one can each for Mr. McC and my brother to eat.

There also always seems to be Brussels sprouts delivered in some way to our table. This year I roasted them with some bacon and lots of salt and pepper. Easy peesy and so delicious.

Bonus Recipe! Judge's Cranberry Salad

Judge's Cranberry Salad is another favorite. The legend goes that the wife of the local Judge in Starkville, Mississippi brought this to potluck dinners and it was always a hit.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups unpeeled red apple chunks
1 1/2 cups orange chunks (peeled and seeded)
1 1/2 cups celery chunks
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup sour cream for serving, optional

To make

Start by combining the cranberries, sugar and orange juice. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally and letting the sugar dissolve for 10-15 minutes. Gently toss in the apples, oranges and celery.

Serve in sherbet glasses with a glob of sour cream on top (optional step that I never take) and walnuts just before serving.

Note: Like potato salad, this is even better the next day when all the flavors have had time to meld together.

Wishing you each a wonderful start to the New Year! I hope you make time for some new favorites at your table as well.

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