You know how a smell can take you to a place? I find that especially true around the holidays. The aroma of sugar cookies baking immediately take me to my mom’s kitchen in November and December where we baked — what seemed like 1,000 cookies when I was young — every year without fail. Tamales always bring fond memories of Christmas Eve at my nana’s house. The list goes on.
The kitchen is my happy place during this season, and I am always seeking ways to incorporate a new spin on the traditional favorites. As a cattle raiser, I no doubt want to use beef on the menu as much as possible. But who wouldn’t?
As we prepare for holiday parties with family and friends, these recipes are sure to make an appearance.
As far as appetizers go, I tend to get caught in a rut. “I will bring the queso,” I find myself saying to every house party invitation. Can anyone relate? But this holiday season, I want to elevate my game and I think these mini meatball skewers will do the trick.
Turkey and ham are traditional staples during holiday events. Even so, as my husband would argue, why not enjoy our favorite protein we work hard to produce during such a special season? He has a good point. In the spirit of celebration and sharing the fruits of our labor with others, this recipe caught my eye. Worth a shot? I think yes!
We host a Friendsgiving party in our home each year. In fact, this tradition dates back to our college days, but a few years ago we changed up the menu. In lieu of turkey, we smoked a brisket. I don’t think we will ever go back. It is a full-day affair, but that is half the fun. My husband and his friends have the best time enjoying the fall weather by the smoker, and we all benefit from the hard work by way of a great meal.
Last, but certainly not least, tamales are a great way to use beef on your holiday table. Per tradition, our Christmas Eve meal will center around tamales. The difference? I may try my hand at making them from scratch. Like the brisket, it will undoubtedly be an all-day affair. But what better way to spend quality time with family than by preparing a meal together?
Hopefully these recipes inspire you as you begin planning the perfect holiday menu for family and friends. Enjoy!
Kayla Jennings is the proofreader for and a regular contributor to The Cattleman magazine.