Ok, so neither of these are “heritage” in the true sense of the word, because they’ve both originated with more recent generations of the Baker-Hansen family. But they’re two of my absolute holiday favorites. One originated with me, the other with my dear mother-in-law, Sally.
I first made couscous (it’s pictured over there at left) a few Christmases ago, when I first started cooking. It has become a standard that I made for at least one holiday every year. The original recipe is from Taste of Home magazine, though I’ve altered it some since the first time I made it. My sister, especially, loves this one.
The famous Hansen macaroni and cheese became a tradition five years ago, when I started dating my husband, Matthew. He wanted to bring a dish to the Baker family Christmas, so he made the one he loves the most from his family dinner, his mom’s macaroni and cheese. My dad fell in love with this recipe, and I think he looks forward to it every year more than any other dish. I look forward to it, too — it’s really the only time of year that I find Velveeta acceptable. If you wanted to get all fancy, you could substitute the cheese product for some nice Gruyère or something, but I figure why mess with greatness?
Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Sarah’s Cous Cous
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
one medium-sized bag frozen corn
1 to 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I prefer Penzey’s cinnamon for its stronger flavor.)
1 package couscous or 1 package quinoa for a gluten-free option.
Bring the broth, butter and salt to a boil in a large pan. Stir in the corn and cinnamon. Cover and return to a boil and cook for about two minutes. Stir in the couscous. Cook the couscous in the liquid per the package instructions (I’ve found this a better alternative than what the original recipe suggested.) Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. If you’re going to eat the dish immediately, stir in the dried cranberries, otherwise, wait until just before serving to stir them in. (If they’re stirred in earlier, they’ll reconstitute, which results in a less delicious finished product.)
Yields 6 or more servings.
Famous Hansen Family Macaroni and Cheese
Cook 1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni as directed.
In saucepan, melt 3 T. butter; blend in 2 T. flour, 1/2 t. salt, dash of pepper. Cook over simmer at few minutes (to cook flour).
Add 2 cups milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly.
Add 1/4 c. finely chopped onion & 8 oz. Velveeta American process cheese (2 c. cubed.) Stir until melted.
Mix cheese sauce with macaroni. Turn into 1 1/2 Qt. casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until heated through.
Makes 6 servings.
Mom note: I usually don’t use all of the macaroni, just judge how thick you want the sauce to be. And you may want to double the recipe.
Image courtesy of Taste of Home magazine