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Home-cooked for the Holidays

This fall, we invited OKL readers to submit their best Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes for our Holiday Recipe Contest. The response was overwhelming. Congratulations to the winners, and a heartfelt thank you to each cook who submitted a recipe. We wish each of you a holiday season filled with joy and good cooking!

Home-cooked for the Holidays

APPETIZER | Holiday Ham Pinwheels

OKL Winner RibbonRecipe by Mary Shivers, People's Electric


Serves 4
APPETIZER | Holiday Ham Pinwheels


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 8-ounce tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup finely diced deli-style smoked ham
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion, green parts only
  • 2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell pepper, well drained
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce



Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. On a 12x12-inch sheet of wax paper, unroll tube of crescent dough and press into a 12x8-inch rectangle, pressing perforations together. In a small, deep mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder on low speed until evenly combined. Stir in ham, green onions and red bell pepper. Spread mixture evenly on crescent dough to within 1/2-inch on the short ends. Starting on one short end, roll up jellyroll style and pinch seam together. Wrap wax paper around dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough and slice into 8 even slices. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with melted butter. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet. To serve, heat marinara. Transfer to a small bowl and place in center of a serving plate. Arrange pinwheels around bowl. Serve immediately.

APPETIZER RUNNER-UP | Hot Mushroom Turnovers

RUNNER-UP Recipe by Tamra Witt, East Central Rural Electric Cooperative

Serves 8-10
APPETIZER RUNNER-UP | Hot Mushroom Turnovers


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 egg, beaten



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Beat cream cheese, 1 1/2 c. flour, and 1/2 c. butter until smooth. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cook mushrooms and onions in 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream, salt, thyme, and 1 Tbsp. flour. On a floured surface, roll half of chilled dough 1/8" thick. Use 2 3/4" round cookie cutter (floured) to cut out circles. Place 1 tsp. of filling onto the center of each dough circle. Brush edges with beaten egg and fold the dough over the filling into a crescent-shaped turnover. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Prick the tops. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush tops with the remaining egg. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen. These can be frozen before baking. Freeze on a sheet pan and then store in a ziplock bag for future use. Adjust baking time if not thawed.


SIDE DISH | Roasted Sweet Potato Peppered Pecan Spinach Salad

OKL Winner RibbonRecipe by Cindy Meek, Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative

Serves 4-6
SIDE DISH | Roasted Sweet Potato Peppered Pecan Spinach Salad


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 rounded tablespoons creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries



Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and spread over a large baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes until tender and a little caramelized. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the salad dressing: To a blender add peeled shallot; pulse to chop. Add mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and sugar. With blender on medium speed, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup of olive oil to emulsify. Arrange the salad: combine the spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, pecans and cranberries. Toss with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and serve

SIDE DISH | Sweet Potato Rolls

RUNNER-UP Recipe by Mary Jane Calvey, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative

SIDE DISH | Sweet Potato Rolls


  • 3 cups whole wheat four
  • 3 cups baking four
  • 2 pkgs. dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 9 oz. can sweet potatoes undrained



Combine flours in large bowl, mixing well with fork or pastry blender. Combine yeast and warm water in container of electric blender, process to mix. Let sit five minutes. Add sugar, salt, melted butter, eggs, sweet potatoes and liquid, and 1 cup flour mixture to container. Blend until smooth. Add yeast mixture to remainder of flour in a large bowl. Mix. Turn dough out on lightly floured board and knead five minutes, until dough is elastic. Use more flour if needed. Place dough into greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for six hours or overnight. About 1 hour before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half into a sixteen inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut circle into sixteen wedges. Roll up each wedge from the point and place each roll on a greased baking sheet with point on bottom. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover baking sheet with a slightly dampened cloth towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 15 minutes on center rack of oven or, if using two baking sheets, on center and lower oven racks staggering the baking sheets so air circulates around them. Remove from oven and serve warm with butter. These rolls can be baked ahead and reheated to serve. Our family loves these rolls even for non-holiday family meals.


MAIN DISH | Creamy Turkey N Dumplings

OKL Winner RibbonRecipe by Micah Johnston

Serves 6-8
MAIN DISH | Creamy Turkey N Dumplings


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 bag shredded carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry sage, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry rosemary, chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound cooked shredded white meat turkey 
  • 1 tube refrigerated biscuits
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste



In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté until onions are translucent. Add garlic and herbs and sauté for a couple of minutes to wake up flavors. Mix in chicken broth and shredded turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cut the biscuits into small cubes. Stir biscuits in slowly to ensure they don't stick together. Let simmer until biscuits double in size. Add cream. Adjust seasoning and consistency to desired viscosity.

MAIN DISH | Holiday Ham & Brie

RUNNER-UP Recipe by Beth Dillon, Lake Region Electric Cooperative

Serves 6-8
MAIN DISH | Holiday Ham & Brie


  • 1-2 lbs thin sliced deli ham
  • 1 wheel Presidents brie
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry jalapeño Jelly
  • 1 loaf French bread.



Lay out a piece of foil large enough to Wrap the French bread. Cut French loaf lengthwise & spread jam on both sides. Slice brie and place down one side of bread. Layer Ham on & top cover with other half of Bread Wrap in foil & bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Open foil & brown for an additional 5 minutes. Slice & serve. This recipe can be used for a main course or as appetizers. 

*If preparing appetizers use a Sliced bagette & adjust toppings to fit on the slices of Bread. Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes.


DESSERT | Christmas Crunch Mix

OKL Winner RibbonRecipe by Kellie Hudson, People’s Electric Cooperative

Serves 10+
DESSERT | Christmas Crunch Mix


  • 2.8-ounce box Rice Chex cereal
  • 12-ounce box Golden Grahams cereal
  • 7-ounce bag shredded coconut
  • 4-ounce bag slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups butter 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups corn syrup



Combine cereals, coconut and almonds in a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. In a saucepan, heat butter, sugar and corn syrup to the soft ball stage (about 240°F on a candy thermometer). Pour hot mixture over cereal and stir well to coat. Pour mix onto two large baking sheets. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Store in an airtight container.

DESSERT | Kalach - A Croatian Dessert Bread

RUNNER-UP Recipe by Lori Fry, East Central Rural Electric Cooperative

DESSERT | Kalach - A Croatian Dessert Bread


Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 C melted butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 C flour

Filling ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 C ground nut meats (walnuts or pecans)
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon or orange



Bread dough: Soak yeast in 1/2 C warm milk, sugar and salt, leave set until bubbly. Beat butter and egg yolks together then add yeast mixture, remaining 1/2 C milk and vanilla. Mix in flour* and beat until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Make filling: Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold in sugar and nuts. Add orange or lemon juice. Divide dough into 8 balls and roll to size of pie crust. Spread filling evenly over dough. Roll into tight log roll and place on greased cookie sheet. Stab top with knife every 2 inches, almost through, to let air out. Let rise 1/2 hour then bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.

Alternate Filling: 1 C ground poppy seeds, 2 C sugar, 1/2 C milk, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix ingredients into smooth easy to spread paste.

*Recommend adding 3 1/2 cups flour to start, then gradually adding remaining 1 1/2 cups, or enough to reach smooth dough texture.