Holiday Recipes for Everyone to Enjoy


Written by Kaitlyn Brooks, Aidan Leahy, and Megan Murphy

All over the world, the holidays are celebrated with cheerful music, family gatherings, and scrumptious food. After interviewing numerous Woodgrove High School students from a variety of cultures, the perfect recipes to satisfy your holiday cravings are right around the corner.

Radiant Ratatouille

The lovely country of France is filled with holiday delicacies that are sure to meet any heart’s desire. Junior Daphnè Bernal shares how she brings a little bit of her mother’s French heritage to Loudoun County during this and every holiday season. Bernal explains just how special this meal is to her family, saying “When I visit my extended family in France, we always eat Ratatouille, so it reminds me of our fun trips.”

Ratatouille Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove cores from the tomatoes (6 medium), and place them in the food processor. Set tomatoes aside.

2. Toss the eggplant (1 large, diced in ½ inch cubes) with olive oil (2 tbsp) and salt (¼ tsp). Place the prepared eggplant on one baking sheet and squash, along with bell pepper, on another baking sheet. Place both sheets in the oven for 15 minutes, putting the eggplant on the middle rack and squash/bell pepper on the top rack. After 15 minutes, switch the eggplant to the top rack and squash/bell pepper to the middle rack and stir the vegetables. Place these back into the oven, the eggplant for 10 more minutes and then the squash/bell peppers for an additional 15-20 minutes.

3. As the vegetables bake, place olive oil (2 tbsp) in a large pot along with onion and salt (¼ tsp). Cook, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes until caramelized. Add garlic (4 cloves) and stir for 30 seconds.

4. Once vegetables are done place them in the sauce and continue to let simmer for 5 more minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in olive oil (1 tsp), fresh basil, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, black pepper. Serve immediately, or let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating for later.

Beaming Biscotti

Biscotti is a classic Italian almond biscuit that goes well dipped in a sizzling cup of coffee on a chilly winter morning. Senior Angie Sparbanie makes decadent Chocolate Cherry Biscotti to get herself into the holiday spirit and dive back to her Italian roots. “The recipe has been in my family for generations, and it reminds me of my great grandmother. We make this cookie every year, and it wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t,” says Sparbanie.

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large cookie sheet.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter (½ cup, softened) and sugar (¾ cup white) until smooth. Beat in three eggs, one at a time, then stir in the almond extract (2 tsp). Combine the flour (3 cups) and baking powder (2 tsp); stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in candied cherries (½ cup) and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ cup).

3. Shape dough into two 10 inch long loaves. Place rolls five inches apart on the cookie sheet; flatten each to 3 inch width.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Using a knife, cut loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange slices cut side down on ungreased cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 5 minutes or until browned and crisp. Cool completely. Melt white chocolate, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate (½ cup).

The cheerful German community is known for their holiday joy and extravagant festivities during the Christmas season. Born in Germany, Senior Carl Woldt not only experiences the enthusiastic spirit of this country, but every year he continues to bake his favorite holiday dessert, German Spekulatius Cookies. Woldt says, “It’s something you can’t really find in America too often, and it brings back memories from Germany. The Christmas season is the one time of year I always get homesick. We not only have this dessert on Christmas, but also Weihnachten, which is a three day German holiday.”

German Spekulatius Cookies Recipe:

1. Make a small valley of flour (3 cups): add baking powder (2 tsp), sugar (1.25 cups), vanilla sugar (1 small packet), almond aroma (2 drops), ground cloves (2 knife tips), ground cardamom (2 knife tips), ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon).

2. Knead and combine with butter (14 tbsp cold), eggs (2), and almonds (1 cup peeled), working it into the dough.

3. Let this dough sit in a cold spot for an hour, then roll the dough out until it is thin and use cookie cutters to make various shapes.

4. Place the Spekulatius onto a sheet tray with parchment paper and bake them for about 10 minutes at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit until they reach golden brown

Funeral potatoes may sound gloomy, but this traditional Mormon dish is quite the opposite! Junior Lindsay Bergman explains that this popular potato concoction is often served as a comfort food at Mormon funerals, in addition to being a great side to traditional holiday dinners. “My church is always trying to help families who have lost their relatives and need some comforting,” says Bergman.

Funeral Potatoes Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Saute onion (one diced) in 1 tbsp butter until fully melted in your skillet.

3. While the onion is cooking, in a large bowl, mix frozen hash browns (2lb), melted butter (½ cup), cream of chicken soup (21.5 ounces), sour cream (2 cups), grated cheese (2 cups), and salt and pepper (to taste) together until completely combined.

4. Stir in onion and pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish.

5. Replace the skillet to heat up and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add in crushed corn flakes and stir to toast for about 1 minute. Sprinkle over top casserole.

6. Bake 40-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.


Cayenne, paprika, turmeric, and cloves are just a few of the spices that fill the air of Senior Saadan Hameed’s kitchen during the holiday season. Though the aroma is amazing, the traditional Pakistani Tandoori chicken they make tastes even better. “It is special to me because it’s different, and no one else really knows how to make it. We have this meal on Eid as well as during the winter,” says Hameed.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe:

1. Cut shallow lines into the de-skinned chicken legs and add them to a large bowl.

2. Mix the following ingredients to create the Garam Masala Spice Mix: cumin (2 tbsp), coriander (1 tbsp), cardamom (1 tbsp), ground black pepper (1 tbsp), cinnamon (2 tsp), ground cloves (1 tsp), nutmeg (1 tsp).

3. Then, add the previous ingredients with the following Kosher Salt (1 tsp), garlic powder (1 tsp), ground ginger (1 tsp), paprika (1 tsp), turmeric (1 tsp), cayenne pepper (1 tsp), garam masala (1tbsp), cayenne pepper (1 tsp) to make the Tandoori Spice Mix.

4. Furthermore, mix the Tandoori Spice Mix with salt (1 tsp), yogurt, yellow food coloring (1 tsp), red food coloring (1tsp), and the juice of one lemon to create the Chicken Marinade.

5. Marinade the prepared chicken in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook the chicken on sheet pan for 1 hour.