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6 Mouthwatering Holiday Recipes From JJC’s Culinary Team

Posted by Scott Harvey on Nov 18, 2019 8:12:00 AM

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Whether you’re preparing a meal for just yourself, a small family or large gathering of friends and in-laws, consider adding these culinary delights to your holiday plans!

We’ve gathered a delicious selection of recipes from the culinary arts team at Joliet Junior College that is sure to satisfy as your featured dish or dessert for that special occasion (or why not just a random winter day?)! Happy feasting!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup (Serves 6)

From Chef Michael McGreal, culinary arts professor and department chair

What you’ll need:

1 (each) medium butternut squash | 1/2 (each) yellow onion, diced | 1 (each) garlic clove, minced | 2 tablespoons butter | 12 ounces chicken (or vegetable) broth | 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon | 1/4 teaspoon ginger (dry ground) | 1/8 teaspoon cardamom | To taste: Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste | Non-stick cooking spray


1. Cut butternut squash in half. Clean seeds out from the insides and place squash face down on a sheet pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft like a baked potato, then remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
2. Remove peel from cooked squash and set cooked squash meat aside.
3. Sweat onions in butter and oil over low to medium heat until onions become wilted; add garlic and sweat 1 minute more until fragrant.
4. Add cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and pepper to onions and cook until aromatic.
5. Add broth and pre-roasted butternut squash and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
6. Puree in a blender until smooth.
7. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Butternut Squash


Apple Pie Sangria

From Eric Bell, culinary management professor

What you’ll need:

3 Granny Smith apples, diced | 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine (any variety) | 2 cups apple juice | 1/2 cup water | 1/2 cup brown sugar | 1/2 cup green apple vodka | 1/2 cup caramel vodka | 1 cinnamon stick


1. Heat brown sugar in water until dissolved.
2. Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and let sit in refrigerator for 4 hours.

Green Apples


Potato and Celery Root Mash (Serves 4)

From Chef Tim Bucci, culinary arts professor

What you’ll need:

1.5 cups celery root, peeled and diced | 3 cups russet potato, peeled and diced | 1/2 cup heavy cream | 2 ounces whole butter | To taste: Kosher salt and white pepper   


1. Add celery root and potatoes to separate pan, cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
3. Let simmer until each are tender when pierced with a fork.
4. Strain each and let them steam for 4-5 minutes to expel moisture.
5. Put through a food mill or mash with a potato masher while still warm.
6. Heat butter and cream and add to potato and celery root mixture.
7. Season with salt and pepper.

Celery Root


Cranberry Sauce (Makes 1.5 quarts)

From Chef Kenneth Thompson, culinary arts professor

What you’ll need:

2 pounds fresh cranberry | 12 ounces granulated sugar | 9 ounces orange juice | 1/2 (each orange) orange zest | 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon | Pinch of ground nutmeg | 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger | To taste: Kosher salt


1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
2. Continue to cook sauce until cranberries are fully exploded, stirring often.
3. Taste and adjust sugar as needed.
4. Pour sauce into a pan to cool.
5. Serve cold or at room temperature.



Acorn Squash “Bowl” with Turkey Chili and Smoked Gouda (Serves 4)

From Chef Tim Bucci, culinary arts professor

What you’ll need (Part 1):

For squash: 2 acorn squash


1. Trim top and bottom of squash to create a flat surface, cut in half and remove seeds.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on parchment paper.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until tender.

What you’ll need (Part 2):

For chili: 1 tablespoon olive oil | 8 ounces ground turkey (may substitute leftover diced turkey) | 1 cup onion, diced | 3 garlic cloves, minced | 2 tablespoons flour | 2 tablespoons tomato paste | 1 can petite diced tomatoes | 1.5 tablespoons chili powder | 2 teaspoons smoked paprika | 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon | 1 teaspoon sugar | 1 teaspoon salt | 1/2 teaspoon black pepper | 2 teaspoon ground cumin | 1 cup water |To taste: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne | Garnish: Sour cream, green onions, smoked gouda


1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until hot.
2. Add beef and cook until no longer pink.
3. Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over low heat.
4. Add remaining ingredients and let cook for 45 minutes.
5. Fill each half of acorn squash with chili, top off with smoked gouda.
6. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Acorn Squash


Candied Pecans (Makes 1 pound) 

From Chef Kenneth Thompson, culinary arts professor

What you’ll need:

1 cup sugar | 1 tablespoon cinnamon | 1 tablespoon water | 1 teaspoon kosher salt | 1 (each) egg white | 1 pound pecan halves


1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and water to soft peaks.
3. Toss the pecan halves in the egg whites until evenly coated.
4. Toss coated pecans in cinnamon-sugar mixture until evenly coated.
5. Pour coated pecans onto a sheet pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
6. Place pan of pecans into a 300-degree convection oven for 10 minutes; remove from oven, stir, and repeat for a total cooking time of 25-30 minutes or until pecans are crispy and fully dry.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing/packaging.

Candied Pecans


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Tags: Culinary, Recipes, JJC Experts