Each year, students in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences' Coordinated Program in Dietetics create holiday-appropriate recipes to share with Vandal families near and far.
These talented and innovative students develop their recipes while learning and practicing principles of quantity food production. For the holiday recipe challenge, students work in pairs to create recipes that reflect the spirit of the season and Vandal pride. Their recipes, as well as those developed by students in recent years, are available here.
Vandal Holiday Recipe Challenge 2020: Simple Comfort Foods
Eight teams of students were challenged to create a dish that both reflects the comfort and warmth of the holiday season and calls for no more than five ingredients.
Students presented their recipes to a tasting panel of alumni, faculty and staff including President Scott Green. Congratulations to this year's winning recipes:
- Popular choice: Baked Butternut Squash & Pecan Puff Pastries
- President’s choice: Holiday Cheesy Potatoes
Please enjoy these recipes as part of your celebrations this holiday season.
2020 Holiday Recipe Winners
Baked Butternut Squash & Pecan Puff Pastries
From the kitchen of Elle Moore & Kaitlyn Plischke
2020 Popular Choice Winner
During the holidays, people seek comfort in their family and friends and prepare and share food that is warming, familiar and inviting -- qualities our puff pastry desserts capture. These mini puff pastries are a crossover between a traditional squash pie and a pecan pie, with each bringing classic holiday flavors to life in each bite. Simple to prepare and easy to scale up or down, our puff pastries are the perfect dessert to serve at your next holiday party or family gathering.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Riesling by Lindsay Creek Winery (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 12
Serving Size - 1 puff pastry cup
Ingredients for Baked Butternut Squash & Pecan Puff Pastries
- 1 box (2 sheets) prepared puff pastry sheets (frozen)
- 1/2 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup, divided chopped pecans (2 tablespoons reserved)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons, divided maple syrup (6 TBSP for filling, 2 TBSP for drizzle)
STEP 1 Set the puff pastry out at room temperature on a baking sheet while you prepare the rest of the filling ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP 2 Remove the skin and cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Cut half the butternut squash into cubes (about ½ inch x ½ inch). Spread the butternut squash onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes (until slightly soft and a fork can easily go through the squash).
STEP 3 While the butternut squash is baking, roughly chop the pecan halves (reserving 2 tablespoons in a separate small bowl. Add a dash of cinnamon to the pecans and set it aside). In a large bowl, combine the rest of the chopped pecans with 6 tablespoons of the maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
STEP 4 Take the butternut squash out of the oven when it is done and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Unroll the puff pastry onto a floured countertop and roll the puff pastry into a 12” x 12” square. Using a cookie cutter, glass or ramekin, cut circles out of the pastry and roll out each circle to about 4 ½ inches in diameter. (You will get about 6 circles per sheet of puff pastry.) A total of 12 circles of puff pastry will be needed.
STEP 5 Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and place one of the puff pastry circles into each of the cups. Make sure to press the puff pastry into each cup so the puff pastry comes up all the way to the top of the muffin tin. Heavily dock the puff pastry all over with a fork.
STEP 6 Bake the empty puff pastry cups for 5 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (until lightly golden). Halfway through the baking time, use the back of a spoon to press down the puff pastry. Then, after 5 minutes, take the muffin tin out of the oven and press the puff pastry down with the back of a spoon.
STEP 7 Combine the butternut squash with the pecan mixture to create the filling. Fill the puff pastry cups with the filling until nearly full (about 1 tablespoon of filling). Then, sprinkle the tops of each cup with the reserved pecans and cinnamon and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of reserved maple syrup.
STEP 8 Bake the filled puff pastries at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for another 8-10 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown.
STEP 9 Pull the muffin tin out of the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately after cooling with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
Nutritional Data (per serving)
Total fat 13g
Saturated fat 4g
Trans fat 0g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 106 mg
Total carbohydrate 21g
Dietary fiber 2g
Added sugar 9 g (from the maple syrup)
Protein 3 g
Holiday Cheesy Potatoes
From the kitchen of McKenna Graves & Jenna Ostrom
2020 President’s Choice Winner
This is a creamy potato dish with a satisfying crunch that will fulfill any comfort food cravings. This dish is easy and convenient for the upcoming holidays and will go perfectly with the rest of your meal.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon by Huston Vineyards or Albarino by Clearwater Canyon Cellars (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 8
Serving Size - About 1 cup
Ingredients for Holiday Cheesy Potatoes
- 5 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 lb (30 oz) bag shredded hash browns
- 2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
- 10. 5 oz can cream of chicken soup
- 1 box (18 oz) cornflakes cereal
- 3 tsp salt or season to taste
- 3 tsp pepper or season to taste
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP 2 Grate 5 cups of sharp white cheddar.
STEP 3 In a large mixing bowl, combine package of hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken and 4 cups of sharp white cheddar. Mix thoroughly.
STEP 4 Once evenly combined, mix in 2 tsp of salt and pepper.
STEP 5 In a separate Ziploc bag, pour in cornflakes and add remaining tsp of salt and pepper. Shake the bag to mix in salt and pepper. Lay bag flat on counter and take a rolling pin to crush the cornflakes.
STEP 6 In large pan, take the hash brown mixture and evenly spread throughout the pan. Taking the remaining cup of white cheddar and spread over the mixture in pan.
STEP 7 With the bag of cornflakes, shake out of bag and cover the entire pan evenly slightly pressing cornflakes into mixture.
STEP 8 Put into over for 1 hour.
STEP 9 Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Data for Holiday Cheesy Potatoes (per serving)
Total fat 30 g
Cholesterol 91.25 mg
Sodium 8,259 mg
Total carbohydrate 88.5 g
Sugar 10 g
Protein 22 g
2020 Holiday Recipes
Green Been Vandalizing Machine
From the kitchen of Myah Merino and Geonna Travis
Green bean casserole is a staple to everyone’s Thanksgiving festivities and pairs well with any of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. This 5-ingredient holiday recipe adds a spin to traditional green bean casserole that everyone will look forward to during the holidays by using water chestnuts for a little extra crunch and lots of cheddar cheese for extra creaminess. This recipe incorporates a little vandal pride by including Idaho grown fresh green beans along with golden cheddar cheese!
Suggested Wine Pairing: Albarino by Clearwater Canyon Cellars (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 6-8
Serving Size - 1 cup
Ingredients for Green Been Vandalizing Machine
- 2 cups fresh green beans
- 2 cups cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can chopped water chestnuts
- 1 1⁄2 cups of cheese
- 1 cup crispy onions
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
STEP 2 Add green beans to 1⁄2 cup of boiling water and cook covered for 6 minutes.
STEP 3 Add green beans to a casserole dish with 2 cups of cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of chopped water chestnuts and 3⁄4 cup cheese.
STEP 4 Flatten and even out mixture in pan then cover with crispy onions.
STEP 5 Bake for 15 minutes or until crispy, and then take out and add 1⁄2 cup cheese to top.
STEP 6 Put casserole back in oven for 3 minutes or until cheese melts.
STEP 7 Let sit for 5 minutes, and then serve.
Nutritional Data for Green Been Vandalizing Machine (per serving)
Total fat 808 m
Cholesterol 15 mg
Total carbohydrate 17.5 g
Protein 5.8 g
Vandal Traditions Harvest Squash
From the kitchen of Rebecca Klaeui and Adrienne Jordan
During a time of unprecedented challenges, we at find ourselves navigating a vastly different landscape. Yet steadfastly unchanged are the Vandal traditions of the Brave and Bold, of leading and trailblazing, of Vandal Pride. As we Vandal On, we find ourselves craving the warm and the comfortable, and the embrace of the community we love. From the familiar flavors of the holidays to the bright gold of our Vandal community, this recipe blends comfort and tradition with Pride Gold, symbol of the strength and resilience that IS our community. Uncomplicated. Nurturing. Resilient tradition. Spread the Vandal Pride. Come home with us to Vandal country.
Suggested Wine Pairing: As a main dish, try Viognier by Basalt Cellars. As a side dish, try Renaissance Red by Clearwater Canyon Cellars. (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 4
Serving Size - ½ squash, 1.5 cups of filling
Ingredients for Vandal Traditions Harvest Squash
- 2 acorn squashes, washed, halved, seeds removed.
- 1 cup (4 ounces) dried fruit, nuts and seeds medley, unseasoned, containing dried cranberries or tart cherries. Blend must NOT contain peanuts, pretzels, cereal or chocolate.
- 2 cups Bartlett pears, washed, cored, diced, from 2 medium sized pears.
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (or your favorite grain medley) from 2 8-ounce packages, prepared, ready-to-eat.
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 13x9 inch pan or sheet pan with raised sides, pour
enough water into the pan to reach 1⁄2 inch up the sides.
STEP 2 Wash squashes, cut in half from stem to end and remove the seeds with a metal spoon, scraping the center clean. Arrange squashes cut side down into the pan in the water. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes until tender.
STEP 3 Place the fruit, nut and seed medley into a small heat-resistant mixing bowl. Boil 2 cups of water and pour over the medley. Set aside for 15 minutes.
STEP 4 While the fruit and nut medley is soaking, wash, core and dice the pears. Place in a large mixing bowl.
STEP 5 When the fruit and nut medley has soaked for 15 minutes, drain over a second bowl, reserving the soaking water.
STEP 6 Add the drained fruit and nut medley to the pears and stir to combine.
STEP 7 To the pear mixture, add the cooked brown rice or grain medley and the pumpkin pie spice. Season this mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly to combine.
STEP 8 From the reserved soaking water, measure out 6 tablespoons and add to the pear mixture. Stir to combine all ingredients.
STEP 9 When squash has baked 45 minutes, check with a fork for tenderness. Squash halves should be very tender, and the fork should not meet resistance. If required, bake squash an additional 10 more minutes until tender. When tender, remove from oven.
STEP 10 Using a fork or tongs, carefully flip squash halves over in the pan, being cautious to avoid rising steam. If water has mostly evaporated, add hot water to the pan to reach 1⁄4 inch up the sides of the pan.
STEP 11 Divide the pear-nut-grain filling between the four squash halves. Gently press filling into the center space with the back of a fork, and then mound remaining filling on top of the squash. Lightly salt and pepper the surface of the stuffed squashes, to taste.
STEP 12 Return stuffed squash halves to the oven and bake for 25 minutes until filling is lightly browned.
STEP 13 Remove from oven and serve.
STEP 14 As an optional garnish, lightly crisp fresh sage leaves in a neutral flavored oil in a small frying pan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Crumble over squash halves or decorate with whole leaves.
Note: This recipe serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish. Simply cut squash halves before serving to serve as a side dish.
Nutritional Data for Vandal Traditions Harvest Squash (per serving)
Total fat 12.3 g; saturated fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total carbohydrate 111 g
Dietary fiber 14.3 g
Total sugars 8.7 g
Protein 13 g
Calcium 130 mg
Iron 4 mg
Potassium 1136 mg
Roasted Garlic Squash-Stuffed Skins
From the kitchen of Shanell Mannel and Kelsey Kolsky
Starting with an Idaho-inspired holiday staple, the potato, we have designed a familiar favorite with a tasty twist. By adding a garlic and thyme-infused roasted butternut squash stuffing to our potato skin, we have created a more nutritious dish with that comfort-food feel.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Merlot by Indian Creek Winery or Albarino by Clearwater Canyon Cellars (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 48
Serving Size - 1 potato skin
Ingredients for Roasted Garlic Squash-Stuffed Skins
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2T + 1 t extra virgin olive oil
- 2.5 lb. baby red potatoes
- 6 large cloves of garlic (peeled)
- 1 1⁄2 t dried thyme leaves
- 1⁄4 t ground black pepper
- Fresh thyme for garnish (optional)
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash and dry all vegetables.
STEP 2 Remove stem of butternut squash by using a large knife to cut approximately 1” below stem. Cut squash in half lengthwise and discard seeds, being sure to remove all stringy bits.
STEP 3 Coat squash with 1 T of olive oil by rubbing it across all surfaces with hands. Place cut-side up on large sheet pan and sprinkle with 1⁄4 t salt and 1⁄8 t pepper. Set aside.
STEP 4 Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and place into large bowl. Add peeled garlic cloves, 1 T of olive oil, 1⁄4 t of salt, and 1⁄8 t of pepper. Stir or toss to coat potatoes evenly.
STEP 5 Arrange garlic and potatoes, cut side down, on sheet pan with squash.
STEP 6 Place vegetables in oven for 25 mins to roast. At 25 mins, remove potatoes to a separate sheet pan and set aside. Return squash to oven for an additional 30 min or until flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.
STEP 7 Transfer garlic to cutting board. Mince and set aside.
STEP 8 To prepare potato skins: Use a melon-baller or small spoon to remove most of potato flesh, being sure to leave a rim thick enough to support the shape, and being careful not to scoop through bottom. Place potato skins on pan face up and cover with tin foil.
STEP 9 When squash has finished roasting, remove from oven. Place pan of potatoes back into oven for 10 min while preparing filling.
STEP 10 To prepare squash filling: Using a sturdy spoon, scoop flesh of squash into a large saucepan over low heat. Discard squash skin. Using a fork or masher, smash squash until it is a smooth consistency similar to mashed potatoes.
STEP 11 Add minced garlic, thyme, 1 t olive oil and 1⁄8 t salt to squash and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat.
STEP 12 Using a small spoon or piping bag, generously stuff squash mixture into potato skins. Garnish with fresh thyme if desired. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Data for Roasted Garlic Squash-Stuffed Skins (per serving)
- Calories 45g
- Total fat 2g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 33mg
- Total carbohydrate 7g
- Protein 1g
- Fiber 1g
From the kitchen of Amy Finney and Lynnette Gannon
The sausage pasty offers the perfect combination of meat and potatoes in a flaky crust that will fill you up during the cold Vandal months. This tasty appetizer will be the hit of any holiday gathering with its unique sausage flavor.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Rick’s Red by Basalt Cellars (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 18
Serving Size - 1 pasty
Ingredients for Sausage Pasty
- 2 pre-made packaged pie crust, room temperature (4 pie crusts)
- 2 cups Idaho potatoes, peeled, finely chopped (approximately 2 potatoes)
- 1⁄2 cup white onion, diced
- 2 Tablespoon butter, divided; use remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon to butter crust
- 1 package (16 ounce) Johnsonville Italian Ground Sausage- Mild
- Salt and pepper, to taste
STEP 1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP 2 Place pie crust on counter to take the chill off, making it easier to work with.
STEP 3 In a pot, bring water to a boil, place potatoes in and cook until crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain potatoes and then add back to pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
STEP 4 Melt 1⁄2 tablespoon butter in saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until soft and translucent. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
STEP 5 In same saucepan, brown sausage over medium heat, breaking up mixture as it cooks. Drain excess fat.
STEP 6 Add onions and sausage to potatoes. Mix thoroughly.
STEP 7 Using a rolling pin, roll out 1 pie crust, about 2mm thick. Take a bowl (cereal-size) approximately 51⁄2 inches in diameter and place on pie crust. Position around the pie crust to get 4, 5.5 inch rounds. Use a knife to cut around the bowl. Take remaining pie crust and form a ball, roll out to 2mm thick and cut 1 more round. Scoop 1⁄4 cup mixture in center of each round, fold round over to resemble a half circle. Using a fork, firmly press edges together. Use a basting brush to moisten edges with water. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Step 8 Repeat step #7 for the remaining pie crust.
Step 9 Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Using a knife, smear
remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon of butter on top of each Pasty. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to cool, and then serve.
Note: The amount of servings will vary depending on the size of the bowl used to cut rounds.
Nutritional Data for Sausage Pasty (per serving)
Calories 257 g
Total fat 16.2 g
Cholesterol 25.6 mg
Sodium 392.9 mg
Total carbohydrate 24.2 g
Protein 5.6 g
Vandal Gold Beef Curry Stew
From the kitchen of Jordan Burgess and Bin Liang
For our recipe, we wanted to blend American and Eastern Asian cuisine to create a “Simple Comfort Food.” Beef stew is a common American comfort food during the holiday season and the addition of apples and curry give it a broader range of flavors and textures and allowed us to give a common American holiday comfort food an Asian twist. The bright gold colors of the stew and the “I” for Idaho bring Vandal pride to your holiday table.
Suggested Wine Pairing: White Iris (Gewurztraminer) by Indian Creek Winery; or Viognier by Basalt Cellars (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 8
Serving Size - 1 cup
Ingredients for Vandal Gold Beef Curry Stew
- 2 kabocha or buttercup squash
- 1.5 pounds beef chuck thick cut top round
- 1 (92 gram) package S&B Golden Curry (Mild)
- 2 medium sized gala apples
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
NOTE In addition to listed ingredients, you will need 1200 ml of water and salt and pepper, if desired. For vegetarians, use one (16 ounce) package of extra firm tofu to substitute for beef. This recipe will create 2 squash bowls for serving. If you desire a squash bowl for each guest, simply repeat Step 1 for the number of squash bowls you desire. For an extra creamy texture, you can add a small can of unsweetened coconut milk.
STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the top off of the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
STEP 2 Cut 6 slices of beef (to make the shape of an “I”), wrap up and place into the refrigerator for later. Cut the rest of the beef into one-inch cubes. Put the cubes into a pot and cover with water. Heat the water on high heat until boiling. Boil the beef until it is gray in appearance. Drain out all water and rinse the gray beef with fresh cold water.
STEP 3 In a clean pot, add 1200 ml of water and heat to almost boiling. Add the boiled beef, after the water is boiling and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
STEP 4 Cut the apples into 1-inch cubes and add them into the pot with the beef. Continue to simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
STEP 5 Take the squash out of the oven. Scrape some of the cooked flesh from the rind; be careful not to pierce the rind of the squash. Take the scraped-out flesh and place it in a blender or food processor. Blend the squash until it forms a thick liquid. Add the pureed squash to the stew and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat for 5 more minutes.
STEP 6 Turn off the heat on the stove and add the curry. Stir evenly to break up all chunks of curry. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Make sure the curry is combined well and break up any chunks. Keep stirring. Be careful as the bottom scalds easily after adding the curry. Pour the beef curry into each squash rind.
STEP 7 Take the 6 beef slices from the refrigerator. In a pan, heat up the canola oil on medium heat. Add the beef and pan-sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the beef is slightly brown on each side. Add salt and pepper as desired. Put the pan-seared beef slices on top of the beef curry in the squash bowls to make an “I” shape. GO VANDALS!
Nutritional Data for Vandal Gold Beef Curry Stew (per serving)
Calories 382 calories
Total fat 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat
Cholesterol 48 mg
Total carbohydrate 33.5 g
Protein 24 g
Dietary fiber 9 m
Sugar 5 g
Vandal Peach Bowl
From the kitchen of Peyton Goodman and Anna Humphrey
Here at the University of Idaho, we pride ourselves on the integrity and resilience of our students especially when faced with hardships like we’ve experienced this past year. Through all the adversity, we remain brave and bold, but most importantly we reach out to support our fellow Vandals. Comfort, sweet kindness - we all need it from time to time. We offer an easy five-ingredient dessert to snack on and help offer a bit of this comfort. Cuddle up with your gooey dessert bowl as the buttery, pecan, brown sugar oatmeal melts in your mouth and the sweet peach gives you a reminder of our bold character. We want to remind our Vandals during this holiday season to remain supportive and benevolent as winter approaches. So, remember, Vandal On… like a peach!
Suggested Wine Pairing: Light sparkling Moscato (www.vandalsuncorked.com)
Total Servings - 6
Serving Size - 1/2 a peach
Ingredients for Vandal Peach Bowl
- 3 fresh, small peaches
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup (1 pkg.) maple and brown sugar oatmeal
- 1⁄4 cup crushed pecans
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
STEP 1 Pre heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP 2 Wash peaches and cut in half.
STEP 3 Pit the peaches and spoon out a little bit of the middle. Leave about 1⁄2 inch of peach to make room for filling.
STEP 4 In a small bowl, mix butter oatmeal, pecans and pumpkin pie spice together.
STEP 5 Spoon the filling into the hollowed peach and sprinkle with a bit extra pumpkin pie spice, if desired.
STEP 6 Bake peaches for 25-30 minutes or until soft.
STEP 7 Serve warm or cooled. Top with ice cream, heavy cream or Greek yogurt, if desired.
Nutritional Data for Vandal Peach Bowl (per serving)
Total fat 27.8g (sat. fat 4.9g)
Cholesterol 10 mg
Total carbohydrate 17.7g
Dietary fiber 5.2g
Total sugars 10.5g
Vitamin D 3mcg