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75 Saucy, Creamy and Cheesy Italian Christmas Foods

These rich sauces, roasted meats and freshly baked breads and desserts are begging to be on your Christmas dinner table because nothing is more satisfying than Italian Christmas food.

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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
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Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Dinner is easy when I can use ingredients typically found in my fridge and pantry. —Laura Miller, Lake Ann, Michigan
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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Tuscan Grapes and Sausages

Tuscan Grapes and Sausages

This recipe is one of my go-tos when entertaining. It's simple, elegant and you can entertain your guests instead of spending the entire time in the kitchen. It is always a crowd pleaser and everyone always asks for the recipe. The whole pieces of garlic in this dish become so sweet, a lovely complement to the sweet grapes and spicy sausage. I serve this over rustic hand-mashed red potatoes. —Melissa Zienter, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Chicken Pesto Meatballs

These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa
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Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

This colorful soup is vegetarian-friendly and full of fresh flavors from a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why this cherished recipe was handed down to me by a relative. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Flounder with Shrimp Stuffing

Flounder with Shrimp Stuffing

The delicious shrimp-herb stuffing makes this fish recipe special enough for company. But it really isn’t hard to make, and since our family enjoys fish, we eat it often. —Marie Forte, Raritan, New Jersey
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Homemade Alfredo Sauce

When I found out I had celiac disease and couldn't have fettuccine Alfredo, I was determined to figure out a way to re-create it. I mix this homemade alfredo sauce with gluten-free multigrain pasta, but you can use any style of pasta. —Jackie Charlesworth Stiff, Frederick, Colorado
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Contest-Winning Chicken Cacciatore

My husband and I own and operate a busy farm. There are days when there's just no time left for cooking! It's really nice to be able to come into the house at night and smell this wonderful slow cooker chicken cacciatore. —Aggie Arnold-Norman, Liberty, Pennsylvania
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Mom's Italian Bread

I think Mom used to bake at least four of these tender loaves at once, and they never lasted long. She served the bread with every Italian meal. I love it toasted, too. —Linda Harrington, Windham, New Hampshire
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Italian Herb-Crusted Pork Loin

I like to change things up during the holidays with pork loin recipes that incorporate my favorite herbs and veggies. This showpiece dish really dazzles my family. —Kim Palmer, Kingston, Georgia
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Creamy Italian Chicken

Creamy Italian Chicken

Italian salad dressing mix is like a secret weapon for adding flavor to this creamy chicken dish. Served over rice or pasta, this Italian dressing chicken is rich, delicious and special enough for company. —Maura McGee, Tallahassee, Florida
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Cherry Tomato Salad

This recipe evolved from a need to use the bumper crops of delicious cherry tomatoes we grow. It's one of my favorite cherry tomato recipes, especially at cookouts. —Sally Sibley, St. Augustine, Florida
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Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Of all the Italian cookie recipes I make, this is my favorite. These sprinkle cookies take some time, but, believe me, they are well worth it! My husband and I used to operate an Italian American restaurant, and this recipe goes back generations. —Gloria Cracchiolo, Newburgh, New York
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Spinach Chicken Manicotti

Pepper and nutmeg spice up the rich sauce in this hearty pasta dish. I made this for my boyfriend on our first Valentine’s Day. It was a big success—now we're married! —Amy Luce, Dallas, Texas
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Spicy Shrimp & Penne Pasta

I created this creamy pasta dish when I needed to use up some marinara. Red pepper flakes give it a little heat, which my family loves. It's super versatile, so try it with chicken, or simply stir in some fresh basil, too. —Lorri Stout, Gaithersburg, Maryland
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Tuscan Sausage & Bean Dip

This is a spinoff of a Mexican dip I had once. The original was wicked good, but since I was going through an "I’m-so-over-Mexican-dip" phase, I decided to switch it up. Take it to a party—I'll bet you no one else will bring anything like it! —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina
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Cherry Tomato & Basil Focaccia

When I had 80 pounds of tomatoes, I got creative incorporating them into meals. Sometimes I slice this loaf into squares to make sandwiches with fresh mozzarella cheese and deli meats. —Katie Ferrier, Houston, Texas
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Italian Pasta Bake

I love to make this pasta bake whenever I need to bring a dish to pass. Fresh tomatoes add a nice touch that's missing from most other meat, pasta and tomato casseroles.—Karla Johnson, East Helena, Montana
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Spicy Seafood Stew

The hardest part of this quick and easy recipe is peeling and dicing the potatoes—and you can even do that the night before. Just place the potatoes in water and store them in the refrigerator overnight to speed up assembly the next day. —Bonnie Marlow, Ottoville, Ohio
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Bacon and Fontina Stuffed Mushrooms

What's better than lots of bacon and cheese in a mushroom cap? Yum! They'll be a hit with your guests, too. —Tammy Rex, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania
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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells

This is my own personal recipe. I'm very proud of it because I am still a beginner cook and it was the first recipe I created. You can adjust it to your liking by doubling the spinach or adding some meat. —Laci Hooten, McKinney, Texas
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Herbed Bread Twists

A blend of herbs and a special shape dress up ordinary frozen bread dough in my unbelievably easy recipe. —Deb Stapert, Comstock Park, Michigan
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Vegetable-Stuffed Flank Steak

This colorful beef dish was always a favorite request for birthday dinners while I was growing up. Savory, special and stuffed full of vegetables, it's as tender as the memories it still brings back every time I make it. —Julie Etzel, Tualatin, Oregon
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Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—like these nutty fig ones—are a big deal. I'm so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Tuna Steak on Fettuccine

For something new to do with tuna, I suggest this tangy dish. Although I prefer the marinade on tuna or mahi mahi, it's scrumptious on any fish, grilled, baked or broiled. —Caren Stearns, Austin, Texas
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White Bean Soup with Escarole

This escarole and bean soup has become a favorite because it uses kitchen staples, it's packed with healthy ingredients and is a cinch to prepare. If I can't find escarole, I sub fresh spinach at the very end of cooking. —Gina Samokar, North Haven, Connecticut
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Penne alla Vodka

This easy and impressive pasta is always on the menu when my husband and I have new friends over for dinner. Years later, they've asked me to make this Penne alla Vodka recipe again. —Cara Langer, Overland Park, Kansas
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Holiday Biscotti

A twice-baked Italian cookie, biscotti makes a wonderful "dunker." A pretty way to present a batch is on a seasonal plate arranged in a wagon-wheel fashion. —Libia Foglesong, San Bruno, California
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Spinach-Basil Lasagna

In the kitchen, my husband and I like to use classic ingredients in new ways. I came up with this lasagna one day and haven't made another type since. We love it! —Charlotte Gehle, Brownstown, Michigan
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Parmesan Asparagus

Nothing could be more simple than this side dish. Since it has just four ingredients, I assemble it in no time, then pop it into the oven for about 15 minutes. It turns out perfect every time. —Mary Ann Marino, West Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

Chicken topped with melting Gorgonzola is quick enough for weeknight cooking but also elegant enough for a dinner party. We live near the Faribault, MN, caves that are used to age the lovely AmaBlu Gorgonzola cheese, so this is a favorite for us. —Jill Anderson, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
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Italian Mushrooms

Only four ingredients create a rich and flavorful side dish that we love to eat with beef and mashed potatoes. —Kim Reichert, St. Paul, Minnesota
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Rosemary Chicken with Spinach & Beans

With two young boys constantly on-the-go, I’m always looking for ways to simplify meals. This recipe uses just one skillet, making it a cinch to prepare dinner for a hungry family in half an hour. —Sara Richardson, Littleton, Colorado
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Artichoke Caprese Platter

I dressed up the classic Italian trio of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with marinated artichokes. It looks so yummy on a pretty platter set out on a buffet. Using fresh mozzarella is the key to its great taste. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce

My father made up this sweet, flavorful recipe for my mother when he took over the cooking. We serve it with whole wheat pasta or brown rice. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Italian Sausage Bruschetta

Sometimes I garnish each slice of this bruschetta with a sprig of fresh basil. —Teresa Ralston, New Albany, Ohio
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Spicy Sausage Soup with Tortellini

Spicy Sausage Soup with Tortellini

This soup is such a family treasure, both my daughters asked for the recipe when they moved out on their own. I cook the tortellini separately, but you can let it plump up in the soup broth, too. —Cynthia Krakowiak, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
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Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan

Try this simple arugula salad recipe for a fresh side the whole family will love. It combines fresh peppery greens with tasty golden raisins, crunchy almonds and shaved parmesan. —Nicole Rash, Boise, Idaho
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Pasta Fagioli al Forno

The name of this Italian-inspired dish means "baked pasta with beans." But my busy family translates it as "super satisfying dinner." —Cindy Preller, Grayslake, Illinois
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Italian Christmas Cookies

A single batch of these ricotta cheese cookies is never enough. I usually make one to give away and two more to keep at home. The ricotta cheese makes the morsels extra moist. —Doris Marshall, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
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Saucy Italian Roast

This tender roast is one of my favorite set-and-forget meals. I thicken the juices with a little flour and add ketchup, then serve the sauce and beef slices over pasta. —Jan Roat, Red Lodge, Montana
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Creamy Sausage-Mushroom Rigatoni

In Rome, we dined near the Pantheon. The amazing restaurant is now history, but its memory lives on in this tasty pasta with mushrooms and sausage. —Barbara Roozrokh, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Seafood Soup

Salmon, shrimp and loads of chopped veggies make this chowder a hearty, herby meal-in-a-bowl. It's just the perfect homemade fish soup. —Valerie Bradley, Beaverton, Oregon
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White Seafood Lasagna

We make lasagna with shrimp and scallops as part of the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. Every bite delivers a tasty “jewel” from the sea. —Joe Colamonico, North Charleston, South Carolina
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Italian Holiday Cookies

Italian Holiday Cookies

Many of our holiday traditions center around the foods my mother made while I was growing up. These cookies, which we called "Strufoli", bring back wonderful memories. —Sue Seymour, Valatie, New York
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Stamp-of-Approval Spaghetti Sauce

My father is very opinionated, especially about food. This recipe received his almost unreachable stamp of approval. I have yet to hear a disagreement from anyone who has tried it! —Melissa Taylor, Higley, Arizona
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Italian Chopped Salad with Chicken

Don’t let the ingredient list fool you—this summery chicken salad is so simple! Prepare it in the morning; let it chill all day; and then toss with the dressing right before you serve it. For another spin, I sometimes add fresh grilled corn. —Daniel Anderson, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Pizzelle

This recipe was adapted from one that my Italian-born mother and grandmother followed. They used old irons on a gas stove, but now we have the convenience of electric pizzelle irons. These delectable cookies are still a traditional treat in our family. —Elizabeth Schwartz, Trevorton, Pennsylvania
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Roasted Eggplant Spread

Black pepper and garlic perk up this out-of-the-ordinary spread that hits the spot on a crisp cracker or toasted bread slice. —Barbara McCalley, Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
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Winter Panzanella with Apple Dressing

Panzanella is my favorite salad, but made with tomatoes. Since good tomatoes are hard to find in the winter, I created this winter version, using roasted butternut squash, apple and cranberries.—Julie Merriman, Cold Brook, New York
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Tuscan Artichoke & Spinach Strudel

Strudels originated in Austria and often boast sweet flavors. This one is savory with Tuscan influences of tomatoes, mushrooms and pesto. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Pear & Turkey Sausage Rigatoni

The sweet pear, salty sausage and creamy blue cheese are a wonderful combination in this dish. It tastes just like something you'd get at a great restaurant. —Debby Harden, Williamston, Michigan
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Rigatoni with Sausage & Peas

Rigatoni with Sausage & Peas

With a tomato-y meat sauce and tangy goat cheese, this weeknight wonder is my version of comfort food. You want to have bowl after bowl. —Lizzie Munro, Brooklyn, New York
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Stuffed Asiago-Basil Mushrooms

Even if you don't like mushrooms, you will have to try them again with these pretty appetizers, which taste divine. For a main dish, double the filling and use large portobellos. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Coconut-Macadamia Biscotti

I came up with this recipe after my husband and I returned from our first trip to Hawaii. Dipping these tropical treats in a good cup of coffee brings us right back to the wonderful memories we made there. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia
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Broiled Chicken & Artichokes

My wife and I first made this chicken entree as newlyweds and have been hooked on it ever since, and make it almost weekly. It's so simple and affordable, yet delicious and healthy. Can't beat that. —Chris Koon, Midlothian, Virginia
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Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

These traditional Italian cookies are moist and tender. —Weda Mosellie, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
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Angel Hair with Chicken & Cherries

Nutmeg and cherries are the new "it" pair. It’s the secret something that really makes this angel hair pasta dish. My vegetarian friend likes it just as well without chicken. —Mary Ann Sander, Centralia, Missouri
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Spumoni Slices

My sweet rectangles get their name from the old-fashioned tri-colored ice cream. Our whole family prefers them. —Mary Chupp, Chattanooga, Tennessee
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Shrimp 'n' Spinach Risotto

I enjoy concocting new, healthy recipes and spinach is one of the few vegetables that my husband will eat. My creamy risotto makes a great side dish, but doubles as a meal-in-one as well. —Jennifer Neilsen, Williamston, North Carolina
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Christina's Italian Wedding Soup

I'm big on soups with tiny meatballs and pasta. I double the meatballs, poach them in the broth, remove half and freeze them for another time. —Christina Hitchcock, Madison Township, Pennsylvania
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Ricotta Cheesecake

When I was a nurse, my coworkers and I regularly swapped recipes during lunch breaks. This creamy cheesecake was one of the best I received. —Georgiann Franklin, Canfield, Ohio
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Anise & Wine Cookies

My grandmother did not speak English very well, but she knew the language of great food. These wine cookies are crisp and best eaten after being dunked in even more wine.—Julia Meyers, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs

I’ve been cooking for more than 50 years and this dish is still one that guests ask for frequently. My No. 1 standby slow-cooker meatballs recipe also makes amazing hero sandwiches, and the sauce works for any pasta. —Jane McMillan, Pensacola, Florida
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Sweet Italian Holiday Bread

This is authentic ciambellotto, a sweet loaf my great-grandmother used to bake in Italy. I still use her traditional recipe—the only update I made was for using modern appliances. —Denise Perrin, Vancouver, Washington
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Must-Have Tiramisu

This is the perfect guilt-free version of a classic dessert. My friends even say that they prefer my lighter recipe over other tiramisu.—Ale Gambini, Beverly Hills, California
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Hazelnut Toffee Zuccotto

As a grandmother and great-grandmother, I've always enjoyed cooking and creating recipes. In our home, we love to make Italian food because it's our favorite type of cuisine. Zuccotto, which means "little pumpkin" in Italian, is a traditional Italian dessert.—Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Antipasto Platter

We entertain often, and antipasto is one of our favorite crowd-pleasers. Guests love having their choice of so many delicious nibbles, including pepperoni and cubes of provolone. —Teri Lindquist, Gurnee, Illinois
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Pork Medallions with Brandy Cream Sauce

I adapted this easy, elegant main dish from a recipe my mother-in-law cooked for our family. Cayenne lends a bit of heat to its rich, creamy sauce. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana
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Limoncello Cream Pie

Limoncello Cream Pie

After a big Christmas dinner, we love the cool refreshment of a frozen lemon pie. Limoncello brings a little sophistication to each smooth, creamy slice. —Jessie Grearson-Sapat, Falmouth, Maine
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Christmas Eve Confetti Pasta

This easy Christmas dinner has become a holiday tradition in our home. All the prep is done before we attend Christmas Eve service. On returning, I just boil water and saute. It's so colorful with a tossed salad and garlic bread — and always gets raves! — Ellen Fiore, Ridgewood, New Jersey
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Italian Honey Clusters

My mother made these treats flavored with cinnamon and anise for neighbors, teachers and anyone who stopped by. Make sure the honey doesn’t boil longer than a minute or it could burn.—Sarah Knoblock, Hyde Park, Indiana

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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