Favorite Holiday Recipes From Yesteryear

Cooking is a treasured pastime that brings together family, friends, and loved ones -- often from different generations. Beloved dishes, time-honored cooking traditions, and even secret family recipes are shared openly within those four kitchen walls. For many of us, our mothers and grandmothers embraced the opportunity to prepare a home-cooked meal that the entire family would share.

Time spent preparing a meal, especially around the holidays, creates an ideal bonding time, particularly if friends and loved ones are visiting. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and the winter holidays right on its heels, now is the perfect time to dig into to your family recipe box, revive a family favorite from years past, and learn a few tricks of the trade from generations past.

Not sure what to make this holiday season? Ask your parents or grandparents for their favorite recipes or check out a few of these favorites from yesteryear:

Apple Cider Punch
Encourage pre-Thanksgiving meal conversation by serving a cocktail with appetizers, like this apple cider punch recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Ingredients
- 6 cups apple cider
- 2 cups orange juice, cranberry-raspberry juice, or orange-mango juice
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 bottle sparking white grape juice or sparkling wine

Directions
In punch bowl or large pitcher, combine apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice. Slowly add sparkling white grape juice or sparkling wine. Serve immediately. Makes 11 1/2-cups (about 15, 6-ounce servings).

Fireman's Beans
If you are looking for a comfort meal, look no further than this vintage recipe from RecipeCurio.com. A hearty, easy recipe that can serve as a main or side dish this holiday season, Fireman's Beans are sure to please a crowd.

Ingredients
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ green pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 large can baked beans (21-28 ounces)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 12-ounce jar barbecue sauce
- 1 tube of biscuits

Directions
Mix together all ingredients except biscuits. Put in a large baking dish and bake at 350* for an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven. Arrange the biscuits on top. Return to oven for 20 minutes more, until the biscuits are nicely browned.

Ultimate "Sweet" Potatoes
David Thornton, a community manager at Palmer Hills, a Holiday Retirement community in Bettendorf, Iowa, shares his recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. As David says, "a little sweet, but tasty!"

Ingredients
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled
- 1 quart apple sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup broad sugar
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- ¼ cup Pinot Grigio

Directions
Mix apple sauce with sugar, brown sugar, orange juice and wine. Pour over sweet potatoes or yams and cook at 300* for 45-60 minutes.

Whether you choose to bake a pumpkin pie recipe that has been in your family for generations or try a new twist on an old tradition, don't forget the most important part of the holidays -- spending time with friends and family.

At Holiday Retirement communities, residents always enjoy delicious and nutritious meals together with their friends and members of their community. See what senior living communities near you are enjoying in the dining room.

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