Spyglass Family Holiday Recipes 

Elisa D. 
By Isabella W. & Jackie Y. 
December 17, 2018

Every year, families come together to celebrate the holiday season with their own traditions. This year, the Spyglass team has compiled a list of recipes that we want to share with the Westridge community. From our family to yours, we hope you enjoy.


McKenna B.

The Blackshire Family’s Gumbo Recipe


Gumbo is a stew popular in Louisiana and the official state cuisine. It’s also fundamental to a lot of African-American families. This specific recipe is something my dad makes at this time of year to honor his grandmother who grew up in Slidell, Louisiana.



*modify proportions to best suit what you want

2 pounds (10-13) chicken wings

2 pounds (1.5-2 links) either mild or spicy beef sausage, cut into 1-inch slices

– recommended brand is Bar M

2 packages dried shrimp

2 – 4 pounds peeled, deveined, medium-sized shrimp

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ - 1 cup white flour

2 packages gumbo filet

2 packages onion soup

1 pound cooked crab legs, cut into 2-inch slices (and cut long ways in order to make easier to eat)

*optional: white rice

*you will also need a stock pot and a skillet



  1. Start with a large stock pot on medium-high heat.

  2. Line the bottom of the pot with the chicken wings.

  3. On the top of the chicken, line the sausage.

  4. On top of the sausage, pour the dried shrimp evenly throughout the pot.

  5. On top of the sausage (and dried shrimp), line the shrimp.

  6. Fill the pot with water until the sausage is covered.

  7. Bring the pot to a boil.

  8. Once white foam appears at the top of the water, start the roux.

  9. In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of oil.

  10. Add ½ cup of flour, and stir the flour until it is brown.

          *the browner the flour, the clearer the gumbo broth will be

  1. Add the roux to the stock pot (be prepared for it to boil)

  2. Stir in two packages of gumbo fillet.

  3. Stir in two packages of onion soup.

  4. Starting at the bottom, stir the pot well for about a minute.

  5. On top, line the crab legs.

  6. Let the gumbo cook for 30 minutes or until the broth is clear!


McKenna B.

The Hathout Family’s Mac and Cheese with Béchamel Recipe


This is an Egyptian version of mac and cheese. My grandmother would make it for my mom on her birthday when she was young because it was my mom’s favorite dish. My mom and I have found it’s the perfect food for this time of year. Its gooey richness makes it perfect for winter, even in California.



2 16-ounce boxes penne pasta

2 lbs ground turkey (can be beef)

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

8 cups cold whole milk

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

salt (to taste)

white pepper (to taste)

black pepper (to taste)



  1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the box.

  2. Sauté the onion in a little oil over medium-high heat until soft.

  3. Add garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.

  4. Add the ground turkey and brown it.

  5. Drain off the fat.

  6. Return it to the stove.

  7. Add the parsley, thyme, and cinnamon until combined.

  8. Stir in the can of tomato sauce and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

  9. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

  10. Once it has cooled stir in the beaten egg.

  11. Set aside.


Caroline P.

Grandma Peacore’s Gingerbread Men


Every year, the week of Christmas, my family makes these gingerbread men. They are crunchy and delicious! My entire family views it as the best gingerbread cookie recipe ever. My grandmother has had this recipe her whole life and passed it to my parents when they got married. Even when we are not with extended family over the holidays, it is fun to make the cookies and call Grandma to remind her that we're thinking of her. We recommend using dried cranberries for the buttons, eyes, and mouth on the gingerbread people.  It's wonderful!



1 cup butter

1 large egg

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

1 ½ cups sugar

4 teaspoons orange rind

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon salt



  1. Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients.

  2. Wrap in plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

  3. After, take out, cover counter in flour, then roll dough to ¼ inch thickness.

  4. Shape into gingerbread figures, then bake 375 for 8-10 min.


Emily S.

Grandma Stevenson’s Favorite Christmas Nut Fruit Cookies


My grandma used to make this cookie recipe every year at Christmas and send batches to all of her kids. We always looked forward to receiving the cookies each year, and it never feels like the holidays without those cookies. My mom and I still keep up the tradition of making them every year.



½ cup shortening

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 ¾ cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup thick buttermilk (just a little vinegar mixed in with whole milk will make buttermilk)

16 oz container candied fruit

¾ cup walnut pieces




  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cream shortening. Add brown sugar gradually and cream well. Add beaten egg.

  3. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture with sour milk. Add fruit and nuts.

  4. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.

  5. Bake 10 to 13 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.



Sophia H

Grandma Ethel’s Oatmeal Cookie Recipe


My cousins all love using my Grandma Ethel’s old oatmeal cookie recipe. These cookies are a warm reminder of ’70s Christmases and family gatherings.



1 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 beaten eggs

3 cups of quick cooking oatmeal

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate chips (as desired)



  1. Cream shortening, add sugar, eggs.

  2. Add everything except for oatmeal and mix.

  3. Then add the oatmeal and mix.

  4. Bake for 10 mins at 375 degrees.


Caroline L.

Steve’s Extra Buttery Mashed-Potatoes


This recipe is a classic and one that our family uses every Thanksgiving. We usually spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family because they live closer to us in San Francisco, but even when we don’t, we always use this simple mashed potato recipe because the smooth texture is perfect with turkey.



4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2” pieces

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for serving

1 ½ cups whole milk

3 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for serving

Freshly ground black pepper

Parsley for serving



  1. Put peeled and cut potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover by around 1”. Add salt and boil. Reduce the heat and simmer potatoes until tender, but not saturated or crumbly (25 minutes).

  2. Drain potatoes, saving ½ cup leftover water if making potatoes ahead. Return potatoes to pot and set over low heat. Gently stir until dry, 1 minute.

  3. Meanwhile, heat milk, thyme, bay leaves, and ¾ cups butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat.

  4. Pass piping hot potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl (if allowed to cool, potatoes will become gummy).

  5. Remove herbs from warm milk mixture and discard. Gradually add milk mixture to potatoes, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth; season with salt and pepper.

  6. Serve mashed potatoes with butter and parsley if desired.