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12 Dishes to Celebrate the Yummiest Season of the Year

Pumpkin Pie. Photo Credit: Sazón Boricua.

Pumpkin Pie. Photo Credit: Sazón Boricua.

As we welcomed the second week of October and started to listen to my childrens’ requests for costumes, treats, and Halloween decorations, it hit me: It’s that time of the year again! Yes, the leaves are changing color and the smell of spices and pumpkin tells us fall is here. The way I see it, it is never too soon to start planning our holiday menu to celebrate in style with our family and friends.

As moms, we are more often than not so busy with so many other things that planning ahead for the holidays is not possible. This then results in a lot of stress during a season when we are supposed to be sharing the joy and unwinding while sipping a nice cup of ginger tea. That’s why I have been on a mission to find recipes that I like to make to celebrate this year’s season; and of course, they have to be hassle-free.

I see this season as a great opportunity to not only share traditional dishes, but also to be adventurous and try new things. They way I do it is by separating the main events and doing a mix of new and traditional dishes my family can enjoy. Another important element is to have dishes within our menu that are easy to make, so the kids can join in and feel part of the preparations as much as the celebrations.

The holidays give us a unique opportunity to create special memories for our children and strengthen our family bonds as we celebrate, as well as to pass our traditions from one generation to the next. Having your kids involved in the process of preparing meals and decorating makes it a much more memorable time for them and yourself.

I hope you like these recipes as much as I do, and this roundup can help you once you start planning for the upcoming weeks. It might seem it’s too early in the game, but I am sure you’ll be trick or treating sooner than you probably expected.

As usual, I chose recipes from the Caribbean and added a few international staples made with a different touch.

Let the holiday excitement begin!

  • Pumpkin Fritters ~ Barriguitas de Vieja 1 of 12
    Pumpkin Fritters

    Since the first stop of the season is Halloween, I wanted to provide a few recipes that use pumpkin as a main ingredient. I was pleased to find this easy-to-make recipe for pumkin frittersCalled barriguitas de vieja (old-lady's belly) in Puerto Rico, they are also known as frituras de calabaza in other Latin American countries. This sweet treat can be served as a snack on Halloween or any other winter day.

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Pumpkin Crème Brûlée de Calabaza 2 of 12
    Creme Brulee

    Who doesn't love crème brûlée? This was a pleasantly surprising find, since I had never heard of this dessert being made out of pumpkin. It is an awesome treat for Halloween, so the adults in the house can enjoy the celebration as much as the little ones. Definitely a must-try!

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Pumpkin Pie ~ Pie de Calabaza 3 of 12
    Pumpkin-Pie

    How can we have an American celebration without this staple? Pies are so awesome for any occasion, and October calls us to make them with pumpkin. I'm no expert baker, and I found this recipe to be very easy to follow. It's all about pumpkin, baking, and a spooky October.

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Spiked Eggnog ~ Ponche de Almendra 4 of 12
    Ponche

    This is one of my favorite recipes; there is no holiday season without ponche. I remember being a kid and trying this delicious beverage for the first time. "Just a sip," I begged my dad. Fast-forward into adulthood, and this is something that is never missing from my table during Nochebuena (Christmas Eve). This is an awesome recipe with a twist, as I have never tried the Almond Ponche with Amaretto instead of rum. I'm making this one for sure this year. Go check it out!

    Get the recipe: HungryFoodLove

  • Quipe, Kipe, Kibbeh 5 of 12
    Quipe

    Even though the origin of this dish is in the Middle Eastern, it has become a Dominican staple. I cannot remember a party of any kind that did not served quipes as a part of the hors d'oeuvres. During the holidays, quipes are as common as pasteles for Dominicans. I love absolutely everything about these. They are crunchy and tasty, and you can make them ahead of time and reheat. If you have never tried them, this is your chance. Go for it!

    Get the recipe: HungryFoodLove

  • Green Bananas in Marinade ~ Guineos en Escabeche 6 of 12
    Bananas in Marinade

    In the Caribbean, we also eat bananas before they are ripe. They are versatile, low calorie, and a great side when you are cooking beef, pork, chicken, or anything you like. It is an inexpensive way to serve something different during your Christmas dinner. You just need to peel, boil, marinate, and enjoy!

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Garlic Yucca ~ Yuca al Ajillo 7 of 12
    Yuca al Ajillo

    Another delicious accompaniment is yucca; they are as simple to prepared as green bananas but have a bit more flavor to them. With the convenience of packaged goods, you can find yucca in the frozen area of the supermarket so you don't even have to peel them. The garlic seasoning gives this dish a great kick and goes along fabulously with roasted pork.

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Roasted Pork ~ Cerdo Horneado 8 of 12
    Roasted Pork

    I'm convinced that roasting pork is an art form. As tasty as this meat is, there is more to roasting a huge piece of pork to perfection than what one might think. I've tried several recipes, and each year I challenge myself to get that soft and tasty pork the whole family is expecting. With this picture, I think we can all agree that this one is pretty close to a dream roast. Guess what recipe I'll be making this year?

    Get the recipe: HungryFoodLove

  • Pigeon Peas Rice ~ Arroz con Gandules 9 of 12
    Arroz con Gandules

    Both Puerto Ricans and Dominicans love one of the quintessential Caribbean dishes for parties and all things celebration: arroz con gandules. Here the Puerto Rican version of the dish provides all of those elements you need to make a great version and impress the whole family — yes, even your very picky aunt who is coming from la isla. Try it. Make it your own.

    Get the recipe: Sazón Boricua

  • Dominican Empanadas ~ Pastelitos 10 of 12
    Pastelitos

    You are probably familiar with empanadas since there are several versions of them throughout all Latin America. This one is pastelitos dominicanos, a softer, fluffier version of empanadas. I like to prepare them in large quantities, since they can be frozen and fried at a later day; it saves you a lot of time to prepare your next event.

    Get the recipe: HungryFoodLove

  • Lentils Croquettes ~ Croquetas de Lentejas 11 of 12
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    Another awesome side dish is lentils croquette — ideal for those guests who don't like to eat meat, but also yummy enough to accompany any meat feast. They are very easy to make, nutritious, and so delicious, you will not be able to stop eating them. This is my mother's recipe, and every time she makes it, we devour them on the spot. A great add to your table and most likely a novelty for many. Be ready to impress and get great reviews.

    Get the recipe: Dania Santana

  • Dominican Tamales ~ Pasteles en Hoja 12 of 12
    Dominican Pasteles

    I saved this one for last because it's the one thing you'll find at all dinner tables in Dominican households. I grew up making pasteles with my grandmother, who used to make them to sell. I love the whole culture of them, and can't wait until my kids are older so we make them as a family to create our own tradition. This recipe is great, very detailed, and includes step-by-step pictures. Enjoy!

    Get the recipe: HungryFoodLove 

     

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