Wining & Dining
Holiday Traditions from the Kitchen
12/1/2019 1:00:00 PM

Holiday Traditions

The magic of the holiday season changes over the course of our lives. We transition from kids with sugar plums dancing in our heads to parents handling the "some assembly required” part of Christmas. Gifts, travel, planning, family and office gatherings, white elephants, ugly sweater contests, elves on shelves…it can all become rather stressful.

Some of our stress centers on food and meals we hope will delight our family and friends. It is a challenge to blend tradition, new guests, changing dietary needs, and the latest food trends. 

Add some spice and excitement to a traditional family dish by spinning it with a personalized signature touch. We hear it every year; "Are those Uncle Frank’s sweet potatoes?” Or, "Oh yeah, that is Aunt Fannette’s carrot soufflé.” With some thought, and trial and error, our ‘lil kitchen discoveries can often take us to legendary culinary heights. 

These two recipes are game changers because of ease of execution. More importantly, they are time tested, wickedly awesome, result-getters designed to never disappoint. These are dishes you can make ahead and bring with you to thank your host. They’re also recipes your kids will love to help create. The sooner we show our children the basic moves in the kitchen, the sooner we have sous chefs that understand a prep list. So, let’s grab some ingredients, pots and pans, preheat the oven, and get this holiday party started…and before too long we’ll turn around and it’ll be our names attached to their most precious heirlooms – family recipes! 

Mama Jackson’s Banana Bread


1¾ C flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1/3 C shortening

2/3 C sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 C mashed, overripe banana

½ C chopped walnuts


First, make sure your bananas are properly overripe. If you have some bananas about at that point but you aren’t ready to make bread, you can freeze them until you’re ready.

When it’s go time, preheat oven to 350. 

Sift together flour, baking soda, powder and salt. 

Whip shortening until smooth and creamy. Add in sugar slowly, beating until fluffy. 

Blend in eggs. 

Add flour and bananas alternately, beating in between to keep smooth. 

Fold in nuts. 

Bake in a greased bread pan for an hour and fifteen minutes. 

Cool, cut, and serve.

Mimi’s Chocolate Cream Wafers with Blackberry Port Drizzle


This classic dessert is a family holiday favorite! The chocolate wafers Nabisco makes tend to 

break, so buy extra. You can only use whole wafers. 


Chocolate cookie wafers. You will need enough to make 12 stacks of four cookies each (48 total wafers).

2 quarts heavy cream

2 vanilla pods, sliced length wise, gutted, and insides saved for recipe

1.5 C sugar

Ingredients for blackberry port love:

4 pints blackberries

2 C port

2 C water

1 C sugar


Whip all ingredients until cream is sturdy but soft. The colder everything is the better the process works. 

Put cream in piping bag and refrigerate.

Boil berries in water with sugar for 30 min. 

Puree and pass through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. 

Reduce port by half, cool, and add the berry sauce to form your drizzle.

Final Assembly:

Starting with a cookie on the bottom, alternately layer wafers and cream until four cookies are stacked. Make 12 stacks of four cookies each.

Place in a deep dish or pan and cover with parchment and plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hrs.

When you remove them, put a dollop of cream on top and drizzle blackberry port love. Throw in a port-soaked blackberry as a garnish and it’s life changing!

Chef Chad Jackson is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and has been the head chef at many of Lake Charles finest dining establishments. Now as the culinary brain of The Tailgate Kings, he’s looking to create some unique spins on classic tailgate foods. You can find other TK creations at, or head over to their Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter to get all the updates.

Posted by: Chad Jackson | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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