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Culture Life Reinvent your holiday meals using one simple ingredient

Reinvent your holiday meals using one simple ingredient

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(BPT) – The holiday season is upon us, bringing opportunities to whip up delicious, crowd-pleasing dishes for all occasions, from party appetizers to a family dinner spread. This year, make your celebrations the best yet with fresh takes on your favorite festive recipes.

While pecan pie may be a staple of your holiday feast, American Pecans can go far beyond the pie. Naturally sweet, buttery and crunchy, The Original Supernut™ has a place in every course and is the multi-tasking must-have ingredient this holiday season. Adding a bag of pecans to your shopping list amps up the flavor of your most beloved dishes — whether as a textured crumble atop macaroni and cheese or making mashed potatoes more robust.

Of course, no holiday table is complete without a signature slice of pecan pie — and as the only major tree nut native to North America, pecans are the most American way to end your celebration. To further spread the holiday cheer, purchasing and cooking with American Pecans supports American grower and sheller families.

These recipes are courtesy of sisters Emily and Melissa Elsen, owners and founders of Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie bakery in Brooklyn. Discover more holiday recipes at AmericanPecan.com/ThanksEverything.

Mac and Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes

6 to 8 servings


1/2 cup raw pecan pieces

8 ounces cavatappi pasta

1 tablespoon butter

8-ounce block of cheddar cheese

15 ounces part skim ricotta cheese

4 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 to 4 tablespoons pasta cooking water


  1. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook cavatappi in salted boiling water. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to cooking pot and stir in butter.
  3. While pasta is cooking, shred cheddar cheese on a box grater.
  4. Using a food processor, combine 1/4 cup of shredded cheese with pecans. Process until a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
  5. Add remaining cheddar cheese, ricotta, sour cream, salt and pepper to the warm pasta. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add egg, stir. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons pasta water to loosen mixture, stir until smooth.
  6. Pour into a buttered 9-inch square or round casserole dish and top evenly with pecan/cheddar topping.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Roasted Veggies and Potato Mash with Toasted Pecans

PREP TIME: 45 minutes

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

8 servings


Roasted Veggies

3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 small red onion, cut into 1/4 wedges

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Potato Mash

2 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon cream

Ground black pepper to taste

2 eggs

Toasted Pecan Topping

1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and finely minced

1/2 cup chopped parsley or herb of your choice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium sized pot, combine potatoes with salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cook potatoes until they are tender and easily break apart.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped vegetables, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Toss to evenly coat the vegetables.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment and pour the vegetables onto the sheet. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Gently stir and roast another 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. While vegetables are roasting, drain cooked potatoes from the water, place in a large mixing bowl and add butter, 1 teaspoon salt, cream and black pepper to taste. Using a potato masher or heavy duty whisk (for an extra smooth mash, use a stand mixer or a food processor), mash or whip the potatoes until smooth. Add 2 eggs and continue whipping until fully combined.
  6. Butter a 9-inch casserole or baking dish. Pour the mashed potato mixture into the dish. Evenly distribute the roasted vegetables on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are set.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Before serving, top with chopped herbs and pecans.


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