How to Disney-fy Your Holiday Meals
Okay, you have now Disney-fied your home with holiday-related crafts. I’m sure your place looks wonderful…and very, very Disney. Today, we’re going to talk about something equally important: Food. Let’s eat!
I Am the Cookie Monster
Let me be clear. You are going to need desserts on hand during the holidays. Members of your ohana that you haven’t seen for a while will drop by your home. They’re probably going to stay for a while, too. You need to have snacks on hand that you can offer them. And while I will suggest some other recipes for tasty treats, cookies are the priority. They’re the people’s choice during the holiday season.
You’ll have your pick of Disney cookie designs. I’ll suggest a few. You can choose which ones best fit your family’s dietary concerns…but if you’re eating healthy on Christmas, you’re doing it wrong. And I say that as someone who has worn out about six Fitbits.
- Disney Snowman Cookies – You can prep these festive snowman cookies in about 20 minutes. And I’m sure you’re wondering what makes them Disney-related. Well, that’s simple. These snowmen have mouse ears…and chocolate ones at that! You can also add some M&Ms to their bellies to give them a special oomph.
- Mickey Mouse Gingerbread Cookies – We will discuss something less conventional in just a moment. You want a batch of cookies that will remind everyone of the holidays, though. And that’s gingerbread. You can even buy an official Disney Gingerbread House next year, but that won’t help you right now. Instead, you need to whip up something in the kitchen. I should warn you that the prep time on these is two hours long unless you can get hold of some pre-set gingerbread dough. A lot of grocery stores sell it, but… It’s Christmas week. The laws of supply and demand are at work here. PS: If you want something that will explicitly remind your family of the holidays at Walt Disney World, here’s a recipe for the Grand Floridian’s gingerbread cookies.
- Minnie Mouse Holiday Parfait – Okay, maybe you’ve had enough cookies. Maybe you’re even one of those people who don’t really like cookies. I’m not here to judge you for being such a weirdo. Instead, I’ll offer you this alternative dessert. It does come with some conditions, though. The prep time is extensive at 40-45 minutes. Also, you have to keep this one in the refrigerator. Should guests arrive and ask for a treat, you need to serve it immediately. Otherwise, it will go bad, thereby ruining Christmas and also proving once and for all that cookies are the one true holiday treat. I…may have a cookie addiction.
The Big Meals
Holiday planners tend to think of Christmas as a single meal. That’s a mistake. In reality, guests will nosh on food at least twice on the holiday. Then, they’ll eat leftovers for as long as they can make them last. I weep openly when I run out of my mother’s banana pudding, usually around December 28th. My point here is that you’ll want to cook a lot of food. So, I’m trending toward to gluttony with these suggestions. Bake whatever makes the most sense for you and yours.
The One True Disney Bread
You should have at least one bread offering with your meal(s). I strongly suggest the ‘Ohana/Kona Café recipe for sweet bread. It’s a giant bread loaf with a hidden ingredient that puts the oomph in the flavor. And that ingredient is a splash of pineapple juice. It pairs perfectly with the yeast to elevate the bread. I’ve been known to fill up on bread so much at both of these restaurants that I have no room for my entrée. The prep time on this is extensive, though. I understand if you’d rather stick some store bought crescent rolls in the oven instead…but that’s not very Disney!
Eat Your Vegetables!
Now, let’s break the meal(s) into three phases. The first is the Vegetable phase.
- Vegetable Quiche – I don’t know what the deal is with these. At any major family gathering, someone will bring a quiche, and their relatives will guiltily add it to the plate, honestly intending to eat it. Then, they start to eat the other food on the plate, the good stuff, and the quiche winds up sitting there alone and untouched. It’s a holiday tradition!
- Potato Salad – Sunshine Seasons features the freshest ingredients at Disney. They have a competitive advantage since cast members grow the foods in the same pavilion. While you can’t compete with that, potato salad is one of the truly American side dishes. No family event can be held without it. I think that may be in the Constitution.
- Garlic Green Beans – You’re going to need green beans. That too is the law for family get-togethers. You should choose this recipe to serve a secondary purpose, though. At some point, one of your family members will pin you down and start telling you their sincere opinions about politics, and nobody wants that at Christmas. The garlic in these green beans is your defense mechanism! Breathe your way out of the conversation then pop some candy canes so that you have sweet breath for more enjoyable discussions involving pets, internet memes, and the weather.
- Spirit of Aloha Rice – Look, anyone can cook rice. That’s why all Survivor contestants have survived living in the middle of nowhere for more than a month. Why am I listing this recipe? Well, you may be like me, someone who can’t cook and eats out virtually every meal. This rice preparation is the way that you can Disney-fy your holiday dinner. It’s this or toast, my friends.
- Cape May Café Clam Chowder – I live in a landlocked state largely surrounded by other landlocked states. As such, I struggle to understand how clam chowder qualifies as a holiday tradition, but I’m assured that it does. So, here’s a special recipe for my coastal comrades. Eat it and dream of Tom Brady.
The Main Event!
Odds are good that you’ll cook turkey and ham for the holidays. I mentioned a great Turkey recipe last month. I’ll add a ham one today. I’ll also throw a couple of truly off-the-wall suggestions for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.
- Macaroni and Cheese – Comfort food is crucial during the holidays. You never know when someone might feel overwhelmed and need a little unconditional love in the form of food. This Jiko recipe is simple but elegant. It’ll function as a culinary hug for anyone whose spirit needs lifting.
- Chicken Pot Pie – The same premise applies here. I’m suggesting this as a finicky eater. Every holiday, a person worries that I’ll have something to eat. Since every family has a freak like me, these two basic dishes solve problem.
- Heavenly Ham – Don’t mess with the classics. Ham is a staple of most Christmas dinners, and this particular Raglan Road recipe is arguably the finest at Walt Disney World.
- Italian Meatballs – I mentioned in my Tony’s Town Square review that the meatballs are crucial to the dining experience. The same is true for a holiday meal. Everyone loves Italian meatballs, making them a safe compromise choice on a dinner table full of food.
- Kjottkaker – But you can also be aggressive by serving a Norwegian take on the same premise. This dish is the pride of Akershus, and it also serves as a tribute to the Western European history of Santa Claus.
- Meat Bobotie – In for a penny, in for a pound, right? While you’re trying more adventurous holiday cuisine, you might as well cook the best entrée at Boma. It’s a daring gambit that may alienate your family and friends, especially the finicky ones like me. Still, there’s a chance that this particular Disney-fication will win over your loved ones who have great palates. It could feasibly become a new annual tradition. And if it doesn’t work out, look at all the other entrees you’ve got on the table!
Okay, you already have a metric ton of cookies. There’s no point in going nuts on additional desserts. As such, I’m only going to make a couple of suggestions based on my personal favorites on the holidays and at Disney.
- Lemon Squares – The ultimate dessert. Even Crystal Palace, one of the least interesting restaurants at Walt Disney World, can’t screw this one up.
- Zebra Domes – I want to recommend that Chocolate Wave Cake from Coral Reef, too, but the complexity of this recipe makes it impractical. The Zebra Domes from Boma are better AND easier to cook.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding – When my wife eats this, she gives me a look that I haven’t seen since we exchanged wedding vows. One bite transports her to her happy place. This recipe is also an exciting adventure in baking that may be more than you like. If you nail the result, however, you’re a Christmas dinner legend!
Don’t Forget the Juices!
Okay, I’ve already provided you with enough recipes to start your own restaurant. Still, I want to suggest a couple more recipes to take your holiday gathering over the top. Here are some show-stopping non-alcoholic drink recipes that everyone will love.
- Hot Chocolate – The one true beverage of winter.
- More Hot Chocolate – I’m providing two recipes so that you can pick your favorite, which is probably the one that looks the easiest.
- Jungle Juice – People seem to break out the juice concoctions for the holidays. I’ve never understood why, but I know that I’ll be ladling drinks on Christmas Eve rather than drinking the Coke that I so desperately want (yes, I have sugar addiction, too). I figure that if your family will serve juice, too, you might as well offer the best one. And that’s this concoction from Tusker House and the concierge floor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s indescribably delicious.
- Frozen Butterbeer – Hey, maybe one of your guests is a Universal Studios fan instead. It’s the holidays. Be inclusive!
Okay, with all of these suggestions, you are now ready to cook the Disney dinner of a lifetime, the one that your family will fondly recall decades from now. We at MickeyBlog wish you success in the kitchen and the happiest of holiday seasons. We’ve had a wonderful time introducing ourselves to you in 2017, and we look forward to celebrating many future holidays with you as well. Have a great week, friends!
David Mumpower is the author of the Disney Demystified series. For only $4.99 each, you can read book one about Disneyland or book two about Walt Disney World. The softcover books also make amazing stocking stuffers this holiday season!