Central’s Holiday Recipes

Happy Holidays from Central! We’ve compiled some of our employee’s favorite Holiday recipes to share with  you and your family. We know we enjoy them, and hope you do too!

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Cushaw Pie from Denise McKenney
Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Kaycee Sasser
Marinades for Turkey from Justina Welch
Candy Cane Fudge from Laura Bedilion
Baked Pineapple from Denise Dixon
Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies from Kerrie Lafky
Baked Ziti from Tracey Rector

Cushaw Pie from Denise McKenney

“A cushaw is basically a crooked neck squash. You make the pie like a pumpkin pie but the flavor is lighter and more like a cross between pumpkin & sugar cream pie. The first time I had it was when a cousin brought it to our house one Thanksgiving a few years ago. They grew the cushaw themselves and gave us seeds to grow our own. We did the next year, but we didn’t preserve the seeds properly. She was killed in a car accident a couple of years later, so the memory is extra sweet.

The link below has pictures of the cushaws, a recipe similar to the one we used and a description of the flavor and uses. It is a favorite at our house and we always look for cushaws at farmers markets and such. They’re rare, but worth the trouble if you can find them. And this is from a woman who doesn’t like pumpkin at all!”


Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Kaycee Sasser

“I used sea salt, and regular pepper, and I mashed them by hand.”

Vanilla mashed Sweet potatos

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper in a mill

Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cook until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.

Puree the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and 4 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

Serves Four.

Marinades for Turkey from Justina Welch

turkeymarinades Citrus N’ Spice Marinade

  • 1 /34 cups of sunflower oil or olive oil
  • ¾ cups orange juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbls sea salt
  • 3 tbls lime juice
  • 3 tbls dired oregano
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice

Combine cider vinegar, garlic, salt, oregano, chipotles in a blender. Process until smooth.  Pour in remaining ingredients and continue blending until oil is emulsified. Spread marinade over turkey surface.  Place in roasting bad or wrap in aluminum foil. Marinate for 12-24 hours prior to cooking.


Lemon Rosemary Marinade (my favorite)

  • 3 large lemons
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary or 3 tbls dried
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic (minced)

Cut lemons in half squeeze juice into plastic (non reactive) bowl. Throw in lemon halves and remaining ingredients.  Mix in blender, leave somewhat chunky.  Spread over turkey.  Marinate for minimum 4 hours prior to cooking




Left over turkey?  Try this recipe!file000886370220

Rosemary Turkey Soup

  • 1 chopped onion (1-1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped celery.
  • 1.5 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tbls dried thyme
  • 2 tbls fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • ½ package of Amish egg noodles or Kluski noodles
  • 2 tbls cornstarch
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Add turkey carcass and leftover meat to large pan with chicken stock (4 containers, I use organic, low sodium).  Saute onions, celery and carrots until onions are soft and translucent (I use olive oil).  Add garlic and thyme sauté for one minute.  Dump in pan with turkey, bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 1-1.5 hours.  Then add cooked wild rice and noodles.  Once noodles are done, add cornstarch and water-to make a slurry- add to soup while constantly stirring to thicken slightly. Check/adjust seasonings (I sometimes add 1 more sprig of fresh rosemary leaves at this point).  Ready to serve.

Candy Canes

Candy Cane Fudge from Laura Bedilion

“Candy cane fudge is something my mom always made for Christmas when I was a kid. I found a very similar recipe online and it’s delicious (but very addicting)!”


Baked Pineapple from Denise Dixon

“This recipe I have used for many years for holiday as well as everyday when we have ham. It is a great side dish with ham, although it can also be a dessert.”

Baked Pineapple

  • 2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar (sugar substitute works well too, as long as you can bake with it)


  • 1 stack of ritz crackers
  • 1 stick of butter

Mix pineapple, flour and sugar well. You will have juice with pineapple after mixing. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees until hot and bubbly. Meanwhile, crumble Ritz crackers. melt butter and mix with crackers. Top pineapple with crumbs and bake until cracker mixture is browned. Serve hot.


Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies from Kerrie Lafky

“I found this recipe on line and it was inspired by cookies that were served at the Holiday Inn Express in Harrison, OH.  This is the hotel Hubert uses for their overnight visitors.  I’ve stayed there a few times; and each time I’ve been there they have fresh cookies for their guests.  When I was there this past December they had Cranberry Oatmeal cookies with white chocolates chips.  They were so good that I went back downstairs to the lobby for more.  I talked to a woman at the desk and she said she made them and proceeded to tell me what was in them.  I was able to find a recipe on line that matched up.  I think what made them special is they have cardamon in them which is kind of expensive but worth it.  If you don’t want to spend the money on cardamon, you can substitute pumpkin pie spice mix, allspice, ginger or just more cinnamon or nutmeg based on your taste.  So here it is straight from the ‘Hubert Hotel.'”



  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups of flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add to butter mixture and stir until well blended.  Add dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet.  Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Cool.

Baked Ziti from Tracey Rector

Years ago when I began to explore cooking, I found this incredibly easy Baked Ziti recipe, hence its original author’s title, “Easy Baked Ziti.”

Over the years I’ve made small tweaks and this is my version.  Visit About.com’s Southern Food website for the original recipe by Diana Rattray.


  • I box ziti or rigatoni noodles
  • 1 can traditional marinara sauce (or feel free to test out different flavors you like such as three cheese, roasted garlic parmesan or meat)
  • 16 oz. tub of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: 1 pound ground beef

The original recipe calls for two tablespoons of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, or add/subtract to taste. I tried putting it in a few times, but have since not put much at all in anymore.

With the ground beef, the original recipe doesn’t call for it—and you really don’t notice there isn’t meat. I added it once to test it, and now many times if I make it, I throw in ground beef.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  2. Cook noodles (and ground beef if you choose to add it) according to directions
  3. Place the noodles and ground beef in a 9”x13” pan
  4. Mix in ricotta cheese, mozzarella, sauce and salt (if you choose to add it)
  5. Lightly coat top with mozzarella cheese
  6. Bake in oven.  Original recipe says to bake for 45 minutes, but my oven cooks more quickly and many times I’ve taken it out at 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and serve. Great to serve with breadsticks or garlic bread.

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