Family-Favorite Holiday Recipes From Our Table

Lake Minnetonka Magazine board members share their holiday recipes.

For most of us, holiday food is imbued with emotion and memory—recipes handed down from generation to generation, images of cousins crowded around the kids’ table, and everything made with love. We asked two Lake Minnetonka Magazine editorial advisory board members to share their families’ classic recipes (and the stories behind them).

Swedish Meatballs
from Kelsey Berset, co-owner of The Suburban and BUCK + FIR

  • 1 c. plain dried bread crumbs
  • ¾ c. whole milk
  • ¾ c. heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. finely chopped red onion
  • Salt
  • ¾ lb. ground chuck
  • ¾ lb. ground pork
  • Pepper
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 28 oz. low-sodium beef broth (homemade preferred)
  • ¼ c. red currant jelly
  • 2 Tbsp. pickle juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together the bread crumbs, milk, and ¼ cup of heavy cream and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. of butter to sauté pan on medium-high heat. Sauté red onion until soft and light golden brown. Season red onion with salt and pepper while cooking. Let cool. In a large bowl, mix with hands the ground chuck, ground pork, bread crumb mixture, cooled onions, 1 ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, allspice, and egg until just combined. Using lightly damp hands, roll meatballs into tablespoon-sized balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until browned. If cooking two baking sheets, make sure to rotate halfway through cooking. While baking, heat 2 Tbsp. of butter and drippings from baking sheet in a Dutch oven. Add 4 Tbsp. of flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in beef broth gradually and cook until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add heavy cream, red currant jelly, pickle juice and remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter. Taste for seasoning. Add meatballs to gravy in Dutch oven and serve warm.

What’s the history of this recipe?

While I always loved our traditional recipe, I decided to kick it up a notch. I added the red currant jelly and pickle juice to the gravy to cut through the richness and add an interesting tang. We serve these for Christmas Eve dinner every year. Everyone dresses up, we light a fire, play some music, and enjoy our traditional meal together.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
from Emily Johnson Kisa, co-owner of Kisa Boutique

  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • 1 ½ c. oatmeal
  • 1 ½ c. white chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ c. frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer beat butter, sugar and baking soda until creamy. Beat in egg. Add flour, oats and white chocolate chips. Mix well. Spoon heaping tablespoons of dough onto greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press 3 or 4 frozen cranberries on top of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

What’s the history of this recipe?

My mother, Theresa Johnson, catered in Wayzata for many years, and this was the most requested recipe every season. My father ended up having to help her with all the orders for work, and for our own family holiday get-togethers. He had a system down for making these cookies so they always turned out fluffy and perfect. Today, we make them to remember and honor my dad, who passed away seven years ago.