If you've ever hosted a holiday dinner at your house, then you already know how much work is involved and how much time it takes to get all those delicious dishes hot on the table at the same time. There's typically so much prep work involved that when it's my turn to host, I'm prepping for it at least a week beforehand. Add menu planning into the mix and my planning starts at least one month ahead!
The first time I hosted our holiday dinner I had it easy. None of our twelve guests had aversions to any types of food, which meant that menu planning was a piece of cake (no pun intended). I had free reign to prepare any and all dishes that I chose. But what do you do when there are dietary restrictions for certain guests? Menu planning can be tough on its own, but it's seemingly impossible when you have to change everything to suit your guests. If this had happened to me on my first holiday dinner I would have been sent into an immediate panic. What do you mean you're not eating carbs? Gluten-free what? Lactose-free who? If you find yourself in this situation, you're far from alone.
I can't offer much advice in terms of the low-carb or the gluten-free, but I've had plenty of experience with cooking lactose-free, and I'm happy to say that it's a piece of cake (there's that pun again). It's so easy, in fact, that I'm often cooking that way without even realizing it. Here are some tips that will make your lactose-free holiday cooking a breeze!
• Use lactose-free milk. Lactose-free milk is just, well... milk, without the lactose. So you can use it as you would in any recipe—just swap it out and you're good to go!
• Butter and aged cheeses contain only small traces of lactose which make them much easier to digest. So serve that butter, grate that cheese and don't worry about the small amount of lactose; most people—even those who have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance—can digest it without a problem.
• Try serving lactose-free ice cream with your desserts! It's becoming common in many grocery stores (like Whole Foods) and even your lactose-lovers won't be able to tell the difference.
• Yogurt is another dairy product that's much easier to digest due to its active cultures. Try swapping it for sour cream in your recipes (heck, I do it just to save the calories). Everything from dips to mashed potatoes will be healthier and taste delicious, too!
Now I'm going to share two of my all-time favorite holiday recipes with you.
The Wicked Noodle’s Easy Custard Pie
Sometimes I’ll mix fresh crushed raspberries in before baking, or top with whole fresh raspberries or strawberries once it’s out of the oven. Sometimes I’ll do both!
3 eggs, whipped
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 ½ cups lactose-free milk
A pinch or two of nutmeg
1 store-bought pie crust, or use your own favorite dough recipe
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix together eggs, sugar, salt, and seeds of vanilla bean. Heat milk until very hot (scalding) then blend with egg mixture.
3. Pour custard mixture into piecrust. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of nutmeg.
4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely, then refrigerate.
This next recipe is one that everyone (including my kids) begs for, that my clients have at the top of their favorites list, AND it's healthy. Since it's lactose-free you can serve it to everyone at your holiday table. So step away from those sweet potatoes and serve this dish at your next gathering. You won't regret it!
The Wicked Noodle's Carrot Soufflé
Resist the urge to add spices to this dish; the flavor of the sweetened carrots is all you need.
7 cups chopped carrots (about 2 pounds)
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Boil carrots until tender, then drain.
3. Process carrots in a food processor until nice and smooth.
4. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (sugar through eggs) and pulse to combine.
5. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and spoon in carrot mixture.
6. Bake for 40 minutes or until puffed and set.
7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Written by Kristy Bernardo, a popular food blogger at The Wicked Noodle.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.