“Let in the Light” fruit salad is a refreshing accompaniment to clear the palate between frittata and coffee cake. Karen Schneider / For the Forecaster

If planning Christmas meals seems overwhelming to you with all the other holiday tasks you have on your plate, look no further. These three versatile recipes can all be prepared ahead and/or delegated to someone else.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected] or 504-0545.

I’m famous for my frittatas because each one has a unique flavor all its own. The recipe included here is only a suggestion. All you really need are the eggs and cream and enough solid ingredients of your choice to hold it all together.

I recommend a cast iron skillet for best results and if you aren’t using bacon, use two tablespoons of olive oil in the pan to keep the frittata slices from sticking. Cheese adds the finishing touch, but it’s not totally necessary.

This beautiful fruit salad always makes me feel festive. The starfruits are a must, but any combination of fruits work well. The addition of green grapes and fresh strawberries make a nice holiday presentation if you want to substitute them for the kiwi and pomegranate. Ginger ale with the honey omitted can also be substituted for the champagne. You just want to give the fruit a bit of a fizzy kick, not drown it.

Sour cream coffee cake is one of the many recipes from my childhood. Not only was this part of our Christmas breakfast year after year, but my mother made dozens of these attractive cakes in her lifetime to give to our teachers, neighbors, relatives and friends. They all received one, packaged prettily in cellophane with a glossy red or green bow on top.

Mom made the filling with walnuts and cinnamon, but over the years, I’ve added more spiciness and experimented with pecans, sliced almonds, raisins and chopped dried fruit.


I also give you permission to add citrus zest and some spice to the batter. Live a little – it’s Christmas! Make it merry.

Savory frittata

6 strips cooked bacon, diced

1/4 cup onion, diced

1-2 cups cooked potatoes, diced

1 cup steamed broccoli, diced


1 cup spinach, julienned

1-2 tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped, or 1-2 tsp. dried herbs of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste

6 extra-large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup cream or milk

1 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 10-inch oven-proof skillet, fry bacon until crisp then set aside, pouring off all but 2 teaspoons of the fat. Sauté onions until soft then add potatoes and cook until browned, adding more fat to the pan if needed.  Add broccoli to heat through. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add herbs, salt and pepper.

Whisk eggs and cream together. Return the bacon to the pan and pour egg and cream mixture over meat and veggies. Sprinkle cheese over all. Remove from burner and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is almost firm. Cool for a few minutes then cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings

“Let in the Light” fruit salad

1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-size chunks

6-8 clementines, peeled and sectioned


1 cup pomegranate arils (seeds from half a large fruit)

5 kiwis, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1-2 starfruits, sliced, for garnish

1/4 cup juice from 1 navel orange

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup champagne or Prosecco (optional)


Place all fruit except starfruits in a large glass bowl. Combine orange juice, honey and champagne and stir into fruit. Allow to chill for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Garnish with starfruit slices.

Yield: 6 servings

Sour cream coffee cake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs


1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream until incorporated.

Spoon half the batter into a buttered Bundt pan. Evenly spoon streusel filling on top of batter then spoon remaining batter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done with a clean toothpick.

Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Glide a knife along the edges and invert the cake on a rack to cool completely. Pour glaze evenly over cake and allow glaze to set.

Yield: 12 slices

Streusel filling


1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup nuts, chopped

Combine in a small bowl.



2-4 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Whisk milk and vanilla together in a small bowl. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

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