December is in full swing, and that might mean you’re encountering Christmas music and holiday decorations at every turn. While the holiday rush can be overwhelming and overdone, I admit I still really love this time of year.
I think about connecting with others through cards and photos, preparing for the children’s program at church, and sharing visits, time, and gifts with family, friends, and those in need. People’s hearts are big around the holidays, and I love the unexpected kindness I often see.
The other thing many of us associate with the holidays is food! A special recipe or cookie can hold a lot of memories, and I know the taste and smell of certain delicacies are closely linked to Christmas memories for me. This year a group of dairy bloggers from around the country are all sharing dairy recipes today, and I’m happy to add one of mine to the mix.
I’ll admit it was a challenge to decide which one. I thought about numerous cookies and candies that contain rich butter, cream cheese, or milk, but I couldn’t make a decision.
I also considered a recipe for cheesy hash brown potatoes that my family would often eat on Christmas Eve. When I was growing up we always had ribs for supper on the 24th, and rich, cheesy potatoes went well with the smoky meat. Christmas Day was a more traditional meal of roasted pork or turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy, and the trimmings, but Christmas Eve was my favorite.
For my #DairyChristmas recipe I finally decided on something simple and comforting that’s become a tradition for my husband and I. Rice Pudding.
When JR and I met it didn’t take me long to figure out his sweet tooth wasn’t as big as mine. He will eat a few favorite desserts, but (fortunately) he doesn’t ‘run on sugar’ like I sometimes seem too. Rice pudding was always something he liked, and I honestly didn’t eat it very much growing up. I tried a few different recipes to figure out what we preferred, and this version has become a favorite for us.
It’s good any time of year, but I think it’s especially nice for winter and Christmas. I’m often known to double the recipe. While I tend to stick with raisins you could use other dried fruits — such as cranberries, figs, or dates — to give it a festive twist.
Creamy Rice Pudding
1 1/2 cups white rice, uncooked
4 cups milk
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Cook rice in a large saucepan according to package directions. (You can also use leftover cooked rice to speed things up.) In a large pot combine the cooked rice, sugar, and salt with 3 cups milk. Cook and stir over medium heat 10-18 minutes until thick.
Stir in the beaten eggs, additional 1 cup milk, and raisins. Cook and stir another 4-5 minutes. Stir in vanilla, butter, and cinnamon and serve warm. The leftovers are good hot or cold, and I’ve definitely been known to eat them for breakfast.