Delicious Holid-Aya Traveler Recipes

Nothing brings people together like good food. And since many of our travelers won’t make it home for the holidays, Aya team members share some of their favorite dishes below, to bring a little taste of their homes to you.

Mom's shortrbread cookies on a plate.
“My mom makes THE BEST shortbread. It is so simple and absolutely delicious. It’s not the holidays in our house without it.”
– James

Mom’s Shortbread

  • 1 pound butter
  • 4 to 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar

Cream butter with sugar. Add flour, beating for five minutes.

Roll out dough and use cookie cutters. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly golden.

Watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn.

A plate full of English scones.
“My mom is Canadian and grew up with a lot of English influences in her house. These are always a hit in our house and what we eat every Christmas morning before we open presents.”
– Jennifer

English Scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar in mixing bowl. Stir well to blend. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course meal. Stir in raisins. (Use a fork)

Add milk, 1 whole egg, add 1 egg yolk (reserve the whites). Stir with fork until moistened. Use Kitchenaid (or mixer) to knead the dough. You may want to add a little extra flour at this point.

Flour up your hands and get the dough out onto a floured board and knead the dough. Have a small bowl of four handy as you will need to use it often to flour the board and your rolling pin.

Roll out dough, cut into wedges which is traditional or cut with a circular cookie cutter.

Brush with beaten egg whites and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 12-15 minutes.

Favorite fall chili in a bowl.
“Any time the weather cools down, this is the first thing I crave! It is the perfect comfort food. I make a huge pot and freeze it in small portions so I can enjoy it for weeks.”
– Erin

Bryan’s Spicy Chili

  • 3 Anaheim chilies
  • 3 poblano chilies
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 lb NY strip or ribeye steak (cut into 2/3” cubes)
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb Italian pork sausage
  • 1-12 oz beer
  • 2×15 oz cans of pinto beans
  • 2×15 oz cans of kidney beans
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • Spices (mix these up as one large spice batch): 2 tsp of onion powder, 2 tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of cayenne pepper, 2 tsp of ground cumin, 2 tsp granulated garlic, 2 tsp hot paprika, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp of black pepper (ground), 3 tsp of chili powder

Use an 8 QT or large stock pot. Double or triple the recipe, make it early and put it in the crockpot on low until you’re ready to eat. Stir it every now and then and it will stay for hours.

Broil the peppers first, then sweat the skins off or just dice the pepper. Make sure to dice the jalapenos small enough so the dish is consistently hot, without nuggets of heat.

Dice up the peppers and onions, not too small, they should be a rough chop. Throw them into a large stock pot, medium heat, and sauté for about 5 minutes in olive oil/butter. Then add the garlic (diced), sauté for a minute longer. Add the diced NY strip steak, and brown for 2-3 min. Then add the 2 lbs of ground beef and 1 lb Italian pork sausage and brown completely (about 7-10 min longer).

Now add in the spice batch above, stirring as you go.

Next Add in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, wait 2 min, then add in the chicken stock and the beer (have one for yourself at this point). Now add in the kidney and pinto beans (you can leave some of the juice from the cans in if the stock pot has room).

Let simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring frequently.

I like to top mine with sharp cheddar, green onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro and cornbread on the side.

Sous vide chai-spiced apple pie with slice taken out.
“I made this recently and it was!”
– Lauren

Sous Vide Chai-Spiced Apple Pie

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. (8 oz./250 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 lb. (2.5 kg) apples, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 disks basic pie dough
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup

Prepare an immersion circulator for use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat the water to 160°F (71°C).

In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and ginger. Add the apples and lemon zest and juice and toss to coat evenly. Place the apple mixture and its juices in a large vacuum bag, arranging the slices in a single layer, and vacuum seal closed.

When the water reaches 160°F, lower the bag into the water bath and clip the top to the basin side. Cook for 1 to 2 hours.

When the apples are ready, remove the bag from the water bath. Transfer the contents to a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes. Spread the apples on a baking sheet. Let cool.

Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk to a 12-inch (30-cm) round and transfer to a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish. Add the apple filling. Roll out the remaining dough. Place on top of the pie. Trim the dough overhang, then pinch to flute the edge. Cut 3 to 5 small vents on top. Brush with the egg white, then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Transfer the pie to a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes. If the edges begin to burn, cover them with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (180°C) and continue baking until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

In a bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in the maple syrup. Serve the pie with the cream alongside. Serves 8.

A spoonful of garlic mashed potatoes being lifted from the baking dish.
“This was my mom’s recipe. Cooking was her favorite pastime. Everyone loved her dishes, especially these mashed potatoes.”
– Jessica

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 ½ lbs red potatoes, quartered and skins left on
  • 1 ½ tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup butter

Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Stir in 1 tsp of the Kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 mins.

Meanwhile, place the remaining ½ tsp of salt, pepper, garlic powder, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.

When potatoes are done (pierce easily with a fork), remove from heat and drain. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix on medium speed until mostly smooth, or to desired consistency.

A plate full of snickerdoodle cookies.
“My cat, Penny, loves these!”
– Rachel

Pumpkin Snicker Doodles

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to blend.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Next, still on medium speed, beat in pumpkin. Then, add the egg and vanilla extract. Lastly, add in the dry ingredients. Beat until combined, but do not over mix. Cover the dough, and refrigerate for one hour, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the sugar coating.

Scoop dough (approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons) and roll into a ball.

Roll the dough ball in the sugar mixture, and place on the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.

Take a drinking glass with a flat bottom and moisten with water. Dip the glass in the sugar mixture and use it to flatten the dough balls. Re-sugar the glass as needed.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove when the centers of the cookies have set.

Let cool on the baking pan for approximately 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool.

A container full of broccoli casserole.
“This is THE BEST thing ever. My Aunt Mary has made this for years and there is never a single spoonful left at Thanksgiving. It’s so easy to make and absolutely delicious!”
– Erin

Aunt Mary’s Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes, then drain and chop.

Chop the onion and sauté in butter until tender.

Mix together eggs, onion, mayonnaise, cheese and soup then add to broccoli.

Pour everything into a buttered casserole dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

More Holid-Aya Recipes

Mom's shortrbread cookies on a plate.
English scones on a plate.
Roasted garlic mashed cauliflower in a bowl.
Bryan's spicy chili in a bowl.
Sous vide chai-spiced apple pie with slice taken out.
A spoonful of garlic mashed potatoes being lifted from the baking dish.
A plate full of snickerdoodle cookies.
A container full of broccoli casserole.

For many people, the holidays mean time spent with friends and family, time to relax and time to…well, eat! But while most of us gather around the tv for the big game or the dinner table to share a meal, we know that many of our travelers are in hospitals across the country, working hard to save lives. We can’t thank you enough for your dedication to caring for those in need. You are what we are most thankful for this holiday season, and always.

Since many of you won’t make it home for the holidays, we thought we would send some love through our favorite recipes — because nothing brings people together like good food. Aya team members share some of their favorite dishes below, to bring a little taste of their homes to you.

Bon Appetit!

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Take a look through some other awesome recipes shared by Aya Travelers!

Ryan Fahey I always hated Brussels sprouts but these are amazing. Great side dish for a gathering.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  • Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Jamie This is delicious...if you love garlic. It’s my great grandma’s recipe and my entire family is obsessed.
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 5 oz Old English cheese
  • As much raw garlic as you can handle
(You can double all these amounts)

Mix the three cheeses together and use a garlic press or fine chop the fresh garlic. Mix in well and enjoy with potato chips!