Recipe Guide: Survive The Holidays with Covet

Yesterday, the Covet authors teased and tormented us with their oh so yummy holiday recipes. We’ve complied all of them here below in one handy guide for you to save for your holiday planning. In the meantime, day two of the Survive the Holidays event is going strong as the authors share tips on how to deal with holiday stress. Hop on over to the Event Page to join in the fun, you could even win a Kindle Fire!



Recipe #1 from Nina Croft, author of Operation Saving Daniel.

Nina mince-pies

“What’s a mince pie, Nina?”

One of my critique group asked me this question after reading a Christmas story of mine. I was shocked—mince pies are a huge Christmas tradition in England (when I was growing up, we would always leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve as a thank you for delivering the presents). But a bit of research later, and yes—it’s true—Americans do not eat mince pies at Christmas. In fact, it seems many Americans don’t even know what a mince pie is (is it meat, is it fruit, is it something else entirely?)

So here’s how you make “mincemeat.”


1lb Bramley apples chopped small
8oz shredded suet
12oz raisins
8oz currents
8oz candied peel chopped
12oz of soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
2oz slivered almonds
4 teaspoons of mixed spice
Half teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg
6 tablespoons of Brandy

All you do is combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, stirring them and mixing them together very thoroughly. Then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours.

After that, pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (110°C).Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Stir occasionally as it cools and when cold add the brandy and stir again. Then pack in sterilized jars.


Recipe #2 from Abby Niles, author of The Awakening Series.

Cheese Ball

There is one thing I look forward to each and every Christmas. It’s not ham or stuffing or pumpkin pie, though all of those are always awesome. It’s my momma’s cheeseball. It’s a simple recipe. I could totally make it for myself throughout the year, but that would defeat the purpose of looking forward to it, wouldn’t it? So for two days out of the year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I eat my fill.

Momma’s Cheeseball

2-8 ounce blocks of cream cheese

2 tablespoons chopped onions or onion salt

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

I cup of pecans.

Favorite cracker


Mix first three ingredients in a blender. After scraping the contents onto wax paper, roll into a ball then place on a dish and put in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to set. While waiting, crush the pecans into small bits. When the thirty minutes is up, roll the ball in the pecans until it covers the entire surface. Enjoy on your favorite cracker. Note-keep refrigerated.


Recipe #3 from Susannah Scott, author of Luck of the Dragon:

fruit punch pic

I am sharing a much coveted (<–see how I did that!) recipe today. My mother’s family is Cajun, and man can those folks cook–and drink. This is my Great Aunt Nippy’s Top Secret Scorpion Punch. *Be warned it packs a sting!* I usually 1/2 the alcohol and it is plenty strong, but even at full strength, you won’t realize you’ve been stung. It tastes great. 🙂

1.5 cups of sugar

3/4 cup water

Almond or coconut extract

2 quarts of orange juice

2 fifths white rum

1/2 cup gin

1/2 cup brandy

1 pint lemon juice

1.5 cups pineapple juice

1 handful of fresh mint leaves

1. Make a large ice ring in a bundt pan or decorative mold the day before. Freeze until solid.

2. Stir together sugar and water in heavy saucepan. Cook until clear and syrupy. Flavor syrup with the Almond or coconut extract and set aside.

3. Combine liquor and fruit juices in large punch bowl. Stir in syrup, mixing well.

4. Before serving add ice ring and mint garnish.

20 Cajun-size servings 🙂


Recipe #4 from Christy Gissendaner, author of One Hot Knight:

collards pic

If you’re a Southerner like me, nothing screams Merry Christmas quite like collard greens. My love of soul food hearkens back to my grandfather, who cooked them for me almost on a daily basis during the winters of my childhood. Now that I’m grown, with a family of my own, it’s my turn to cook for Pop, who will be turning 94 this winter. I cherish every moment I have with him and some of my earliest memories are of clamoring into his lap as a toddler and sharing a plate of collards. So without further ado, here’s the recipe for the best thing since sliced cornbread!

Pop’s Collard Greens


·         2 smoked ham hocks

·         5 lbs collard greens (Preferably fresh. Frozen, if you must.)

·         Salt (to taste)


  1. Put smoked ham hocks in a large (6 quart) pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and let boil for about an hour. Add water as it boils down. You want the ham hocks to be falling apart before you add the collard greens.

  2. Separate the leaves of the collards. Rinse each leaf individually under cold running water. Rip, or chop, the leaves into strips.

  3. Add collard greens to the pot. The pot will get full before all the greens are added. Allow them to wilt as they cook – then add more. Add salt, cover and cook for 30 mins – 2 hrs (depending on your preferred texture. I prefer to cook them longer.) on medium heat. Stir every few minutes to distribute the smoked meat taste evenly. Taste to confirm they are the tenderness you prefer.

  4. Serve with your favorite cornbread. Top with hot pepper sauce and enjoy!


Recipe #5 from Candace Havens, author of Take it Like a Vamp & Lions, Tigers, and Sexy Bears Oh My!:

Candy Green Beans

I’m a native Texan, but I married a Mid-Westerner. We have merged our holiday meals to have ALL of the family favorites from both sides. One of the Havens’ favorite side dishes is Cheesy Green Beans. It is the most disgusting thing when you look at the ingredients, but it’s heaven in your mouth. And it’s easy.

Havens’ Cheesy Green Beans


·         4 cans of green beans (drained)

·         16 oz block of Velveeta

·         1 tsp Salt (or to taste)

·         2 tsp garlic powder

·         16 oz sour cream


  1. Melt cheese and garlic powder in microwave, or on low heat on stove

  2. When cheese is melted add all of the other ingredients and stir carefully

  3. Heat everything through and serve. Should be a soupy consistency may need to add more salt (and sometimes pepper) to taste


Recipe #6 from Kristin Miller, author of the Seattle Wolf Pack series:

Kristin Recipe

Looking for something to serve this Christmas that’ll shake things up a bit? Sex in a Pan (yes, you read that right) is one of my family’s favorite desserts. (Just a heads up, we call it “Heaven in a Pan” when the kids are around, but if you’re searching for variations online, Sex in a Pan is the official name.) It’s super easy to make and mouth-watering, oh-my-heavens delicious!

Sex in a Pan

You’ll need:

·         1 cp flour

·         1 stick margarine, melted

·         2-8 oz. pkgs cream cheese at room temp

·         2 cps powdered sugar

·         cool whip

·         2 bxs instant chocolate pudding

·         3 1/2 cps milk

How to prepare:

Mix flour and melted margarine and pat down in 9×13 Pyrex dish. Bake at 350 degrees until golden (around 25 min); let cool.
Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1/2 cool whip together then spread on cooled crust.
Mix pudding and milk then put on top of cream cheese layer.
Spread cool whip on top. Refrigerate until served.


Recipe #7 from Mark Henry, author of Parts & Wreck:

Mark Cookie

I don’t know about you, but by the time December 25th rolls around, the last thing I want to see slide out on the table is another pumpkin pie, all dimpled with that sheen of weird sweat that always seems to pop up out of it’s pumpkin-y pores. Hell, Starbucks has been slipping those spices in our caffeine I.V.s since September anyway. What I need is a damn cookie and in particular…

Butterscotch Haystacks

Nothing’s easier than a no-bake cookie, right? And this one reminds me of my childhood, before reform school—but I don’t want to talk about that, it’s not very festive. Here’s what you’ll need:

11-oz. pkg Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

8.5 oz. can chow mein noodles

3 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Line counter tops, or cookie trays with wax paper, hell, line your whole kitchen, this could get messy. Microwave morsels in a large, uncovered bowl on medium high power for 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir in peanut butter until well blended. Add chow mein noodles and marshmallows; toss until everything is totally butterscotchy. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto the wax paper. Refrigerate until set.



Recipe #8 from Tiffany Allee, author of Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid:

Okay, you’ve beaten it out of me. I’ll admit the shocking truth: I don’t cook. I know! It’s terrible. Without my awesome husband, I would be living on cereal and baked potatoes, supplemented by random things that come from a box or a can. But! My mom is a fantastic cook, and she makes one of my favorite holiday recipes. She calls it part of dinner, but I insist it’s a dessert. You all can be the judges. I think she’s crazy, but don’t tell her that or she may never cook for me again. Here’s my mom’s fab recipe for cranberry salad.

Mom’s Cranberry Salad



  • 1 Package of Cranberries
  • 2 C diced celery
  • 1 C broken pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Large package of Cherry Jell-O
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 1 tall can mandarin oranges, well drained


  1. Grind/chop cranberries

  2. Add chopped celery and nuts

  3. Combine Jell-O and sugar with boiling water

  4. Add berry mixture to the Jell-O

  5. Add the oranges to the mixture

  6. Pour mixture into a 9X13 baking dish

  7. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight

  8. Top the dessert with cool-whip and enjoy!


Recipe #9 from Lisa Kessler, author of Beg Me to Slay:

Lisa Banana

Hey there! I openly admit I am not a goddess in the kitchen, in fact I have actually set myself on fire 3 times in that room and burned myself more times than I can count…  but I digress! 🙂  Because of my lack of talent in the kitchen, I’m a “make it with a mix” kind of girl, but how can you spruce up a mix? ADD CHOCOLATE! The holiday favorite at my house is Chocolate-Chip Banana Bread! It’s simple, just follow the instructions on the banana bread mix and then stir in a half a bag of chocolate chips. YUM!  So why kill yourself from scratch? Your kids will LOVE it! 🙂


Recipe #10 from Boone Brux, author of Suddenly Beautiful:

Boone Recipe Photo

Hot Buttered Rum

This is my favorite holiday drink eva!

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 cups vanilla ice cream





1. Combine sugar, brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted (6-8 min).

2. Combine cooked mixture with ice-cream in a large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until smooth (1-2 min). Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to one month. (I store it in a tupperware or ice cream pail.)

3. For each serving, fill one-quarter of a mug with mixture, add one ounce rum and three-quarters of a cup of boiling water. Sprinkle with nutmeg.


Recipe #11 from Sarah Gilman, author of Ashes:

Cheese Bread

The reason some people think I was put on this earth: Cheese Pull-Apart Bread


3 cups bread flour

1 cup water OR ½ cup water and ½ cup milk

3 teaspoons active yeast

3 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons sugar



Cheddar cheese

Mozzarella cheese


Fresh Parsley



Olive oil



You can use any favorite bread recipe for this. White, wheat, mixed grain, it all works. This is my basic need-a-white-loaf-for-dinner-quick recipe that never fails me. In a time pinch, it even comes out great with only one rise. Use all milk for perfect dinner rolls.

For the filling, I didn’t provide exact amounts because every time it’s a little different. Pick and choose your cheeses and herbs. The ones listed here make up my favorite combination. You can use as little as one cup total. I use as much as two cups. Toss ingredients (the dash of oil helps it all stick together).

Another great filling option is a shredded “Mexican” cheese blend and finely diced fresh jalapeno.

For the stuffed bread, divided the dough into 6-8 pieces after first rise and flatten into little pancakes. Nothing fancy. Just hand-flatten/stretch. Place filling in the middle, as much as you want as long as you can fold the dough in half and pinch the edges together. Stuff the bread pocket into one side of a sprayed bread pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, shoving it all in the pan as needed. Second rise optional—I usually give it a 15-20 minute second rise. Brush top with watered-down beaten egg. Bake (between 350 and 400 depending on how you like your crust) for about 30 minutes or until crust is browned.


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