In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Holiday Favorites

by | Dec 3, 2015

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa are featuring favorite holiday recipes from WRAL station staff.

The first recipe is a “sweet and zesty” cranberry salad. Managing Editor Bonnie Moore provided the following recipe:

Cranberry Salad

  • 1 cup ground raw cranberries
  • 1⁄2 of an orange (juice and orange zest)
  • 3-ounce package cherry Jell-O (dissolve in 1 cup hot water)
  • 1⁄2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped

Put raw cranberries, orange juice and orange zest into a food processor and grind until fine. Place in small bowl and add 1/2 cup sugar. Let stand for one hour. Then add the cherry Jell-O dissolved in 1 cup of hot water and drained crushed pineapple. Stir to combine and then add pecans. Refrigerate until set.

The next recipe is a rich chocolate pecan pie from Station Manager Jim Rothschild. He’s been making this super easy and yummy pie from Emeril Lagasse for years. Lisa notes that you might need to tent the pie with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent the edges of the crust from getting too brown.

Rich Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • 1 1⁄2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup corn syrup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Caramel sauce

  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk (up to a 1/4 of a cup maybe needed)
  • Confectioners sugar, for garnish

Directions for pie: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread pecan pieces and chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie shell. In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake until the filling sets, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into individual servings and serve with a drizzle of caramel sauce and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Directions for caramel sauce: Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let boil without stirring until the mixture becomes a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Add the cream (be careful; it will bubble up), whisk to combine, and remove from the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Continue to add milk, up to 2 more tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Let cool until just warm before serving. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.)

The next recipe is from Operations Manager Leesa Moore and features North Carolina-grown sweet potatoes:

Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • White pepper to taste (or freshly ground black)
  • 2⁄3 cup half and half
  • 8 tablespoons butter softened, divided
  • 10-ounce bag mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees until tender or about 1 hour. Cool slightly and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out potato leaving a narrow border to help hold shape. Mix potato with salt, pepper and 4 tablespoons butter. Add cream slowly and beat until mixture is smooth [use less to desired consistency, shouldn’t be runny]. Line potato shells with mini-marshmallows and fill with potato mixture. Top with remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter divided evenly and chopped pecans and bake at 400 degrees until hot all the way through, or about 10-15 minutes.

Bonnie Moore also provided the next recipe for a beautiful butterscotch pie.

Butterscotch Pie

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 1⁄2 cups canned milk
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 9 tablespoons sugar

Makes 2 regular crusts or 1 deep dish

Separate the eggs, yolks in small bowl and egg whites in mixing bowl for meringue.

Mix dry ingredients together: brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Mix well. Add canned milk and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles and cook one minute. Remove from heat. Add a small amount of mixture to egg yolks and stir. Add yolk mixture back to mixture in pan and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted. Pour into baked pie shell.

Whip egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar until frothy. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Form stiff peaks. Put meringue on pie and bake at 350 degree for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it.