In the kitchen with Brian and Lisa: WRAL holiday favorites

by | Dec 1, 2017

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month’s recipes are a collection of favorite holiday dishes from WRAL reporters and anchors. Check out Mikaya’s Mom’s Famous seven-layer salad, Renee Chou’s raw apple walnut cake and Lena Tillet’s lamb chops and quinoa.

Reporter Mikaya Thurmond says she asks for this every holiday and has been known to throw a tantrum if it isn’t made. It’s a true southern dish and so simple, but so good.

Mikaya’s Mom’s Famous Seven Layer Salad

  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce (rinsed, dried and chopped)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 10 ounce-package frozen green peas, thawed
  • 10 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 1⁄4 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large flat bowl or a 9×13 baking dish, place the chopped lettuce and top with a layer of onion, peas, shredded cheese, green pepper and bacon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle over salad and refrigerate until chilled.

Morning anchor Renee Chou says this cake goes well with vanilla ice cream and actually tastes best cold or at room temperature. Put it in the refrigerator one day and eat it the next. Perfect for the upcoming holidays and easy to make.

Raw Apple Walnut Cake

  • 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups sliced apples
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix together all ingredients except apples and walnuts. Then pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Lay apples on top of batter and then sprinkle nuts on top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Morning anchor Lena Tillett says boyfriend, Christopher, makes this recipe and it is delish!

Lamb Chops with Quinoa – Lena Tillett

  • 12 meaty lamb rib chops (about 2 1/2 ounces each)
  • 2 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 whole garlic cloves
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine

Rub lamb with salt, oil, and fresh ground pepper until every piece is well covered. Remember to score the lamb meat before rubbing with dry ingredients. Once done place all of the items into an oven safe pan in an oven heated to 325 degrees. Cover the lamb with an oven safe lid and cook for 3 hours or in the crock pot for 6 hours. If using a crock pot, add ½ cup water. Lamb is best when allowed to cook “low and slow”. Remove all of the meat to separate it from the drippings. Place pan with drippings on the stove top over medium high heat. Once it starts to boil add the red wine to deglaze the pan. Turn heat down to low and simmer before pouring over the lamb chops.


  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Quinoa is super simple to make, think pasta. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of quinoa to boil, turn down to low. Fluff with a fork after 10-15min. Or cook according to package directions. Create a base of quinoa then add your lamb chop and drizzle your sauce over the top. Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!