Cooking this holiday season? Simple, spectacular recipes that are sure to be a hit

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Cooking this holiday season? Mark Hagen, the managing editor at Taste of Home, joins FOX6 WakeUp with some simple, but spectacular recipes.

Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

This layered salad is a family favorite from a church cookbook I've had for 40 years. The bacon adds a fabulous crunch. —Mary Brehm, Cape Coral, Florida

Prep: 20 min. + chilling

1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 cups frozen peas (about 10 ounces)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup dried cranberries

In a 3-qt. or 13x9-in. glass dish, layer the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and sugar; spoon over salad, spreading to cover.
Sprinkle top with cheese, bacon and cranberries. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Yield: 16 servings (1 cup each).

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 206 calories, 16 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 19 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Cranberry-Walnut Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one food that picky eaters often resist. This recipe will change their mind. You can also add garlic and dried fruits. —Jennifer Armellino, Lake Oswego, Oregon

Prep/Total Time: 20 min.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Place Brussels sprouts in pan, cut side down; cook 4-5 minutes or until bottoms are browned.
Add cranberries and water; cook, covered, 1-2 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Stir in walnuts; cook and stir until water is evaporated. Stir in vinegar. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup equals 281 calories, 20 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 26 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Citrus-Molasses Glazed Ham

We are always searching new ways to utilize Florida citrus, which is plentiful during the holidays in our own back yard. I know you will enjoy this. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 2 hours

1 fully cooked bone-in ham (7 to 9 pounds)
GLAZE:
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using a sharp knife, score surface of ham with 1/4-in.-deep cuts in a diamond pattern. Cover and bake 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or until a thermometer reads 130°.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine grapefruit and orange juices. Bring to a boil; cook 6-8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in remaining ingredients; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 12-15 minutes or until thickened.
Remove ham from oven. Brush with 1/3 cup glaze. Bake ham, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 140°, basting occasionally with remaining glaze. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 5 ounces cooked ham equals 272 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 116 mg cholesterol, 1,424 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 39 g protein

Jolly Ginger Reindeer Cookies

I made gingerbread cookies for years before realizing my gingerbread-man cutter becomes a reindeer when turned upside down. They're super crispy and fun! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

Prep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice

ROYAL ICING:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
4 teaspoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 to 2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 to 2 tablespoons Red Hots

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. In another bowl, whisk flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-in. gingerbread boy-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
In a bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
To decorate cookies, place gingerbread boys on a work surface with heads facing you. Pipe antlers onto legs. With icing, attach chocolate chips for eyes and Red Hots for noses. Let stand until set. Store in airtight containers. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cookie equals 106 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 58 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.