11 Delicious Holiday Recipes From Local Galvestonians

Impress your family, friends and guests with these locally-curated holiday recipes.

Holiday Ginger Bars

By Alicia "The Kitchen Chick" Cahill


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Dark rum
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Holiday sprinkles


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  2. Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes with the paddle attachment. The butter and sugar will become light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the egg, scrape down the bowl, then mix in the molasses.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in the raisins and crystallized ginger by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured countertop, form it into a disk with lightly floured hands, and cut it in half. Roll each half into a log about 12 inches long and place them 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes; the logs will still be soft in the center.
  5. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking the confectioners’ sugar with 5 to 6 teaspoons of rum. You want a pourable consistency.
  6. While the logs are still warm, drizzle them with the glaze and sprinkle them with lemon zest and holiday sprinkles.
Alicia Cahill

Alicia fell in love with cooking by baking a birthday cake. A funfetti box cake in her college dorm room to be exact. Twenty years later she's still baking birthday cakes, from scratch these days, and celebrating by bringing people she loves together with food.

When not on the island, she's traveling the world fork in hand. She loves food, loves learning about food, and loves bringing back authentic flavors from her latest journey to her shop, The Kitchen Chick.

Alicia lives in Galveston with her husband and their adorable dog, Sneaky Pete.

Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs

By Chef Mary Bass


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup (1 sleeve, finely crushed) Ritz Cracker crumbs (you can use plain bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (for browning the meatballs)
  • Bourbon Sauce
  • 1 jar apricot preserves (about a cup, give or take)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (use mild chili sauce if you can't take the heat)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Put the above ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the meat as you put it in. Mix together, using the tips of your fingers to gently combine everything without compacting the meat. I like to do this in my stand mixer.
  3. Form into small 1" balls; I use a small scoop to make them nice and uniform.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, working in batches. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked through (check with a thermometer, it should read 160 degrees)
  5. To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thick.
  6. Place cooked meatballs into the sauce, and let heat through until ready to serve. Serve on a plate with toothpicks, a drizzle of sauce, and lots of napkins. Serve a bowl of sauce on the side for extra dipping.
Chef Mary Bass

Chef Mary Bass is a native Galvestonian and BOI with deep roots in the community. After completing her AAS in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, she went on to open and run her own bakery.

She has worked at top restaurants and venues in Galveston County and has been featured in magazines and news outlets, including Texas Highways Magazine, Great Day Houston, Fox 26 News, The Houston Press, the Galveston County Daily News, and Coast Magazine. In 2016, Chef Mary finished runner-up on Food Networks Cutthroat Kitchen, and today she is available for private and public events of all types of offerings.

Gaido's World-Famous Pecan Pie

By Gaido's Seafood Restuarant


Graham Cracker Crust

  • 10 ounces of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 TBSP butter

Pecan Pie Filling

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 quart of light corn syrup
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups pecan pieces, toasted

Cowboy Bourbon Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 6 TBSP light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted


For the graham cracker crust, combine the crumbs and sugar in a bowls. Melt the butter and add to crumb mixture, mix well.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line the outside of a springform pan with aluminum foil. Coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, using the palms to pack the mixture tightly and evenly to prevent the filling from leaking.

For the pecan filling, combine the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt and pecan pieces in a large bowl, mix well. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is soft to the touch but edges are firm. Let cool for 15 minutes.

For Cowboy Bourbon Sauce, bring water and sugar to a boil in a sauce pan to make a simple syrup. Add the bourbon, cream and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated.

For the assembly, remove the warm pie from the springform pan. Invert on a cardboard round or cake platter. Let cool for 15 minutes longer.

Heat the corn syrup in a saucepan. Brush over the crust - bottom and side - of the pie with a pastry brush. Press the pecan halves into the syrup, pushing firmly. Brush Cowboy Bourbon Sauce over the pie while still warm.

Gaido's restaurant exterior
Gaido's Seafood Restaurant

San Giacinto Gaido first opened his doors to Gaido's Seafood Restaurant to the beach-going public in 1911. Today, they still peel their Gulf shrimp, shuck their Galveston bay oysters and fillet their fresh fish, by hand, the same way S.G. did more than 100 years ago, because the Gaido family has always remained passionate about food with a focus on fresh taste. Our unique sauces, seasonings, salad dressings and delicious desserts are all house-made from time-tested family recipes.

The tables are always set, the service is always personal, and the ingredients are always the freshest... which is why Gaido's famous island kitchen truly is The Coastal Classic.

Dirty Rice

By Amy Lane


  • 2 cups rice, cooked in 4 cups of water
  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 1 lb chicken livers cut into bit size pieces
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt, pepper and garlic to taste


  1. Cook rice and set aside.
  2. Saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Brown chicken livers and sausage, seasoning with garlic, salt, pepper and parsley. Drain fat.
  4. In a deep 13”x9” baking dish, combine rice, vegetables, and meat mixture. Mix well. Pour chicken broth over mixture and stir well.
  5. Cook at 350 for about 20 minutes until evenly heated.
Stacey Winder, Owner, Amy Lane Gifts & Simple Pleasures

"Food is so much more than fuel for the body. Some of the best memories are made over a meal. Food is a way to show others love. My grandmother was an amazing cook. Being born in Louisiana, there was always a bit of Cajun flare to her cooking – from her gumbo to her bread pudding. My favorite dish she would make at the holidays was her dirty rice, and now it has become a favorite of my family as well. Here’s the recipe – enjoy!"

Holiday Shepherd's Pie with Lamb Chops

By Katie's Seafood House


Shepherd's Pie Filling

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced garlic
  • 2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup A-1 Sauce
  • 1/8 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots

Whipped Potato Topping

  • 2 - 3 lb. russet potatoes – (3 to 4) large potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy Whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Lamb Chops, The Spoons of the Pie!

  • 12 to 15 small lamb chops
  • 1/2 jar Spice Island Bouquet Garnis
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s Season Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 12 oz. jar Mint Jelly


  • 1/4 cup Mint Leaves
  • 1/4 lb. Chives, diced
  • 1/2 Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots


Shepherd's Pie Filling

  1. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, lamb, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper into a large Dutch oven or roasting pan.
  2. Work the lamb, onions and herb until brown and cooked throughout.
  3. Sprinkle the flour and mix well until toasted and incorporated with the meat mixture.
  4. Add the sauces to the meat mixture and stir for about ten minutes on medium heat to thicken.
  5. Mix in broth, peas and carrots, set aside and reserve for the casserole dish.

Whipped Potato Topping

Boil potatoes until tender and soft, drain water and dice potatoes into a mixing bowl with the cream, pepper, salt, and cheese. Mix in mixer until light and fluffy. (Don’t over mix) reserve for assembly.

Lamb Chops, The Spoons of the Pie!

  1. Mix the spices in large bowl.
  2. Coat the lamb chops in the spices and grill the lamb chops on an outdoor gas grill.
  3. Flip halfway through cooking and baste the chop with melted mint jelly.
  4. Flip again and baste the other side with the jelly.
  5. Flip one more time to caramelize.
  6. Cook the chops until medium-well as they need to be firm for the Shepherd’s Pie. (normally we love them medium rare)


Tear all the mint leaves. Chop the chives. Using a potato peeler, peel thin strips of sweet potato and lightly fry until crisp, drain and set aside.


  1. In a large casserole dish, spread the ground meat mixture evenly across the dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and level them with a spatula. Sprinkle the peas and carrots on top of the potatoes and place in oven on 425F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes start toasting.
  2. Remove dish from oven and start inserting the lamb chops equally around the edges and in the middle making sure the distance between each has one portion serving of all. Pour juices from lamb chop holding plate on top all over potatoes. Sprinkle the whole dish with torn mint leaves, chives, and sweet potato crisps. Place back in the oven and hold at 200F.
Brett Otteman, Katie's Seafood House

"In my family, lamb was always a celebration dish served to us during the conviviality of dinner. The feelings of love, laughter, warmth with the stories during family gatherings at the dinner table are brought to life as the scents and aromas wafting through the air of these classic holiday dishes, Leg of Lamb in red eye gravy, Lamb Chops bathed in mint sauce and jelly, Garlic and rosemary roasted lamb ribs fricasseed in wild mushroom and shallot gravy come to life as we argue whether we could sit at the grown up table or had to be relegated to the kids table. Lamb to me means everything."

Cuatro Leches Cake

By Rudy & Paco



  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar {divided}
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Tres Leches Milk

  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 can 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can 12oz evaporated milk


  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 can 13oz dulce de leche
  • 1 tbsp flor de cana dark rum
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Spray 9x13 pan with baking spray
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside
  4. Break the eggs, then separate the egg whites from the yolk. Place in a medium bowl and add the egg whites to another bowl
  5. Beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form
  6. Using a hand mixer whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks become pale yellow. Add the milk and vanilla extract to the egg yolk mixture
  7. Slowly pour egg yolk mixture in flour mixture, stir to combine
  8. Gently fold in the soft peak-egg white mixture to the batter until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  9. Pour cake batter into the greased pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes
  10. In a medium bowl combine evaporated milk, heavy cream and condensed milk
  11. Using a wooden skewer, pierce the cake with holes then slowly pour ALL the milk all over the surface of the cake. Make sure to pour near the edges and all around the cake
  12. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour or overnight for the milk to fully penetrate the cake
  13. Combine the caramel/dulce de leche, water and rum – microwave for about 30 seconds, this makes it easy to mix
  14. Pour or spread the mixture on the cake, cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready t serve at least four hours or preferably overnight

TIP: Make sure and poke the cake all over and a lot while it is still warm and then pour the mixture of milk over the top. This will make the cake super moist and delicious

Rudy & Paco

When visiting Galveston Island, you simply can't miss the Island's most unique dining experience, Rudy & Paco. Awarded Top 100 Restaurants of 2017 and Top 100 Romantic Restaurants of 2018, Rudy & Paco features grilled seafood and steak with a South and Central American sabor. Relax and unwind with your favorite cocktail while enjoying delicious Antojitos. Whether you're dining for a special occasion or just grabbing a drink at the bar, coming to Rudy & Paco will surely be an experience like no other.

Shrimp Mirliton Stuffing

By Maceo Spice & Import Company


  • 6 Mirliton
  • 2 bags Maceo Breadcrumbs
  • 2lb shrimp- fresh and deveined (21/25’s cut in 1/2)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic- minced
  • 1 bunch Parsley, chopped
  • 4 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 12 oz. Grated Pecorino
  • 1.5 Tablespoon Maceo Garlic Pepper Salt


  1. Boil the whole mirliton with salt until soft. Remove from water and cool. Save 1.5 cups of water for later. Cut mirliton in half, discard seeds, and scoop the pulp. Squeeze the juice into your reserved water and set it aside.
  2. Sautee your onion and celery on medium heat until the onion is clear. Add shrimp, parsley, and garlic until the shrimp turn pink. Add the mirliton, seasoning, and a cup of mirliton water to keep things juicy and blended. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add 1 bag of breadcrumbs and 1 cup of Pecorino. Mix well and add mirliton water to keep it from drying out. This stuffing should be juicy and thick. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 425°.
Concetta Maceo-Simms

"This time of year is my favorite because of the time spent with my mom in the kitchen. Being from New Orleans, her culinary background is heavily influenced by Cajun and Creole cooking. So even our “traditional” Thanksgiving spread has a little twist. Here is one of my favorites that is always on our Thanksgiving dinner table."

Bread Pudding

By The Tremont House


Bread Pudding

  • 6 large croissants*
  • 6 large cinnamon roll*
* Use pre-made or cook them yourself

Custard Sauce

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 lb melted butter
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs pure vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon

Bourbon Creme Anglaise

  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 lb light brown sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. Cut croissants and cinnamon rolls into 1"-2" cubes.
  2. Mix all custard ingredients together and mix well.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add custard mix to cubed croissants, cinnamon rolls and let sit for 5 minutes. Push down on the bread occasionally to fully incorporate mix. Pour mixture into a 13x9 baking pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick, it's done when it comes out clean.

For Bourbon Creme Anglaise

  1. Melt butter in a sautee pan.
  2. Add bourbon and burn off the alcohol.
  3. Add the sugar and melt.
  4. Add heavy cream and bring back to a slow boil for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat, cool & top with bread pudding.
Grant Marion, Executive Chef, The Tremont House

"This recipe is special to me because not only is it delicious, my grandma made it for the family every year around the holidays."

Dean's Deviled Eggs

By Mike & Liz Dean


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain FAGE Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 6 strips cooked bacon – roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, for garnish


  1. Place all eggs in a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Make sure water covers at least 1 inch above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, cover with a lid and turn heat to simmer. (Note: Simmer for 8 min if you prefer medium-boiled eggs, 10 minutes for hard-boiled yolk).
  2. While eggs are simmering, cook bacon. Set cooked bacon on paper towels to remove excess grease. Chop bacon into coarse pieces and set aside.
  3. Once time is up on eggs, remove from stove, immediately drain hot water and cover with cold water. Scoop 2 cups of ice into a pot and let eggs sit in an ice bath for 5 minutes. Carefully peel under cool running water and set eggs on a paper towel to dry.
  4. Cut eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolk to medium mixing bowl. Set eggs whites on a serving platter. Mash eggs with a fork and add Fage, mayo, bacon, cumin, 1/8 cup chives, salt and pepper, and mix until creamy. If the mixture is a little dry, add a little more mayo until desired texture is achieved.
  5. Scoop mixture into egg whites evenly, sprinkle eggs with paprika and serve warm.
Mike & Liz Dean

This recipe was provided by Mike and Liz Dean. Private Chef, Caterer, and owner of Yaga's Cafe, Blvd., Float, Tsunami, Beerfoot and Ohana, Mike & Liz do their best to improve the quality of life in Galveston, including their recent endeavor with Ball High School to launch a bead recycling project intended to limit the impact on the local environment.

Roast Prime Rib au Poivre

By Melody Smith


  • 1 9-pound prime rib beef roast (about 4 ribs), excess fat trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon mixed whole peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 3 1/2 cups canned beef broth
  • 1/3 cup Cognac or brandy


  1. Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Place beef, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle beef with salt. Mix mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Spread mustard mixture over top of beef. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns over mustard mixture.
  2. Roast beef for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into the center of beef registers 125°F. for medium-rare, tenting loosely with foil if crust browns too quickly, about 2 hours 45 minutes. Transfer beef to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.
  3. Pour pan juices into a 2-cup glass measuring cup (do not clean pan). Freeze juices for 10 minutes. Spoon fat off the top of pan juices, returning 1 tablespoon fat to roasting pan. Reserve juices.
  4. Melt fat in the same roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Add canned beef broth, then Cognac (liquid may ignite). Return pan to heat and boil until liquid is reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add pan juices and the remaining 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns. Transfer pan juices to sauceboat.
  6. Carve roast and serve with juices.
Melody Smith

Melody Smith, a proud BOI, is the director of marketing for Visit Galveston. Her passion for the island resonates through her 20+ years in Galveston's tourism industry.

Fried Turkey

By James Clark


  • 14-15lbs Butterball premium turkey (fully thawed)
  • 2 sticks sweet cream butter unsalted
  • 1 bottle Tony Chachere's Injectable Creole Butter
  • 3 gal Peanut oil


  1. Remove and discard the turkey giblets and neck. Rinse the turkey thoroughly, then pat it dry inside and out making sure to get rid of all water.
  2. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a microwave-safe dish. Slowly add the Creole Butter to the melted butter while continuously stirring. Inject the butter combination into any and every part of the turkey. When the injector can’t retrieve the remainder of the butter combination pour the rest over the top of the turkey fully coating it.
  3. Let the turkey rest on the counter for approx 30 min. While the turkey is resting, find a space outside without anything combustible within a 5 ft radius, preferably grass or dirt, not concrete.
  4. Fill the turkey frying stockpot (typically a 30qt) to the max empty vessel fill line with peanut oil. Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees. Mount the turkey on the holder. Turn the fire off. Slowly lower the turkey into the oil.
  5. Once it is resting on the bottom of the pot and the oil has settled a bit, relight the fire. Set a timer for 45 min (3 to 3-1/4 min per pound). Maintain 350 degrees for the entire 45 minutes.
  6. Remove the turkey, make sure the thickest part of the breast has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Put the turkey on a sheet pan, remove the holder, and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 min. Uncover, carve, and enjoy!
James Clark, President, Galveston Chapter - Texas Restaurant Association

"My holiday dish that I prepare at home that really kicks off the holiday feel for our family is fried turkey. We don’t only do it for Thanksgiving we do it a few times through December and lastly for New Year's Eve."


Where the Texas Coast begins.

See the latest stories from our blog, and start dreaming of your perfect Galveston travel experience.
island time logo


Visit Galveston

Visit Galveston is the official destination marketing organization for Galveston Island, Texas.