Delivering flavor when it matters: The entrées and marketing recipes you need this holiday season

Delivering flavor when it matters: The entrées and marketing recipes you need this holiday season

It’s the main event. The big show. The spectacular reveal, greeted with oooh’s and aaah’s as it makes its way to the table. There’s a lot riding on the entrées, which is why we’ve reached out to top marketing experts and influencers and asked them to share the recipes they trust to deliver a showstopper, every time.

In the latest installment of our Home for the Holidays recipe series, we’re revealing closely guarded culinary secrets from a rich range of festive traditions. We’ve got the turkey, we’ve got the ham, but we’ve also got festive vegetable spices, cheese feasts – and some very special chili.

The holidays are a time of year for tradition – but they can also be a time of year to get creative. You’ll find plenty of inspiration here for mixing things up in the kitchen and adding some new flavors to your festive season.

As with our starter and sides recipes from earlier in the series, we’re pairing these mouth-watering entrées with some recipes of ActiveCampaign’s own. Like our holiday centerpieces, you can trust these marketing automation recipes to deliver a tasty experience in the moments that matter.

Scroll down for our full selection of festive entrées – and then download our full menu of holiday recipes our Home for the Holidays site. While you’re there you can register for our special Yule Log Fireside Chat with bestselling author and MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley. It’s yet more inspiration for cooking up creative marketing over the holidays.

Entrée Number 1: Macaroni Pie

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From Michaela Alexis, LinkedIn Training Expert

“Many people don’t know that my dad was born and raised in Trinidad, and so many of our holiday meals growing up included Pelau, Calaloo, and Rum Cake. Macaroni Pie of the dishes I always looked forward to, and one that my mom still makes every year even after my dad’s passing. It’s a baked dish of noodles, cheese, and a little Caribbean kick of spicy flavor. The holidays just aren’t the same without a little comfort food from the islands!”

You will need:

  • 8 oz uncooked macaroni
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp creole salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  1. Cook your macaroni while preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sauté the garlic, thyme, and smoked paprika in the butter for about a minute, using a saucepan on a medium low heat. Then add the onions and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the flour, whisk until blended, then slowly add the milk and bring to a boil until the mixture thickens.
  4. Once it’s thick, stir in half of the cheese, add the cooked macaroni and stir until it’s coated in the sauce. Then add the mustard and pepper, and transfer to a greased baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with:
Pre-Webinar Reminder Drip and Post-Webinar Follow Up Automation Recipe

How do you remind registrants to attend your webinar? How do you follow up with them once it’s over? Automate the entire process from pre-event reminder to post-event follow-up with this automation recipe.

Entrée Number 2: White Christmas Chili

From Mathew Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy, Salesforce

“Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, and family traditions are par tof what makes it special. One of my favorites is our Christmas Eve Chili. Each year my mother makes a big pot of chili. She has two recipes, a red and a white, and we go back and forth as to which one is our favorite. The red is a tart and tangy family recipe, but the white is an award-winning fare (Seriously my mother won a Chili cookoff with it). Both are easy to whip up, and taste even better the next day.”

You will need:

  • 8 skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbs of vegetable oil
  • 2 (14-oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 4 (15.5-oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
  • 2 (4.5-oz) cans chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp chili powder (I use a little more)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (I use a little more)
  • Toppings: shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, salsa, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, then sauté it with the onion and garlic, in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Cook until the chicken is done, which should be about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with the toppings of your choice.

Serve with:
Salesforce Sales, Support, & Marketing CXA Automation Recipe

Turn moments of connection into bigger opportunities with this automation recipe. It gathers information from prospects making appointments, and channels them into the right workflow for a more personalised, value-adding experience.

Entrée Number 3: Turkey in a Smoker

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From Nkem Nwankwo, Senior Product Manager, Calendly

“Cooking a turkey on a smoker takes a bit longer than roasting in the oven, but the results are worth it. Follow this true, low and slow recipe for juicy, fork-tender glistening turkey meat with deep smoke flavor.”

You will need:

  • 1 (10 lb) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsps seasoned salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 (12 fl oz) cans cola-flavored carbonated beverage
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the smoker to between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit (110 to 120 degrees Celsius).
  2. Rinse the turkey under cold water, and pat dry.
  3. Rub the crushed garlic over the outside of the bird, and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place in a disposable roasting pan.
  4. Fill turkey cavity with butter, cola, apple, onion, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper.
  5. Cover loosely with foil and smoke for 10 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) when measured in the thickest part of the thigh.
  6. Baste the bird every 1 to 2 hours with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.

Serve with:
Calendly: Book First Meeting Email Series
Encourage new contacts who subscribe to your email list to schedule a meeting with you as well. This automation recipe will book the meeting through Calendly and thank them for making an appointment.

Entrée Number 4: One Pot Healthy Moong Dal Khichdi

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From Dhruv Vats, Senior Sales and Partnership Manager, Xoxoday

“This combination of rice and lentils is the ultimate Indian comfort food, and it’s been a staple around the world for centuries. Contrary to the Western idea of comfort food, khichdi has many nourishing and healing powers including ingredients that boost immunity and energy.”

You will need:

  • ½ cup moong dal (split and husked mung lentils)
  • ½ cup rice (regular, short, medium-grained or even basmati)
  • 1 small to medium sized onion – finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato – chopped
  • ½ inch ginger – finely chopped or grated
  • 1 small green mirch – chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 3.5 cups water – for a thinner consistency, add 4 to 4.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsps oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • salt as required
  1. Rinse and wash the moong lentils and rice together then soak both in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in pressure cooker.
  3. Add the cumin, and when it splutters, add the onions and sauté them until they’re translucent. There’s no need to brown them.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, green chilli and ginger.
  5. Stir, then add the turmeric powder and asafoetida and sauté until the tomato softens.
  6. Drain the rice and moong lentils and add them to the pressure cooker.
  7. Stir for a minute, then pour over the water and season with salt.
  8. Close the lid tightly and pressure cook on a high flame for 6-7 whistles.
  9. Keep simmering until you get the right consistency. If the mixture becomes too thick, you can stir in extra water (the consistency is up to you).
  10. Serve hot, topped with ghee and with curd (yogurt) and accompanying salad.

Serve with:
Send Gift Card to New Client Automation Recipe

Give new clients that warm, nourished feeling by sending gift cards by Xoxoday.

Entrée Number 5: Serbian Cheese Pie

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From Ivana S Taylor, Small Business Expert

“Gibanica (pronounce G-ee-bah-nee-tsah) is one of the most popular dishes in Serbia. It consists mainly of phyllo dough layers and lots of slightly salty, creamy and custardy cheese. It’s the perfect party food for any holiday: easy to make, easy to eat, and insanely comforting!”

You will need:

  • 2 packs Phyllo Dough, the thicker the better (I recommend “Kore” from
  • Parthenon foods but if you can only find thin Phyllo dough, just double up)
  • 2 16-oz containers of full-fat, small-curd cottage cheese
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Feta cheese crumbles to taste
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil (about 1/2 cup for brushing in between Phyllo layers)
  • 9×13 baking pan or 3” deep foil pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Large spoon for mixing and spreading mix

You’ll need all your ingredients to be at room temperature, so it’s a good idea to get them out and let them sit for up to six hours first. It seems like a long time. But the longer they sit, the bigger and fluffier your Gibanica will be. Don’t be tempted to open your Phyllo dough in advance! It dries out crazy fast, so wait until you have everything else ready.

  1. Place the cottage cheese in the mixing bowl, add all but one of the eggs and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil onto the bottom of your foil baking pan, then (and only then) open your package of Phyllo dough.
  3. Unroll and cover the Phyllo sheets with plastic wrap, then a slightly damp towel to prevent drying out. Now you’re ready to build your layers!
  4. Cover the bottom of the pan with a single layer of phyllo dough, making sure some of the pieces hang over the sides.
  5. Evenly sprinkle a tablespoon of oil over the dough, then gently spread one-quarter of the cheese mixture on top.
  6. Repeat this layering process about four more times, ending with Phyllo dough.
  7. Mix the one remaining egg with a little water or oil (whichever you prefer) and pour it on top of the top layer of Phyllo Dough — then brush the mixture all over the top. This will give you that lovely golden crispy texture.
  8. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is set. The pie will puff up while baking but will settle down a little when you take it out of the oven.

Serve with:
Targeted Product Interest Follow-Up Automation Recipe

Encourage prospects to make a purchase with a series of targeted follow-up emails, segmented by the products they show interest in.

Entrée Number 6: Vandeboom Chili

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From Nicole VandeBoom, Co-Founder, Lemon+Sage Designs – and Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO, ActiveCampaign

Nicole says: “This is my favorite autumn and winter dish to make in the VandeBoom house. It’s tasty and filling and usually has plenty for leftovers. While there is a long list of ingredients, it is actually a pretty easy dish to make and isn’t overly time consuming. I hope you enjoy my chili recipe as much as we do in our home.”

You will need:

  • 2 lbs ground sirloin or turkey
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps ground chili powder
  • 2 tbsps paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt
  • 3 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable depending on preference)
  • 2 tbsps corn flour
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, add the meat and cook until browned.
  2. Add the onion and continue to cook until the onion is tender, then add the garlic, chili powders, cumin, black pepper, and salt.
  3. Stir until all the meat is covered in the spices and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Add the bay leaves, kidney beans, oregano, and broth, and stir well to combine all ingredients.
  5. Bring to a nice bubbly simmer then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 30 more minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the corn flour with 1/4 cup of cold water and stir until a thin paste forms.
  7. Pour the paste into the chili and stir until the corn flour mixture dissolves into the chili.
  8. Return to a simmer long enough for the corn flour to cook and thicken the chili. If it is still too runny for your taste, you can add a little more corn flour paste mixture until you reach your desired consistency.
  9. Serve with your favorite toppings: cheddar cheese, sour cream (I prefer Greek yogurt), green onion. Sometimes I serve it over noodles (think chili mac!) or over roasted potato bites.

Serve with:
Send a Notification on Purchase Automation Recipe

How do you know when a customer makes a purchase from your ecommerce store? Through the post purchase notifications in this automation recipe.

Entrée Number 7 Gammon In Coca Cola

From Mark Masters, Founder, You Are the Media

“You might be thinking, ‘wow…this sounds strange,’ but trust me, it’s delicious. I took it from Nigella Lawson about five years ago, and it’s now my favorite way to cook meat that doesn’t involve a barbecue. You’ll thank me for this. The coke brings out the full flavour of the gammon joint. So much so that I’m salivating just writing this.”

You will need:

  • 2 kg mild-cure gammon joint
  • 1 onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 2 liters coca-cola
  • 1 handful of cloves
  • 1 heaped tbsp black treacle
  • 2 tsps english mustard powder
  • 2 tbsps demerara sugar
  1. I find that mild-cure gammon doesn’t need soaking, but if you know that you’re dealing with a salty piece, put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits, add the onion, then pour over the Coke. I add a cinnamon stick and peppercorns too.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo. If the gammon’s been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450ºF/240°C and when the ham has finished simmering, let it cool a little, remove the skin, score the layer of fat beneath and stud the diamond shapes with a clove each.
  4. Carefully spread the treacle over this bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves.
  5. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat and cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

If you like, you can do the boiling and simmering in advance, then let the ham cool before you clove and glaze it. In this case, you’ll need to roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 350ºF/180°C, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.

Serve with:
Slack Notify Your Team When a Contact Needs Help Automation Recipe

Reach out and help customers proactively with this Slack integration that notifies your support team when they visit the help pages of your site. It helps your business reach out and clear up confusion and misunderstandings before they become an issue – which keeps things festive all round.

Entrée Number 8: Fruit Junque for Thanksgiving

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From Heidi Cohen, CMO, Actionable Marketing Guide

“My mother adapted this recipe from one that she saw in the Joie Gabor Cookbook. (Yes, as in Zsa Zsa’s sister.) It dates from the 1960s or 1970s when recipes contained different food options (like canned pineapple and orange juice concentrate.) This recipe has been a family favorite ever since, for every holiday that involves chicken or turkey.”

You will need:

  • 3-5 sweet apples like Golden Delicious, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1-2 cans of pineapple chunks in juice
  • 3-5 large bananas, sliced
  • 8 oz dried apricots cut into quarters
  • 1 small (8 oz) can of orange juice concentrate – or half of a larger can of Trader Joe’s
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Splash of Triple Sec (optional)
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a 2-quart pot or casserole (this makes it easier to take straight to the table!) and heat on a medium flame on top of the stove.
  2. Cook slowly until the fruit is soft, then serve warm with turkey or other type of fowl.
  3. Refrigerate the leftovers. They can be served hot or cold as dessert or on top of ice cream.

Serve With:
Send New Blog Posts Automation Recipe

You publish some great content on your blog, and naturally, you want your list subscribers to know about it. How do you send new blog posts to your subscribers without creating a new email every time? There’s an automation recipe for that: the send new blog posts automation recipe.

Entrée Number 9: Grandma Pulizzi’s Italian Dressing (So good we upgraded it to a main!)

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From Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, Best Selling Author

“This is the recipe my grandmother brought from Marsala, Sicily to the United States (Sandusky, Ohio to be precise). I make it every year for Thanksgiving. It’s by far my favorite thing to make, and it’s even better the next day.”

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice (measure when cooked)
  • 1 1/2 lbs hamburger
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • Salt and Pepper to season as you like
  • 1 stalk cut celery
  • 1 large package breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Brown the hamburger with a dash of oil and mix in the onions and celery.
  3. Pour off the grease and leave the mixture to cool before adding the cooked rice, breadcrumbs in a bowl, grated cheese, slices of three eggs, raisins and salt and pepper.
  4. Put the whole thing in a crock pot and add two other sliced eggs on top.
  5. Cook on a low heat for three hours, mixing occasionally so as not to burn.

Serve with:
Add a Segmented Deal Automation Recipe

Create and segment a new deal in your ActiveCampaign CRM whenever a contact submits a form, so you can follow up with the most relevant content.

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