37 Retro Christmas Recipes Mom Learned in the ’70s

Updated: May 19, 2024

From creamy fondue to savory Beef Wellington, these 70s Christmas recipes make for a very groovy holiday!

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Ambrosia Salad

During last-minute menu planning, I often include this classic ambrosia salad recipe because I keep the ingredients on hand. —Judi Bringegar, Liberty, North Carolina

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Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing

I have been making crown roasts for many years but was only satisfied with the results when I combined a few recipes to come up with this guest-pleasing version. It’s beautifully roasted with an apricot glaze and a nicely browned stuffing. —Isabell Cooper, Cambridge, Nova Scotia
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7-Layer Gelatin Salad

Here’s an eye-catching salad that my mother makes for Christmas dinner each year. You can choose different flavors to make other color combinations for specific holidays or other gatherings. —Jan Hemness, Stockton, Missouri
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Creamy Scallop Crepes

These savory crepes feel so elegant for the holidays. I like to add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh dill weed to the crepe batter before refrigerating. —Doreen Kelly, Hatboro, Pennsylvania
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Bacon-Wrapped Spam Bites

These sweet and savory bites use Spam—a favorite ingredient in Hawaii—in a fun new way. Bet you can’t stop at just one! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

The concept of an old-fashioned dates back to the early 1800s and includes whiskey, bitters, cherry juice, sugar and water. This version, which is extremely popular in Wisconsin, uses brandy in place of whiskey and lemon-lime soda instead of water for a milder cocktail. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Homemade Alfredo Sauce

When I found out I had celiac disease and couldn’t have fettuccine Alfredo, I was determined to figure out a way to re-create it. I mix this homemade alfredo sauce with gluten-free multigrain pasta, but you can use any style of pasta. —Jackie Charlesworth Stiff, Frederick, Colorado
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Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

This classic 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
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Cheese Lover's Fondue

French bread cubes and apples are the perfect dippers for this classic fondue, made with white wine and Swiss and Gruyere cheeses. It’s a crowd pleaser. —Linda Vogel, Elgin, Illinois
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Shrimp and Cucumber Canapes

These cute stacks really stand out in a holiday appetizer buffet. Tasty, cool and crunchy, they come together in a snap. —Ashley Nochlin, Port St. Lucie, Florida
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Mini Cheese Balls

These mini cheese balls are the perfect quick appetizer for any party. Roll them in toasted sesame seeds, fresh rosemary and/or paprika to add even more flavor. —J. Spivey, Ennice, North Carolina
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Cassoulet for Today

Traditionally cooked for hours, this cassoulet recipe offers the same homey taste in less time. It’s easy on the wallet, too. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida
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Swiss Potato Puffs

Encourage guests to mingle by serving these cute little morsels. They’re transportable, mess-free and easy to eat in a few bites. —Myra Innes, Auburn, Kansas
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Blue Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp

Cooked shrimp become something more extraordinary when stuffed with blue cheese. The mild flavor has mass appeal.—Amy Dollimount, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
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Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does: I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah
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Oyster Cheese Appetizer Log

When you say "holiday tradition" around our house, this appetizer comes to mind immediately. Every winter, I make lots of cheese logs and freeze them for when I'm expecting company or need to take food to someone's home. The blend of smoked oysters, chili powder, nuts and cream cheese tastes good-even people who don't like oysters may enjoy this interesting appetizer. —William Tracy, Jerseyville, Illinois
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Seafood Cioppino

If you're looking for a great seafood recipe for your slow cooker, this classic fish stew is just the ticket. It's brimming with clams, crab, fish and shrimp, and it is fancy enough to be an elegant meal. —Lisa Moriarty, Wilton, New Hampshire
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Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole

Even people who don’t like broccoli beg me to make this comforting broccoli cheese casserole recipe. It's similar to a classic green bean casserole, but the melted cheese just puts it over the top. —Elaine Hubbard, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania
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Orange Chocolate Fondue

"Invite you family and friends to dip cubes of cake and pieces of fruit into this rich, luscious fondue for a special treat during the holiday season," writes Mary Jean DeVries from her home in Grandville, Michigan.
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Three-Cheese Souffles

No matter when I've made these soufflés, they have always been a success. Although I've never seen the centers start to fall, it's best to plan on serving them hot from the oven. —Jean Ference, Sherwood Park, Alberta
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Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

I love to make this for my husband and myself to have on a cold night. It warms us right up! Greek yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream. —Meg Hilton, Atlanta, Georgia
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Molded Cranberry-Orange Salad

When I take this dish to potlucks during the holidays, people always ooh and aah. Feel free to top with whipped cream for added appeal. —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico
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Barbecued Meatballs

Grape jelly and chili sauce are the secrets that make these meatballs so fantastic. If I’m serving them at a party, I prepare the meatballs and sauce in advance and reheat them right before guests arrive. —Irma Schnuelle, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
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Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California
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Grandmother's Orange Salad

This orange salad dessert is slightly sweet and tangy, too. It adds beautiful color to any meal and appeals to all ages! —Ann Eastman, Santa Monica, California
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Three-Cheese Fondue

I got this easy recipe from my daughter, who lives in France. It’s become my go-to fondue, and I make it often for our family.—Betty A. Mangas, Toledo, Ohio
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Classic Beef Wellingtons

Perfect for holidays, this beef Wellington recipe is also impressively easy. Find ready-made puff pastry sheets in the frozen food section. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Garlic-Herb Mini Quiches

Looking for a wonderful way to impress guests? You’ve got it—and you need only five ingredients to make these tasty apps! —Josephine Piro, Easton, Pennsylvania
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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Swedish Meatballs

Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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Black Forest Chocolate Torte

If you're thinking about pulling out all the stops for a dessert that says wow, look no further. This cherry-crowned beauty—stacked layers of chocolate cake and cream filling—will have everyone talking. —Doris Grotz, York, Nebraska
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Ring of Piggies

This charming plate of piggies looks like a holiday wreath when I drape fresh rosemary in the center. It’s a cute display for merry get-togethers. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Hawaiian Pork Roast with Pineapple

This is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. It’s wonderful with rice or potatoes and any vegetable. It also reheats well for lunch the next day. —Ruth Chiarenza La Vale, Maryland
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Turkey Scallopini with Marsala Sauce

My family requests this entree at least once a month. The slightly sweet Marsala sauce is yummy over the turkey slices and hot cooked noodles. —Briana Knight, Ferndale, Washington
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Broccoli & Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers

There's plenty of both crunch and cream in these party appetizers. Fresh chives help them really stand out. —Jean McKenzie, Vancouver, Washington
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Crowd-Pleasing Party Meatballs

We served this scrumptious dish at our wedding. It went over so well that it’s been served at other weddings and family functions, and the requests keep coming! —Stefany Blevins, Portsmouth, Ohio
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Simple Lime Gelatin Salad

Looking for a festive dish to light up the buffet? This pretty green gelatin salad is eye-catching and has a delightful, tangy flavor. —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa