First Lady Maria Lee's Holiday Recipes

First Lady Maria Lee highlighted the Gift of Hospitality in the Dining Room during the 2022 Christmas tours of the Tennessee Residence and shared some of her family’s favorite holiday recipes with guests. You can try one of these family recipes with your loved ones this holiday season:


This recipe is for the First Lady's famous Merry Mint Cookies that are sold at Christmas at the Tennessee Residence each year. They're a guest favorite, and they always sell out!


"About a week before Christmas, my mom would always make a few sweets to have on hand. One of my favorites was her Cornflake Holly Wreaths. These are a homemade, festive take on the crispy rice treat we all know and love!" - Maria

Sausage Dish

"Growing up, my mom would make this recipe on Christmas Eve when we would have our extended family over. It's delicious and looks Christmassy with the bright red and green colors from the peppers and cherries. We always called it simply and affectionately - the Sausage Dish." - Maria

Rum Cake

"This rum cake was first introduced to me by my sister-in-law years ago, and it's been a family Christmas tradition to make it every year since then. I especially like to eat it cold slathered in butter with my coffee in the morning." - Maria

Bleu Cheese Cheeseball

"Our family made this every Christmas Eve, and now I continue the tradition and make it each year, too. You have to like bleu cheese - which I love!" - Maria

Potato Candy

"As a child, my grandmother made this 'candy' for my mom and her six siblings. It's unique in that it uses cooked potato as its base. Potato candy is also known as 'Depression Candy' and was created during the Depression Era in the South. Many food staples were scarce during this time, so peple made do with what they had, making Potato Candy a Christmas delicacy." - Maria