Spend more time in front of the game and less time in the kitchen by making this seven-layer dip the day before the event. It’s a hearty option to serve with chips and is also vegetarian-friendly. See the step-by-step photo how-to below to ensure that each scoop will score big with your guests.
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Punch is always a crowd-pleasing party drink, but keeping it chilled throughout the fun can be tricky. Individual ice cubes melt quickly and tend to water down the mix, while a large citrus-speckled ice mold stays frozen longer and imparts extra flavor to the punch. You can use any ring mold or Bundt pan to freeze the ice, which doubles as an eye-catching centerpiece. Get the party started by floating this ice ring in a big batch of Cosmopolitan Fizz Punch, which combines the cosmo — a favorite ’90s cocktail — with the classic ’50s ginger ale punch for a palate-pleasing mashup that will keep you cool as the game heats up.
Begin by layering lime and orange slices in a ring mold and scattering fresh (or frozen) cranberries in between. Then mix together 3/4 cup each cranberry juice, orange juice and water, and pour the liquid over the fruit. Freeze the ring mold until firm, about 6 hours.
In keeping with the spirit of the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl next weekend, we rounded up a few grilled favorites that make great game-day eats no matter what the temperature. If you’re not down with donning gloves though, never fear; all these recipes can also be made indoors on a grill pan.
1. Texas Hold-ums Mini Chipotle Beef Burgers with Warm Fire Roasted Garlic Ketchup (pictured above)
Rachael’s mini burgers can feed a crowd and only take 16 minutes to come together. They’re spiced up with chipotle peppers, onions and grill seasoning, then topped with smoky cheddar cheese and a homemade fire-roasted ketchup.
The casserole doesn’t necessarily have the most-fashionable rep around. (Tuna casserole, we’re lookin’ at you.) But don’t let that misconception hold you back. The modern casserole really is a one-dish wonder, one that comes nice and bubbly from the oven. It can take you from oven to table with no effort at all. And when you’re buried under scarves and sweaters, the thought of easy-to-access comfort food should warm you on its very own.
Classic lasagna may be the most-popular Italian one-dish wonder, but just consider it a starting point. Trisha fixes her vegan Black Bean Lasagna by layering black beans, homemade tofu ricotta and fire-roasted tomatoes between sheets of lasagna noodles.
Many casseroles come with a base of rice, but Rachael’s Make-Ahead Paella Casserole is definitely the most vibrant. For a one-pan dose of Spanish comfort, Rachael simmers rice in an infusion of saffron before joining it with chicken, chorizo, fish and even shrimp.
For Turkey Day, Food Network stars aren’t just making masterpieces in the oven; they’re also setting an impressive holiday table for dinner guests. With a few tips and tricks from Giada, Ina and Sandra, you can turn your dining room table into one fit for a Thanksgiving celebration.
Giada likes to spoil each of her guests with their own dish for olive oil. At each guest’s place setting, there’s also a special place card. “I have the person’s name on one side,” says Giada, “and on the other side I have his or her favorite hobby or passion. It’s a great conversation starter and it guarantees that the night will be full of laughs and lots of fun.”
To make kids feel extra special at their Thanksgiving table, Giada makes homemade chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles, and then wraps them up with a nametag for each child. Instead of a tablecloth, Giada rolls out butcher paper to give kids a place to draw on.
Turn your Thanksgiving table into a festive spread before the food arrives with fun decorations and ideas that can double as hostess gifts. Add sparkle to the table with the above beaded leaf runner, or set out Thanksgiving-themed crackers as place markers. When guests pop them open, they’ll find a turkey figure, Pilgrim hat and a joke.
Alex Guarnaschelli puts her culinary chops on display daily at her New York City restaurants Butter and The Darby, but she also knows a thing or two about entertaining a crowd (especially during the holidays). When FN Dish caught up with her at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, she was throwing a jazz brunch in the newly renovated Butter, featuring dishes from her debut cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food. Though the event was small and intimate, her entertaining ideas work for any occasion — big or small:
Mix up the menu. You don’t have to serve an entire buffet of right-out-of-the-oven hot dishes. A mix of both hot and cold bites not only keeps the menu interesting, but it also gives you more time to mingle with guests. Try putting out an assorted meat plate with some dried fruits, toasted nuts or a mix of cheeses. It’s an elevated way to serve a wider variety of food without making more work for yourself. Alex recommends pancetta, culatello ham, mustela loin and capocollo Calabrese. Don’t forget to set out grilled bread or pita too.
I believe everyone should have one cookie recipe that they know by heart — one that can be easily whipped together to welcome new babies, offer up at potlucks and make on a whim when you need a touch of sweet homemade comfort.
For some people, that cookie is a basic chocolate chip. For others, it’s a rough and tumble mix of oats, nuts and dried fruit. And I know other folks who can make peanut butter or sugar cookies with their eyes closed.
The basic requirements of this type of cookie are that the ingredients can be kept in the kitchen cupboard, that you need only a bowl or two to make it, that it drops from spoon to baking sheet with ease (no roll-out cookies need apply) and that it tastes good. Being sturdy enough to withstand the U.S. Postal Service is not required, but it’s a plus.
In the last few years, the bulk of my friends have become parents. It has been a joy to watch these dear people grow families and to see their once-tiny, squawking babes turn into little humans with preferences and desires.
One thing I’ve learned is that once kids enter the picture in your social circle, it becomes a whole lot harder to throw a traditional dinner party. And so, I stopped having them. Instead I started inviting people over for more casual gatherings and welcomed their children.
In the process, I’ve become a connoisseur of meals that allow you to cook once and satisfy everyone. Burrito bars are one good option, because they allow for mixing, matching and liberal applications of hot sauce for the parents.
Though I adore the strawberries, plums and peaches of summer, by the time fall rolls around each year, I am ready for apples. To me, they are a sign of cooler weather, cozy evenings and a slightly slower pace of life.
When they’re in season, I often buy apples by the half bushel. One of my favorite local orchards offers an amazing deal at our Sunday farmers market. You can fill up an entire crate of apples for $20. It means that they’re able to move a mountain of apples and I feel like I’m getting a bargain. The only trouble is that I then have 20+ pounds of apples to eat, use and preserve.
And so, I get to sorting and cooking. I fill up one whole crisper drawer with the best-looking apples for eating whole or slicing to dip in peanut butter (that is one of my all-time favorite snacks). I make applesauce, apple butter and little jars of honey-colored jelly.