As we ring in 2014, you can’t forget that the new year means a new calendar is in order. And what better calendar theme than craft cocktails or beer pairings, junk food or even pie (like the ones above from Red Cruiser)? That’s right — you can get all of the above and more in month-to-month form, so that each time you flip your calendar, you’ll have a new delicious dish to stare at (and drool over). Here are my favorite food-filled calendars for 2014.
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If you overdid it on the holiday spread this year (ham AND prime rib, anyone?) and ended up with a fridge packed full of leftovers, never fear. We’ve got five ways to turn them into delicious new meals.
1. Ultimate Ham Sandwich
Whether your Christmas centerpiece was honey-baked or cherry-glazed, pile thick slices on crusty bread with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, cheddar and whole-grain mustard, and you’ll have a renewed appreciation for the holiday ham.
Whether you find yourself hosting unexpected holiday guests or are suddenly tasked with bringing a dish to pass at a party, it’s a good idea to have in your recipe arsenal those crowd-pleasing dishes that look deliciously elaborate and taste just as impressive but are, in fact, a cinch to prepare. When last-minute get-togethers arise, reach for Food Network’s top-five quick recipes for Christmas, a collection of celebration-worthy classics from some of your favorite chefs, like Rachael, Robert and Ina. Perhaps best of all, these go-to picks can be on the table in less than 35 minutes.
5. Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Reduction — Pork and apples are two ingredients simply better together, and here they’re combined when a sweet and tangy maple syrup-apple cider vinegar sauce is spooned over juicy tenderloins.
4. Creamed Spinach — With a rich and creamy sauce subtly spiced with nutmeg, this traditional steakhouse side dish can be made easily at home with fresh spinach and will round out any entree.
Use your holiday cookie cutters to make fun tree-shaped crackers: Just punch out shapes from wonton wrappers (usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle). Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with pesto and season with salt; bake at 350 degrees F until golden around the edges, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
(Photograph by Jeff Harris)
With family and friends spread far across the country, you’re likely to spend a lot of time on the road visiting this month. While en route, embrace the busy travel season with these Food Network-approved restaurant dishes that will guarantee you a happy holiday road trip. We’ve rounded up the top festive spots to find eggnog, gingerbread and yule logs galore, stretching all the way from the East Coast to snowy Alaska. Here are a few highlights to get your merry eating season started.
Ronnybrook Farm — Ancramdale, N.Y.
Sugarplums may be the traditional dancing vision this time of year, but Alex Guarnaschelli always dreams of rich eggnog instead. Her favorite kind hails from Ronnybrook, where the creamy classic is made with whole milk and heavy cream, and it’s spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Alex suggests adding a splash of bourbon to Ronnybrook’s glass bottle of ‘nog for an extra-cozy holiday sip.
When my sister and I were young, we had a standing Christmas- cookie-decoration date with a family friend. Eleanor’s kids were grown, but she loved mixing up several batches of dough (some colored red and green with food-safe dye), pulling out the cookie cutters, and helping us make and bake fancy tray after tray of cookies.
I looked forward to that afternoon in Eleanor’s kitchen every year. Even after I got too old for the annual cookie party, I thought about it fondly (and dreamed about her delicious, buttery cookies).
When December rolled around this year, I found myself craving the experience of making and decorating holiday sugar cookies. I used to have a copy of Eleanor’s recipe, but no matter how much I looked, I couldn’t put my hands on it. And so I went looking for options and found The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Christmas Cookies.
It uses vegetable shortening in place of butter and adds a little bit of orange zest to the dough, but otherwise seems very close to the recipe I once knew. And truly, it’s a delightful dough to work with. It comes together quickly, rolls out beautifully and holds its shape nicely while baking. If you’re still in the midst of your holiday baking, stir together a batch of this dough and cut out some cookies for your Weekender!
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts, my first taste of baked perfection.
I still remember those Saturday mornings and the faint scent of cinnamon drifting into my bedroom, waking me out of a deep sleep – the delicious smell of pastry being caramelized and the exotic scent of spice.
My mom, a die-hard coffee cake eater, would, on occasion, crave the breakfast treat of my generation. Sneaking into the kitchen before the sun came up, my mom would drop a Pop-Tart into the toaster and – voila! – fresh-”baked” perfection.
Tying bows on those last few holiday gifts (or – who are we kidding? – the first few) can be stressful enough as we near closer and closer to Christmas. Luckily, there’s one thing you can be sure about by the time you finish reading: your roster of holiday sides. As we start the final countdown to December 25, use this recipe roundup to brainstorm comforting, seasonal side dishes for your family’s festive holiday dinner.
We won’t argue with you – traditional mashed potatoes are a holiday mainstay. But for something a bit different, Anne Burrell’s Chestnut-Potato Puree for Food Network Magazine comes along with a nutty finish. They may not be roasted on an open fire, but cooking the chestnuts with the potatoes allows for the nuts’ innate sweetness to shine through. Or, switch out potatoes for Sunny’s Holiday Parsnip Puree, which hits the table with a sharper aftertaste and a pinch of nutmeg.
Back in July when we hosted “take your kids to work day” in Food Network’s offices, our editors were already in planning mode for the holidays. For a fun activity with our group of 8- to 12-year-old visitors, we printed blown-up images of some of FoodNetwork.com’s top cookie recipes and asked the kids to vote for their favorites. Sugar cookies were the overall crowd favorite, but chocolatey cookies like Bobby’s Triple-Chocolate Cookies also ranked high for the kids. This prompted one young future food editor to comment: “You should have chocolate sugar cookies!” We loved the idea and promised we’d run with it.
While Christmas dinner may be the centerpiece meal in most homes come next week’s holiday, brunch isn’t to be forgotten, as it’s often quicker and simpler to prepare than supper, even if you’re cooking for guests. This year, whether you’ll be hosting a crowd on Christmas morning or simply unwrapping presents with your family, enjoy a spread of sweet and savory brunch picks, like crispy peppered bacon, Alton’s golden-brown French toast and Ina’s indulgent bread pudding. Check out Food Network’s top-five Christmas brunch picks below to find these recipes and more to complete your holiday celebration.
5. Breakfast Casserole — Filled with all of your favorite breakfast components — bread, eggs, sausage, potatoes and gooey cheese — this big-batch casserole can be assembled the night before and baked when you’re ready to enjoy it on Christmas morning.
4. Maple-Pepper Bacon — No matter what else you’re serving at brunch, be sure to round out the meal with a batch of Food Network Magazine’s crispy bacon, baked instead of fried, with a sweet and savory topping of maple syrup and pepper.