All Posts In Holidays

A Chocolate Shamrock Cake

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 16th, 2012

chocolate shamrock cake
While St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday geared toward adults, I think it’s fun to make sure that what I make is also kid friendly.

This cake is a perfect compromise for adults and kids alike. Big people get a decadent piece of cake, while little people take part in a scavenger hunt.

What’s the best part about this cake? Wondering who will get the “lucky” piece or the piece with a four-leaf clover on it.

Learn how to make this simple cake

5 Ways to Cook With Beer

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 16th, 2012


No St. Patrick’s Day party is complete without beer, especially Guinness, a dark Irish stout beer. Sure, you could just enjoy it straight from the can or bottle, but you could also cook with beer, incorporating it into sweet and savory dishes, such as ice cream sundaes, chocolate cupcakes, burgers and more. Below are five stout-centric recipes that are bursting with bold, full flavors, but are still easy enough to make for tomorrow’s Irish-themed festivities.

Reduce sweetened Guinness beer on the stove until it’s thick and syrupy, and drizzle it atop classic vanilla ice cream to create Food Network Magazine’s easy Guinness Sundaes (pictured above).

More St. Patrick’s Day recipes

$7 Brings You Instant Wine Coolness on St. Patrick’s Day

by in Drinks, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

wine for st. patricks dayIf you crave coolness, sometimes the best plan is to swim against the stream. Everyone eating steak? Order the shrimp scampi. Friends dressing up? Go ahead, wear your ripped jeans.

And with St. Patrick’s Day being so famously beer-soaked, your against-the-grain cred will come from drinking wine. Not any old vino, mind you, but one particularly suited to this casual, joyous occasion: Vinho Verde (VEEN-yoh VEHR-day), a light white wine from various native grapes in Portugal.

Here are five reasons why

Individual Shepherd’s Pie — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

individual shepherd's pie
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this year I’m celebrating with a classic Shepherd’s Pie. It’s basically my go-to dish for this yearly celebration, along with a few Irish-inspired cocktails and beer.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe comes from Mr. Alton Brown.

It’s a foolproof recipe that will knock your socks off. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some Dubliner cheese into the potato topping to give it that extra Irish kick. What makes this even more special is that rather than making a big casserole dish of Shepherd’s Pie, I turn this into individual portions by make the pies in a muffin tin. How perfect is that for a fun St. Paddy’s-themed evening with your friends? Grab a mini Shepherd’s Pie and a Guinness and call it a night.

Get the recipe

Creole Shrimp Skewers for Mardi Gras — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 20th, 2012

creole shrimp skewers
Mardi Gras is the perfect excuse for a party, and not just any party — a New Orleans-themed party. I don’t know if you’ve been to New Orleans (NOLA for short), but let me tell you this: Those people know how to party. I was there last year for a quick week and even this California girl had a hard time keeping up with the nightlife. That aside, you can’t forget the amazing Cajun and Creole food on every corner and the unforgettable cocktail scene with live music that pours into the streets at night. If you can’t head down south for Mardi Gras this year, re-create a NOLA-inspired appetizer for Fat Tuesday.

And who better to take inspiration from than the king of NOLA himself, Emeril.

This Mardi Gras Jambalaya from Emeril is one of my all-time favorites. I’ll make this for a big dinner party any day, but I wanted to turn it into an appetizer so it would be easy to eat — people can grab a bite and run back to the dance floor.

Get Gaby’s Creole Shrimp Skewer recipe »

Presidential Eats

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 17th, 2012


If you’re lucky enough to have a day off of work or school on Monday, you can thank the first president of the United States, George Washington, as his birthday is celebrated each year on the third Monday of February. Celebrate this government holiday by cooking up our menu of presidential eats. We’re featuring a fish dish to commemorate Washington’s love of seafood, traditional Chicago- and Hawaiian-style favorites to honor President Obama’s roots and an authentic Indian dish to celebrate Washington, D.C.’s diverse food scene. Tell us: What will you be making on Presidents’ Day?

A true fish fan, Washington would have likely reveled in Food Network Magazine’s Tilapia With Green Beans (pictured above), a protein-packed plate that is bursting with fresh flavor. This flaky whitefish is quickly sautéed in a decadent butter-lemon sauce and served with tender green beans and softened cherry tomatoes.

Read more

No-Bake Valentine’s Day Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2012

Whether or not you have elaborate Valentine’s Day plans (or a valentine) on Tuesday, it’s practically required that you indulge in a few sweet treats to mark the holiday. But what if you’d prefer to spend time with your someone special instead of baking the perfect Red Velvet Layer Cake or indulgent Molten Lava Cakes? Then rely on our quick-to-prepare, no-bake recipes to serve up a lovingly made dessert in a flash. With chocolate candies, mousse, strawberry cheesecake and more, our list of Valentine’s Day desserts is sure to please your sweetie’s sweet tooth.

A generous splash of brandy offers after-dinner decadence to Alton’s two-bite Chocolate Truffles (pictured above), made with bittersweet chocolate and cream. Gently roll these beauties in soft cocoa powder, sweet coconut or crunchy chopped nuts to add a touch of texture and flavorful elegance.

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Best 5 Valentine’s Day Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 11th, 2012


Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal, right? This Valentine’s Day, forget about making restaurant reservations and serve your someone special a romantic dinner or dessert for two at home. Food Network’s top five Valentine’s Day recipes are elegant yet traditional dishes that you can easily make with love.

5. Shrimp Scampi With Linguini — A quick-cooking seafood, shrimp dress up classic pasta with garlic, lemon and white wine.

4. Chocolate Covered Strawberries — These two-bite treats are covered in smooth semi-sweet chocolate.

Get the top three recipes »

Short Rib Lasagna Rolls — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 10th, 2012

short rib lasagna rolls
When I was in college, I had a friend who insisted on wearing all black on Valentine’s Day. It was her way of protesting the hubbub and commercialization of the holiday. Though I could see her point, I didn’t follow suit. I remained utterly charmed by a day devoted to love.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I have become a little disgusted with how much money people think it takes to do Valentine’s Day right. If you believe the marketing, you need a second job to make your sweetie feel loved. Restaurants take particular advantage of our expectations and raise their prices for the day. A meal that would regularly cost $50 doubles to $100. Wine and cocktail prices ratchet up precipitously, as well.

Here’s my suggestion. Instead of blowing through wads of cash on a meal out, treat your honey to a special-occasion, home-cooked meal. You’ll spend a fraction of the cash you would on a fancy-pants dinner and with just a few carefully placed candles, you won’t lose even an ounce of the romance.

A recipe that works really well for a cozy dinner for two is Giada’s Short Rib Lasagna Rolls. It can be made over the weekend (this is The Weekender, after all) and stashed in the fridge for February 14. All you have to do when you get home from work is pop it into the oven, make a salad and pour glasses of something bubbly.

Before you start braising, read these tips »

Last-Minute Super Bowl Cupcakes

by in Holidays, February 5th, 2012

football cupcakes
I can’t help it. As much as I want to deny it, Super Bowl Sunday for me is, well, not about football. Its about the food. It’s quite possibly one of my favorite get-togethers because people focus on two things:

1. Food that is easy to eat

2. Food that is delicious

No one is counting calories or worried if someone eats with their hands, it’s just all-out food fun.

I made these cupcakes with that in mind. They’re easy to make, so if you’re still looking for a last-minute dessert that you can make for your party, this one is a crowd-pleaser. I wanted to personalize them for the big day, but still make something that people can stuff in their mouth on a moment’s notice if the referee makes a horrendous call.

Find out what you’ll need to make these cupcakes »