All Posts In Holidays

Your New Holiday Party Best Friend: The Slow Cooker

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 19th, 2014

Yep, you read that right. When you’ve got multiple dishes in the works for a party, the trusty slow cooker has your back. It frees up oven and stove space, and its low-and-slow cooking method will bring out the best in meatballs, spiced nuts, sticky pudding and even hot chocolate. For a retro touch, you could even serve these genius party dishes from Food Network Kitchen straight out of your appliance. Read more

Apple Butter Braised Pork Chops — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 18th, 2014

Apple Butter Braised Pork ChopsI’m not sure if it’s just in my social circles, but I find that the number of potluck parties I’m invited to skyrockets this time of year. So many invitations are issued with the request that we bring a dish to share. And while I don’t mind traveling to various gatherings with my casserole dish or slow cooker in tow, I do sometimes find myself stumped for ideas as to what to bring.

Salads are often good, but they rarely keep their crunch as long as I’d like. Desserts are always welcome, but I prefer to bring something savory, on the chance that everyone else made something for the sweet table. And that leaves me forever on the search for a portable main dish.

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5 Seasonal Sides for Your Holiday Table — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 18th, 2014

Christmas Stuffing with BaconThough your holiday preparations may not have gone beyond trips to the store and hours spent scrolling for gifts online, another most-important element of the holiday season is coming up fast: Christmas dinner. While you may think of your recipes for Christmas ham and rib roast as yearly centerpieces, remember that seasonal side dishes are an integral part of your holiday spread. Start rounding out your celebratory meal by adding ingredients for in-season, produce-heavy side recipes to your shopping list. Here are some of our favorites:

Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner puts the spotlight on stuffing. To differentiate from what was eaten in November, Giada De Laurentiis makes her Christmas Stuffing with Bacon with two varieties of rice (short-grain brown rice and wild rice) in place of bread, and stocks it with hearty veggies like pearl onions, Brussels sprouts and chopped bacon.

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5 Rules for Crispy, Golden and Miraculous Latkes

by in Holidays, December 17th, 2014

Potato Latkes

When the familiar smell of potatoes frying in oil begins wafting through the house, you know that Hanukkah is in full swing. Though your family’s latke recipe is likely a matter of time-honored tradition, your potato-frying technique is something that should be perfected fry after fry, year after year. Here are five rules for making your crispiest potato pancakes yet, to be followed whether you celebrate Hanukkah each year or simply can’t resist this holiday tradition.

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Christmas Week Prep: The Pioneer Woman’s Fastest, Easiest Meals

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 17th, 2014

Ree DrummondWith just days left until Christmas, you’re likely in the midst of mad dashes to the shopping mall, last-minute gift-wrapping, cookie decorating and holiday party planning. But, of course, you still need dinner tonight, and surely this is no time to prepare intricate plates and involved recipes. This week calls for the ultimate in speed and simplicity, and for that, The Pioneer Woman‘s easiest, quickest meals fit the bill. Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, Ree Drummond‘s family-friendly picks are dinners you can count on; most are made with refrigerator staples, and they’re comforting enough to fight the winter chill. Read on below to get Ree’s go-to supper ideas, including hearty taco salad and DIY pizza.

5. Chicken Taco Salad — Ree builds layer upon layer of flavor in her satisfying salad by starting with a bed of greens, then adding juicy seasoned chicken and classic taco-style fixings, like grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, creamy cheese and cool avocado. For an extra-special finish, top the salad with next-level dressing: bottled ranch spiked with salsa.

4. French Bread Pizzas — Instead of making pizza dough the crust, Ree starts with sliced rolls or baguettes and builds five varieties of pies to please everyone: tomatoes with basil, bacon and pineapple, and more.

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DIY Grocery Store Centerpieces

by in Holidays, December 16th, 2014

By Camille Styles, photography by Molly Winters

We’ve all heard the expression “You eat with your eyes first.” And while that typically refers to food presentation, the same could be said for the first impression that your holiday table makes upon guests. Before the turkey has been carved and the pie de-voured, friends and family will have already taken in your table design. But creating a beautiful table doesn’t have to mean pricey floral arrangements or im-possible craft projects. Instead, I love to create centerpieces using grocery store mate-rials that can easily be tacked onto the end of my shopping list. Today I’m sharing easy, affordable and exciting ideas for creating a striking centerpiece that’ll have guests talking until next year’s holiday season. Read more

Christmas Coconut Cake — Down-Home Comfort

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 16th, 2014

During the holidays, cakes have always been part of our Southern Yuletide tradition. Coconut, caramel and red velvet cakes grace sideboards, alongside buttery pound cakes and loaves of spicy gingerbread. The Southern sweet tooth is a force of nature! These festive layer cakes are grand, over-the-top creations, sweet and sensational, with bonus points awarded for stature. From the coconut cake’s snow-white icing spiked with coconut to the boozy, cherry-studded fruitcake, there’s no lack of theater on display. A layer cake waiting on a sideboard under a glass dome is both celebration and welcome. A layer cake defines Southern hospitality. Read more

In the Kitchen With: Dorie Greenspan

by in Books, Holidays, How-to, December 16th, 2014

“I guess I’m a baking nerd,” says Dorie Greenspan with a sly smile. The award-winning cookbook author is standing in the middle of Food Network Kitchen, whisk in hand and talking about her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. “I’ve come to think of myself as a baking evangelist. I want people to have the satisfaction of making something themselves. So when I write, I try to imagine I’m talking to a newbie.” Dedicated to the home cooking she delights in during the four months a year she spends in Paris, Greenspan’s newest book is friendly and approachable, straddling both the high (Bubble Éclairs) and humble (Chocolate Chip Cookies). Her Custardy Apple Squares are an ideal mix of the two, and Greenspan happily demonstrated how to whip them up during her visit. “I love this recipe,” she says. “It’s so easy, so unfussy, so French.” Follow Dorie’s step-by-step how-to to make them at home.

For many sweets lovers, Greenspan’s name is synonymous with one thing above all: amazing cookies. So we couldn’t let her go without asking her to share a few of her best cookie tips, too. Here’s what we learned. Read more

Holiday Entertaining Made Easy: Wake Up to Breakfast Cookies

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 16th, 2014

Breakfast CookiesI find that breakfast is one of the hardest meals to plan for in entertaining. People seem to get up at different times, and coordinating a delicious treat for everyone, no matter the time they wander into the kitchen, is a never-ending struggle. Well, it was before I stumbled upon the idea for scrumptious breakfast cookies.

What makes the perfect breakfast cookie? After performing a very informal poll, I determined that people like a low-sugar cookie. They also seem to really like the addition of oatmeal. Most folks feel that cookies without oatmeal are like a regular cookie and therefore a bit to decadent for an early morning treat. As far as the addition of chocolate, it was determined that less is more. While everyone loves an ooey-gooey chocolate cookie in the afternoon, a morning cookie should utilize a hint of chocolate, so it is more of an accompanying flavor — not the star of the show.

I am sharing three recipes for breakfast cookies that are easy to make, assemble and serve. These are not your average oatmeal-and-raisin cookies. These unique flavors will delight the taste buds and are the perfect complement to all holiday entertaining.

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5 Easy Christmas Cookies Kids Can Make as Gifts

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 14th, 2014

Coconut MacaronsTo give our thanks to the volunteers at church, neighbors who always stop and ask how we’re doing, and even the UPS driver who never rings the doorbell at naptime (bless you!), we’ve been looking for a few good cookie recipes this season. The requirements are simple: They must be easy enough for kids to make and sturdy enough to wrap as gifts. Here are our top five recipes that fill the bill:

Coconut Macaroons: These five-ingredient cookies are done in 35 minutes, and best of all, you can’t mess up the presentation. Just put a mound of coconut mixture on a cookie sheet and bake.

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