by Emily Lee in Holidays, Recipes, December 5th, 2015
by Allison Milam in Holidays, Recipes, December 4th, 2015
Good friends, fresh baked goods and a few generous mugs of (possibly spiked) hot chocolate: That’s what a holiday cookie swap is all about. If you’re hosting this year, it’s time to choose your recipes, check your pantry (ditching old spices and other baking staples that have been collecting dust at the back of your shelves), and head to the store for missing ingredients. Remember to stock up on treat bags or roomy covered containers; that way, everyone can go home with a few edible mementos.
Guests are generally expected to bring one batch of cookies. (Or you might ask guests to bring two or three batches, depending on the size of the swap.) When hosting, it’s wise to bake two or three different varieties, and remember to take food allergies into account. Choose two familiar, tried-and-true recipes, like classic sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies. (That way you won’t stress over making errors and can focus on beverages and decor too.) The third cookie should be super-seasonal and more of a challenge. You can make one recipe the day of, but make the other recipes a day in advance — whatever works best with your schedule. Here are a few of our most sought-after holiday cookies to get you started.
Cookie #1: Classic Sugar
Food Network Kitchen’s Soft Sugar Cookies (pictured at top) are the classic sugar cookies you could roll out in your sleep — except they might be more tender than you’re used to, thanks to an extra egg in the dough. Before baking, roll the dough in red and green sanding sugar. The cookies will bake up in just 20 minutes. Check out more of our festive takes on sugar cookies here.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, December 4th, 2015
When you’re a kid and holiday break is on the horizon, December is a time of cheer no matter what holiday you celebrate. If your kids’ class is celebrating the end of 2015 with treats galore, here are some take-to-school ideas that will make their holiday party extra-festive this winter.
Add Some Cheer to Lunchtime
If your kids’ winter party takes place around lunchtime, use this midday meal as an unexpected way to celebrate the season. Ree Drummond’s easy-to-make, understated Holiday Roll-Ups (pictured above) don’t call for any ingredients you wouldn’t normally pack in your kids’ lunch. Filled with a blend of cream cheese, ranch dressing mix and black pepper, these tortilla pinwheels get their festive colors (and crunch) from diced red and green peppers. The best part? They can be made ahead and stored in the fridge until it’s time to eat.
by Allison Milam in Holidays, Recipes, December 3rd, 2015
We’ve all been there: You can’t seem to track down the perfect gifts for those last few people on your holiday shopping list, so you do the inevitable and resort to a series of gift cards. Are they still thoughtful gifts? Absolutely. But perhaps they’re just not ideal for the holidays, right? This year, skip the hours spent combing the aisles for that just-right present and ditch the gift-card game once and for all; what your friends and family will surely appreciate is an edible homemade gift full of holiday cheer. No matter whom you’re shopping for — the chocoholics, the caramel mavens, the drink connoisseur — there’s indeed a treat for everyone on your “nice” list in this ultimate collection of edible delights.
Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge
It takes only a few pantry ingredients to make The Pioneer Woman’s fuss-free fudge, which she sprinkles with crushed peppermint candies for flavor and seasonal flair.
by Leah Brickley in Recipes, Shows, December 2nd, 2015
While decking the halls and tearing open gifts are one person’s way of spreading holiday cheer, serving friends and family festive food is another’s. But when guests are juggling their mulled cider in one hand and a loaded plate in the other as they’re schmoozing their way through a holiday party, who has room for a fork and knife? If you’re welcoming guests this season, stay away from unwieldy appetizers in favor of these one-bite, hand-held appetizers that are showstoppingly elegant.
Sure, you could bake a triangle of Brie until it oozes and melts after some time in the oven, but trust us when we say this recipe is an easier, smarter approach. Instead of wrapping the whole wedge in flaky phyllo dough, serve One-Bite Baked Brie with Grape-Pecan Compote in phyllo cups for a modern, mini presentation that’s easier for you to make and easier for your guests to eat.
by Maria Russo in Entertaining, Holidays, Recipes, December 2nd, 2015
Our young Chopped Junior contestants were tasked with using avocado — an ingredient that’s great solo — as part of an entree dish. Inspired by their dishes, we put on our aprons and wandered into the Food Network Kitchen to make lunch.
We thought about guacamole, the most-iconic preparation of avocado, and decided to make it portable for lunch. So we mashed and mixed it right in its shell — no bowl required. Here’s how to make your own:
by Foodlets in Family, Recipes, December 1st, 2015
Whether your holiday plans include an elegant cocktail party, a traditional seated feast, a seasonal open house or some combination of these events, the key to easy, enjoyable entertaining at any party is a go-to menu of eats and drinks. This holiday season, stick with Food Network’s best bets for crowd-pleasing fare, from simple sausage balls and shrimp cocktail to hearty ham and sweet, buttery cookies.
Italian Sausage Balls
Reinvent the usual Southern appetizer with Italian flair by opting for sweet Italian sausage instead of the plain variety and pairing each baked sausage ball with classic Italian ingredients like creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. Since these appetizers are served on toothpicks, guests will be able to easily snack with their hands.
by Regan Burns in Holidays, Recipes, December 1st, 2015
Did you know that experts suggest eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day? If your kids get suspicious the second they see something green hit the plate, try these techniques I use with my own four kids. We eat a lot of vegetables around here, and this is how we do it.
1. Start with low-stakes recipes. There’s nothing worse than slaving over a big dinner only to find that exactly no one likes it. If your crew is new to healthy green food, try quick and simple dishes like these to start.
by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, December 1st, 2015
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is unofficially known as holiday baking season, but those who are sensitive to or intolerant of gluten needn’t miss out on all the sweet seasonal treats that are typically laden with wheat flour and other gluten-containing ingredients.
A blend of white rice, tapioca and buckwheat flours gives these spiced classics their authentic crunch. Now everyone can indulge in the season’s favorite cookie.
Get the Recipe: Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men
by Allison Milam in Holidays, Recipes, November 30th, 2015
In New York, where I live, peaches mean summer. While rock-hard peaches can often be found in the produce section of my supermarket, a perfect summer specimen usually comes from the farmers market. Those sweltering summer Saturdays at the market are the best. I always try to eat one ripe piece of fruit while I amble home, bags of groceries swinging from my arms, and inevitably soak myself in peach juice. I wait for that experience all year round. And when it finally comes, it’s over before I know it.
A peach that has been picked too early may never fully ripen. But a juicy tree-ripened fruit is too delicate for shipping. That means that those greenish peaches that you see in the supermarket, plucked far before they were ready in some place far away, won’t ever become that delicious. What’s a peach lover to do?
Right up there with frosting sugar cookies, simmering mulled cider and stuffing stockings, making homemade spiced nuts is one of those seasonal traditions that we yearn for year after year. Part of the charm of spiced nuts lies in their versatility: You can graze on them all season long, serve them in bowls at a holiday cocktail party, and package them as an easy, edible gift for teachers, co-workers and friends.
Cooked low and slow with maple syrup, orange zest and spices, these Slow-Cooker Spiced Nuts (pictured above) are a total hosting dream — especially over the holidays, when cookies, spiral hams and other creations are likely taking up the available oven space. They’re so good and easy you’ll want to use this method year-round.