by Samantha Seneviratne in Recipes, December 8th, 2015
by Allison Milam in Holidays, Recipes, December 7th, 2015
I know that white chocolate isn’t for everyone. It’s taken me a long time to warm up to the stuff myself. But I’ve recently learned one important fact about white chocolate: To find the best stuff, you must read the label.
True white chocolate is made from cocoa butter. To make cocoa butter, roasted cacao beans are ground into a fine paste. That paste is then run through a special press, which separates the cocoa mass from the cocoa butter. To make white chocolate, cocoa butter is then mixed with sugar and milk. Different chocolate manufacturers make different blends. In the United States, to even be called white chocolate, it must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter. But for better flavor, look for something with an even higher percentage of cocoa butter. More cocoa butter makes for a more delicious product. Avoid white chocolate with fillers like oil and artificial flavor.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, December 7th, 2015
Tonight at sundown marks the start of Hanukkah. To commemorate the miracle of oil, it’s a tradition to fry potato pancakes, or latkes, as a part of the celebration. That miracle goes back to ancient times, when the Temple in Jerusalem’s limited supply of oil burned for eight days instead of one. Whether frying up homemade potato latkes is a yearly tradition for your family or you simply can’t resist crispy, golden potatoes in any form, these classic and creative latke recipes are the ones to make during the Festival of Lights — or year-round.
To achieve the quintessential light, crispy shredded potato patty you’d expect out of the holiday season, start with Ina Garten’s recipe for perfect Potato Latkes, which take just 20 minutes to make. Follow these 5 Rules for Better Latkes and serve the customary way: with applesauce and sour cream on the side.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, December 7th, 2015
While some soups require hours of slow simmering to achieve their best flavor, it’s indeed possible to turn out the best results in a hurry — think just 30 quick minutes. Food Network Kitchen’s Vegetable Noodle Soup, a fan-favorite recipe with a 5-star rating, comes together quickly once you’ve prepped the veggies and added them to the pot, since the noodles are cooked right in the broth as it boils. To finish, brighten up the soup with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice for satisfying results.
While this recipe is speedy enough to make and take for lunch, Food Network Kitchen notes that you can also freeze it for later. “Freeze any leftovers or make a double batch to have plenty on hand,” the chefs in the Food Network Kitchen explain. They add, “You can stir in some cooked chicken or mini-meatballs, if desired, for another meal,” so keep it on hand for when you’re not celebrating Meatless Monday too.
by Emily Lee in Holidays, Recipes, December 5th, 2015
As you shuttle from at-work celebrations to cocktail parties and host casual family gatherings and the elegant Christmas Eve feast alike, there’s no shortage of opportunities to indulge in your favorite fare during the holidays. But perhaps the best, most-decadent dishes come not from the savory buffet, but rather from the dessert table, in the form of decadent cakes, cookies, trifles and fudge. Check out Food Network’s favorite holiday desserts below, each a wow-worthy pick sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Gingerbread and Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry Sauce
Bobby Flay celebrates the beloved flavor combo of gingerbread and lemon in his layered trifle, featuring a crimson-colored blackberry sauce, which he whirls in the blender for smooth results. Follow Bobby’s lead and save time in the kitchen by opting for store-bought lemon curd; it brightens up the fluffy whipped cream layers in his big-batch dessert.
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:
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.