These gingerbread houses look like they could be from a holiday episode of Food Network Challenge, but they’re not the creations of a pro baker or sugar artist — they’re the handiwork of 11-year-old Lydia Gentry, who has snagged first place in her age group at the National Gingerbread Competition in Asheville, N.C., for three years running. Lydia’s mother, Michelle, credits her daughter’s gingerbread skills to the family’s ongoing remodeling projects: Lydia helped put an addition onto their real house. “After that, constructing a gingerbread house isn’t hard,” Michelle says. The only catch is that entries have to be 100 percent edible, so Lydia has to get creative with her supplies. This year, she won her fourth title with a holiday-themed cuckoo clock. Check out the winners at nationalgingerbreadhousecompetition.com, or see them in person at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville (290 Macon Ave.; groveparkinn.com) through January 1.
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Broccoli isn’t just an easy summer side: This versatile ingredient is the perfect addition to a hearty winter meal. The holiday season calls for hours in the kitchen cooking up elaborate dishes for family and friends. Understandably, sometimes you just need a break.
Instead of reaching for the nearest takeout menu, try Food Network Magazine‘s Chinese Beef With Broccoli. Stir-frying in sections allows each ingredient to really shine without muddling the flavors. Flank steak will boost your energy, while broccoli brings both color and fresh flavor. In 30 minutes you’ll have a tasty meal and guaranteed smiles all around.
Talk to us: What’s your favorite way to eat broccoli? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter at #cookingwith.
More broccoli recipes from family and friends:
An adaptable, budget-friendly meatless pick, pasta is a kid-approved meal that grownups can appreciate as well. Ellie Krieger’s light yet satisfying pasta dish is made with protein-packed cannellini beans and sweet, roasted tomatoes and is topped with creamy Parmesan cheese. Add extra roasted vegetables — onions, eggplant or in-season squash are great options — to beef up this vegetarian plate.
Finish the meal with Tyler’s cool and refreshing Pomegranate and Arugula Salad, featuring peppery arugula, juicy pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts for added crunch.
Get the recipe: Ellie’s Penne With Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and White Beans
On weeknights, getting dinner on the table is more a matter of survival than it is an act of creativity. Monday through Friday, I rely on the same 10 or so meals to keep us fed. These are the things I know by heart and can make without consulting books or a website for measurements or cook times.
When the weekend rolls around, I’m ready to stretch my culinary legs a little bit and try something beyond my standard turkey burgers and roasted broccoli, delicious though they may be. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not cooking up 10-course gourmet meals, but I do try to pick at least one recipe per weekend that requires a bit more time and energy. Around these parts, we call that dish The Weekender.
This last Sunday, we had plans to gather with friends for dinner. My promised main dish needed to be portable, made with poultry and outrageously delicious. The recipe that fit the bill? Ina Garten’s glorious Chicken Pot Pie.
Looking for a chance to meet the newest Food Network Star Jeff Mauro and fan favorites like Vic “Vegas” Moea and Susie Jimenez? You can meet them and get their autographs on the Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide Book Tour happening right now:
- August 22: Denver, Colorado with Jeff Mauro & Susie Jimenez
- August 23: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Jeff Mauro and Vic “Vegas” Moea
- August 27: Chicago, Illinois with Jeff Mauro and Vic “Vegas” Moea