With the constant flurry of tree trimming, gift wrapping and cookie swapping going on this month, the added task of preparing a big holiday dinner can quickly become overwhelming. Take some of the stress out of the season with the help of these easy appetizers that take just 10 minutes to prepare or assemble. Start off with Food Network Magazine’s colorful Walnut-Pepper Spread, which balances earthy toasted walnuts and roasted red peppers with honey and a pinch of red pepper flakes for subtly sweet heat. As an added holiday bonus, this dip can even be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
Trade your traditional holiday lights for a fun food-themed strand. Go for a sweet look with gumdrop string lights ($30 for 25 feet; holidayprojectors.com) or peppermint candy lights ($20 for 11 feet; lightsforalloccasions.com). Or if your family hides a pickle ornament in the tree every year (a quirky tradition in which the kid who finds the pickle gets an extra present), change the game with a strand of pickle string lights ($8 for 11 feet; thewirelesscatalog.com).
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
This is the time of year when it seems everyone is baking cookies. And because it’s a lovely holiday tradition, I wanted to create a recipe that everyone could enjoy: the sweets lovers, the healthy eaters and the gluten-intolerant.
When Robert Irvine takes on a mission at a failing business, he’s not alone in the challenge; he brings with him his entire Restaurant: Impossible team, which includes a construction manager and designer. But although he has dedicated colleagues to help him carry out the physical transformation of an eatery, Robert isn’t shy about getting involved in the overhaul. Not only is he quick to share with his team his wish list for a restaurant, but he often takes matters of construction in his own hands.
Throughout the series, Robert’s been known to reach for one trusty tool in particular time and time again: the sledgehammer. He’s often seen wielding this weighted device to bore holes in walls and knock down partitions to better illustrate to his team just what updates he’d like to see. It’s up to Robert’s construction team to simply don their protective eyewear and watch as Robert makes the move in renovation.
Whether it’s a small family gathering, an open-house cocktail party or a dressed-up sit-down dinner, entertaining during the holiday season can be daunting for even the most-prepared host. That’s why it’s often a good idea to surprise the party-thrower with a small gift as a token of appreciation for his or her hospitality and generosity. Some resort to bringing candles, picture frames or other household trinkets, but deciding what matches the host’s style and taste can be tricky, which is why Giada opts for edible gifts.
Giada recently shared a few go-to edible gift ideas that are sure to impress your hosts this holiday, as they include some of her favorite seasonal recipes. Instead of elaborate dishes that might take up valuable refrigerator or oven space at the host’s home, Giada prepares simple cookies and cocktails that are both easy to transport and simple to store once given. The key to her gifts is in the packaging: She makes the goodies extra-special by stashing them in see-through containers and adorning them with colorful bows.
While some dishes — like meatballs and burgers — struggle to keep their identities when you take away the meat, chilis, soups and stews hold up well without it. Chili is naturally beefy and rich. Most chilis, meatless or not, are traditionally made with beans, and in the case of vegetarian cooking, it’s that hefty protein that adds hearty substance to the meat-free dish.
Food Network Kitchens relies on kidney and black beans to be the base of this recipe for Weeknight Two-Bean Chili (pictured above), a fuss-free dinner that’s ready to eat in 30 quick minutes. Laced with jalapeno, onions and crushed tomatoes, this one-pan chili is given an added boost of flavor from bold chili powder and a pinch of Chinese five-spice, which Food Network Kitchens say “is a nice spice surprise.” If you don’t like kidney or black beans, just substitute two of your favorite varieties. Serve the chili atop rice to round out the meal, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese for a decadent finish.
Whether it be staying true to the Southern food she grew up eating or every year bringing the same dish to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, Damaris Phillips is all about tradition, and there’s perhaps no more important time for tradition than the holidays. For Damaris, this season of celebration means just a few things — family, food and love — and that hasn’t changed since she was a young girl growing up with her five siblings in Louisville, Ky. Just in time for Christmas, FN Dish sat down with Damaris in Louisville to find out more about what the holidays looked like for her when she was a child and to chat about how she celebrates today. Read on below to hear from Damaris and to learn the must-have item at her Christmas dinner, her favorite holiday song and movie, and her sweet alternative to eggnog.
How did you celebrate the holidays growing up?
Damaris Phillips: With my family. There’s a bunch of siblings and so we’d would go downstairs in the morning. We’d wake my parents up. My mom would make, like, quiche or cinnamon rolls or something, and we’d go downstairs and there was always, like, bags of our presents. Our parents were really good at, like, not wrapping Santa presents, so if there was, like, a bicycle, there’d be just a bicycle there waiting for you. And then we would hang out and play with toys — and eat lots of food. I mean, just exactly like you think of Christmas …. It used to be the whole world went still and it was just a time to hang out with your family. So thankfully I had all those siblings, so it was always fun, and we were playing with new toys and probably driving my parents bonkers, but it was awesome.
Having been a judge on the premiere season of Cutthroat Kitchen, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to the tricks and challenges that befall competitors in each round of cooking, but after eating set cheese and soupy ice cream on tonight’s all-new Season 2 premiere, he needed a few clarifications on how the dishes came to be. Host Alton Brown — who’s not only privy to the sabotages, but in charge of auctioning them off as well — filled in Simon during the latest installment of his After-Show.
It turns out that the patty melt-inspired dish that Chef Stratton gave Simon was mushroom-heavy on account of the Freeze Dried Meat product he was forced to work with after Chef Wiginton assigned it to him. “There was no patty in the dish, really,” Simon told Alton. “It was mushroom-heavy, and I guess that’s what he did to try and compensate, but it kind of overcompensated a bit.” This ingredient was so unlike fresh meat that it prevented Chef Stratton from turning it into a traditional patty.
After seven weeks of showdowns, Robert Irvine‘s first-ever Restaurant Express road trip came full circle when the bus rolled into Sin City for the finale. Robert shocked the remaining three hopefuls last week when he announced all of them would make it to tonight’s all-or-nothing competition. But while Adam Goldgell was guaranteed a spot in the last challenge, Jan Charles and Seonkyoung Longest had to go head-to-head in a cook-off for the chance to join him in one night of restaurant service for the chance to claim the win.
Read on below to find out whether Jan or Seon advanced to the end, and get the exclusive first interview with the winner of Restaurant Express and Las Vegas’ newest restaurateur.