I love the excitement of the holiday season, and I even crave a bit of the chaos that comes with being pulled in a million directions. Still, I like to keep (most of) my sanity, especially in the kitchen, which I like to consider my own little haven. Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make in the holiday kitchen, along with a quick fix for each one.
1. Edible gifts: There’s nothing like getting a tasty homemade gift!
The big mistake: making them at the last minute. One year I decided to make all my neighbors Homemade Apple Tarts (pictured above). Everyone loved them, but they needed to be made and delivered fresh, which meant I was up all night making pie after pie.
The fix: Take a tip from those high-end croissant dough delivery places and give frozen (un)baked goods. My Scones can be whipped up in a flash, flavored according to your preferences, cut into triangles and frozen unbaked. Give them frozen so the recipients can bake them according to their schedule.
No matter how chilly and snowy it may get this winter, there will be no better way to warm up than with a comforting cup of creamy hot cocoa. This seasonal favorite is a timeless childhood treat, but that doesn’t mean grownups can’t indulge as well. Whether you stick with a classic recipe for rich hot chocolate, opt for a generous topping of marshmallows or prefer to add extra flavors, like spices, peppermint or liqueurs, making this sweet treat is simple and, perhaps best of all, fast. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for hot cocoa below from some of your favorite chefs, like Alton, Giada and Sandra, to find their traditional and classic versions of this tried-and-true drink.
5. Raspberry Hot Chocolate — For a taste of adults-only decadence, add a splash of raspberry liqueur to the piping-hot chocolate cream just before serving, and finish with candied ginger for a sweet, spicy contrast.
4. White Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Stirrers — Instead of simply topping her warm white chocolate-almond milk mixture with a few mini marshmallows, Giada dunks large marshmallows in chocolate, attaches them to the ends of lollipop sticks and gently stirs them into her drink.
Get the top-three recipes
I am something of a sweet potato fanatic. As soon as the weather starts to turn crisp, I stock up on those dense orange tubers and eat them at least three times a week. I’m especially fond of them when they’ve been sliced into rounds, rubbed with a little olive oil and roasted until crisp in a hot oven.
This year for Thanksgiving, I didn’t get the chance to make a sweet potato dish (I was assigned mashed potatoes), and so, in order to satisfy my obsession, I’ve been making an array of sweet potato dishes that would have fit in nicely as part of a celebratory meal.
I’ve made a vanilla-flecked puree. I’ve formed grated shreds into fritters. I folded together a batch of sweet potato biscuits for a weekend brunch with friends. And I made Bobby Flay’s Grilled Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Molasses Nutmeg Butter.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
Chinese New Year celebrations are filled with time-honored traditions, fun festivals and superstitious beliefs, but the one thing that connects all of them and brings everyone together is the food. But it’s not just any food — it’s good luck food.
The dishes served during Chinese New Year, which lands on February 10 this year, are eaten because of what the ingredients signify or sometimes what the Chinese names can mean. You’ll find seafood, chicken, duck, pork, sausage, noodles and lots of vegetables on the traditional menu. These foods can symbolize abundance, prosperity, togetherness, wealth and more.
Get the Lucky Recipes
When it comes to New Year’s, most people will be making resolutions, whether it’s giving up a bad habit, eating healthier, losing weight or simply making a vow to get to the gym more often. But when it comes to resolutions, the hardest part is starting them. So before you set your goals, survey your surroundings. The way to succeed at any resolution is by first making positive changes at home — it starts in the kitchen.
There’s no reason to wait until spring to clean your pantry or your cupboards. Take the time now when it means the most for your well-being. Getting your kitchen in shape before you begin your new diet or health regimen is the first step in getting your resolutions off the ground. FN Dish has five important tips to help get you started.
Get the Kitchen Resolution tips
With only hours left in 2012, you’re likely already looking ahead to the New Year and perhaps wondering how you can incorporate smarter eating habits into your meal routine in 2013. Instead of overhauling your current diet, cutting out entire food groups and committing to a fat-free lifestyle for the next 365 days, trying sticking to a healthy-eating resolution that allows you to take small, simple steps to a smarter approach to food. One way to kick off the New Year on a healthful note is to embrace Meatless Monday, a national movement that encourages everyone to eliminate meat from their diets just one day of the week, Monday or any other, for the sake of their own health and that of the planet.
In celebration of Meatless Monday, every week on FN Dish we share a roundup of vegetarian recipes — some made-over versions of classically beefy plates, others naturally meat-free, but all full-flavored, can-do dishes. Start 2013 on a healthful note by checking out a few of Food Network’s all-time-favorite meatless entrees below, and check back each Monday to find more simple vegetarian meals that will wow your whole family.
When it comes to New Year’s Eve parties, there are often just two kinds of get-togethers: the casual bash complete with an expansive guest list, and the intimate, elegant event with just one special person or perhaps a small group of friends. When planning for the first gathering, think ease and simplicity, both in terms of food preparation for a crowd and also logistics like serving and plating different eats and drinks. For the dressed-up dinner party, look to elaborate yet accessible dishes to match the fancy flair of the event. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s favorite party-ready menus to fit both kinds of celebrations, plus a collection of creative and classic cocktails alike that will help you ring in 2013. Check out our top New Year’s Eve recipe ideas and effortless entertaining tips below, then tell us in the comments: How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
Keep reading for recipes
The holidays offer a great opportunity for gathering family and friends, to remember old times and make new memories. And since it’s a celebratory time, it’s inevitable that there will be some drinking going on — a toast with Champagne, wine with dinner, etc. Wine is also a popular host/hostess gift. But after you’ve received the umpteenth bottle of Merlot, what do you do with all the wine? FN Dish has the perfect solution for you.
How about mulled wine? Just think about it. Unless you have a wine cellar to store the bottles, you probably won’t have the space to keep them. And how many times have you put a bottle of wine in your pantry only to discover next Christmas it’s still there? So instead of letting those bottles gather dust, make mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday entertaining into the New Year. Plus it’s a great solution for using up cheap wine (i.e., inexpensive wine — you wouldn’t want to use a $50 bottle for mulled wine).
Get the mulled wine recipes
Even though the holidays are all about indulgence and your plans for the next 48 hours likely include a seemingly endless buffet of ham, beef, turkey or pork, there are indeed ways to work in a few meat-free bites, especially during the appetizer course. As you prepare to host a holiday get-together, look to Food Network’s roundup of simple-to-make, meatless starters to impress not only vegetarians but hard-core meat-eaters alike. Check out a few of our favorite party-ready appetizers below, each a flavorful combination of traditional holiday tastes and ingredients, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite holiday appetizer?
No longer reserved for the pasta course alone, ravioli make go-to party-ready appetizers when served not under a saucy topping but as eat-with-your-hands snacks. When preparing its Toasted Ravioli recipe (pictured above), Food Network Magazine saves time in the kitchen by using store-bought fresh ravioli instead of making these cheese-filled beauties from scratch. After a quick dip in herbed breadcrumbs, the ravioli are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. Serve a bowl of your favorite marinara sauce on the side for easy, delicious dunking.
Read more »
While some families are slicing the holiday ham or carving the crown roast of pork on Christmas Eve, many Italians and Italian-Americans are preparing a meal with not just one star ingredient, but seven. It’s an Italian tradition to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and with that comes a long, relaxing meal of fish-forward dishes. The strictest adherents to the seven-fishes tradition will tell you that indeed there should be seven fish on the dinner table, but for the sake of simplicity, consider any and all seafood, including shellfish, to count toward your final fish tally. The key to committing to cook seven different kinds of seafood is spreading out the dishes throughout the meal; instead of preparing seven whole fish for what would be an excessively large main dish spread, offer perhaps three small appetizers, a soup, pasta, then entrée plus a side salad, each with seafood as the focus. Check out Food Network’s favorite Feast of the Seven Fishes menu below, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite kind of fish?
Get the menu