Start the music! Light the lights! Get the party going with an edible centerpiece tonight! These fun, creative projects are sure to be the star of any holiday party, and they’re easy enough for kids to help with. Use them as a single element, or in a group on a buffet or dinner table. Check out the full gallery for step-by-step instructions for each centerpiece idea.
“I guess I’m a baking nerd,” says Dorie Greenspan with a sly smile. The award-winning cookbook author is standing in the middle of Food Network Kitchen, whisk in hand and talking about her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. “I’ve come to think of myself as a baking evangelist. I want people to have the satisfaction of making something themselves. So when I write, I try to imagine I’m talking to a newbie.” Dedicated to the home cooking she delights in during the four months a year she spends in Paris, Greenspan’s newest book is friendly and approachable, straddling both the high (Bubble Éclairs) and humble (Chocolate Chip Cookies). Her Custardy Apple Squares are an ideal mix of the two, and Greenspan happily demonstrated how to whip them up during her visit. “I love this recipe,” she says. “It’s so easy, so unfussy, so French.” Follow Dorie’s step-by-step how-to to make them at home.
For many sweets lovers, Greenspan’s name is synonymous with one thing above all: amazing cookies. So we couldn’t let her go without asking her to share a few of her best cookie tips, too. Here’s what we learned. Read more
Chores like peeling potatoes can make kids start to feel like they are on KP duty, and though that may be fun for a while, it can quickly turn to drudgery. This Thanksgiving, let everyone share chores so they go by faster, then set your kids up with one of these fun projects. Even little kids can roll cheese balls and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and older kids can do more-complicated projects like creating a turkey-shaped veggie platter. These projects are win/win/win! They teach kids how to use creative thinking in the kitchen, they take some of the work off parents’ hands, and they keep kids occupied. Plus, the results look and taste good enough to meet the standards of your most-persnickety guests.
Decorating a cake can be super-easy and stress-free, so celebrate life’s special occasions, no matter how small, with a festive decorated cake. No need for piping bags and sugar flowers: All of these ideas can be done in minutes using supermarket staples, and they’re as much fun to make as they are to eat. Use them as a jumping-off point to pique your imagination and to discover easy cake decorating ideas from your own supermarket aisles. Read more
Summer is the season of spontaneity — when a passing neighbor can become a last-minute dinner guest, and the plump tomatoes and zucchini you picked up at the market turn into the centerpiece of brunch. And when it comes to go-with-the-flow entertaining, there’s nothing better than a grill: It’s fast, cleanup is a snap, and practically everything tastes better with the smoky, crispy char you can get only from a fire. The following supermarket staples make it easy to improvise at the grill, no matter if you’re cooking T-bones, plums or potatoes. Stock up and you’ll be prepared, whatever the mood brings.
The Olympics are a big deal in my house — and not just during the official biennial games. A couple of summers ago, my 11-year-old daughter and her aunts came up with their own version of the sporting competition and recruited the whole family to participate. The events were varied — think obstacle courses through the woods, round-robin volleyball matches and paddleboard balancing contests — and the rivalries fierce. At the end of the weekend, the victors were presented with first-, second- and third-place medals my daughter had created from construction paper, glitter and striped ribbon. You can’t underestimate the pride each winner took in wearing the fluttering tokens. (Athletic triumph, even in the backyard, is still a triumph.)
Flash forward to this winter, when all of us at Food Network Kitchen were plotting our Olympic-themed offerings. “What can we make that both parents and kids would like?” I asked my daughter when I got home. “Cookie medals!” was her response. And behold the tasty creations we came up with in the Kitchen. You can duplicate them with pretty much any sturdy sugar-cookie dough; the one in our recipe will hold up to the handling of even the most-enthusiastic junior chef. And because these medals are easy to make in multiples (unlike the paper variety), you can bake enough for fourth-, fifth-, even sixth-place competitors (or those who are cheering them on). In other words, with these cute cookie trophies, everyone can be a winner (and victory is, indeed, sweet).
Check out the recipe and our step-by-step tips below for cookies that truly take the gold.
Tiramisu is Italian for “pick-me-up.” It’s made with ladyfingers dipped in espresso that are then layered with a whipped mascarpone mixture and topped with chocolate shavings. Giada’s version will make enough for you, your sweetie and then some.
The Olympic rings symbolize peace, goodwill and global solidarity. Get into the spirit of the winter games in Sochi, Russia, by celebrating with these cute and colorful Olympic-ring cookies.
I used my tried-and-true gingerbread recipe after experimenting enough to learn that most sugar cookies, including those made with store-bought premade dough, spread out too much in the oven. Gingerbread also adds a touch of warmth to these games set in a snowy winter wonderland. This recipe is almost as easy to make as with a prepared mix, though it does take a little muscle to roll out. Pressing the dough thin before refrigerating helps to reduce some work later.
Are you the kind of football fan who judges a sports bar by the quality of its Buffalo wings? I’ll admit it: Good wings are my prerequisite for a Sunday destination. My all-time favorites can be found at Moriarty’s in Philadelphia, where the colossal wings tossed in a tangy, spicy sauce always score big points. When I moved away from Philly years ago, lack of access to these wings inspired me to try making my own (with mixed results). Fortunately for all of us, Food Network Kitchen came up with a fantastic recipe for super-crispy, fried-then-baked Buffalo wings that will wow your Super Bowl crowd. These wings might just turn your place into the football-watching crew’s regular Sunday haunt.
Check out a step-by-step how-to for Buffalo wing perfection.