(Family Features) Cooking up a successful holiday gathering calls for everyone’s favorite recipes. From the centerpiece main dish to fresh salads and appetizers, roasted sides and baked sweets, you can take seasonal get-togethers up a notch by mixing traditional classics with newfound favorites.
Consider this full-fledged menu of flavor to give guests a memorable holiday experience from beginning to end and find more festive recipe ideas at Culinary.net.
Fresh Flavors for Holiday Festivities
With the festive season arriving, bring together family and friends for a delicious feast you can feel good about serving. One standout recipe is this Cornish Game Hen with Kale Sweet Potato Salad that pairs fresh, leafy kale with roasted sweet potatoes and tender Cornish game hens for a truly elegant meal.
Elevate your cooking during the holidays with inspiration from Fresh Express and its more than 100 varieties of fresh, healthy and convenient ready-to-eat salads like the Sweet Kale Chopped Kit. It’s a perfect blend of a nutrient-dense salad mix of leafy kale, green cabbage, shredded broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as crunchy pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, topped with a tasty poppyseed dressing.
Visit FreshExpress.com to discover more fresh, easy and healthy recipes for the holiday season.
Cornish Game Hen with Kale Sweet Potato Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 1 package (6 ounces) stovetop stuffing
- 2 cups chopped apples, divided
- 4 Cornish game hens (20 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 package (10.9 ounces) Fresh Express Sweet Kale Chopped Kit
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Add 1 cup apples and fluff stuffing with fork; cool 15 minutes.
- Remove anything inside hens, rinse cavity with cold water and pat dry.
- In small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and pepper; mix well. Remove from heat.
- Fill cavity of each hen with apple stuffing.
- Place hens in 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Tie legs together and tuck wings under. Baste with butter mixture.
- Bake 50-60 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 165 F and stuffing temperature reads 165 F. Baste with butter mixture every 15-20 minutes.
- In bowl, toss sweet potatoes with remaining Italian seasoning and olive oil. Arrange in single layer on sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.
- Bake with hens 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and cool. Tent hens with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
- Place greens from salad kit in large bowl. Add remaining apples and sweet potatoes; mix well. Toss with salad dressing. Add toppings; toss to combine.
- Serve Cornish game hens with sweet potato kale salad.
A Festive, Everyday Side Dish
While the busy holiday season can be loads of fun, you still need to get dinner on the table between parties. When you find yourself in a pinch this holiday season, squeezed for time and searching for a quick solution for dinner, turn to an easy side dish that can appease everyone. Potatoes are a nearly unanimous favorite.
Make putting dinner on the table a breeze with a solution like little potatoes from The Little Potato Company, which can help bring holiday happiness to mealtime. Ready in as little as 5 minutes, they come pre-washed and require no peeling or cutting, making them the perfect time-saving solution for the holiday season.
Ideal for this Perfect Roasted Little Potatoes recipe, these little potatoes are a tasty, fresh whole food that you can feel good about serving. Ready in half an hour with minimal prep and a few simple ingredients, it’s a perfect side dish for any occasion.
Visit littlepotatoes.com for more information and holiday inspiration.
Perfect Roasted Little Potatoes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds The Little Potato Company Little Potatoes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In large bowl, toss little potatoes with oil, salt and pepper until coated.
- Spread potatoes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Tip: For extra holiday flavor, add paprika, garlic and fresh herbs.
Get Creative with Delicious, Decorative Cookies
A decadent holiday meal isn’t complete without a sweet dessert to cap off the evening. When in doubt, go with a traditional treat that’s perfect for sharing: cookies.
These Ornament Cookies can be shaped any way you like to celebrate the holidays. The royal icing adorning these festive favorites is made with powdered sugar and meringue powder; just use food coloring to add a personal touch.
For more than 120 years, Domino Sugar has helped millions bake special recipes like these cookies made with non-GMO, vegan, kosher and gluten-free Golden Sugar that’s free flowing and easy to scoop, spoon and pour. The sugar retains a hint of molasses flavor, giving it a golden color and providing a perfect way to add less processed sweetness to your loved ones’ favorite desserts.
Find holiday recipes, baking tips and more at dominosugar.com.
Prep time: 25 minutes plus 1 hour to decorate
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup Domino Golden Sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups Domino Powdered Sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/3 cup, plus 2-3 tablespoons, warm water, divided
- desired food coloring
- To prepare cookies: In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; beat until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add flour and salt; beat until just combined.
- Dump mixture onto lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Working on lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2-inch thick. Cut cookies using ornament-shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies on prepared pans and bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature.
- To make royal icing: In large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder and 1/3 cup water. Beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 8-10 minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons warm water, as necessary. Icing should be stiff enough to hold peak when tested.
- Color royal icing with food coloring and decorate cookies.
Bring sunshine to holiday celebrations with the gift of fresh citrus
(Family Features) Holiday gifting is an exciting tradition for many families, but finding that perfect present for the person who seems to have it all can be tricky. This year, you can add a touch of sweetness to that special someone’s stocking with the gift of fresh fruit.
Look no further than the delicious taste contained in Florida Citrus gift boxes with premium citrus hand-selected at the peak of ripeness and delivered fresh to your recipient’s door. From varieties of fresh fruit to tasty delights like orange blossom honey, jellies, candies and chocolate, it’s an easy choice for crossing off holiday checklists.
Well-known for its vitamin C content, it provides a combination of nutrients to support overall health for a nutritious twist on seasonal gifting.
“Fresh Florida Citrus fruits provide an attainable solution for individuals falling short of their daily nutrient goals,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “It offers a number of key vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, fiber and thiamin, and can help support overall well-being when consumed as part of a healthy diet.”
Thanks to Florida’s unique climate with subtropical temperatures, abundant sunshine, distinctive sandy soil and ample rainfall, the citrus fruits pack a juicy, naturally sweet taste from the Sunshine State. These gift boxes can bring a new spin to your holiday menu.
Whether you’re shipping a box to a family member, friend, neighbor or your own front door, holiday get-togethers can receive a spark of sweetness from a delicious appetizer like Grapefruit Avocado Bruschetta. This fresh take on a party favorite calls for toasted baguette slices topped with chopped grapefruit, Roma tomatoes, avocado and red onion to take your hors d’oeuvres selection to the next level. For the adults in attendance, put a simple yet refreshing cocktail on the menu with this Grapefruit Paloma – just rim four glasses with margarita salt and mix a few easy ingredients to bring a little sunshine to the festivities.
Find more information, check availability in your area and shop for gift boxes at gifts.floridacitrus.org.
- 1 cup Florida Grapefruit sections
- 1 baguette, sliced on bias
- 2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 large avocado, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Florida Grapefruit segments, for garnish (optional)
- cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Chop grapefruit.
- Place baguette slices on baking sheet and toast 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Rub toasted sides of bread with cut sides of garlic cloves; reserve.
- In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, grapefruit, avocado, red onion, cilantro and olive oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss gently to combine.
- Spoon grapefruit mixture over prepared bruschetta.
- Garnish with fresh grapefruit segments and cilantro, if desired.
- 24 ounces Florida Grapefruit Juice
- 16 ounces silver tequila
- 16 ounces seltzer
- margarita salt (optional)
- 4 Florida Grapefruit wedges (optional)
- In large pitcher, mix grapefruit juice, tequila and seltzer with ice.
- Rim four glasses with margarita salt, if desired.
- Divide paloma among glasses; garnish with grapefruit wedges, if desired.
Florida Department of Citrus
5 cozy ways to add warmth to cold-weather meals
(Family Features) When the winds howl and the chill of changing seasons brings a crispness to the air, one way to warm up from the inside out is with favorite foods. Filling up on comforting recipes like hearty soups and stews can be the solution you need to fight off cold temperatures.
Consider quick and easy ingredients that add a little warmth to your plate as the cravings for comfort kick in.
A family favorite in recipes year-round, ooey-gooey cheese is a hallmark of cool-weather recipes. Consider creamy mac and cheese mixed with your preferred protein, homemade Mexican cuisine topped with melted chile con queso or an appetizer plate with options like brie, Manchego, aged cheddar, Parmesan and more.
If you’re craving a meal that’s big on flavor but short on prep time, it’s hard to top the classic comfort food combo of chicken and rice. This Parmesan Chicken and Rice with Spinach and Artichoke starts with the homestyle taste of fully cooked Minute Chicken & Herb Seasoned Rice Cups with carrots, onion and garlic. The BPA-free cups offer a quick and flavorful option for an on-the-go power-up loaded with chicken, vegetables and herbs paired with hearty rice. Ready in only 1 minute, you can enjoy the flavored rice right out of the cup or prepare it as part of this 5-minute recipe on a busy weeknight.
Whether you prefer spaghetti or penne, bowtie or stuffed shells, pasta provides a simple base for delicious meals loaded with comforting ingredients. For an easy weeknight meal, just choose a type of pasta, sauce and protein to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Available in many varieties, curry paste is a common ingredient in South Asian dishes. It typically consists of ingredients like garlic, chiles or peppers, ginger and lemongrass. When you’d like to add some spice to your menu without bothering with takeout, this Thai Chicken and Rice Soup calls for green curry paste, which is generally spicier than red or yellow versions, but any can be substituted based on your heat tolerance. You can take the dish up a level with lightly seasoned Minute Cilantro & Lime Jasmine Rice for zesty flavor in a BPA-free, microwaveable cup for a simple solution when life gets hectic and preparing a time-consuming meal becomes challenging.
Serving up a touch of spice in a wide variety of favorite recipes can be as easy as adding ground cayenne. Made of dried cayenne peppers finely ground to a powder, it’s commonly used in dishes ranging from deviled eggs and pastas to shrimp and barbecue as an easy way to add a warming kick to cold-weather meals.
Find more comfort food recipes at MinuteRice.com.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 Minute Chicken & Herb Seasoned Rice Cup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup spinach, stems removed
- 2 ounces chicken, cooked and shredded
- 1/4 cup canned artichokes, drained and quartered
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Heat rice according to package directions.
- In medium saute pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add spinach and saute 1 minute.
- Add chicken and artichokes; saute 2 minutes, or until heated through.
- Add cheese and rice; stir to combine until heated through.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 Minute Ready to Serve Cilantro & Lime Jasmine Rice Cup
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
- 3 small shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- Heat rice according to package directions.
- In medium, microwave-safe bowl, combine chicken, broth, coconut milk, curry paste and mushrooms.
- Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir in rice and garnish with green onion.
Simplify holiday hosting from start to finish
(Family Features) Hosting a major holiday event is no small effort. It requires close attention to detail from planning, cooking and cleaning to entertaining guests on the big day. Fortunately, just like any good recipe, approaching your hosting duties one step at a time can allow you to create a magnificent final product.
This Thanksgiving, the experts at Finish are helping hosts everywhere get organized, from the initial planning all the way through clean up, with the Ultimate Thanksgiving Timer. Created in partnership with Gaby Dalkin of “What’s Gaby Cooking,” it’s a personalized hosting timeline designed to help hosts stay on track up to and throughout the big day.
“I’ve been hosting holiday gatherings for years and know from firsthand experience that even capable hosts struggle to time everything just right,” Dalkin said. “From planning your menu and designing your tablescape to accommodating dietary restrictions and even serving dessert, the Ultimate Thanksgiving Timer will support hosts every step of the way this year.”
Plan Your Guest List and Menu
Deciding how many guests you’ll be serving and what you plan to serve are two essential details that will guide the rest of your planning. When creating your guest list, be realistic about how many are likely to attend and plan your menu for a few extra people so you don’t run out of food. Your menu may also be influenced by how many guests you plan to host; a whole turkey is practical for a large group, but a turkey breast may be adequate for a more intimate gathering. Remember to send your invites at least three weeks ahead of the event so guests have plenty of time to respond and you can prepare your menu.
Start Grocery Shopping Early
The rush at the grocery store can be one of the most stressful parts of getting ready to host. Give yourself enough lead time by picking up pantry staples and beverages 1-2 weeks out so your kitchen is stocked for the big day. For perishables, get to the grocery store early in the day 1-2 days before hosting to beat the rush and avoid any last-minute grocery runs the morning of your gathering.
Maximize Prep Time
While it’s likely the majority of your work will come on the big day, you can work ahead to reduce some of the load. For example, you can wash and chop vegetables for stuffing and other side dishes and store them overnight to minimize prep time in the morning. You can also use the quiet of the night before to tackle tasks like setting the table and organizing your seating chart, restocking towels and replenishing other essentials in the guest bathroom.
Enlist Help with Cooking
The day of your event is the perfect time to pull extra hands into the kitchen. A simple but tasty recipe like this Ultimate Cheesy Herb Sourdough Stuffing from Dalkin is a sure crowd-pleaser to add to your table this year. Once you establish your cooking space and find your rhythm, you may even find sharing the preparations with a loved one is a great way to bond and create special memories.
Make Cleanup a Cinch
A few simple tricks can help you maintain a relatively clean workspace and keep up with all the dishes you need to prepare a lavish meal. First, be sure to clean up as you go. It may be tempting to throw all of your dirty utensils and empty mixing bowls in a pile in the sink to deal with later, but taking a few minutes to scrape dishes and load the dishwasher as you go can help prevent a messy mountain from forming. That also means you’ll be more likely to find a clean measuring cup or spoon when you move on to prepare the next dish.
Hosts have enough to worry about, so let your dishwasher do the hard work and pull in reinforcements to help clean up while you relax after a long day. Use a detergent that works in the toughest conditions, from burnt-on stains to old dishwashers and hard water, like Finish Ultimate. It’s the only dish detergent tab with CycleSync technology that releases the right ingredient at the right time to work with your dishwasher.
You can skip the rinse, even on tough stains like cranberry sauce and gravy, and save up to 20 gallons of water. Hosts are invited to put Finish Ultimate to the test and take the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge; if it can’t tackle your burnt-on stains, the meal is on Finish via a rebate of up to $30.
For more hosting tips and tricks, visit UltimateThanksgivingExperience.com.
Ultimate Cheesy Herb Sourdough Stuffing
Recipe courtesy of “What’s Gaby Cooking” on behalf of Finish
- 1 loaf sourdough bread with crust, cut into 1-inch cubes (roughly 8 cups)
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups chicken broth, divided
- 6 ounces coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 F. On large, rimmed baking sheet, spread ripped or cubed bread. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Cool. Leave oven on.
- In heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots and celery; saute 5-6 minutes. Add green onions, parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper; saute until celery is tender, 6-8 minutes.
- Generously grease large skillet or ceramic baking dish. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add warm vegetable mixture; toss to combine.
- In medium bowl, whisk eggs and 3/4 cup broth. Add egg mixture to stuffing and toss to coat. Mix in Parmesan.
- Add 1/2-3/4 cup broth to stuffing if dry. Transfer to skillet or ceramic baking dish. Cover with buttered foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve in baking vessel or transfer to serving platter.
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