Simple, yet delicious, recipes for all your holiday gatherings.
The holiday season is here, and you know what that means… parties and gatherings and get-togethers and other festive occasions. It also means food and drink. If you are searching for a signature libation, appetizer, main dish, or dessert to share at your next event, check out some of these deliciously easy festive offerings.
Asparagus Puff Pastry Bundles
This is about as easy as they come for appetizers...and yet they SEEM like you spent hours prepping. Premade puff pastry sheets make all the difference. If you don't have the Everything Bagel seasoning at your local market, you can make your own, omit, or substitute a salt and pepper mix as desired.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prep your ingredients: set out pastry to thaw and wash/pat dry and then trim the asparagus stalks (you will need about 27, or 3 per bundle. Use more or less depending on the size of the stalks).
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the puff pastry into nine equal squares and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Place a strip of cheese on the puff pastry diagonally.
4. Wrap the prosciutto around three stalks of asparagus and place them on top of the cheese strip and puff pastry. Bring the two opposite corners of the puff pastry around the bundle and secure with a toothpick.
5. In a small bowl, whisk one egg and one Tablespoon of milk together. Brush the egg wash on top of each puff pastry bundle and sprinkle a bit of seasoning over top.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the asparagus is fork tender.
Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen
Sausage-Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Dress them up or down, these little bites of heaven are a hit anywhere...from your New Year's dinner party to the Big Game half-time snack parade. The recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage, but you can use spicy, or even turkey or chicken sausage, depending on your preference. Regular or Italian breadcrumbs can be substituted if panko is not available.
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; set caps aside. Chop stems finely.
3. Place the mushroom caps in bowl and toss with 3 Tbsps of the olive oil and wine. Set aside.
4. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsps olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
5. Add the sausage, crumbling it with spoon or spatula. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned.
6. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes.
7. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients, then mix in the mascarpone.
9. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted and mixture is creamy.
10. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Cool slightly.
12. Fill each mushroom cap with sausage and cheese mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish. Fit the mushrooms in a single layer, snugly enough they do not tip over.
13. Bake until the stuffing is browned and crusty, approximately 50 minutes.
Adapted from Food Network
Mulled White Wine
While mulled red wine is probably more common, the white wine version of it is equally delicious (if not more so, in our opinion). (Plus...for those of you accident- and mess-prone folks, less chance of stains!) It will warm you up, make your home smell divine, and is basically the holiday season in liquid form.
• 2 oranges, sliced into rounds
• 1/2 cup brandy (optional)
• 1/2 cup honey or sugar
• 16 whole cloves
• 4 cinnamon sticks
• 4 star anise
• Optional garnishes: citrus slices (e.g. orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise
1.Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. DO NOT boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 15 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
3. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.
Tip: You can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Cardamom Hard Apple CiderWe're from Minnesota, so of course we used Honeycrisp cider--but any sweet apple cider will work.
1. Place cider, lemon peel, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and sugar into a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 10 minutes, cover, remove from heat, and steep for 1 hour. Place mixture over stove again and heat through until warmed.
3. Strain mixture and stir in bourbon.
4. To serve: Using a 1 ½ -2 inch circle cutter, cut star centers out from the thin slices of apple and remove any remaining seeds. Pour cider into individual mugs and top with apple star cut-outs and serve.
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
Christmas Cioppino (Seafood Stew)
This is a family favorite of one of our marketing staff, and we can see why. Hearty and warm, and bursting with holiday comfort. Plus, it's very adaptable. There’s no set type of seafood—feel free to use whatever you like or what is available at your local market. Prefer shrimp to clams? Double up. Hate scallops? Leave them out. Experiment!
1. Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and sauté for 10 minutes, until tender.
2. Stir in the garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add the tomatoes, fish stock, wine, 1 Tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and bring to a boil. Then, lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.
4. Add the seafood in the following order: first the cod, then the shrimp, scallops, and finally the clams and mussels. Do not stir. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 additional minutes until the seafood is cooked and the shellfish open.
5. Stir gently; do not break up the fish. Cover let rest for 3 minutes for the flavors to blend. Discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.
6. Serve in pasta bowls or other shallow bowls.
Super cute, super easy, and actually good for you...these little Santa hats hit the holiday table trifecta.
1. Hull strawberries and remove small portion of tip.
2. Slice banana(s) into 24 rounds
3. Make stack of banana slice, strawberry, mini-marshmallow and then skewer with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
Tip: Add a green grape before the banana bottom of Santa Hat, and you have Grinch snacks!
Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Instead of traditional cookies this year, why not try something a little bit different with these homemade ice cream sandwiches? The sky is the limit for which ice cream (and other toppings) you choose. For a festive look, try pistachio or mint chip, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream as filling.
1. Combine the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Using a mixer, beat on medium-high speed until fluffy (around 3 minutes; do not over mix).
2. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.
3. Reduce the speed to low and add 1 1/2 cups flour and 3 Tablespoons water while mixing. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and 3 more Tablespoons water and beat until the dough is smooth. (If the dough seems too dry, add 2 to 3 more Tablespoons water.)
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half. Pat each piece into a flat square on a lightly floured surface, then roll out until to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2-to-3-inch squares with a paring knife or use a cookie cutter to make shapes (we used round, but feel free to be festive).
5. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Poke several holes in each cookie with a skewer (to look like a classic ice cream sandwich cookie), then transfer to the freezer until hard, about 10 minutes.
6. Transfer firmed cookies to oven and bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
7. When cool, apply layer of ice cream (and additional fillings, if desired) to one half of the cookies. Top each with another cookie to make a sandwich. Return to freezer for at least 45 minutes before serving. To store, wrap the ice cream sandwiches individually in plastic wrap and freeze.
Adapted from Food Network
A touch of spice and a touch of sweet... these gingerbread waffles are perfect for a holiday brunch or breakfast, a cozy winter weekend, or any time at all. (Not going to lie...we may have made mini versions of these and dunked them in our Eggnog Hot Chocolate.
1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses, and melted butter.
4. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter.
5. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each.
6. Serve with toppings of choice.
Adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe for Food Network