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Holiday Hosting
Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

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Salmon Pastries With Dill Pesto
Make-Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Cheese Bars

(Family Features) - With so many things to do and events to attend, the last thing anyone needs is more holiday stress. So when it's your turn to host a holiday meal, take advantage of these tips and recipes so you can enjoy it as much as your guests do.

  • Make lists. Writing things down will help you stay organized and not leave anything out.

  • Keep it simple. Don't wear yourself out trying to decorate every inch of the house or by cooking a complicated four-course meal you've never tried before. A simple wreath, some pretty candles, and a menu of tried and true favorites are all you need.

  • Use short-cuts. Why chop two pounds of carrots when you can get them pre-cut at the store? When you buy things such as bagged lettuces and bottled dressings, you're also buying yourself some time.

  • Make ahead. Choose a menu that includes some items that you can make a day or two in advance such as Make Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes or Cranberry Cheese Bars. You want to be out of the kitchen and ready to enjoy your guests when they arrive.

Here are some recipes to help you start planning your menu. Any one of these easy-to-make dishes is a delicious addition to your stress-free holiday meal. For more delicious recipes, visit www.crisco.comwww.hungryjack.com and www.eaglebrand.com.

Salmon Pastries With Dill Pesto

This recipe was a $5000 category winner in the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1/3 cup Crisco® Light Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, if desired
  • 3/4 pound salmon fillet, thawed if frozen and patted dry
  • 1 package (15 ounces) Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • Dill weed sprigs
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    1. Heat oven to 400°F. In food processor bowl with metal blade or in blender, place chopped dill weed, oil, walnuts, lime juice, garlic, mustard, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the salt and pepper. Cover; process, stopping once to scrape side of bowl, until smooth.
    2. If salmon has skin or bones, remove them; rinse fillet and pat dry with paper towel. Cut salmon into 24 (1-inch) cubes.
    3. On cutting board, roll 1 pie crust into 12-inch round. Cut into 4 rows by 3 rows to make 12 (4 x 3-inch) rectangles. Repeat with remaining crust. (Rectangles cut at edge of crust will have rounded side.)
    4. Spoon 1 level teaspoon dill pesto onto center of each rectangle; top with 1 salmon cube. Bring 4 corners of each rectangle over filling to center and pinch at top; pinch corners, leaving small openings on sides to vent steam. (For rectangles with rounded side, bring 3 points together at top, pinching to seal.) On ungreased large cookie sheet, place pastries 1 inch apart.
    5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
    6. Place remaining pesto in small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut small tip off 1 bottom corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle pesto over serving plate. Place pastries on serving plate. Sprinkle pastries with remaining cheese and garnish with dill weed sprigs. Serve warm.
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Preparation Time
25 minutes

Servings 24 appetizers
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Make-Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes

  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 6 cups water
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion salt
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • Paprika
  • 1 (15.3-ounce) package Hungry Jack® Mashed Potatoes, flakes (9 cups)
  • Cooked bacon, chopped (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
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    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13 x 9-inch oven safe casserole with no-stick cooking spray; set aside. Heat water, butter, garlic salt and onion salt to boiling in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, milk and sour cream, stirring until cream cheese is dissolved.
    2. Stir in potato flakes, mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Spread mashed potato mixture into prepared pan.
    3. Sprinkle with paprika and bake 1 hour or until bubbling around edges and golden brown. Top with bacon and parsley, if desired.
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Preparation Time
20 minutes

Cook Time
1 hour

Servings 24

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Tip: Before adding paprika and baking, potato mixture can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Sprinkle with paprika and bake as directed above.
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Cranberry Cheese Bars

  • 2 cups Pillsbury Best® all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, 3/4 cup brown sugar and butter; mix until crumbly.
    2. Reserving 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture, press remainder firmly on bottom of greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
    3. In small bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth; stir in lemon juice. Spread evenly over prepared crust.
    4. In small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cornstarch; stir in cranberry sauce. Spoon evenly over cream cheese layer. Top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until golden. Cool. Chill. Cut into bars. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Preparation Time
20 minutes

Cook Time
55 minutes

Servings 2 dozen
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SOURCE: Smucker's

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