(Family Features) Entertaining guests during the holidays isn’t just about a main course that calls all to the table. What often makes a festive gathering more fruitful is a spread of delicious appetizers, delightful drinks and divine desserts that keep loved ones coming back to the kitchen for more.
For appetizing dishes from the first guest at the house to the last out the door, you can heighten the flavor and appearance of favorite recipes with one simple ingredient: apples. Ranging from tart to sugary sweet, finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma.
Turn to an option like Envy Apples this holiday season for satisfying texture and taste with a consistently balanced, refreshing sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They make for an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand but are also perfect for holding over pre-dinner appetites in small plates like this Bell-Issimo Brie Melt or Apple Stuffing Bites with Rosemary Gravy.
The versatile flavor of apples isn’t just limited to foods, however. For the adults in the room, Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider with a splash of bourbon is a seasonally appropriate way to quench thirst and break the ice. Simply omit the bourbon for a kid-friendly version so the whole party can savor a sip.
Easy to spot with their crimson red skin over a golden background that practically glows, Envy Apples offer an easy, eye-catching way to try new tastes and celebrate joyful occasions together. The bright white flesh is naturally slow to brown when sliced for a fresher flavor in sweet treats like Apple Oat Crumble and Citrus Caramel Topping for a tasty way to elevate your holiday get-togethers.
Find more sweet holiday recipes at EnvyApple.com.
Apple Oat Crumble and Citrus Caramel Topping
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Envy Apples, diced into large cubes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup cold butter, diced small
- 1/2 cup caramel
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 orange, zest only
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In bowl, stir together sugar and ground cinnamon.
- Toss apples in lemon juice then in cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread in 9-inch pie dish.
- In another bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and oats. Using hands or fork, cut in butter until pea size crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
- Bake 40-45 minutes until mixture is bubbling and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes.
- In small pot, whisk caramel, salt, orange zest and orange juice until warm.
- Spoon apple oat crumble over large scoop vanilla ice cream and top with salted citrus caramel.
Apple Stuffing Bites with Rosemary Gravy
- 1 box stovetop stuffing
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups diced Envy Apples
- 1/2 onion, diced small
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 20 turns fresh cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- Preheat broiler.
- Cook stuffing according to package directions; set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- In large saute pan, melt butter saute apples and onion until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Stir together stuffing and apple mixture. Spread stuffing on sheet tray and allow to cool in refrigerator.
- After cooling, form stuffing into medium bites and place on sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Broil bites until golden brown and slightly crispy.
- To make gravy: In small pot, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, whisking frequently.
- Whisk in beef broth, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in rosemary. If desired, continue gently simmering gravy to thicken.
- Arrange stuffing bites in serving dish and drizzle with gravy. Serve hot.
Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider
- 1 Envy Apple, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 4 ounces pumpkin spice apple cider
- demerara sugar
- Envy Apple slices, for garnish
- rosemary, for garnish
- cinnamon stick, for garnish
- In pan over medium heat, saute diced apples in butter and pumpkin spice 5-10 minutes.
- In glass, combine bourbon and pumpkin spice apple cider; top with sauteed apples.
- Add demerara sugar then garnish with apple slices, rosemary and cinnamon stick.
Bell-Issimo Brie Melt
- 1 round brie (6-8 ounces)
- 2 Envy Apples
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- firm crackers
- Unwrap brie and place on microwave-safe dish. Cut off top of brie round and microwave 60 seconds until middle is soft.
- Slice apples into thick wedges.
- Top brie with half the apples, crushed walnuts and dried cranberries.
- Serve with firm crackers and remaining apple wedges.
Source: Envy Apples
(Family Features) - There's nothing like a delicious, hearty beef pot roast to evoke the comforts of home. The keys to successful braising - also known as pot roasting - are low heat and a tightly covered pan to achieve unbelievable tenderness. And be sure to include the browning step as it packs a bonus layer of flavor.
The Featured Cuts
"Pot roasts from the chuck and round benefit from braising, a moist heat cooking method that softens the strong muscle fibers of less tender cuts," says Chef Dave Zino, executive director of the Culinary Center for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "In addition to the mouthwatering results, beef pot roasts are a nutrient-rich source of 10 essential vitamins and minerals, including protein. Plus, cuts from the round and the chuck shoulder pot roast meet the government guidelines for lean."
Three Easy Steps
Step 1: Remove beef pot roast from refrigerator and slowly brown on all sides in a small amount of oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Pour off drippings. Season beef with herbs or spices, as desired.
Step 2: Add small amount (1/2 to 2 cups) of liquid, such as broth, wine, beer, juice or water, to pan.
Step 3: Cover tightly and simmer gently over low heat on top of the range, or in a preheated 325ºF oven, until beef is fork-tender, from 2 to 3-1/4 hours, depending on weight and thickness of the roast.
Pot Roast Video
Take the mystery our of making pot roast with this helpful how-to video. It's easier than you think to make a delicious roast even grandma would be proud of. Click on image to view video.
For more braising tips and recipes, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.
Pot Roast with Cider-Maple Gravy and Mashed Butternut Squash
- 1 beef bottom round roast (3 to 4 pounds)
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup beef broth
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 medium butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half, seeded
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Press pepper evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place roast in stockpot; brown evenly. Pour off drippings.
- Season roast with salt. Add broth and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours or until roast is fork-tender.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Brush cut sides of squash halves with remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Place squash, cut sides down, on metal baking sheet. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until fork-tender. Cool slightly. Scoop squash flesh into large bowl; discard shells or use for serving, if desired. Mash squash with back of spoon or fork until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper, as desired; keep warm.
- Remove roast; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Stir in cornstarch mixture and maple syrup; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Carve roast into thin slices. Serve with gravy and squash.
3 to 3-3/4 hours
SOURCE: The Beef Checkoff
(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board