(Family Features) Holiday festivities with immediate family members or just a few friends rather than larger gatherings may feel different than normal, but you can make the most of the situation with these tips to add intimacy and special meaning to celebratory moments:
- Use special dishes, glassware and linens to convey the tone of the celebration. Go ahead and use your best dishes or enhance your everyday plates with the use of cloth napkins or a festive tablecloth. Bring out the fancy glasses to savor every sip.
- Arrange visually appealing, individual mini-snack platters for each person. Combine grapes with a special cheese, crackers, olives and nuts for an easy way to curb appetites before the main course.
- Set a festive table with a simple but creative centerpiece. For instance, you can combine candles, flowers and draped bunches of colorful grapes. Place votive candles on mirrors for added shimmer and sparkle. Tie a gold or silver wire ribbon bow around the napkins at each place setting. Handwritten place cards with guests’ names can add a surprising and special touch.
- Stay healthy to enjoy the holidays. Choose healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that help support the immune system. Maintain your exercise schedule as much as possible and ensure you are getting enough sleep.
- Opt for homemade over processed foods for signature dishes then reinforce with prepared items to fill out the menu, if needed. Let your guests bring part of the meal or something to contribute to the festivities.
Adding a sweet touch to the menu can help keep guests coming back for more. For example, fresh California grapes are available into January and are perfect for the holiday season. Enjoy them as a fresh, healthy snack or side dish, or as an ingredient to add taste and visual appeal to recipes to make the season feel special.
Start the meal with a simple but beautiful salad such as Grape and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing, where the grapes provide festive color and pleasing texture. Pair your chosen entree with Warm Farro Salad with Grapes and Delicata Squash for a hearty side dish that can also be served on its own. Finally, cap off the celebration with homemade Grape and Apple Sheet Pan Pie.
Visit grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipe to find more holiday-worthy dishes from appetizers and entrees to sides, snacks and desserts.
Create the Perfect Appetizer Plate
Delight your guests with individual appetizer plates this season by considering color, texture and presentation. Remember, this is the prelude to the meal, so small portions are perfectly fine. Consider this starter list:
- Fresh grapes
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Salami slices
- Spinach or other dips
- Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
- Roasted red peppers
- Pita triangles
- Thin breadsticks
- Jam or honey
Grape and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 8 cups fresh baby spinach, washed
- 4 1/2 cups California grapes
- 1 1/4 cups mandarin orange segments, drained if using canned
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3/4 cup bottled light balsamic vinegar and oil dressing
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 3/4 cup crunchy chow mein noodles
- In large salad bowl, combine spinach with grapes, oranges and onion.
- Whisk together dressing, orange juice and jam. Pour over salad and toss until greens are coated with dressing. Divide among eight plates and top with crunchy noodles.
Grape and Apple Sheet Pan Pie
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 50 minutes
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup ice water, plus additional if needed
- 3 pounds Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 9 cups)
- 4 cups black California grapes
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- demerara sugar, for garnish
- To make dough: In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and toss with flour mixture. Smash each butter cube flat then use fork to stir in cold water. Knead lightly until dough comes together in ball. Transfer to floured work surface and use well-floured rolling pin to roll into 10-by-15-inch sheet. Fold each short side into middle and close like a book. Fold once more to make thick block and cut in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- To make filling: In large bowl, combine apples, grapes, sugar, flour, lemon juice and salt; set aside.
- To assemble pie: Heat oven to 375 F.
- Roll one half of dough out to 18-by-13-inch rectangle. Transfer to 10-by-15-inch heavy baking sheet; place in refrigerator to chill while rolling out top sheet. Roll out remaining dough to 18-by-13-inch rectangle and use pastry cutter to cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips.
- Transfer filling into chilled pastry and spread evenly. Lay dough strips on top of filling in lattice pattern and crimp sides together. Mix egg with water and brush top of pie. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake until filling is bubbling, and crust is nicely browned, about 45-50 minutes.
Warm Farro Salad with Grapes and Delicata Squash
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 3 pounds delicata squash, cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups farro
- 2 cups water
- 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups halved California grapes
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Heat oven to 425 F.
- On sheet pan, toss squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cayenne pepper. Spread into single layer and roast 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. Turn squash and roast 10-15 minutes, or until browned and tender.
- While squash is cooking, combine farro, water and remaining salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until farro is tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain leftover water and transfer to large bowl. Add squash, remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, grapes and parsley; toss.
Note: Acorn or butternut squash may be substituted for delicata squash.
(Family Features) The seemingly constant rush of hectic school days and nights often leaves busy families feeling like there’s no time for a homemade meal around the table. However, taking shortcuts that don’t skip out on quality can mean more time together enjoying flavorful dishes without spending hours in the kitchen.
For starters, an easy yet filling breakfast like these Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins can help you begin your day the right way while calling for a simple list of ingredients and just a few steps.
Perfect for grabbing on the way out the door to power you through the day or enjoying at home as you manage double duty as parent and best teacher on the block. They’re made with ground turkey sausage, eggs, melty cheddar cheese and Success Tri-Color Quinoa, which is simplified even more by the “boil-in-bag” cooking process. Just add water to a saucepan, drop the convenient BPA-free bag into the water, boil 10 minutes and remove with a fork for a no-measure, no-mess shortcut.
When the dinner bell dings at the end of a long day of learning, feed your family an effortless recipe that allows the oven to do most of the work. The array of flavors and textures in these Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls can bring warmth to your loved ones while requiring little effort.
Sweet and buttery flavors of maple-roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beets pair with the convenience, taste, texture and quality of Success Jasmine Rice, lentils, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette for an abundance of flavors that help recharge and refuel with loads of nutrients combined in one comforting dish.
Find more ways to add ease to school day meals at successrice.com.
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 bag Success Tri-Color Quinoa
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 package (9.6 ounces) cooked turkey sausage crumbles
- 2 cups prepared baking mix
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk
- 4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
- maple syrup (optional)
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat 16 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, combine quinoa, sausage, baking mix and cheese. Stir in milk and eggs; blend well.
- Pour 3/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup.
- Bake 18-20 minutes.
- Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
Substitution: In place of baking mix, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 pinch of salt.
Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash
- 2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups peeled, chopped beets
- 2 bags Success Jasmine Rice
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 can (15 ounces) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup prepared balsamic dressing
- Preheat oven to 400 F. In large bowl, toss together butternut squash, sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, thyme, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- In same bowl, toss beets with remaining oil until well coated; add to baking sheet with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
- Prepare rice according to package directions; divide among six bowls. Top each with greens, roasted vegetables, lentils, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with balsamic dressing.
Source: Success Rice