(Family Features) Holiday gatherings, even in a time when smaller groups are encouraged, take on special meaning for many families. Part of the joy comes from the food that’s shared among loved ones from appetizers and sides to the main course.
This year, you can enjoy those meaningful moments with your closest family members and friends by putting together a menu that keeps smiles on faces from the first bite to the last. Start with your favorite among the nearly endless appetizer options that symbolize the season then enjoy a tender tri-tip alongside bacon-wrapped asparagus and a twist on classic, roasted potatoes.
Visit Culinary.net to find more holiday menu ideas.
Start Your Seasonal Celebration with Small Bites
While main courses, sides and desserts may be what holiday memories are made of, you can calm family members’ and guests’ appetites with an array of appetizers like these:
Fresh fruit and vegetables
A Simply Tasty Side
Many recipes commonly associated with the holidays are accompanied by lengthy ingredient lists or hours spent in the kitchen. However, all that time and effort doesn’t have to be used on this year’s side dish when you opt for a simple yet mouthwatering option.
You can feel good about what you’re feeding your family this holiday season while saving prep time by serving this Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus made with Coleman Natural bacon, which contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives and is sourced from American family farms that humanely raise their animals with no antibiotics or added hormones. Whether it’s served as a side dish or an appetizer, it calls for just a handful of everyday ingredients for a dish you can be proud of.
Visit ColemanNatural.com/Recipes for more seasonal recipe inspiration.
- 20 asparagus stalks
- 10 slices Coleman Natural Hickory Smoked Bacon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wrap 2 asparagus stalks with 1 slice bacon. Repeat with remaining asparagus and bacon. Place bundles on baking sheet. Drizzle asparagus ends with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake until asparagus is cooked through and bacon is crisp, about 20 minutes.
A Tender Holiday Tri-Tip
Centering your holiday meal around a flavorful cut of meat can make the celebration truly memorable, especially when it’s cooked to perfection over the hot flame of a grill.
This year, take your family’s main course to the next level with a Garlic Herb Tri-Tip lightly seasoned with garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to let the naturally flavorful New Zealand grass-fed beef speak for itself. Because the animals roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures year-round, New Zealand grass-fed beef is leaner, more finely textured and tastes just as nature intended.
Find more recipes and holiday meal ideas at beefandlambnz.com.
Garlic Herb Tri-Tip
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 New Zealand grass-fed beef tri-tip (2 1/2-3 pounds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- Preheat grill to high heat.
- Rub tri-tip with olive oil. Add minced garlic and use hands to evenly distribute.
- Combine chopped thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; cover oiled tri-tip on both sides with spice blend.
- Place tri-tip on hottest part of grill and sear 2-3 minutes.
- Flip tri-tip and transfer to indirect heat. Continue grilling until internal temperature reaches 135 F for medium-rare.
- Transfer meat to platter, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
- Slice across the grain and serve.
An Easy but Impressive Side
Every holiday meal comes with plenty of traditional and family-favorite dishes, and one of the most common on tables is potatoes. Whether they’re roasted, mashed or anything in-between, they’re among the most versatile options for the holidays.
This year, you can save time on seasonal favorites with Creamer potatoes from The Little Potato Company. They are ready to use, with no washing or peeling required, and they’re small and consistent in size so they cook quickly.
Try them roasted, boiled, smashed or mashed whether you’re making a quick weeknight dinner or getting a festive meal on the table. This holiday season, try these Little Hasselback Potatoes for a twist on the classic roasted variety. For an easy cooking hack, slice the potatoes on a wooden spoon to prevent cutting all the way through.
Visit littlepotatoes.com for more holiday recipe inspiration.
Little Hasselback Potatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 bag (3 pounds) The Little Potato Company Holiday Blend
- 10 sprigs thyme, removed from stem
- 6 sprigs parsley, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- sour cream (optional)
- cooked bacon pieces (optional)
- green onion slices (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Lay wooden spoon flat on solid surface and place one potato in spoon. Using paring knife, slice 1/8-inch thick slices along length of each potato one at a time.
- In bowl, toss potatoes, thyme, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place potatoes on parchment-lined baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake 10 minutes, flip and bake 10 minutes, or until soft.
- Serve with sour cream, bacon and green onion, if desired.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Holiday small bites)
(Family Features) Dining out in the fresh air always seems to turn even a simple meal into an event. You can turn your next dinner party into a memorable event with these simple and delicious recipes.
- Rosemary Almond Crackers make a terrific appetizer served alongside cheese or a savory dip.
- Spiced Almonds can be served in a martini glass for a stylish addition to any party.
- Almond Crusted Shrimp are deceptively easy - and distinctly delicious.
- Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappés are a cool and creamy way to finish off the evening.
California Almonds aren't just delicious, crunchy, and ideal for any snack or mealtime, they're also a nutritious solution that adds a burst of flavor and texture to any recipe.
For more entertaining tips and recipes, visit AlmondBoard.com.
Nutrition Made Easy - and Delicious
California Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E (35% DV), magnesium (20% DV), manganese (.648 mg), fiber (3.5 g), protein (6 g), copper (0.3 mg), phosphorus (137 mg), and riboflavin (0.3 mg). Plus, a one-ounce serving has 13 grams of good unsaturated fats, just 1 gram of saturated fat, and is always cholesterol- and gluten-free.
Here are some more ideas for making your next gathering a little more special - and a little more nutritious.
- Craving something sweet? Try adding toasted sliced almonds and crumbled biscotti to your favorite gelato.
- In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toss whole natural or slivered almonds in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden. Add your choice of dried herbs and then sprinkle over salads, vegetables, or pasta for the perfect accent. And - if you don't have time to make your own, grab your favorite flavored almonds from your local grocer.
Rosemary Almond Crackers
Created by Elana Amsterdam author of "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook"
Makes 24 crackers
- 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- In large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and rosemary. In medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and egg. Stir wet ingredients into almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Roll dough into a ball and press between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove top piece of parchment paper.
- Transfer the bottom piece with rolled out dough onto baking sheet. Cut dough into 2-inch squares with a knife or pizza cutter.
- Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let crackers cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes, then serve.
Almond Crusted Shrimp
Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound (61- to 70-count) shrimp, with tails and veins removed
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons almond or corn oil, divided
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Stir together almonds, flour, parsley, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Dip each shrimp in egg white, then in almond mixture; lay on a baking sheet or platter until ready to cook. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet; grill shrimp in batches on medium heat, cooking 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until pink and golden. Use remaining 1 tablespoon oil as necessary.
- Serve shrimp immediately, accompanied by lemon wedges.
Created by Ellie Krieger author of "So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week"
Makes 8 servings
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups natural almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large bowl whisk together egg white, paprika, sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper until well combined. Add almonds and toss until evenly coated.
- Transfer almonds to parchment lined baking tray; spread out to form a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until the coating is crisp. Almonds will continue to crisp as they cool. Allow to cool completely then break up any nuts that are stuck together. Nuts will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappé
Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup crushed ice or 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
- 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
- 4 ounces almond milk
- 2 ounces Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
- 1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur
- 4 whole natural or blanched almonds
- Combine ice, bananas, almond milk and liqueurs in a blender; blend until smooth. Divide among 4 old-fashioned glasses and garnish each with an almond; serve immediately.
Source: California Almond Board
(Family Features) Whether you’re prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, being prepared with cupboard staples and entertaining tricks can help you take your gathering to the next level.
Make menu planning a breeze and put a unique twist on your party from start to finish with these great ideas from the experts at Dare Foods:
Snacks with flair. Use geometric cookie-cutters to bring thoughtful detail to essential hors d'oeuvres like crackers, cheese and melon slices.
Vivid votive. Fill mason jars with water and add slices of lemon or lime along with sprigs of rosemary. Float a tea light on top and place around the yard or on tables for a beautiful way to decorate your outdoor space.
Sparkler sendoff. Light up the night with festive sparklers for endless entertainment. Place them in a decorative pail and sit back as guests enjoy the photo opp.
When it comes to bite-size snacks, crackers are one pantry basic you can dress up or down for a wide range of party-worthy treats in minutes. For example, garden-fresh fixings atop crisp crackers make for light canapes that celebrate the best of summer flavors. Just start with one of Dare’s mouthwatering crackers, loaded with crunch and packed with flavor, and pile on the goodness.
If you’re looking for an elegant appetizer to wow dinner guests, a robust, crisp cracker makes the perfect base for a sweet corn salad and luxurious scallops. Or, for a delicious sweet treat, use Dare’s sweet potato cracker to lend a unique twist to a classic s’mores recipe.
Find more creative cracker recipes for your next event at darefoods.com.
Sauteed Corn, Feta, Cherry Tomato and Scallop Crackers
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 2 ears corn
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 10 large scallops
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced basil
- 10 Brenton Vinta crackers
- Slice corn off of cob.
- Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, saute corn until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In another pan, heat vegetable oil until hot. Salt scallops then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Slice in half to create 10 round scallop discs.
- Mix corn, feta, tomatoes and basil together. Season with salt and pepper.
- To compile, place spoonful of corn salad on each cracker. Top with 2 pieces of scallop and 1 sprig of basil.
Marshmallow, Chocolate, Sweet Potato Crackers
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 10 large marshmallows
- 20 Breton sweet potato and ancient grain crackers
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips, divided
- Heat broiler to low (set rack in top two-thirds of oven if low-heat setting is unavailable).
- Place marshmallows on one cracker and broil 1-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown and soften.
- Remove from oven and place 1 teaspoon chocolate chips onto hot marshmallows.
- Let sit 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften.
- Place cracker on top and enjoy.
Source: Dare Foods
(Family Features) Planning health-conscious New Year’s resolutions typically includes cutting back on unhealthy foods during meals from breakfast to dinner. However, it’s also important to cut out sugary, calorie-laden snacks that can counteract all your hard work throughout the rest of the day.
Rather than skipping snacks entirely, it’s possible to instead incorporate nutritious options that pack protein to help you recharge without going overboard on calories, sodium and sugars. Opt for quick bites like Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip paired with light, crunchy, low-sugar crackers to get the fuel you need between meals.
This snack idea can be especially filling yet nutritious when you dip with an option like gluten-free, non-GMO Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers, made with wholesome ingredients crafted to fit healthy, active lifestyles. With five grams of plant-based protein per serving, the cholesterol-free crackers can aid in providing energy without unnecessary sugars.
As you take steps to incorporate a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, be sure to take into account healthy activities along with nutritious eating habits from the first meal of the day to the last, and each snack in-between.
For more nutritious snacking ideas and recipes, visit crunchmaster.com.
Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Crackers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) organic white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 fluid ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 package (3.54 ounces) Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers in Roasted Garlic flavor
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In food processor, puree beans, artichokes, olive oil, 1 tablespoon chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne until smooth. Scrape into 4-cup baking dish and smooth over top.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve with crackers.
Tip: Substitute parsley or mint for chives, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 10 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 580 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 7 g protein.
(Family Features) A traditional backyard barbecue is typically filled with a wide array of tempting foods that make it hard to keep a healthy eating plan on track. With a few simple modifications to your menu, you can transform your grilling party into a spread of better-for-you foods you can still enjoy.
Get creative on the grill. An easy swap like chicken or pork instead of burgers and brats is an instant nutrition boost. Use wood chips or a marinade to create a main dish so tasty you’ll forget it’s a health-conscious choice.
Put produce front and center. There’s no time like summer to enjoy the bounty of the garden, so pile on the veggies in place of dense, calorie-laden sides. A crisp, refreshing salad, lightly seasoned veggies on the grill and even fresh raw veggies with a light yogurt dip can all be healthier additions to your barbecue menu.
Make apps amazing. A health-conscious meal doesn’t have to mean eliminating entire courses. Appetizers while you wait for the grill to heat are practically a requirement, after all. Instead of the typical rich, creamy dips, try a lighter approach, like these cracker canapes. Add a special touch with Crunchmaster crackers, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and full of flavor. Made with wholesome ingredients from trusted sources and available in Sea Salt, Roasted Vegetable, Applewood Smoked BBQ and Aged White Cheddar flavors, these snacks are crafted to fit healthy lifestyles.
Find more delicious ideas for summer entertaining at crunchmaster.com.
Grilled Watermelon, Feta and Balsamic Cracker Canapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 4 watermelon wedges (1/2-inch thick slices, 4 inches wide at base)
- 16 Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers
- 1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup prepared balsamic reduction
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- Heat grill to medium-high; grease grate well. Grill watermelon wedges, turning once, 3-5 minutes, or until grill-marked on both sides. Cut each watermelon wedge into four smaller wedges.
- Top each cracker with watermelon wedge and sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Garnish with fresh mint.
Tip: Add finely chopped Kalamata olives for a tangy twist.
Feed your family something simple and delicious like this Easy Tuna Casserole, loaded with vegetables, pasta and tuna for a filling meal that everyone can enjoy. In just a few easy steps, you’ll be able to please the entire family without spending hours in the kitchen – perfect for those busy weeknights when time isn’t on your side. Find more family recipes at culinary.net.
Easy Tuna Casserole
- 6 cups boiling water
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (corn, carrots and peas)
- 4 TBS butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cheese powder packet
- 1 can of tuna in water (drained)
- 8 - 10 buttery crackers rounds (crushed)
- Boil water in sauce pan, then add in macaroni. Stirring ocassionaly. Boiling 8-10 minutes.
- Add frozen vegetables 2 minutes before the end of boil time.
- Drain and return to sauce pan.
- Add in butter, milk and cheese. Stir until mixed.
- Pour into casserole dish.
- Add tuna and stir into macaroni mixture.
- Sprinkle crushed buttery crackers over macaroni mixture.
- Serve immediately.
Makes about 7 dozen crackers
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black
- 1/2 teaspoon ground
- white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (about
- 8 ounces) grated
- Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter,
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In small bowl, combine flour, black pepper, white pepper and salt. In large bowl, beat cheese, butter and garlic until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture to cheese mixture. Mix until dough forms a ball. Gradually add milk, mixing until fully incorporated. Shape into small logs and place in Cookie Master Ultra II. Using desired disk, press crackers onto ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet on cooling grid. Remove from sheet and cool completely. Store in airtight container up to 1 week.
Source: Wilton Enterprises