(Family Features) From savory starters and sides to a show-stopping main course, there are so many recipes to choose from this season. The secret to creating those hallmark holiday moments – the ones that leave us with delicious memories – is choosing the right dish.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect recipe for the special holiday meal, an office potluck or a simple snack to warm up with after ice skating, these recipes are an easy way to elevate any moment with tastes you’ll savor for years to come – and leftovers you’ll devour the next day.
“Pork lends itself to a multitude of flavors and preparation methods, making it the perfect protein for any occasion,” said Pamela Johnson, Director of Consumer Communications at the National Pork Board. “You can transform a classic ham with a simple glaze or mix up your starters by adding a nutty, Spanish-inspired sauce to tender pork meatballs – giving those traditional dishes everyone loves a special touch.”
For more holiday recipes, visit PorkBeinspired.com, or try the interactive Pork Be Inspired Facebook bot that provides pork fans with great-tasting recipes. Just visit the Pork Be Inspired Facebook page, open Facebook Messenger and say, “Hi.” The bot will respond by asking questions to help you find the right recipe. You can also uncover more inspiration from the National Pork Board on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Thyme-Basted Ham with Roasted Grapes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours
Servings: 15-20 (4 ounces each)
- 1 cooked, bone-in ham (6-8 pounds), trimmed
- 1/2 cup grape jelly
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cups whole grapes (red, green or a combination)
- 4 shallots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in lower third of oven.
- In large shallow roasting pan, place ham flat-side down and score a diamond pattern about 1/8-inch deep into any fat. Season with pepper and bake 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in small saucepan over medium heat, combine jelly, butter and thyme, whisking occasionally until jelly and butter melt together and mixture comes to gentle boil, 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside. In medium bowl, combine grapes and shallots. Set aside.
- Baste ham with jelly mixture. Continue baking, basting with jelly mixture and/or pan juices about every 15 minutes. When ham’s internal temperature reaches 120° F, add grapes and shallots to roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Continue baking and basting until internal temperature reaches 140° F, 15-18 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven, transfer to cutting board and let rest 15-30 minutes. If grapes and shallots aren’t tender yet, return roasting pan to oven.
- Slice enough ham to serve and arrange on plates or platter. Season roasted grapes, shallots and pan juice mixture with pepper, and spoon some on top of ham. Serve remaining grape mixture on side.
Stuffed Pork Meatballs with Romesco
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 (40 meatballs)
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
- vegetable oil, for the baking sheet
- 3/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 40 red-pepper-stuffed green olives (not large)
- 40 wooden toothpicks or bamboo cocktail spears, for serving
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed under knife, peeled
- 2 drained, jarred roasted red bell peppers
- 1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
- 2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- To make Romesco Sauce: In food processor, drop garlic through feed tube to mince. Stop machine and add peppers, almonds, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt. Pulse about 10 times until minced. With processor running, slowly pour oil through feed tube. Transfer to serving bowl. Makes about 1 1/4 cup sauce.
- To make meatballs: Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly oil large rimmed baking sheet. In large bowl, mix bread crumbs, egg, sherry, parsley, paprika, garlic and pepper. Add ground pork and mix thoroughly but gently with hands. Using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture for each, shape into 40 meatballs. Stuff 1 olive in center of each meatball then completely enclose olive. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs 15 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue baking until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to serving platter. Spear with toothpicks and serve hot with Romesco Sauce for dipping.
Note: Romesco sauce can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Five-Spice Pork and Apple Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Fuji apple or other sweet-tart apple
- 1/4 red onion
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
- 12 cups mixed greens (about 6 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Season tenderloin on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Place tenderloin in shallow pan and roast about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches between 145° F (medium-rare) and 160° F (medium).
- While pork is cooking, core and thinly slice apple. Thinly slice onion.
- While pork is resting, in large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and remaining five-spice powder. Add greens, apple and onion; toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Arrange salad on plates or platter.
- Cut pork into thin slices. Arrange on top of salads and serve.
Source: National Pork Board
(Family Features) Adopting healthier eating habits doesn’t have to mean resorting to tasteless food. In fact, you may surprise yourself by enjoying your new lineup of healthy, wholesome meals even more than the calorie-laden dishes you covet.
These recipes are just as big on flavor as they are good for you, so you can savor every last bite all day long. Take time to start off the day with a unique twist on a nutritious smoothie by enjoying it in a bowl. Then at lunch, rely on unexpected ingredients like ripe, juicy berries and beans to transform a ho-hum salad into a true culinary delight. Round out the day with a sensible dinner that gives you a healthy serving of protein and veggies seasoned to simple perfection.
Find more nutritious recipes that make it easy to enjoy eating right at culinary.net.
Manageable Main Course
Once the dinner bell rings and it’s time to focus on the night’s main course without overshooting a calorie count, aim for a tasty yet healthy main dish like this recipe for Chicken and Vegetables. Combining skinless chicken thighs with frozen vegetables is a simple way to keep nutrition at the forefront while still enjoying a comforting dinner. Find more health-conscious recipes at health.gov.
Chicken and Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of the USDA
- 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 pound chicken thighs (4 ounces each), boneless and skinless
- 1 package (10 ounces) cut green beans, frozen
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In heavy skillet, melt margarine. Add garlic and onions; stir until blended. Cook over medium heat, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
- Place chicken in skillet. Cook over medium heat until chicken is thoroughly done and no longer pink in color, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.
- Place green beans, pepper and cooked onions in same skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken to vegetable mixture. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Note: To remove bone from bone-in chicken thighs: Place chicken on cutting board. Remove skin from thighs. Turn chicken thighs over. Cut around bone and remove.
A Smooth Way to Start Your Day
A wealth of research shows that starting each morning with a nutritious breakfast delivers benefits throughout the day. If you’re pressed for time or simply need to mix up your morning routine, put a fresh spin on a time-saving favorite by making a smoothie bowl.
According to registered dietitian and nutritionist Carolyn Brown, people love to eat with a spoon and find it more mentally and physically satisfying. The same goes for adding texture, such as a crunchy topping like goodnessknows snack squares. These satisfying, gluten free snacks are crafted with the goodness of whole nuts, real fruits and toasted oats, with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Divided into four snackable squares per serving and nestled in a layer made with dark chocolate, one individual, two-bite square contains only about 40 calories.
Find out more about how doing a little good for yourself can go a long way at goodnessknows.com.
Oatmeal Banana Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Alison Ray of So Chic Life
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 percent milk or soy milk
- 1 small banana (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
- goodnessknows snack squares (any flavor)
- grated coconut, to taste
- In small bowl, mix together oats, coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and pinch of salt. Cover and place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or overnight to help flavors soak in.
- In blender or food processor, combine oat mixture with remaining milk and half of the banana (or applesauce). Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour creamy oats into bowl, and top with snack squares, coconut and slices of remaining banana half.
Tip: To thin consistency, use additional milk.
The sharpness of pecorino cheese, combined with peppery arugula, complements the velvety texture of fava beans in this salad. With nutrition on your mind, a salad is always a go-to choice for a lunch that will please your taste buds without forcing you to sacrifice health goals. Find more nutritional recipes including tasty strawberries at californiastrawberries.com.
Strawberry and Fava Bean Salad with Pecorino
Recipe courtesy of California Strawberry Commission
- 2 quarts water
- kosher or sea salt
- 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (about 2 pounds in pods)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 cups rucola (wild arugula)
- pecorino cheese
- In large pot over high heat, bring water to boil.
- Add pinch of salt and fava beans. Boil 1 minute; drain and cool fava beans in ice water.
- Drain fava beans; pinch one end and slip off tough skins of larger beans (Note: skin on small beans is not usually tough). Discard skins.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice.
- In large bowl, season fava beans and strawberries with salt and pepper. Add rucola and enough dressing mixture to coat salad lightly. Mix gently and spoon onto platter or six salad plates.
- With vegetable peeler, shave cheese generously over salad. Grind more pepper on top.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating dinner photo)
(Family Features) Sweaters and scarves aren’t the only ways to brace yourself against blustery weather. There’s no time like winter to putter in the kitchen, where the cozy heat from the stove and the aromas of mouthwatering dishes can warm you from the inside out.
Rich, hearty stews and creamy casseroles are perfect for winter dinners, but when you’re craving something other than traditional comfort food, there are plenty of other options that will chase away the chill, such as a glass of Pinot Noir.
These three dishes feature common proteins – chicken, beef and fish – in preparations that make it easy to reimagine your winter weather menu. Find more recipes and ideas for warming up this winter at culinary.net.
Fruit Juice and Fish Fillets
The temperatures may be falling, but you can still fire up the grill and fill up your plate with a tasty recipe like this Grilled Citrus Rosemary Catfish, which combines sweet juices for a citrus sauce that coats grilled catfish. Find more main dish recipes including catfish at uscatfish.com.
Grilled Citrus Rosemary Catfish
Recipe courtesy of The Catfish Institute
- 1 lime, juice and zest only
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1 orange, zest only
- 6 ounces pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets
- 2 lemons
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat grill.
- To make citrus sauce: In small saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- To make catfish: Place catfish in shallow dish and squeeze 1/2 fresh lemon over each fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Grill catfish fillets, skin-side-up, 3-4 minutes. Flip over and grill 2-3 more minutes.
- Transfer catfish to serving plates and spoon warmed citrus sauce over fillets.
A Cold-Weather Solution
While it can be a challenge, there are several ways to pair food and wine appropriately during winter, despite bitter weather. A warm, comforting dish, like Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde from James Beard award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman, combines well with rosé during the cold season. One reasonably priced wine that matches chicken well is Angeline California Rosé of Pinot Noir. The crisp flavors of light red fruits combine with the herbs accompanying the chicken. It’ll also complement the many other flavors of winter, when an array of dishes hit the table and challenge hosts to find the right wine to serve.
For more wines that work well in wintertime, visit angelinewinery.com.
Chicken and Salsa Verde
Recipe courtesy of chef Jonathan Waxman
- 1 fresh free-range organic chicken (4 pounds)
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup capers in salt
- 4 anchovy filets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped arugula
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- To make chicken: Heat oven to 450° F.
- Wash chicken in hot water. Dry with paper towels.
- Using kitchen shears, cut out backbone of chicken and remove any fat (this can be added to chicken stock). Using heavy chef’s knife, cut out breastbone. Season halves with sea salt and black pepper.
- Place chicken halves, skin side up, on two sizzle platters and dab with olive oil. Cut lemon in half and place 1 half, cut side down, next to chicken on each platter.
- Roast chicken 35 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. When done, remove chicken to platter and pour off excess fat. Cut each breast in half and cut the thigh from the leg. Serve with salsa verde (recipe below) and garnish with roasted lemon.
- To make salsa verde: Soak capers in cold water 1 hour then drain.
- Soak anchovies in cold water 15 minutes then pat dry and remove bones.
- Using mortar and pestle, smash capers, anchovies and garlic, until smooth, then transfer to large bowl.
- Add all herbs and olive oil.
- Season with sea salt.
Pair each serving with Angeline California Rosé of Pinot Noir.
Whole and Hearty
A hearty meat-and-potatoes meal is a sure way to warm up on a cold winter night. This heart-healthy, one-dish meal is made with lean top round beef, lots of vegetables and a spicy herb mixture. Find more healthy main dish ideas at health.gov.
Black Skillet Beef with Greens and Red Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of the USDA
- 1 pound top round beef
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- nonstick spray
- 8 red-skinned potatoes, halved
- 3 cups onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch strips
- 2 bunches (1/2 pound each) mustard, kale or turnip greens, stems removed, coarsely torn
- Partially freeze beef. Thinly slice across grain into strips 1/8-inch thick and 3 inches wide. Trim away visible fat.
- Combine paprika, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper and dry mustard. Coat strips of meat with spice mixture.
- Spray large, heavy skillet with nonstick spray. Heat pan over high heat.
- Add meat; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, onion, broth and garlic. Cook over medium heat, covered, 20 minutes.
- Stir in carrots; lay greens over top and cook, covered, until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Serve in large serving bowl with crusty bread for dunking.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (fish photo and beef stew photo)
Boost every moment with versatile peanut butter
(Family Features) Whether you’re a fitness junkie, busy parent, sleep-deprived student or diehard sweet tooth, peanut butter is an ingredient that sticks for all of life’s moments. With a healthy boost of protein and energy, peanut butter is perfect as an on-the-go snack, fuel for a workout, a reliable family meal or a decadent dessert.
There’s no shortage of delicious ways to pack peanut butter into diverse dishes throughout the day:
- Add peanut butter to your favorite fruit smoothie for a nutty new flavor.
- Encourage children to experiment with the essential spread and go beyond PB and J by replacing fruit for the jelly or stirring peanut butter or peanut butter powder into their yogurt.
- A simple peanut butter and honey sandwich makes a great on-the-go snack you can throw in your gym bag or tuck away in a drawer at work.
- Add peanut butter to a sauce or salad dressing for an extra zip of flavor and protein.
Find more creative ways to enjoy peanut butter with these winning recipes from Southern Peanut Growers’ annual PB My Way recipe contest, and explore additional dishes that celebrate this versatile ingredient at peanutbutterlovers.com.
Veggie Sammies with Peanut Butter Satay Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Ben M., San Francisco, California
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 French baguette rolls (6 inches each)
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup white onion
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- In small bowl, combine peanut butter, lime juice, water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sriracha. Mix well.
- Spread sauce on both sides of bread then layer with cucumber, onion and bell pepper. Top with cabbage and cilantro leaves.
Graceland Mini Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of Linda D., Coconut Creek, Florida
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling:
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- To make batter: In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In small bowl, mash bananas and add sour cream. Mix well and set aside.
- Using electric hand mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar until incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, egg white and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add half the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated. Add sour cream and banana mixture and gently fold into batter. Add rest of dry ingredients until combined.
- Spoon batter into lined cupcake pans. Bake 18-20 minutes and let cool.
- After cooling about 30-45 minutes, use paring knife to cut small circle in middle of top of cupcakes and remove plug, creating a well about halfway down cupcake. Add peanut butter to piping bag and fill each hole. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, dredge both sides of bacon slices in brown sugar. Place on foil-lined baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon from oven and place on plate to cool. Once cool, chop bacon and set aside.
- To make frosting: In large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until well-combined.
- Add frosting to piping bag. Pipe a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle with candied bacon pieces.
Peanut Apple Chicken Curry
Recipe courtesy of Jess A., Berkeley, California
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 3/4 cups apple juice
- 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- cooked rice (optional)
- To make sauce: In medium to large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, curry powder and scallions. Saute 1 minute.
- Add peanut butter, vinegar, apple juice, coconut milk, brown sugar and cayenne. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and stir fry about 2-3 minutes until onions start to become opaque.
- Add chicken and apples, and stir until chicken is cooked completely. Add peanut sauce and cook until heated evenly, about 2-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm over rice, if desired.
Source: Peanut Growers