A Chef’s Advice for Stress-Free Holiday Cooking
(Family Features) How many times have you heard someone say they’ve slaved away in the kitchen all day? Stress in the kitchen can easily arise for a variety of reasons, especially when you’re strapped for time and have a never-ending to-do list.
As a survivor of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef competition, Caitlin Meade – a top 4 finalist on season 8 – understands the pressure all too well. To decrease the stress and make your hosting experience more enjoyable, consider putting these tips from Chef Meade into practice.
Prep Before You Begin
Practice the “mise en place” method – a French term alluding to having everything in place before cooking. Measure ingredients, chop vegetables and prepare utensils to create a steady workflow.
Plan in Advance – Like a Chef
Prep the main dish the night before, have easy appetizers assembled ahead of guests’ arrival and outsource sides to family and friends.
Save Money by Getting Spicy
Before it’s time to cook, pre-make spices. Since many store-bought blends can be overpriced, this is a way to save both time and money while personalizing your own flavors.
Save Table Wine for Drinking & Use Cooking Wine
A secret ingredient and important pantry staple for Chef Meade, cooking wine is perfect for when she needs to make a pan sauce or add flavor. It’s even saved her from having to open a nice bottle of table wine, as most recipes call for less than a cup. An option like Holland House Cooking Wines delivers consistent, bold flavor while standing up to high temperatures. Available in Sherry, Marsala, Red and White, there are plenty of flavor-boosting options that will have your friends and family wondering what your secret ingredient is.
Create Your Own Stock
Many recipes call for chicken stock. One way to save money and time at the store is to create your own. Save any leftover poultry carcasses, wing tips, neck and bones. Add onion peels, celery tips, carrot tops and other vegetable scraps in the freezer. When you’re ready to make a batch, fill a large pot with the leftovers, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 1-2 hours for stock that can last up to one year.
For more stress-free holiday recipes, visit hollandhouseflavors.com.
Spinach Feta and Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy of Cate Meade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 package (12 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid drained
- 2 cans (14 ounces each) whole artichokes, drained and chopped
- 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 1 1/4 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled, plus additional for garnish
- 1 1/4 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
- 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Garnishes (optional): feta cheese, roasted red peppers
- Grease 6-8-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- In slow cooker, mix garlic, spinach, artichokes, water chestnuts, mozzarella, feta, yogurt and red pepper flakes.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer cooking wine 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and turn off heat.
- Transfer cream cheese and wine mixture to slow cooker; add salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to combine ingredients.
- Cook on low for two hours.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with feta and roasted red peppers, if desired.
White Hominy Chicken Chili
Recipe courtesy of Cate Meade
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 packet of white chili seasoning
- 1 cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
- 1 jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa verde
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 can (16 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large poblano or green pepper, diced
- 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen fire-roasted corn
- 1 can (29 ounces) white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal (optional)
Toppings recommendations: Lime wedges, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, jalapenos
- Turn slow cooker on low; add oil, onions and chicken. Distribute chili seasoning evenly over chicken and onions.
- Add cooking wine, salsa verde and chicken stock.
- Cover and cook 3 hours.
- Remove chicken and allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes before shredding.
- Add beans, peppers, corn and hominy to slow cooker. For thicker consistency, add cornmeal, if desired. Cook on high 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and serve with lime wedges, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips and jalapenos, if desired.
Source: Holland House
The Taste of Mexico
(Family Features) What’s a fiesta without the authentic taste of Mexico? From chili enchilada sauce to crushed tomatillos, authentic Mexican foods are an important part of Mexican culture and celebrations. And, why not? They’re fun, flavorful and nutritious.
With the convenience of today’s authentic Mexican foods such as Las Palmas, you can serve up fast and flavorful meals for your entire family in just minutes. Try an old favorite like Mexican Pozole and add Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce for an extra rich and flavorful taste. Or offer your family zesty Chicken Enchiladas stuffed with shredded boneless chicken and smothered in Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce. And for something fun, offer Chilaquiles with layers of tortillas, Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce and cheese topped with jalapeños, sour cream and avocado .
Today, Las Palmas is one of the largest selling Mexican cooking sauces in the United States. While it has grown from its humble beginnings, it still remains authentic to its roots, using only the highest quality chiles and other fresh ingredients. Las Palmas offers a wide variety of Mexican cooking sauces including Red and Green Chili Enchilada Sauce, Red Chile Sauce and Hot Enchilada Sauce plus other Mexican cooking staples such as Green Chiles and Crushed Tomatillos.
For any celebration, from Mexican Independence Day to Las Posadas, celebrate Mexican culture, food, family and friends with Las Palmas. For more information, visit bgfoods.com.
Zesty enchilada sauce and diced green chiles give these chicken enchiladas their kick. Serve them with Mexican rice and spicy black beans.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 2 cans (10 ounces each) Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce, divided
- 2 cups cooked, shredded boneless, skinless chicken breast meat
- 1 cup Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles, drained
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
- PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 11- by 7-inch baking dish.
- SPREAD 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on bottom of prepared baking dish. Combine chicken, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheese and chiles in medium bowl. Spoon chicken mixture evenly down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
- BAKE 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Top with sour cream and chives, if desired.
Pozole is a staple of Mexican cuisine. It’s a pork and hominy dish rich in spiciness and flavor and a favorite at any Mexican fiesta.\
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 75 minutes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 8 cloves large garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 can (29 ounces) Mexican-style hominy, drained
- 2 cans (10 ounces each) Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce
- 1 can (7 ounces) diced green chiles
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Tortilla pieces
- HEAT oil in stockpot; add pork, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12 to 14 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Stir in water, hominy, enchilada sauce, chiles and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes or until pork is tender and stew thickens slightly. Top with cilantro and tortilla pieces before serving.
Layer upon layer of tortilla chips, salsa and grated cheese go into this mouthwatering chilaquiles. Jalapeños, sour cream and avocado finish this dish with zest and cooling creaminess.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- Vegetable oil
- 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa — thick & chunky
- 1 can (10 ounces) Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
- 1 cup sour cream (optional)
- 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
- PREHEAT oven to 350ºF.
- POUR vegetable oil to 1-inch depth in medium skillet; heat over high heat 3 to 4 minutes. Place tortilla strips in oil; fry, turning frequently with tongs, until light golden brown. Remove from skillet; place on paper towels to drain.
- REMOVE all but 1 tablespoon oil from skillet. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in salsa and enchilada sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes.
- LAYER half of tortilla strips in ungreased 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of salsa mixture and half of cheese; repeat layers. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with jalapeños, sour cream and avocado just before serving.
NOTE: Frying step may be eliminated by using tortilla chips or breaking taco or tostada shells into small pieces and using them in place of tortilla strips for a quick and easy alternative.
Source: Las Palmas