(Family Features) Hosting a major holiday event is no small effort. It requires close attention to detail from planning, cooking and cleaning to entertaining guests on the big day. Fortunately, just like any good recipe, approaching your hosting duties one step at a time can allow you to create a magnificent final product.
This Thanksgiving, the experts at Finish are helping hosts everywhere get organized, from the initial planning all the way through clean up, with the Ultimate Thanksgiving Timer. Created in partnership with Gaby Dalkin of “What’s Gaby Cooking,” it’s a personalized hosting timeline designed to help hosts stay on track up to and throughout the big day.
Plan Your Guest List and Menu
Deciding how many guests you’ll be serving and what you plan to serve are two essential details that will guide the rest of your planning. When creating your guest list, be realistic about how many are likely to attend and plan your menu for a few extra people so you don’t run out of food. Your menu may also be influenced by how many guests you plan to host; a whole turkey is practical for a large group, but a turkey breast may be adequate for a more intimate gathering. Remember to send your invites at least three weeks ahead of the event so guests have plenty of time to respond and you can prepare your menu.
Start Grocery Shopping Early
The rush at the grocery store can be one of the most stressful parts of getting ready to host. Give yourself enough lead time by picking up pantry staples and beverages 1-2 weeks out so your kitchen is stocked for the big day. For perishables, get to the grocery store early in the day 1-2 days before hosting to beat the rush and avoid any last-minute grocery runs the morning of your gathering.
Maximize Prep Time
While it’s likely the majority of your work will come on the big day, you can work ahead to reduce some of the load. For example, you can wash and chop vegetables for stuffing and other side dishes and store them overnight to minimize prep time in the morning. You can also use the quiet of the night before to tackle tasks like setting the table and organizing your seating chart, restocking towels and replenishing other essentials in the guest bathroom.
Enlist Help with Cooking
The day of your event is the perfect time to pull extra hands into the kitchen. A simple but tasty recipe like this Ultimate Cheesy Herb Sourdough Stuffing from Dalkin is a sure crowd-pleaser to add to your table this year. Once you establish your cooking space and find your rhythm, you may even find sharing the preparations with a loved one is a great way to bond and create special memories.
Make Cleanup a Cinch
A few simple tricks can help you maintain a relatively clean workspace and keep up with all the dishes you need to prepare a lavish meal. First, be sure to clean up as you go. It may be tempting to throw all of your dirty utensils and empty mixing bowls in a pile in the sink to deal with later, but taking a few minutes to scrape dishes and load the dishwasher as you go can help prevent a messy mountain from forming. That also means you’ll be more likely to find a clean measuring cup or spoon when you move on to prepare the next dish.
Hosts have enough to worry about, so let your dishwasher do the hard work and pull in reinforcements to help clean up while you relax after a long day. Use a detergent that works in the toughest conditions, from burnt-on stains to old dishwashers and hard water, like Finish Ultimate. It’s the only dish detergent tab with CycleSync technology that releases the right ingredient at the right time to work with your dishwasher.
You can skip the rinse, even on tough stains like cranberry sauce and gravy, and save up to 20 gallons of water. Hosts are invited to put Finish Ultimate to the test and take the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge; if it can’t tackle your burnt-on stains, the meal is on Finish via a rebate of up to $30.
For more hosting tips and tricks, visit UltimateThanksgivingExperience.com.
Ultimate Cheesy Herb Sourdough Stuffing
Recipe courtesy of “What’s Gaby Cooking” on behalf of Finish
- 1 loaf sourdough bread with crust, cut into 1-inch cubes (roughly 8 cups)
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups chicken broth, divided
- 6 ounces coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 F. On large, rimmed baking sheet, spread ripped or cubed bread. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Cool. Leave oven on.
- In heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots and celery; saute 5-6 minutes. Add green onions, parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper; saute until celery is tender, 6-8 minutes.
- Generously grease large skillet or ceramic baking dish. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add warm vegetable mixture; toss to combine.
- In medium bowl, whisk eggs and 3/4 cup broth. Add egg mixture to stuffing and toss to coat. Mix in Parmesan.
- Add 1/2-3/4 cup broth to stuffing if dry. Transfer to skillet or ceramic baking dish. Cover with buttered foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve in baking vessel or transfer to serving platter.
Get Creative with Easter Sweets
Kid-friendly crafts that bring loved ones together
(Family Features) Holiday hams and deviled eggs may take center stage at Easter gatherings, but edible crafts offer a reminder of the magic of the season that’s found in moments spent together. Simple recipes that call for a dose of creativity are perfect ways to bring the kids to the kitchen, made even easier when all that work leads to sweet treats.
While plastic eggs may have led to a decline in good, old-fashioned egg-dyeing, there are still fun ways to bring crafts back to Easter celebrations. Consider these Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops, which call for little ones to help dip seasonal shapes in chocolate, use cake molds and more.
Children of virtually any age can relish in the joys of using cookie cutters and decorating Easter Sugar Cookies, all with a little supervision and short list of instructions. This version shows how to make the cookies and homemade icing so you can create any color you desire for maximum creativity.
Remember, these delicious crafts don’t have to be perfect – having fun and making memories that last a lifetime are what make Easter truly special.
Visit Culinary.net to find more Easter inspiration and recipes from “Cookin’ Savvy.”
Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops
Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”
- 1 box cake mix
- 1 can frosting
- 1 bunny chocolate mold
- 1 cakesicle mold
- ice pop sticks
- 1 bag white chocolate chips or melting chips
- cake pop sticks
- 1 bag orange melting chips
- 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, divided
- 1 bag green melting chips
- pastel sprinkles
- 1 piece hard foam (optional)
- edible markers
- Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely.
- Crumble cake and mix with 1/2 can frosting until dough forms. Add more frosting, if needed. Using small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and set aside. Place dough in bunny molds then pop out and set aside with balls. Place dough in cakesicle mold, insert ice pop stick in each slot and freeze 5-10 minutes.
- Melt handful of white melting chips. Stick tip of each cake pop stick in chocolate then insert into every cake ball and bunny until each has one stick. Set aside to dry.
- Remove cakesicles from freezer and pop out of molds. In bowl, melt orange melts then mix in 1 tablespoon oil and transfer to cup. Dip cakesicles and scrape off excess using rim of cup. Place on parchment paper to dry.
- In bowl, melt green melts then place in zip-top or piping bag. Cut tip off bag, pipe carrot leaves onto piece of parchment paper and let dry.
- Melt remaining white melts and mix in remaining oil. Transfer to cup and dip ball-shaped cake pops and bunnies then tap stick on edge of cup to remove excess.
- Over separate bowl, sprinkle ball-shaped pops with pastel sprinkles. To keep ball shape, let dry by sticking in piece of hard foam. Bunnies can dry face side up on parchment paper. After bunnies are dry, use edible markers to make face and color in ears.
- When carrots and leaves are dry, remelt orange melts and place in piping or zip-top bag. Cut off tip and drizzle orange over carrots. Add small line of orange on each ice pop stick and place leaves on each stick. Let dry.
Easter Sugar Cookies
Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”
- 1/3 cup meringue powder
- 1/2 cup warm water, plus additional for thinning (optional), divided
- 3 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- assorted food coloring
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 dash salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- To make icing: Mix meringue powder, 1/2 cup warm water, vanilla, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Separate into bowls and add food coloring; mix with water, as needed, to thin for piping.
- To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 F.
- Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time to form dough. Roll dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.
- Cut into shapes, place on baking sheet and freeze 10 minutes. Bake 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
- Place icing in zip-top or piping bags and cut off tips. Put cookies on parchment paper. Trace outline first then fill in middle. Use toothpicks to smooth out.
- Let dry 6 hours and finish decorating with different icing colors or edible markers.
Sipping Sunshine: Celebrating National Margarita Day
Celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22nd with a glass rimmed with salt, savoring the taste of summer whether on the rocks or blended! 🍹☀️ #NationalMargaritaDay
February 22nd marks a beloved occasion for cocktail enthusiasts worldwide – National Margarita Day! This festive day invites individuals to raise their glasses and indulge in the tangy, refreshing flavors of this iconic beverage.
The classic Margarita, with its perfect blend of zesty lime, smooth tequila, and a touch of sweetness, encapsulates the essence of summer in every sip. Whether you prefer it on the rocks, elegantly garnished with a salted rim, or blended to icy perfection, National Margarita Day is a celebration of versatility and taste.
Beyond its delightful flavors, the Margarita embodies a spirit of relaxation and enjoyment. It’s a drink that beckons you to unwind, kick back, and savor the moment. Whether shared with friends at a lively gathering or enjoyed solo as a personal indulgence, the Margarita has a way of brightening any occasion.
So, on this National Margarita Day, take a moment to treat yourself to this timeless cocktail. Allow yourself to be transported to a sun-soaked beach with every sip, relishing the flavors and embracing the carefree spirit that the Margarita embodies.
Whether you’re a devoted Margarita aficionado or new to the world of tequila-based delights, National Margarita Day is the perfect excuse to raise a glass, toast to good times, and celebrate the joy of this beloved cocktail. Cheers to National Margarita Day – a day dedicated to sipping sunshine in a glass!
Creamy and Delicious Chicken Alfredo Recipe
Indulge in the creamy goodness of our Chicken Alfredo recipe: tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich Parmesan sauce—a true culinary delight!
Welcome to our kitchen! Today, we’re going to show you how to make the best chicken Alfredo that will leave you craving for more. This classic Italian dish is creamy, flavorful, and oh-so-satisfying. Let’s get cooking!
- 1 pound fettuccine pasta
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Prep the Ingredients:
- Cook the fettuccine pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook them in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and slice into thin strips.
- Make the Alfredo Sauce:
- In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly until it starts to simmer.
- Gradually whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Combine the Ingredients:
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly.
- Gently fold in the sliced chicken strips, ensuring they are well coated with the sauce.
- Let the dish simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Plate the chicken Alfredo and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
- Optionally, sprinkle some extra Parmesan cheese on top for an added cheesy kick.
- Serve hot and enjoy your homemade creamy chicken Alfredo!
There you have it – a simple yet decadent chicken Alfredo recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in or a special gathering. Bon appétit!
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