Make this special occasion all about food and friends.
Hosting Friendsgiving should be all about food and friends, not stress. We’re sharing our best Friendsgiving ideas, easy tips, quick recipes, and freebies that’ll help you host with ease.
Host the Ultimate Friendsgiving
Food and friends—there’s so much to be thankful for! Celebrate your friends with the ultimate holiday gathering. If you haven’t heard of Friendsgiving, we’re here with the ultimate what-to-know guide. There aren’t any Friendsgiving rules—just gather your pals and enjoy a meal together. We’re sharing tested tips for hosting the big meal with ease. Plus, we’ve got you covered with fast and free printables!
Go Big Batch
Plan out your Friendsgiving drinks a few days before the party. There’s no need to whip up single-serve cocktails for every guest—a big batch of punch is sure to get the party started. Plus, we’re obsessed with how fun the garnishes are in this gorgeous punch bowl setup.
Make an Edible Centerpiece
Skip a fancy centerpiece for Friendsgiving and create an edible showstopper instead. To make, simply pile cheese and crackers on a cake stand. Arrange fresh grapes around the bottom and you’re ready to start snacking.
Try Turkey Breast
Juicy BBQ turkey breast is one of our favorite Friendsgiving recipes. It’s easier to cook than the whole bird and doesn’t require any carving—simply slice and serve at dinnertime.
St. Patrick’s Day is known as more of a, shall we say, adult holiday—what with all the booze and strong flavors (hello, corned beef and cabbage)—but we’re here to tell you: It can also be totally family-friendly. We think one of the best ways to do that is to add some light-hearted, fun desserts to your holiday spread in the form of Irish-inspired or Pinterest-worthy themed desserts. These St. Patty’s Day desserts are sure to be beloved by all, kids and adults alike.
When it comes to conventional Irish desserts, we’ve got to admit we’re taking some liberties. Our fave on this list, Irish soda bread, doesn’t usually contain any add-ins, much less the chocolate chips we’ve included (but they’re delicious!). What’s more standard is our Irish apple cake—we love fruit desserts because they feel slightly lighter, so we’ve included scones, apple crumble, and apple crisp too. They’re great for a little something sweet after a hearty Irish-themed dinner.
Speaking of dinner, while the green in our main meals often comes from spinach and kale this time of year, for dessert we’re turning to green food dye. If you’re like us, you’ve got some kicking around just waiting to be put to good use (maybe from making some green beer last year?). Lucky for you, it pairs perfectly with minty desserts. In turn, mint and chocolate are also a classic combo (not just for Christmas anymore). We’re using it here in everything from our mint chocolate chip pie to our mint chip “lasagna” (where chocolate pudding + Oreos replace ricotta and noodles 😍).
And don’t worry, we’ve snuck in plenty of alcoholic desserts in here too. Baileys Irish Cream and Guinness are the classics this time of year–try them in our skillet fudgy brownie pudding, our Baileys cheesecake, our chocolate Guinness cake, or our Baileys truffles, then get creative. A little booze can add depth of flavor to almost any dessert you can imagine.
Looking for something over-the-top cute for your celebration? Everyone will love our shamrock cookies, our leprechaun bait, our pot o’ gold cups, or our Irish potato candy (coconut truffles that just look like potatoes). Kids will flip over them, and even miserly adults who don’t care for adorable can enjoy—they count as something green, so there’s no fear of getting pinched!
Is there any cuter way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with shamrock-shaped cookies? Our easy sugar cookie recipe always keeps its shape while baking so you can relax knowing all of your leaves will come out perfectly round and defined. We love decorating with royal icing, but you could use a simple buttercream frosting if you prefer.
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your sweetie, your gal pals, or your fam, there’s no question that a fancy dessert helps set the tone for a cozy and love-filled night in. We personally love a good pasta dinner followed by a succulent dessert, but the menu options for Love Day run the gamut from seafood to international cuisine. One thing that’s not optional is chocolate — known to promote feelings similar to being in love or spending time with those closest to you, chocolate is one of the best flavors for Valentine’s Day desserts. Combined with red wine and seasonal pear, it makes for a simply decadent treat — hence, this Red Wine Pear Cake. Trust us: This is going to be the best chocolate cake recipe you’ve ever tried.
3-4 firm Bosc pears
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
1/2 cup 85% dark chocolate chips or bar broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup gluten-free or regular all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons reserved spiced wine (see recipe notes)
Peel the skin off the pears and remove the stems, seeds, and core. Slice in half. Add water, red wine, cinnamon, and cloves into a saucepan and place the pears in the liquid. Bring the wine mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes, until the pears are tender. Remove the pears from red wine and let cool. Continue simmering until sauce is reduced, and reserve 2 tablespoons for the chocolate ganache.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 9-inch springform cake pans with butter or oil and set aside.
Whisk two eggs in a separate bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and whisk thoroughly. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in the coconut sugar then remove from heat and add in the red wine and salt until well mixed. Quickly add in the dark chocolate pieces and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted. Pour the vanilla extract in and whisk again.
Add about one third of the chocolate mixture to the whisked eggs. Mix thoroughly and then pour back into a mixing bowl with the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Add in coconut milk mixture, cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix until well combined.
Pour the cake batter into two greased cake pans.
Slice wine-poached pear halves in quarters and place in your desired design on top of the cake batter in the cake pans.
Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes.
While cakes are baking, add the dark chocolate and coconut milk or heavy cream to a small saucepan. Heat on low until the chocolate is melted, whisking so that it is well mixed. Add in the reserved wine sauce and whisk again. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely before removing them from the springform pans. Place one cake on a cake platter or stand, and drizzle some chocolate ganache on top. Then place the second cake on top of the first and pour the remaining chocolate ganache over the top
Article by Maggie McCracken. Reposted for your cake addition!
Source: Best Chocolate Cake Recipe For Valentine’s Day — Brit + Co – Brit + Co
Air fryers have fast become the most versatile appliance in the kitchen, but there are plenty of things you should avoid putting in your machine.
There have been plenty of hacks circulating on the internet for cleaning an air fryer, but not all of them are a good idea. Filling the drawer with water and soap before turning the air fryer on, for example, has been touted as the easiest way to clear out baked-on grease; however, it is an accident waiting to happen.
Melted cheese is a truly indulgent snack, especially on a toastie, but its low melting temperature means that melting cheese in an air fryer will likely just result in a burnt, stringy mess. For once, a good old skillet or toastie machine is best in this situation.
Frozen breaded cheese bites and mozzarella sticks are fine, however. In fact, cooking these in an air fryer will often get them perfectly crispy in half the time it takes an oven. But fresh cheese is a no-go.
3. Roast chicken
Air fryer baskets are almost always on the smaller side, but even if you have a model luxurious enough to fit a whole chicken in it is perhaps best that you do not. The smaller baskets are for a reason, and if you know how air fryers work, then you will understand that they are primarily for smaller jobs meaning a whole chicken is at risk of not cooking through properly, or cooking unevenly risking salmonella and food poisoning.
4. Wet batter
Just as with adding water to an air fryer, wet batter can be blown around an air fryer and adhere to the heating elements, or even blow behind the fan, both of which can lead to a fire.
What’s more, wet batter does not crisp under direct heat as it does in hot oil – a good rule of thumb for cooking with an air fryer is to remember that it is the same as a conventional oven, it’s just much faster and cheaper to cook with an air fryer. A good rule of them is: if you wouldn’t cook it in an oven, don’t try it in your air fryer.
‘Air fryers are healthy cooking alternatives, so I can see why some people would try frying a healthy snack such as popcorn in an air fryer but this is perhaps the worst idea I could think of,’ says Millie Fender, head of reviews at Homes & Gardens.
‘Air fryers, despite being plugged in appliances, are not the same as microwaves. Not only can they not heat popcorn kernels up enough to get them all to pop, the strong current created by the fans can blow kernels around the machine and cause irreversible damage. For an appliance that is so hard to get a hold of at the moment, this is less than ideal.’
6. Vegetables with low water content such as broccoli and fresh greens
Although some vegetables, such as sprouts and potatoes for fries, cook wonderfully in an air fryer, some greens such as broccoli, or thinner, leafy greens can quickly dry out and start to burn in the intense, quick heat of an air fryer making traditional cooking methods like frying and roasting better in this instance.
7. Loose seasoning and breadcrumbs
‘Much like popcorn, loose seasoning can blow around your air fryer basket and become burnt onto already difficult to clean heating elements,’ Millie Fender says. ‘Seasoning your food after it has been cooked where possible can help to avoid this.’
This is not to say that you should not season your food at all when cooking in an air fryer, but to ensure seasoning is stuck well to the food with a little oil first with any excess gently shaken off.
8. Red meat
Red meats such as burgers and steaks can definitely be cooked in an air fryer, but it is not advised if you want a perfectly cooked meal. Air fryers work by using quick, direct heat to crisp food meaning it is often too intense for delicate or precise cooking. The result is often overly dry meat with not much flavor and sub-par texture.
If you do choose to cook red meat in an air fryer, make sure to regularly open the basket to check the progress.
9. Bread for toasting
Although you can achieve crispy bread in an air fryer, there is very little point when you have a toaster fit for the job. Toasting bread in an air fryer can lead to stray crumbs on and around the fan and heating elements which are difficult to remove and can lead to a persistent burning smell with every use.
10. Most commercial spray oils
One of the most important things to know about air fryers before buying one is that they often still require a little bit of oil to help crisp and brown food perfectly. While many air fryer recipes say to spray your baskets with spray oil, most commercial oil sprays contain a lubricating additive called lecithin which can react with non-stick surfaces under heat and degrade its quality over time, slowly destroying your air fryer basket (and any non stick surface for that matter).
Instead, use a silicone brush to wipe a thin layer of regular oil over the base of the basket or the crisper tray.
11. Liquid sauces
‘Air fryers are not designed to be filled with liquids,’ says Millie Fender, head of reviews. ‘I have tested several air fryer models for H&G and not one makes it fit for an abundance of liquid. Loose liquids can easily be blown about by the fans and cause a spark leading to a fire,’ she warns.
Anything with an overly loose sauce should be cooked on a stove top, or in a traditional oven instead. The chances are these foods don’t need to be crisped up anyway.
Learn how to create a stunning appetizer board in step-by-step photos so you can whip up an impressive (and delicious) spread for your next gathering.
While charcuterie (pronounced shar-COO-tur-ree) technically refers only to a selection of cold cooked meats, it’s usually inclusive of a broad supporting cast of cheeses, spreads, crackers, nuts, and produce. The best aspect of charcuterie boards is the flexibility they afford. Scale portions up or down depending on the number of guests, adjust ingredients for dietary needs and preferences, or shop for foods within a specific color palette or region. To get you started, we show you how to make a simple meat and cheese board from start to finish—with photos.
Where Do I Start?
Though there are many easy charcuterie board ideas out there, the process is somewhat formulaic. Start by adding structure with little dishes, then place your ingredients on the board starting with the largest elements like the cheeses and meats, followed by smaller items like crackers and fresh produce.
Step One: Add Structure
Fill small vessels with dips, spreads, and items that can be piled onto the board. Try honey, mustard, cornichons, blue cheese-stuffed olives, or a mixed selection of salted nuts.
Step Two: Add the Cheeses and Meats
First, place the cheeses. Arrange them evenly around the board and allow space for slicing and scooping. We used two kinds of Brie (a robust, creamy Brie and a mild Brie), blue cheese, an aged cheddar, and goat cheese on this board. Next, add the meats. We placed the prosciutto, Italian salami, and American salami in little piles next to the cheeses. It’s OK if items on the board touch; they’re meant to be enjoyed together.
Step Three: Add Crackers
Slip two or three small stacks of sliced bread or crackers among the bowls, meats, and cheeses. Let them topple over and get a bit messy—it’s part of the board’s beauty. We used two kinds of crackers— asiago cheese and flax seed—to complement the various flavors on the board.
Step Four: Add Fruits, Veggies, and Herbs
This last step is the icing on the cake. Fill in any gaps on the board with fruits, vegetables, and sprigs of herbs. We used whole radishes, sliced figs, red grapes, and thyme. If you don’t have fresh items available to you, sub in dried fruits like apricots, cherries, and plums for something sweet and chewy. When your board is finished, set it out with a few cheese knives so guests can help themselves after they marvel at your masterpiece. Enjoy!
Editor’s note: Most charcuterie meats and cheeses are tastiest when served at room temperature. Perishable items shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours. Consider keeping a small selection of “refill” items, like sliced meats and cheeses, in the refrigerator so they’re ready to go when the board needs restocking.
Unwrapping presents may be the main event on Christmas morning. But a delicious brunch—best enjoyed in PJs—also brings merriment to the morning. Whether you like sweet (extra syrup, please!) or savory (ham and cheese are a dream team), here are 17 brunch recipes that feel just right for Christmas morning.
Your muffin tins are multi-taskers. Not only can they bake your favorite muffins, but they can also make individual quiches to wow your brunch crowd. This recipe is especially great for Christmas morning because you can dice up some leftover ham from a Christmas Eve dinner, then mix in the vegetables. A generous serving of Gouda gives them a creamy, buttery bite.
Easy-to-assemble, a charcuterie board is a perfect place for your favorite brunch staples. The possibilities are endless, but you can start with cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, sliced ham, waffles, fruit, vegetables, and more.
Speaking of more, to see more brunch idea’s, click below:
This salsa is chunky, fresh and full of bright flavors. It is really just a Mexican salad that you eat with tortilla chips. (Hm… looks almost Christmassy).
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
This salsa is chunky, fresh and full of bright flavours. It is really just a Mexican salad that you eat with tortilla chips.
The mango adds a nice, subtle sweetness that balances well with the jalapeños and tangy lime.
I like to use grape tomatoes as they are a bit firmer and less acidic than regular tomatoes, but feel free to use what you like. Be sure to use fresh herbs and fresh squeezed lime juice, trust me, it makes a difference.
Grape or cherry tomatoes – diced Roma tomatoes will also work
Mango – Any type
Red onion – milder than white, but you can use what you like
Jalapeño peppers – remove the seeds for milder spice
Cilantro – Can omit if you don’t like cilantro
Lime – Fresh is best, but bottled will also work
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Start by dicing all your veggies and place them in a large bowl.
Then squeeze your fresh lime on top and give everything a stir.
Your fresh mango salsa is now ready to serve!
You can serve it right away, but if you can wait, even 30 minutes, it really does taste better after the flavors have had a chance to develop.
How long will this salsa keep?
This salsa should keep for about 5 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This Christmas Fruit salad is the perfect combination of red and green fruits and is ideal for a Christmas dinner or holiday party!
This Christmas Fruit salad is one of my new favorites to make in the winter because it’s packed full of a delicious mix of flavors and textures with the different fruits.
For my fruit salad I used red raspberries, red strawberries, and red pomegranate arils. For the green fruit I used green grapes, green kiwis, and green apple.
I like focusing the salad on some of my favorite fruit options that are available this time of year. And the red and green colors of this salad make it extra fun for Christmas dinner, holiday parties or other special occasions.
Other fruit options:
The fruits all come together so perfectly. And you can either squeeze a little lemon juice or lime juice on top to keep the apples from going brown. Or serve the fruit salad with a yummy honey poppyseed dressing.
Making a Christmas Charcuterie Wreath is an easy and fun holiday appetizer idea. Antipasto skewers arranged into a festive wreath shape then decorated with rosemary will be a show stopping dish for all of your parties and feasts.
Christmas Charcuterie Board
This is less a recipe and more of a basic how-to. Gather all of your favorite antipasto foods, skewer them on large toothpicks then arrange into a wreath shape.
It is so, so easy but makes a big impact on that holiday appetizer table. Plus it is a great way to serve antipasto. Folks can just grab a few skewers instead of touching and pawing at everything on the platter. . .I’m talking to you, Aunt Betty!
This Antipasto Wreath is perfect for bringing to a party or dinner. It travels well and can be prepped ahead of time.
Ingredients Needed For Christmas Charcuterie – use all or just your favorites
Salami Pepperoni Prosciutto Mozzarella Pearls Fontina Havarti Manchego Green Olives Black Olives Marinated Artichoke Hearts Mini Pickles Roasted Red Peppers Peperoncini Cherry Tomatoes Cucumbers Grapes Rosemary Thyme Basil Micro Greens Large Toothpicks For my wreath I used: Salami, Mozzarella, Fontina, Dill Havarti, Green Olives, Black Olives, Marinated Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Mini Pickles, Tomatoes, Rosemary Sprigs and Micro Greens.
Stick with white cheese as well as using green and red ingredients. The white, green and red makes for the prettiest antipasto wreath.
How To Make A Christmas Charcuterie Wreath
Gather your antipasto ingredients. Prep any that require chopping, slicing or cubing. Skewer ingredients onto large toothpicks. Arrange in a wreath shape on a large round platter or serving board. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to serve.
Christmas means cookies. Lots of cookies. When the season is upon us, it’s time to start thinking about what cookies to bake for our family, fill up our cookie tins for gifts, serve at our potlucks, and munch on as we start wrapping yet another present. Are you going for a festive cookie to decorate with icing and candies or a more subdued cookie that evokes the season with flavors like cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, and—of course—chocolate? Well, sometimes, our schedules dictate what treats we’re baking.
We don’t always have the time to make batches of complicated masterpieces. Occasionally, we want a delicious, simple cookie that, if we’re being honest, tastes just as good but with half the hassle. That’s where these delicious yet easy holiday cookie recipes come in—they give you Christmas cheer with little effort. (And we are all for it). Check out these easy Christmas cookies you’ll be making all season long.
PHOTOGRAPHER: ISAAC NUNN, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS, FOOD STYLIST: RUTH BLACKBURN
Snickerdoodles highlight the spice of the season: cinnamon. You won’t be able to resist a taste after smelling these cinnamon-sugar cookies baking. The trick to making these cookies is browning the butter.
These cookies take just 30 minutes to pull together. Store them in an airtight container for up to five days, but we doubt they’ll last that long. Store-bought chocolate wafers make this dessert look fancy, even though it does not require any baking.
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