10 things I wish I knew before buying an air fryer

By olito@businessinsider.com (Frank Olito)  for Insider©

Slide 1 of 11:  My air fryer changed my cooking for the better, but there are some things I wish I knew before buying it.  The air fryer is small, so you can't cook for many people, and you can't cook multiple foods at the same time. I find that you will need a cookbook and olive oil to successfully use an air fryer.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Throughout 2020, I heard many friends and people all over social media raving about their air fryers.When the holidays came around, I decided to finally find out what all the fuss was about. Instantly, I understood why so many people have fallen in love with the kitchen appliance. The air fryer became a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to cook dinner in minutes and fry chicken, vegetables, and other foods without submerging them in unhealthy oil.Even though the appliance changed my cooking lifestyle for the better, there were still a few things about the air fryer that surprised me and that I wish I knew before I made the purchase. Read the original article on Insider
©frank olito
  • My air fryer changed my cooking for the better, but there are some things I wish I knew before buying it. 
  • The air fryer is small, so you can’t cook for many people, and you can’t cook multiple foods at the same time.
  • I find that you will need a cookbook and olive oil to successfully use an air fryer. 

Throughout 2020, I heard many friends and people all over social media raving about their air fryers. When the holidays came around, I decided to finally find out what all the fuss was about. Instantly, I understood why so many people have fallen in love with the kitchen appliance. The air fryer became a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to cook dinner in minutes and fry chicken, vegetables, and other foods without submerging them in unhealthy oil.

Even though the appliance changed my cooking lifestyle for the better, there were still a few things about the air fryer that surprised me and that I wish I knew before I made the purchase. 

There are many different types of air fryers, and the one you choose is important.

There are a ton of air fryers on the market, but they mostly boil down to two models: a convection-oven air fryer and a basket air fryer. The first one resembles a mini toaster or convection oven. On the other hand, the basket air fryer is the more traditional air fryer that uses a drawerlike compartment to cook food.

I was not expecting there to be so many options, so I had to do a lot of research to make sure I was making the right decision. In the end, I decided to buy the Cuisinart convection-oven air fryer for $100 because it has more capabilities, like broiling, toasting, and roasting.

Air fryers can take up a lot of counter space.

Though some are small enough to fit in a cabinet, the air fryer I bought could not easily be stored away. Measuring 11.75 inches by 12 inches, my air fryer needed plenty of counter space, to my surprise. When I unboxed the new appliance, I needed to find 2 feet of counter space in my small Brooklyn apartment. Eventually, I found a spot next to my microwave that has become what I call the appliance corner.

Everything cooks so fast — sometimes too fast.

When cooking in an air fryer, most foods take less than 15 minutes to fully cook, which is always a surprise for me. Typically, I’m used to waiting 20 or 30 minutes to bake chicken breasts in the oven. While the chicken breasts bake, I typically wash the kitchen and tidy up.

Sometimes, things cook so fast that I don’t even realize they’re done. One night, I cooked a meatloaf, and it was finished in under 15 minutes. I was expecting it would take closer to 20, so I left it in there too long. That night, I had burned meatloaf for dinner.

You have to flip most foods halfway through the cooking time for an even cook.

In my air fryer, it’s difficult to get an even cooking texture. Most times, the top of the food becomes crispy and delicious, while the bottom remains soggy. For example, when I made breaded chicken cutlets, one side of them was crunchy, while the other looked mushy. 

I learned quite quickly that I had to flip the food halfway through to get the underside crispy as well. It’s not something I was used to doing with a regular oven.

Some air fryers come with a basket and a tray, and it’s confusing when you should use which.

My air fryer came with a basket and a tray. Some recipes I’ve used told me to use the tray and others told me to use the basket. When I’m not using a recipe to cook dinner, I often struggle to decide which is best to use — something I never had to struggle with before I had an air fryer. I tend to lean toward the basket when I’m attempting to fry something and the tray when I’m roasting.

Following an air-fryer cookbook — especially in the beginning — is a lifesaver.

Since my air fryer looks so much like an oven, I’ve caught myself using it like one. Instead of following a recipe, there have been a few times where I’ve just thrown food in and set the temperature to 375 degrees. In these incidences, the meal never turns out great because it’s not a typical oven. It’s an air fryer that relies on temperature and timing controls that I’m not familiar with just yet.

When I follow an air-fryer-specific recipe that tells me what to put the temperature on and how long to cook it for, the food always turns out much better.

Many air fryers are best for one to two servings and can’t really be used for big dinners.

Though the air fryer was bigger than I expected, and I struggled to find counter space for it, the space where food is cooked is quite small. I can’t imagine you can cook for a large group of people with this appliance — at least not in the model I own. You’d have to cook in batches.

For instance, some recipes I’ve followed said I should put in only two strips of chicken breasts at a time to ensure even cooking and then do a second batch.

I’d recommend staying away from the air fryer if you’re cooking for more than two people.

Similarly, you can’t cook the meat and the vegetables at the same time.

I’m used to baking chicken and vegetables on one giant sheet in the oven. That’s not possible in an air fryer because of its size.

One night I was cooking chicken, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and they all needed to go in the air fryer, according to their recipes. Instead of putting them all on one tray, as I would have with a traditional oven, I had to cook the chicken first, then the vegetables. By the time everything was finished cooking, the meat was cold. 

Olive oil is still necessary when cooking with an air fryer.

A common misconception is that air fryers completely eliminate the need for olive oil. The truth is that most recipes I’ve used still want me to drizzle olive oil on my food so that it will crisp up in the air fryer. But it is important to note that I’ve used significantly less olive oil with the air fryer than I would have if I traditionally fried my foods.

When the food is cooking, it’s difficult to check if it’s done.

Though my air fryer has a window, the space inside is so small that it’s difficult to see if something is cooked or not. With basket air fryers, there is no window, so it’s impossible to see how your food is doing. Instead, you have to rely solely on the timer.

Many times I’ve had to open the door, let out the precious heat, and pull out the tray just to see if something is cooked through.

Source: 10 things I wish I knew before buying an air fryer (msn.com)

What Is Soda Bread, and Do the Irish Actually Eat It?

By Ellen Morrissey  for Martha Stewart©

If you were born and raised in Ireland, soda bread is likely what you grew up eating at nearly every meal. It’s served first thing in the morning as part of a full Irish breakfast, with tea in the afternoon, and alongside beef or lamb stew or any number of other Irish specialties at dinner. Traditional soda bread has just four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Brown bread, made from stone-ground whole-wheat flour, is the most common loaf found on Irish tables. White soda bread is made with all-purpose white flour.a plate of food with a slice of cake on a table: Johnny Miller© Provided by Martha Stewart Living Johnny Miller

According to Darina Allen, the grande dame of Irish cooking and author of multiple books on the subject, “From earliest times, breadmaking was an integral part of daily life in almost every home…even in the poorest country cabin, fresh soda bread would have been mixed on a wooden baking board and baked on the griddle, or…over the ember of the turf fire.” Those loaves featured Irish wheat and buttermilk—either the by-product of butter making, or in the days before refrigeration, sour milk that needed to be used up. The lactic acid in the buttermilk reacts with the alkali baking soda to create carbon dioxide, which in turn causes the bread to rise. Baking soda was introduced to Ireland (where it’s known as bread soda) in the 1830s. Since then, it’s been a staple in Irish home (and restaurant) kitchens. Incidentally, historians trace the development of baking soda to Native Americans, who first used pearl ash as a way to leaven bread.

One this side of the Atlantic, what we call “Irish soda bread” is more rich and sweet, usually studded with raisins and caraway seeds. These cakey, scone-like loaves often include eggs and butter for tenderness and more flavor. It’s nearly impossible to find an accurate date when it became known as the definitive soda bread in the United States. Nevertheless, it’s been on the menu in Irish restaurants and bars on St. Patrick’s Day and sold in bakeries throughout Irish-American strongholds all year long for as long as anyone can remember. Though its overall shape and structure derive from those early Irish loaves, it bears more of a resemblance to a cake known as Spotted Dog (or Spotted Dick, not to be mistaken for the British steamed pudding of the same name). To further confuse matters, Spotted Dog is known as Railway Cake when it’s baked in a loaf pan. Good luck keeping all those names straight!

Whatever it’s called, soda bread is among the easiest, most forgiving home-baked goods, and it’s one of the quickest breads to go from mixing bowl to table. Since there’s no yeast involved, it’s nearly impossible to mess it up. In fact, the less you handle the dough, the better. As Allen explains, when it came to traditional soda bread, “it was a compliment of the highest order to be described as having ‘a light hand.'” If you’re new to bread making, you might want to start with soda bread. Martha’s take on the authentic Irish loaf—with a combination of graham and all-purpose flours filling in for the Irish whole grain, and butter added for richness—and this rye version are both heavenly served with smoked trout, strong cheeses like Cashel blue, warm bowls of hearty soup, or simply slathered with salted Irish butter. From there, you can try one of the sweeter, cakier versions.

The last step in making any loaf of soda bread is to cut a cross in the top of the dome of dough. According to Irish legend, this is to “let the devil out,” but the technique actually serves a practical purpose. The deep slash allows the dough to cook evenly from crust to inner crumb, creating the inimitable texture that American culinary icon James Beard described as “velvety.”

As for the name, the easiest way to clear up the confusion may be to simply refer to the raisin- and caraway-studded version as Irish American Soda Bread, as it’s called in the Joy of Cooking. In that most American of American cookbooks, the bread is aptly described as “richer, sweeter and more cake-like than authentic Irish soda bread, which we are assured never made the acquaintance of a raisin or caraway seed either.” Perhaps adding the “American” qualifier between “Irish” and “soda” makes saying it too much of a mouthful.

The one caveat about making soda bread from scratch is that it is best eaten on the day that it’s baked. It doesn’t keep nearly as well as yeast-risen breads. As long as you have enough good-quality butter, some nice fruit jam, and some Irish smoked salmon, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Source: What Is Soda Bread, and Do the Irish Actually Eat It? (msn.com)

Best Christmas Brunch Recipes

By Brittany Anas for EatThis,NotThat!

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.

Slide 2 of 18: 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.Get our recipe for Muffin Tin Quiches with Smoked Gouda and Ham. RELATED: Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

1. Muffin Tin Quiches with Smoked Gouda and Ham

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.

Slide 3 of 18: Psst, this bread pudding recipe with chocolate and sweet cherries may look and taste like dessert, but it's just as great as a brunch dish.Get our recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding with Pistachios. And for more holiday inspiration, check out these 50 Delicious Christmas Eve Dinners So Easy They'll Cook Themselves.

© Waterbury Publications, Inc.

2. Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding with Pistachios

Psst, this bread pudding recipe with chocolate and sweet cherries may look and taste like dessert, but it’s just as great as a brunch dish.

Slide 5 of 18: For a delicious brunch, bake this flavor-packed and filling breakfast casserole that's made with caramelized onions, baby kale, and mushrooms.Get our recipe for Breakfast Casserole. Wondering what your neighbors are eating? Don't miss The Best Christmas Recipe in Every State.

© Beth Lipton/ Eat This, Not That!

4. Breakfast Casserole

For a delicious brunch, bake this flavor-packed and filling breakfast casserole that’s made with caramelized onions, baby kale, and mushrooms.

Slide 8 of 18: Here's a genius idea: Make a charcuterie board for brunch on Christmas morning so that your family can wander in and out of the kitchen, enjoying a completely customizable and leisurely breakfast.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.Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats. 

© How Sweet Eats

7. Charcuterie Brunch Boards

Here’s a genius idea: Make a charcuterie board for brunch on Christmas morning so that your family can wander in and out of the kitchen, enjoying a completely customizable and leisurely breakfast.

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:

Source: 17 Best Christmas Brunch Recipes (msn.com)

10 Frozen Pizzas to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves

Article by Jennifer Maldonado  for EatThis,NotThat.com

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

10 Frozen Pizzas to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves

Sometimes, all you really need is a frozen pizza to hit the spot. It’s ready in minutes and you don’t have to worry about going out to pick it up or wait for the delivery person to arrive. Plus, you don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen like you would if you made it from scratch. But not every frozen pizza is the same. And some are worse for you than others.

So which is the worst frozen pizza out there? Well, we rounded up the 10 unhealthiest frozen pizzas you’ll find in the freezer aisle. That way, you know which pie to just skip when you’re looking for the perfect addition to your Friday night hangout in your living room.

1. Stouffer’s Three Meat French Bread Pizza

Per pizza: 460 calories, 25 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,070 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 18 g protein

These French-bread based mini pies are topped with sausage, pepperoni, and bacon, creating a small pizza that has more sodium than 12 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Yikes.

2. DiGiorno Croissant Crust Three Meat

Per pizza: 2,050 calories, 110 g fat (50 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4,200 mg sodium, 180 g carbs (10 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 85 g protein

DiGiorno took things up a notch with the introduction of its croissant crust. While it might make for a lighter, flakier pie, it’s still high in calories and sodium.

3. Red Baron Thin and Crispy Pepperoni Pizza

Per pizza: 1,170 calories, 60 g fat (30 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,030 mg sodium, 114 g carbs (6 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 45 g protein

Red Baron’s thin crust pies aren’t actually worse than the classic crust options. Just one slice of the Thin and Crispy Pepperoni Pizza will set you back 1,010 milligrams of sodium. The classic version? It’s still pretty scary, coming in at 810 milligrams of sodium.

4. Tombstone Original Supreme Pizza

Per 1 pizza: 1,360 calories, (28 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,200 mg sodium, 140 g carbs (8 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 60 g protein

The presence of peppers, olives, and onions don’t really help make things better here. This pie, which is also topped with the classic processed meats combo of sausage and pepperoni, is scary high in sodium.

5. Celeste Pizza for One, Sausage and Pepperoni

Per pizza: 400 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 900 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein

If you thought going for the “personal pan” option would be a safer bet, this sausage and pepperoni pizza from Celeste proves otherwise. Coming in with 900 milligrams of sodium and a very long list of ingredients that includes fattening palm oil, this one gets a skip.

6. DiGiorno Bacon Me Crazy Pizza

Per pizza: 1,640 calories, 84 g fat (40 g saturated fat), 3,680 mg sodium, 136 g carbs (8 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 80 g protein

The fat and sodium in this pie are way too high! Even if you are splitting this pie, one serving alone is packing 920 milligrams of the salty stuff.

7. Red Baron Classic Crust Four Cheese Pizza

Per 1 pizza: 1,520 calories, 68 g fat (36 g saturated fat), 2,880 mg sodium, 160 g carbs (8 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 64 g protein

You might think that since this pizza is thin crust and just topped with cheese and no meats, you would in the clear. But don’t be fooled! It’s still high in calories, fat, and sodium.

8. California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza

Per 1 pizza: 880 calories, 32 g fat (16 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,940 mg sodium, 101 g carbs (4 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 47 g protein

While this pizza gets some points because the chicken it’s topped with is grilled, there are still plenty of red flags. The fact that there are a few different sugars listed on the ingredients is not the best when it comes to finding a healthier pizza option.

9. Screamin’ Sicilian Brazen Buffalo

Per pizza: 1,320 calories, 60 g fat (28 g saturated fat), 5,200 mg sodium, 124 g carbs (8 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 72 g protein

This spicy Buffalo chicken pizza is simply drowning in salt. One slice sets you back 1,300 milligrams, making the whole pie clock in at more than 5,000 milligrams. Keep in mind that The American Heart Association recommends the average person have no more than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium, moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams. 

10. Tombstone Original 4 Meat

Per pizza: 1,480 calories, 72 g fat (32 g saturated fat), 3,640 mg sodium, 140 g carbs (8 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 68 g protein

By now, it should be clear that any pizza that is topped with multiple processed meats is going to be bad news for your waistline. And that’s all this 4 Meat pie from Tombstone is—trouble!

Source: 10 Frozen Pizzas to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves (msn.com)

Disney’s Epcot beef bourguignon and yule log cake recipes make the perfect holiday dinner

By Terri Peters for Today©

At Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, parkgoers can walk the World Showcase, sampling foods that are holiday staples in different countries. At each food cart, a menu of savory entrees, sweet desserts and festive beverages are presented, from a pumpkin spice margarita in the Mexico pavilion to pork schnitzel in Bavaria.

But two standout favorites among festival attendees this year are located in Disney’s Canada pavilion: A flavorful beef bourguignon and a maple yule log, both served up at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen food booth.

Disney chef Kevin Downing told TODAY Food both dishes are new to this year’s festival, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a big hit both with Disney’s chefs and park guests.

Beef Bourguignon with Crushed Red-Skinned Potatoes by EPCOT Festival Chefs

“The beef bourguignon is served over crushed red skin potatoes with a hearty gravy over top,” said Downing. “It’s a perfect dish for the days when it’s super cold outside, and a Merlot pairs perfectly with it because you get the big bold flavors of the red wine along with the nice red wine flavor you get from the beef bourguignon — it’s one of my favorite pairings.”

“And our Bûche de Noël has a maple mouse with cranberry wrapped in gingerbread chiffon,” Downing added. “Our bakery team worked really hard to make it festive and like a traditional yule log.”

Maple Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake) by EPCOT Festival Pastry Chefs

Disney shared the recipe for its beef bourguignon on the Disney Parks Blog, describing the decadent dish as, fork-tender beef brisket with savory flavors of bacon-infused wine sauce over crushed buttery red potatoes,” and, as someone who tried the dish at Epcot earlier this month, I’d say it nailed the description.

In fact, the entire meal I ate at Yukon Holiday Kitchen was delicious, so I asked Disney Parks to share the recipe for its Maple Bûche de Noël (or yule log) with TODAY, too.

With both recipes and a host of ingredients in tow, I spent my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, attempting to re-create both dishes.

While my yule log wasn’t as beautiful as Disney’s and resembled something on an episode of “Nailed It,” it tasted as good as the one served at Epcot. Making a yule log, I learned, is a labor of love, with lots of ingredients and steps to check off along the way. But what delicious steps they were: I could have eaten the maple mousse filling by itself, and the gingerbread chiffon was perfectly spiced.

At Downing’s recommendation, we paired our beef bourguignon with a nice Merlot. And he was right: The pairing only heightened the rich flavors of the wine-braised stew.

A visit to Epcot may not be in your future this holiday season, but with this impressive meal from Disney Parks, you can feel festive (and full!) in the comfort of your own home.

Source: Disney’s Epcot beef bourguignon and yule log cake recipes make the perfect holiday dinner (msn.com)

The only icing recipe you need for holiday cookie decorating

By Madeline Buiano for The Daily Meal

Like building gingerbread houses, cookie decorating is a holiday right of passage. Watching your sugary, snowmen-shaped confections emerge from the oven, ready to be slathered with icing will make your tummy rumble and your mouth salivate. This recipe for royal icing is perfect for decorating your cookies with top hats, carrot noses and more.

© Arina P Habich/Shutterstock


Our 50 Best Cookie Recipes

The best part about this royal icing is that it dries hard and quickly, allowing you to make a flurry of holiday shapes and customize them as your heart desires. Want to give Rudolph his shiny red nose? The secret is royal icing. This icing is also the ideal thing to hold together gingerbread houses and make whipped snow for them to sit on. Just beware, this icing uses raw egg whites, so it’s not ideal for babies, pregnant women or high-risk individuals.

Southerners are known for having delicious food on their tables, and the holidays are no exception. This appetizer for hominy fritters with homemade bacon thyme dipping sauce is inspired by hush puppies, which are a Southern staple.

HOMINY FRITTERS WITH BACON THYME DIPPING SAUCE

Southerners are known for having delicious food on their tables, and the holidays are no exception. This appetizer for hominy fritters with homemade bacon thyme dipping sauce is inspired by hush puppies, which are a Southern staple.

For the Hominy Fritters With Bacon Thyme Dipping Sauce recipe, click here.

To make royal icing, you’ll need just 10 minutes of free time and a few common pantry staples: like eggs, confectioners sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Want to make your holiday cookies very merry? Mix the icing with food coloring to create wonderful shades of red, green and blue, perfect for Santa’s coat and snowy scenes.

Get started by mixing the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla on high speed until frothy. Adjust the mixer speed to low and slowly add the confectioners sugar. Return the mixer speed to high and mix the icing until it’s thick and forms glossy, high peaks.

Use royal icing to customize your cookies once they are completely cool. Be sure to cover the icing you aren’t using with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry up. Got extra time on your hands? Don’t stop the cookie baking extravaganza there, try out more of our best Christmas cookie recipes, from sugar to peppermint swirl.

Royal Icing

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

4 pasteurized egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Food coloring, if desired

Directions

In a large metal bowl of an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla on high speed until frothy.

Adjust mixer speed to low. Slowly add confectioners sugar.

Increase speed back to high. Mix icing until thickened and there are glossy, stiff peaks.

To add food coloring, separate icing into bowls and add the desired amount of coloring to each bowl, incorporating using a rubber spatula.

While frosting cookies, cover icing you are not using with plastic wrap, as royal icing dries very quickly.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/this-is-the-only-icing-recipe-you-need-for-holiday-cookie-decorating/ar-BB1bKdbk?ocid=msedgntp

Holiday appetizers you can make for less than $5

By Tess Rose Lampert for Cheapism ©

Slide 1 of 26: 'Tis the season of holiday get-togethers and family gatherings — even if those are much smaller this year due to the pandemic — and it's always nice to offer something to nibble on. Bite-size appetizers are a great way to keep costs down and not everything needs to be made from scratch. These easy, inexpensive ideas serve about 10 to 15 people, from meat eaters to vegetarians to vegans. Prices are rough estimates based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data and an informal survey of grocery prices.Related: 50 Great-Tasting Red Wines Under $20

 © LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Finger Lickin’ Good

‘Tis the season of holiday get-togethers and family gatherings — even if those are much smaller this year due to the pandemic — and it’s always nice to offer something to nibble on. Bite-size appetizers are a great way to keep costs down and not everything needs to be made from scratch. These easy, inexpensive ideas serve about 10 to 15 people, from meat eaters to vegetarians to vegans. Prices are rough estimates based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data and an informal survey of grocery prices.

Slide 2 of 26: Deli ham and cheese get turned into a crowd pleasing combo with the help of store bought pizza dough. Roll out the pizza dough ($3) as thin as possible without tearing it and line it with a few thin slices of deli ham and cheese ($2). Roll up the dough with the ham and cheese inside and bake at 450 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. Once cool, slice into bite sized rounds.Related: 15 Simple, Tasty Sandwiches That Cost Less Than $1 to Make

 © ThitareeSarmkasat/istockphoto

Ham and Cheese Wheels ($5)

Deli ham and cheese get turned into a crowd pleasing combo with the help of store bought pizza dough. Roll out the pizza dough ($3) as thin as possible without tearing it and line it with a few thin slices of deli ham and cheese ($2). Roll up the dough with the ham and cheese inside and bake at 450 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. Once cool, slice into bite sized rounds.

Slide 3 of 26: At about 20 cents per piece, frozen ravioli make a great inexpensive appetizer when fried in oil ($1) until golden brown and served hot. Because they are so rich, figure only one or two ($4 worth) for each guest.Related: The Best Fried Foods Around the World

 © Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Fried Ravioli ($5)

At about 20 cents per piece, frozen ravioli make a great inexpensive appetizer when fried in oil ($1) until golden brown and served hot. Because they are so rich, figure only one or two ($4 worth) for each guest.

Slide 4 of 26: Frozen meatballs cost about $3 a pound and offer large portions. Simply heat them up in the sauce of your choice ($2), such as barbecue or marinara, and serve with toothpicks for a fun and tasty party dish.Related: Delicious Foods Worth Buying at Ikea — and Some to Skip

 © Lauri Patterson/istockphoto

Meatballs ($5)

Frozen meatballs cost about $3 a pound and offer large portions. Simply heat them up in the sauce of your choice ($2), such as barbecue or marinara, and serve with toothpicks for a fun and tasty party dish.

Slide 5 of 26: Frozen spinach ($1) and a light sprinkling of feta ($1) in crispy phyllo dough ($3) is a classic flavor combination. To assemble, thaw and season the spinach and combine with feta. Put a spoonful into the phyllo of any shape and bake according to the instructions on the phyllo packet.Related: With These Healthy Recipes, You Won't Miss Packaged Snacks

 © bhofack2/istockphoto

Mini Spinach Pies ($5)

Frozen spinach ($1) and a light sprinkling of feta ($1) in crispy phyllo dough ($3) is a classic flavor combination. To assemble, thaw and season the spinach and combine with feta. Put a spoonful into the phyllo of any shape and bake according to the instructions on the phyllo packet.

Slide 6 of 26: Create this favorite using one package of break-and-bake croissant dough ($2) and a package of hot dogs ($3). Cut the hot dogs into bite-size pieces and wrap in a small piece of dough. Bake until the dough puffs up and starts to turn golden.Related: 25 Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes That We Secretly Love

 © mphillips007/istockphoto

Pigs in a Blanket ($5)

Create this favorite using one package of break-and-bake croissant dough ($2) and a package of hot dogs ($3). Cut the hot dogs into bite-size pieces and wrap in a small piece of dough. Bake until the dough puffs up and starts to turn golden.

(OK, there are about 20 more appetizers for you to look at. Just click below and you will magically find the entire 26. So, excuse me while I taste-taste some of these apps.)

Source: Holiday appetizers you can make for less than $5 (msn.com)

NO BAKE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BALLS

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls are a delish alternative to the traditional pies. Wow your friends & family with these holiday dessert delights!

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls are a delish alternative to the traditional pies. Wow your friends & family with these autumn dessert delights!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 C White Chocolate (either chips or broken into pieces) divided
  • 3/4 C Vanilla Wafer Crumbs (See instructions may double amount)
  • 1/2 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 6 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Take 1/2 C of the White Chocolate and melt
  2. While chocolate is melting (careful it burns easy) mix crumbs, puree, cream cheese, sugar and spices – I found it easiest to use a Food Processor but if you need to a hand mixer or blender should work
  3. Add melted white chocolate to already mixed ingredients and blend again – let it go in the processor for a while. It take about 2-3 minutes for everything to combine well for the balls.
  4. TASTE. If you need more sugar add it.
  5. Place mix into a bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (can be longer but then cover)
  6. NOTE if dough is still “mushy” freeze for 15-30 minutes. You have to work fast and make the balls. I refrigerate the balls again before dipping in chocolate
  7. NOTE 2 if you don’t like the consistancy of balls at 3/4 C wafer crumbs add more wafer crumbs up to 1 1/2 C total of crumbs
  8. Place wax paper on a cookie sheet
  9. Take out chilled dough and begin making balls by rolling (about) 1 heaping spoonful at a time
  10. Melt remaining white chocolate
  11. Dip balls into white chocolate and refrigerate to set.
  12. Store in fridge and serve when chilled

Thanks to:

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls (whoneedsacape.com)

This Is the Most Hated Thanksgiving Dessert

Slide 1 of 8: With Thanksgiving fast approaching, people around the U.S. are preparing their holiday menus, albeit for smaller crowds. While stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce may be staples on Thanksgiving tables across the country, there's one potentially polarizing element of the meal: the dessert. Read on to discover which common Thanksgiving treat people are most likely to avoid at your holiday celebration. And before you start preparing your holiday meal, If You Have This Common Ingredient in Your Pantry, Throw It Away Now.According to a new survey from YouGov, there's a major divide among Thanksgiving celebrants when it comes to dessert. Among the 1,055 individuals polled, 840 of whom planned to celebrate the holiday this year, 37 percent said they were planning on making their desserts from scratch, while 26 percent said they'd save themselves the hassle and opt for store-bought desserts instead. However, whether your holiday sweets are homemade or come from the freezer case at your local supermarket, there's a clear standout when it comes to the least popular Thanksgiving dessert. Read on to find out which Thanksgiving treat simply isn't worth the time it takes to make it. And before you get together for the holiday, If You're Doing This, You Won't Be Totally Safe From COVID on Thanksgiving.Read the original article on Best Life.
Photo by Bestlife ©

Article by Sarah Crow for Bestlife

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, people around the U.S. are preparing their holiday menus, albeit for smaller crowds. While stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce may be staples on Thanksgiving tables across the country, there’s one potentially polarizing element of the meal: the dessert. Read on to discover which common Thanksgiving treat people are most likely to avoid at your holiday celebration.

According to a new survey from YouGov, there’s a major divide among Thanksgiving celebrants when it comes to dessert. Among the 1,055 individuals polled, 840 of whom planned to celebrate the holiday this year, 37 percent said they were planning on making their desserts from scratch, while 26 percent said they’d save themselves the hassle and opt for store-bought desserts instead. However, whether your holiday sweets are homemade or come from the freezer case at your local supermarket, there’s a clear standout when it comes to the least popular Thanksgiving dessert. Read on to find out which Thanksgiving treat simply isn’t worth the time it takes to make

7. Pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 35 percent

6. Pecan pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 16 percent

5. Apple pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 11 percent

4. Sweet potato pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 10 percent

3. Chocolate pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 6 percent

2. Cherry pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 4 percent

1. Banana pudding pie

Thanksgiving diners who say it’s their favorite: 3 percent

There you have it. So I guess pumpkin pie takes the honor as the most popular holiday dessert. I can’t believe chocolate comes in at number 3 worst!

Source: This Is the Most Hated Thanksgiving Dessert, Survey Says (msn.com)

Soft Batch Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Warning: These Soft Batch Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies are for CHOCOLATE LOVERS only!!! Full of intense chocolate fudge flavor, these cookies basically melt in your mouth. So good with a glass of milk!

How to make Chocolate Fudge Cookies

  1. Preheat your oven and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients!
  3. Melt chocolate chips and the butter in the microwave. And in a separate bowl whisk the vanilla sugars and eggs. Beat in milk and vanilla. Then add melted chocolate in and combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Then toss in the remaining chocolate chips!
  5. Scoop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake one tray at a time.
  6. Press a few extra chocolate chips on top of the warm cookies, if desired. Cool on the cookie sheet… then devour!!!
  • These cookies must – I repeat – MUST cool completely on the tray. I usually leave the room for a good hour before I even think about sneaking them off the tray.
  • Because these cookies are so chocolate heavy, I added a good pinch of salt and vanilla the the dough. Please don’t skip these two ingredients – they make it work.
  • Any chocolate chip brand will do.

Source: Soft Batch Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies – Baker by Nature