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Easy and Creamy Homemade Coleslaw Salad

Easy and Creamy Homemade Coleslaw Salad

A classic coleslaw recipe is quite simple – it features only three ingredients (green cabbage, carrots, and dressing) and is very simple to make. Its simple crunchy creaminess pairs beautifully with rich BBQ meats and for that reason, coleslaw is a regular attendee at backyard parties and get-togethers.

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And yet, the final result is oftentimes soggy instead of creamy salad. Ruining the only salad that pairs well with pretty much every type of dish you make isn’t fun. So, what can you do to prevent this?  Read on to learn all the basics & tricks related to coleslaw.

Coleslaw Basics

Veggies

Standard coleslaw is made with only two simple veggies – green cabbage and carrots. However, if you want to fancy it up with additional color, you can include purple cabbage, as well as some grated celery. Braver cooks even add bell peppers to their coleslaw recipes! Bottom line is anything fresh and crunchy works good in coleslaw.

Dressing

What makes this salad special is the creamy dressing. Without it, coleslaw would be a bunch of chopped and grated veggies without any special purpose.

There are three different classic dressings that will allow you to never get bored of this salad: buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream dressing. What all these dressings have in common is their tangy flavor which is achieved with the addition of vinegar (usually cider or white vinegar). However, to balance the vinegar’s tanginess, a small amount of sugar and salt is also added.

Again, these are the classic choices and other flavoring ingredients can be added to taste. Some examples include onion, garlic, and mustard.

 

Coleslaw Tips and Tricks

The longer you let the salad sit, the soggier it gets! This is the golden rule for coleslaw. One option is to eat the salad right after it is prepared; that’s when it is creamiest and crunchiest. Do not leave it in the fridge overnight. The cabbage releases liquid which makes coleslaw very soggy.

Ideally, to make the most of your slaw, refrigerate it for about an hour before serving. This will allow the flavors to set and blend together.

If you really must make the salad ahead, grate and chop the veggies but don’t add the dressing. Instead, compose the dressing and store in the refrigerator, in a jar or a small plastic container, with the lid on, and add it just before serving.

Salting the cabbage helps as well – it aids the veggie to stay crunchy for a longer time. Just add a tablespoon of salt and let the cabbage sit for about an hour. Then, using your hands, squeeze as much liquid as you can. Thus prepared, the salad will keep for several days in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, remove the slaw from the fridge and add some reserved dressing or, if you don’t have some, a tablespoon of mayonnaise to make it creamier.

coleslaw recipe

Credit:couponclippingcook.com

Coleslaw Step by Step Instructions

A standard coleslaw is made with the following ingredients:

2 lb. cabbage

3 cups shredded carrots

1 1/4 cup dressing of choice

To make the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise (or ½ sour cream + ½ cup mayonnaise; ½ buttermilk + ½ cup mayonnaise)

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Shred the vegetables

Start with the cabbage. It is best if you have a large grater, but if you don’t, you will need a large knife and/or a food processor. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the outer layers. Then, cut the halves into quarters and remove the core in the center. At this point, you can proceed using the knife to slice the quarters into thin shreds or place the quarters in a or food processor using the shredding blade. Once you’re done, transfer the shredded cabbage to a large mixing bowl.

The same goes for the carrots. Once you peel them, you can either use a knife to cut them into very thin pieces or use the food processor. Then, add the carrots to the mixing bowl with the cabbage and toss the two veggies together.

coleslaw recipe

Credit:wonkywonderful.com

Prepare the dressing

To prepare the dressing, all you need to do is add all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them until uniform. You can adjust the amount of vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste.

Compose the slaw

Pour the prepared dressing over the shredded vegetables. Toss gently until all vegetable sherds are uniformly coated.

Fantastic Coleslaw Recipes

Why stop at the classic coleslaw recipe when you can make the salad truly outstanding by adding less-then-usual ingredients? Think broccoli, turkey, pineapple juice, nuts, and more!

Broccoli Slaw

Crisp broccoli is accented with red bell pepper, crunchy noodles and a toasted sesame dressing in this fast and easy salad. For an intriguing flavor combo and a colorful presentation, cut a cantaloupe or honeydew melon into slices. Cut out the seeds in the middle of each slice and place each slice on a serving plate. Place a scoop of broccoli slaw at the center of each slice.

Ultimate Turkey Coleslaw

This recipe is perfect for enjoying on the deck when it’s a warm, sunny day. Toss it together, pour some lemonade, sit down and relax! Turn this recipe into a Cobb salad variation by using a blue cheese salad dressing instead of the oil and vinegar mixture.

coleslaw recipe

Credit:paleoholic.com

Favorite Coleslaw

This fast and fresh slaw, flavored with pineapple and mustard, is the perfect accompaniment for a hearty sandwich. For extra flvor,  substitute 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple for the pineapple juice and add 1/4 cup honey roasted sliced almonds just before serving.

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Colorful Coleslaw

No family picnic can go without this zesty slaw. Note: If you don’t have the time to shred cabbage, there are several types of pre-shredded packaged cabbage and coleslaw mixes available in the produce section of your local grocery store.

 

 

 

Dumplings – How To’s and Recipes

Dumplings – How To’s and Recipes

You must have tried dumplings from the store at least once and you probably found them tasty. But wait till you prepare homemade ones! Round, chewy, and packed with your favorite sweet or savory filling – you just won’t be able to stop eating!

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We find these Asian cuties perfect for all kinds of get-togethers and celebrations. Well, actually, that is their traditional use – they are a must-make dish for the Asian New Year because they symbolize good wishes for the year to come.

Buying Dumpling Wrappers

Making these pastry treats from scratch at home is a laborious task, so we suggest you skip the making of the wrappers and only make the filling.

Store-bought wrappers (called gyoza) are the easiest to find in almost every grocery store (should be near the tofu). Other, less widely available wrappers can be found at the Asian market.

Folding the Dumplings

No matter which type of filling you choose, here are a few tips to help you fold the dumplings quickly and easily.

Prepare ahead. Make sure you have enough space on the counter.

Needed equipment: small bowl of water, the bowl with prepared filling, a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Start. Open the package of wrappers and arrange several wrappers on the counter.

Place a tablespoon of the filling on each wrapper. Even though this amount might look too small, resist the temptation to add more because you will be unable to close them.

Dampen the edge of the wrapper with some water with your fingers. This will act as a glue and facilitate the sealing.

Fold in half, then press the top closed.

Make a double fold on each side, then press to seal. Add more water if necessary.

Once you finish filling and folding, arrange the dumplings on the baking sheet.

 

 

Cooking the Dumplings

Frying.  Add some cooking oil in a pan and warm over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the dumplings (make sure they’re not touching each other). Cook until they are golden brown at the bottom.

Add some water to the pan (about three to four tablespoons), then cover and lower the heat. If the dumplings are freshly made, cook for about 4-5 minutes. If frozen, cook for 7-8 minutes. Once the wrappers are translucent, they are done.

Boiling. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the dumplings and stir to prevent them from sticking. Add 1 1/2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil again. Repeat this one more time. Remove one of the dumplings to check for doneness. If it is not cooked through, boil for a few minutes more.

Steaming. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper, then arrange the dumplings. Steam over simmering water for about 5-8 minutes, depending on whether they’re fresh or frozen.

What to Do with Leftover Dumplings

You can cook the dumplings right away or freeze them. In case you want to freeze them, do so while they’re on the baking sheet. Once they’re completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer container. They keep up to three months.

If you end up with unused wrappers, place the, in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator for about one week.

In case you have a surplus filling, you can shape it into balls and fry in a pan. Savory fillings pair great with pitas and salads, whereas sweet ones can be topped vanilla or chocolate cream. Yummers!

 

Amazing Dumpling Recipes

Chicken and Dumplings

A steaming bowl of creamy chicken and Asian pastry is a comforting one-dish meal. All you need is a spoon—and your appetite! For a variation, instead of making the dumplings, add 2 cups cooked pasta with the chicken in Step 2.

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings

Impress your guests with homemade steamed Asian pastry—they’re easier to make than they look. Dip in teriyaki sauce and enjoy!

Apple Dumplings

Treat yourself to this wonderful dessert. Tart apples and sweet raisins wrapped in warm pastry—it’s like a personal-sized apple pie! For added flavor, try using apple-pie spice instead of plain cinnamon. Apple-pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and it’s available in your grocery store’s spice aisle.

Peach Dumplings

This sweet treat will remind you of lazy childhood afternoons watching the bees buzz around the fallen peaches in the orchard. Variation: Substitute canned pear halves for the peaches. Another great substitute are tangy plums (such as Santa Ana plums). They aren’t sweet enough to eat fresh, but they are perfect for wrapping in pastry. Just cut the fruit off the pits and follow this recipe.

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Caramel Dumplings

It is so hard to wait until these delicious little cuties cool enough to eat. You’ll burn your fingers more than once! The best way to eat them is to spoon a warm dumpling and some sauce over vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, serve them in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream or a few spoonfuls of whipping cream.

10 Delicious Things You Can Make with Pesto

10 Delicious Things You Can Make with Pesto

If you haven’t tried pesto yet, you’re missing out on something truly exquisite! Google confirms this fresh garlicky sauce’s excellence by listing it as one of the 10 most searched food items in 2017!

We love this green summery treat tossed in pasta topped with grated Parmesan cheese, but that’s not all pesto can offer. It is a very versatile ingredient that combines with all sorts of ingredients to create amazing dishes!

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The Classic Pesto Recipe

So, if you want to make a standard pesto, here is a foolproof recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method of preparation:

Put half of the basil in a food processor or blender, followed by the pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and process until finely chopped.

Blend in the rest of the basil, then combine the two batches and process until you get a homogeneous paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Slowly add the olive oil while the motor is still running.

Note: If you’re going to use your pesto as a spread, reduce the amount of olive oil to ¼ cup. The addition of a ½ cup will make it perfect for soups and pastas.

Process until the oil is well blended into the mixture.

Taste and add more garlic, pine nuts, cheese or salt if necessary. No cooking required!

Pesto Storage

 

If you had ever bought pesto from the grocery store, you might have noticed that it spoils relatively quickly (changes its color to dark brown). So, it is best to prepare smaller batches (the recipe above produces one cup) or consume it within several days.

To make your pesto last as long as possible, store it in a small container and pack it thoroughly to eliminate air pockets. Then, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface or cover the surface with a plastic wrap. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Pesto can also be frozen for several months.

Pesto Varieties

 

The original pesto recipe calls for basil leaves but the truth is anything that is green and leafy can serve as a base for this garlicky sauce. Think kale, spinach, collards, parsley, or rosemary for instance.

Pine nuts can also be replaced by any other type of nut. We’ve recently experimented with walnuts and the results were incredible! (Find the recipe below).

What about the cheese? Can it be replaced? Sure, as long as the substitute you choose is hard cheese (like asiago or pecorino), you have nothing to worry about. Moreover, you can use ricotta cheese instead of the olive oil to reduce the amount of fat and make a healthier version of the aromatic sauce!

And if you ever get bored with the green variety, you can switch to red! Here is a recipe made with sun-dried tomatoes:

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

The colors of our favorite Italian sauce are so vivid you can combine them in jars and use them as holiday gifts along with loaves of Italian bread!

Note: If you have no problem splurging on more expensive ingredients (the final results are worth it), never substitute regular black olives for Greek calamata olives. The rich calamatas add that extra punch of flavor that makes the spread taste special.

Favorite Pesto Recipes

 

Pesto addicts eat the sauce by the spoonful. Others spread it on pizzas, toasts, and sandwiches or include it in pasta. Want more? We especially like pairing this fresh sauce with chicken, but also incorporate it into pastries and even bread. Here are our favorite recipes.

Pesto Rice

The variety made with basil leaves has a wonderful, rich, fresh-from-the-garden taste that is great with pasta—why not enjoy it with rice? Basil is one of the easiest kitchen herbs to grow, as long as you have lots of sun in your garden outside, or a sunny window ledge inside. Pinch off the top-most leaves as you need them—it actually grows better with pruning.

Pesto Chicken and Pasta

Bring a touch of Italy to the dinner table with this delicious pasta dish—you won’t believe how easy it is to make! For a heartier dish with a richer flavor, replace half the chicken with chopped sliced ham in Step 2.

Rosemary-Walnut Pesto Chicken

A variation that is made with rosemary and coarsely ground walnuts instead of the usual basil adds a nutty richness to this sautéed chicken. Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator and spread on toasted baguette slices the next day. If there’s any chicken left over, make great little chicken sandwiches!

Garden Pesto Chicken

Diced tomato and shredded Parmesan cheese add a fresh taste to this easy chicken dish made with prepared pesto. Vary the recipe by using different pasta shapes, such as bow-tie or penne pasta.

Double Pesto Steak Pie

Crushed basil leaves kneaded into the pretty lattice crust and pesto in the hearty steak filling imbue this pie with the robust flavors of summer.

Pesto Cheese Spirals

Filled with pesto sauce and “double cheese,” buttery pastry roll-ups are little bites of heaven for delighted party guests. For another version, try using large flour tortillas. Spread the fresh green sauce on the tortilla, sprinkle with the Swiss cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Roll up tightly, cut into 1-inch slices and bake at 350°F for 12–15 minutes.

Ham & Pesto Swirls

If you liked the previous recipe, here is another variation. These impressive looking pastries are surprisingly easy to make. They’re filled with succulent Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and aromatic pesto. Place 2½ cups basil leaves, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large clove garlic and 3 tablespoons pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and blend to make a paste. Add 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, then slowly pour in ⅓ cup olive oil while blending. Use in the recipe above or as a sauce for pasta.

 

Pesto & Zucchini Bread

Bring a taste of Italy to your dinner parties with focaccia flavored with pesto and topped with slices of grilled zucchini. Why not add some pine nuts? Soak 2 ounces in a small bowl of water for 20 minutes. This will stop them from over-browning. Arrange them on the dough with the zucchini slices in Step 5. Or sprinkle the focaccia with grated Parmesan cheese right out of the oven.

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Spinach Pesto Rotini

The sauce for this dish is more than just a pasta sauce. You can dip boiled halves of new potatoes into the sauce for an appetizer. Or spread it over pizza crust, then top it with mozzarella and broil the pizza for a quick supper. You can even combine the sauce with mayonnaise to make a dressing for potato salad!

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Spaghetti Squash Plus 7 Delicious Recipes

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Spaghetti Squash Plus 7 Delicious Recipes

Move away regular spaghetti and make place for spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti squash certainly looks great and if you search the web, you will find tons of recipes and pictures to support that theory. The vegan & gluten-free communities swear that this plant-based spaghetti beats regular pasta anytime. But is it so? If you are about to cook your first spaghetti squash recipe (what a healthy start of the year!), there are a few things you should know.

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Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like Regular Spaghetti?

To cut it short, the answer is no. Spaghetti squash surely looks a lot like regular spaghetti and they also have a similar texture, with the squash being more tender and fragile.

However, winter squash is still a squash. The taste is quite mild (avoiding to call it tasteless) which is not necessarily a bad thing. This makes spaghetti squash perfect for pairing will all sorts of sauces and toppings, especially those with stronger flavors.

How to Transform Squash Into Spaghetti

Cutting

Squash has a hard shell, which makes it rather difficult to cut. Make sure you use a heavy knife and lots of strength when you cut it.

Tip 1: Before you start cutting, heat the squash in the microwave for maximum 3 minutes to soften the shell and make cutting easier.

Tip 2: If the squash you have is very hard and seems impossible to cut, you can roast it whole (for about an hour) and then cut it in half.

Start cutting from the stem without cutting through the stem itself. Cut all the way to the end and pull the halves apart.

Scooping

Once the squash is halved, remove the seeds using a scoop. You can reserve and roast them later and use them as a crunchy topping for your vegan pasta recipe. Remove the fibrous threads and pulp from the seeds, then boil them in slightly salted water for about 8-9 minutes. Drain and let them dry. Toss with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees F in the oven. The seeds are done when they become crunchy.

 

How to cook Spaghetti Squash

In the Oven

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, add some olive oil, salt & pepper (or other spices & herbs to taste). Cook the halves face-down in a baking dish lined with parchment paper at 375 degrees F until soft (about 40-50 minutes, depending on the size). Pierce with a knife or fork to check for doneness. If it’s soft, you’re good to go.

Tip 3: To facilitate the process, add some water to the baking dish. The steam will prevent the squash from drying out and make it even softer.

In the Microwave

While it is true that oven-roasted squash is more flavorful and less moist, the microwave gets the job done faster.

The process is very similar to the one that uses the oven for baking – cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and add with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the halves face-down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with a bit of water (about 1-inch deep). Cook for 5 minutes, check for doneness and if it’s not cooked through, cook for 2-4 minutes more, until soft.

When the squash is done, turn the halves over and let cool for about 5 minutes. Separate the strands using a fork.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

The simplest recipe is to season the spaghetti squash with some cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and brown sugar and serve it as a side dish to meaty dishes. But why stop at that when there are so many delicious spaghetti squash recipes?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

Cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon, and roasted red pepper add lots of flavor to spaghetti squash, while breadcrumbs add a crunchy topping. Chopped carrots, mushrooms or green bell pepper are all nutritious additions to this dish—just add 1 cup of any one of them to the skillet in Step 3.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls

These burrito bowls can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, or omnivore. They’re just like ‘real’ burrito bowls only much healthier. The best part is they are very easy to customize so you can make them different every time!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake

Are you a fan of Italian cuisine? Well, who isn’t? For an easy Italian flair, pair your spaghetti squash with basil pesto and grated Parmesan cheese. If you are more patient, this is the recipe for you – a lasagna-inspired dish with tofu ricotta & marinara sauce. An incredibly flavorful yet simple dish made with only ten ingredients. Hearty, gluten-free, vegan, and full of proteins, this dish is light and yet very fulfilling. A perfect fall & winter recipe for the whole family!

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

We’re not done with Italian versions of our new favorite pasta substitute because who would refuse a healthier take on their favorite cuisine? This pizza-stuffed version is filled with vegetables, pizza sauce, and has the flavors of classic pepperoni pizza. Top with melty cheese, bake, and dive in!

Spaghetti Squash Tostadas

How about some Mexican flavors? This vegetarian tostada is filled with roasted tomatoes and onions, spaghetti squash, and black beans. A meat-free delight that is sure to become one of your favorites!

Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Even though Southwestern cuisine is known for its high-calorie comfort foods, there is a number of modern takes on classic recipes that show its food can also be good for you. This easy dish is a great way to change up the weekly routine – a meatless specialty packed with flavors from with the taco seasoning & enchilada sauce.

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Baked Eggs in Spaghetti Squash Nests

Looking for something simple, healthy, but pretty enough for a family/friends get-together? You have found the perfect recipe. These cute nests have a flavor very similar to hash browns and are made in a muffin tin. They are also perfect for breakfast or brunch any day. For extra flavor, add a dash of sriracha on top!

 

 

28 Foods and Drinks to Help You Party All Night Long on New Year’s Eve

28 Foods and Drinks to Help You Party All Night Long on New Year’s Eve

The mood on New Year’s Eve is festive and playful, so if you are hosting the party – keep it simple. You don’t need to plan menus ahead and cook all day, nor take out your expensive China to set the table. Because who has time to sit down and dine when they’re partying all night long?

Look at it as a fun and relaxed get-together of family and friends who will almost certainly expect a bowl of punch to liven things up a little bit. A buffet table should be the central part of your party. However, even though New Year’s Eve is much simpler to host than a lavish three course Christmas dinner, you still have some work to do.

Follow these ideas to compile a lively and diverse menu, as well as a few simple and effective decoration solutions. Pour yourself a glass of wine and put on some music to make the process fun and festive. Don’t worry, you will be done in no time!

Set the Tone and Decorate

Set the tone of the party in your invitation. You can either buy ready-made invitation cards or be creative and make them yourself (download a template, cut, glue). That is, if you are skilled enough. If not, you can always be cool and invite your guests via e-mail. Instruct them to wear something casual with a bit of spark and come over for a glass of punch.

A New Year’s Party certainly calls for decorations. Keep in mind that the table will be filled with punch bowls, glasses, trays, and plates. Also, your food can serve as decoration itself. Consider preparing some muffins and decorate them as reindeer or Santas or threading grapes onto skewers, and place them in tall Champagne glasses (filled with Champagne, of course).

If you want a centerpiece, use your party favors! Place a bunch of noisemakers, together with plain glasses or jars filled with colorful party blowers, on a cake stand and surround with tinsel. You can also choose party hats, as well as jars filled with confetti for this centerpiece. At the stroke of midnight, they will be used for their original purpose Don’t forget to fill the room with balloons. Simple and effective.

Cheers-Worthy Beverages

Welcome the new year in style by serving fruity champagne drinks, colorful punches, and fun cocktails. Here are some suggestions you can find on our website and app:

Fruity champagne drinks

The bubbly wine you use for cocktails does not need to be the expensive type. The fizziness is what you’re going for, and it does not depend on the brand.

  • Champagne Cosmos (Champagne, cranberry juice, orange-flavored liqueur, lime juice and zest)
  • Strawberry Champagne Jello Shots (Champagne, strawberry jello, gelatin)
  • White Grape and Champagne Granita (Champagne, green grapes, lemon juice, and sugar)

Colorful Punches

You can use the champagne for the punches or try stronger mixes.

  • Pomegranate and Orange Champagne Punch (pomegranate, orange, orange-flavored liqueur, champagne)
  • Paradise Punch (whiskey, vodka, Amaretto, ginger ale, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine)
  • Whiskey Sour Punch (bourbon, orange-flavored liqueur, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, sparkling water)

Don’t forget to add a non-alcoholic punch bowl for those who avoid booze and for those who will need to “chill” with something lighter in between two glasses of alcoholic drinks. This one is especially important if your party involves people who have and will bring their kids. In that case, it is best to set a separate kids buffet.

  • Cranberry Raspberry Punch (frozen lemonade, cranberry juice, raspberry sorbet, orange juice, ginger ale)
  • Peppermint Punch (eggnog, peppermint ice cream, ginger ale, candy cane).
  • Lemon-Lime Hulk Party Punch (lemon-lime soda, lime sherbet, and fresh limes)

Fun Cocktails

  • Watermelon Limeade (watermelon, lime, rum, sugar, club soda)
  • Sparkling Paloma Cocktails (grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila, agave syrup, sparkling water, fresh thyme)
  • Prickly Lady Cocktail (mescal, ginger liqueur, pear juice, lime, lime juice, powdered sugar)

To save you some time and trouble, arrange the ingredients needed for each cocktail, together with ice, straws, and all the necessary additions, and let your guests find their own ideal mixture. Give them a hand by writing the above-listed recipes on Christmas cards or holiday stationary. To ensure that these cocktail recipes won’t get lost somewhere in the middle of the party, stick them onto the bowls or saw them directly onto the tablecloth.

You can also use the cards and stationary to write thank you notes and give them away together with some easy homemade gifts (more on that later). Or encourage your guests to write their New Year’s wishes anonymously and place them on the Christmas tree.

Party Food

Appetizers and Hors d’ Oeuvres

Partying requires food, so even though there won’t be a classic three-course menu, you still need to have plenty of food in the form of appetizers and hors d’ oeuvres. If you are hosting a big party that involves a lot of people, ask each guest to bring a drink and plate of appetizers to fill up the buffet (state this in your invitation).

As for the rest, stick with this golden rule: no kneading. Appetizers that involve dough may be tasty, but they take plenty of time to be prepared. Choose recipes that require minimum work and minimum mess to reduce the level of stress!

Arrange

The easiest are the appetizers that involve a simple arrangement of pieces of food on skewers.

  • Assorted Skewed Party Appetizers

Mozzarella balls, tuna, roasted bell peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, cherry tomatoes, only arrange and serve.

Or in glasses, like this one:

  • Glass Appetizers in Blue Cheese Sauce

Pear and asparagus slices (grilled) in a cheese, milk, and nutmeg sauce.

No baking

Another quick and easy option are these no-baking appetizers

–           Cheddar Carrot Balls

Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, garlic, and carrot, shaped into small balls and chilled.

Easy bake

However, baking can be quite simple, and this recipe is a proof

  • Zucchini and Ricotta Crostini

Small savory toasts topped with three types of melty cheese and veggies

Fry and stuff

Stuffing is also fast and easy, especially if you make it with only a few ingredients.

  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Large mushrooms filled with a mixture of seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

Use the same stuffing to fill bell peppers, potatoes, squash, or tomatoes.

You can even stuff hard-boiled eggs cut in two, yolk removed. Prepare the filling using the removed yolks, mixed with crumbled fried bacon, mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika.

  • Nuwave Any-Tizer Deviled Eggs

Meaty appetizers

  • Chicken Appetizers

If you are looking for a meaty addition, try these skewers with an Asian twist obtained by complementing the meat with soy sauce, pineapple juice, sesame, and ginger. Bake on a metal rack at 400 degrees F.

Desserts

A great dessert not only serves as effective decoration, but it also raises the blood sugar levels and gives you enough energy to last until the end of the party!

Play smart and prepare several different treats using only one recipe – standard pancake batter. Make a larger dosage of the recipe and divide it into three batches. This time, to make this sweet delight more festive and fluffier, add 1 1/3 cup of Champagne. In case you have kids at your party, don’t worry. The alcohol will evaporate in the process of cooking.

Cake

Cook the first two batches the usual way. Use the first ready batch to form a cake, by arranging the pancakes on top of each other. Use a vanilla frosting as a glue between the pancakes, as well as to frost the whole “cake”. Decorate with candy canes on top (whole and crushed).

Trifles

The other batch will be sliced into small pieces and used to prepare trifles. Start with a layer of pancake pieces, followed by a layer of vanilla custard, and a layer of fruits, preferably berries because of their beautiful red color. Finish with whipped cream and some red and green sprinkles on top.

Muffins

Pour the third batch of pancake batter into muffin tins and bake in the oven. Choose an easy decoration. For example, you can cover each muffin with whipped cream and top with a strawberry to create muffin Santas.

This trick for using a single recipe to produce muffins, cookies, cakes, and other sweet delights also works with banana bread batter. Simply covering the loaf in thick frosting will turn it into a decadent cake.

Another easy dessert is the homemade chocolate fondue, that can serve as a sweet dip. Make it in a brown and white variation, chocolate chips, heavy cream, vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Good Luck Gifts

You can also use the pancake muffins as “thank you” gifts. Just arrange a few of them in a cardboard box, tie a ribbon and attach a Christmas card with your best wishes.

Another idea is to pour some of the banana bread batter into mason jars (half-way full) and place them in the oven to bake. Let them cool, cover with the lids, then decorate with ribbons and “best wishes” tags.

But since this is a celebration of all the good things yet to come, and everyone is full of hopes, instead of handing out classic “thank you” gifts to your guests on their way home, prepare “good luck” gifts.

For this purpose, fill mason jars with foods that symbolize good fortune and prosperous year. In the US South, people eat black-eyed peas on this day as a symbol of humility and prosperity. Lentils are a symbol of good luck in Italy, whereas the Greeks smash and eat pomegranate seeds on this night. The Spanish and Portuguese opt for grapes. Decorate each jar with a ribbon and attach a card with handwritten cooking instructions. Here are some examples:

  • Smoky Black-Eyed Pea and Sausage Soup
  • Thai Basil Coconut Lentils
  • Egyptian Pomegranate, Walnut, and Red Pepper Puree
  • Steak Salad with Grapes

 

How Millennials Are (Re)Shaping the US Food Scene

How Millennials Are (Re)Shaping the US Food Scene

If millennials like it, it is sure to become a huge trend!

By definition, Millennials are the people born in the period between the 1980s and 2000s. “Although their characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions, the generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.”

The preferences and of this large category of young people are often an indicator that, in time, even non-Millennial consumers will adopt them.

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What does this mean in terms of food? For starters, here is one important thing to be noted about Millennials: they aren’t particularly interested in spending money. Another important trait is their deep desire to make the world a better place, which also reflects in their attitude towards food.

Millennials and Food – In-depth Analysis

Eating Out

The big question is: Do Millennials prefer to cook or eat out? The former seems to be their choice, at least at first glance, for mostly practical reasons. Namely, Millennials love great food but don’t have time to cook. That is why eating out is one of their favorite ways to part from their dollars, followed by spending on electronic gadgets and clothes. The research showed that Millennials eat out 3.4 times a week on average, and spend more on food than other age categories.

The Three Types of Millennial Foodies

Millennials are not a homogenous group. In fact, they can be divided into three broad categories according to their eating needs and preferences:

–    Tech gurus are not much into cooking and prefer takeout. When they decide where to eat, they’re guided by good taste, convenience, and speed, but also want to get good value for their money.

–    Environment-friendly millennials are concerned about the well-being of the world as a whole. They’re into healthy and organic food choices, unusual & exotic dishes, as well as quick and easy meals. Like the tech gurus, this group prefers takeout to cooking.

–    Hip-ennials are most likely to cook because they enjoy experimenting with food & trying new dishes. When they eat out, they want their order to be always right but they also pay attention whether the staff is friendly and attentive.

Food type preferences

When it comes to the food type, here is what Millennials love:

–    fast food

–    fast-casual

–    Asian

–    exotic

–    takeout

–    organic food

Besides the aboveme-ntioned categories, Millennials are also into fermented foods & everything that has kale in it. They also no stranger to meat dishes. They like having the option to order a customizable dish. And, of course, Millennials often take selfies and appreciate food that will look great on social media.

Social media food trends

Speaking of social media, certain foods tend to flood certain channels, only to disappear just as fast as they’d appear. Most of these foods are unusual, appealing to the eye, and colorful. Taste, in this case, is of no importance but if the food tastes as good as it looks, that is certainly a bonus. At the moment, the following foods are hot on Instagram:

  1. Acai Bowls
  2. Elevated Toasts
  3. Freakshakes
  4. Sushi Burrito
  5. Starbucks’ colorful new drinks
  6. Rolled Ice Cream
  7. Cloud eggs

But food is not the only thing Millennials are looking for

Great food is not enough to convince a Millennial to visit a certain restaurant. When Millennials decide where to eat, they consider the following factors as well:

–    emotional needs – Millennials want to feel like they’re discovering something new but also to leave the stress behind and relax. They love to share their food and that’s why 65% of them eat with friends or colleagues, as a part of their emotional need to “catch up” while dining out. This is especially prominent in Millennial men, while millennial women want to know that they are getting good value for their money,

–    convenience & speed,

–    late-night dining,

–    décor,

–    relaxed atmosphere,

–    menu variety including unusual & exotic foods,

–    entertainment,

–    availability online,

–    Wi-Fi

Bottom line is Millennials want each experience to be high-quality. If there is no great option, they’ll choose to stay home and cook. Talking about tough customers!

Millennial Cooking Habits

Despite the fact that these young foodies are awfully busy and have a great number of options for eating out, they actually love cooking. Restaurant data shows that Millennials’ frequency of dining out has decreased.

Moreover, they consider themselves to be experts in the kitchen – 65% Millennials believes so, with Millennial men being more confident in their skills than women.

When it comes to cooking, these are the top three factors that drive Millennials to get into the kitchen:

–    social aspects of cooking and sharing

–    exotic and diverse foods

–    creative menus

Relying on the smartphones

When venturing to the kitchen, Millennials are bringing their mobile devices along. They’re relying on them at every phase of the cooking journey—deciding what to cook, learning how to cook it, and even while cooking.

Here is what Millennials search for online:

In stage 1, Deciding what to cook (which they say is the least fun part of the whole cooking process), the most frequent searches are quite broad:

–    dinner ideas

–    slow-cooker recipes

–    healthy recipes

Millennials also often type “best recipe for…”. Here are the most searched types of food in this category:

–    chocolate chip cookie

–    banana bread

–    meatloaf

–    pancakes

–    lasagna

YouTube is the favorite cooking channel

YouTube is the channel where Millennials go for cooking inspiration and guidance. Food-related searches on YouTube have increased by 75% in only one year! And believe it or not, the most engaged food-viewers are Millennial dads!

Stage 2 is the preparations stage, when Millennials search for “How to cook that” (one of the most popular searches on YouTube, with over 400 million views). Here are the top 5 searches:

–    baked potatoes

–    quesadilla

–    poached eggs

–    buttercream icing

–    burger patties

Besides these basic searches, Millennials search for unusual and exotic ingredients to add to their dishes and that is how they discover new brands.

The phones remain active even during cooking (voice search is indispensable for Millennials). Judging by the most popular searches, they love cooking chicken and often inquire about its baking temperature.

As part of their emotional need for sharing, Millennials dislike cooking alone and often have company in the kitchen, whether friends, spouses, or kids, all with the purpose to make the process less of an obligation and more fun.

Giving food a personal touch

Young foodies also like giving the food they cook a personal touch, simplifying the cooking process, or making traditional recipes with a twist. For that reason, kitchen tricks and hacks are also high on their list of favorite food-related searches.

This tendency is best seen in comfort foods. While nostalgic dishes are making a huge comeback, most Millennials don’t know or have no time to make them. That is why they either choose to consume such foods in restaurants or look for ways to simplify their preparation.

Millennials are interested in a different type of comfort food, i.e. feel-good foods that are healthier and easy to make. This is reflected in their desire to buy healthier ingredients such as fruits and veggies, as well as meats raised without hormones and antibiotics.

They also search for healthier recipes with chicken dominating as the main ingredient at the expense of red meat. Chicken is more popular among Millennials than eggs, peanut butter, and beef combined, followed immediately by veggies when it comes to comfort food.

Traditional comfort foods show a decline in popularity, for instance lasagna has decreased by 69% and macaroni by 55% in popularity in a course of a year.

In other words, Millennials not only want to enjoy the taste of a certain food, but they also want to feel good about the ingredients they’re using.

Shopping for food

When Millennials shop for cooking ingredients, they opt for organic and farm-to-table options, even if it means paying more. They turn more towards club, specialty, and convenience grocery stores at the expense of traditional ones.

Superfoods & healthy food obsession

US Millennials are obsessed with ‘superfoods’. To clarify things: “There really is no such thing as a superfood,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, “All foods, other than sugars and alcohol, have nutrients, but the basis of healthful eating is to eat a wide variety of relatively unprocessed foods.” However, the term seems to appeal to Millennials and food brands use it to market their products to these young foodies.

More than 60% Millennials said it’s very important to consume healthy foods. But they are also changing the meaning of “healthy eating” and “dieting”. For them counting calories is not a priority; they rather opt for natural, unprocessed foods and balanced diets.

The most popular superfood in the US is kale, used by 38% Millennials regularly to make kale smoothies or kale hummus. Brands have followed their cue and launched all sorts of kale products like kale ice cream, kale beer, kale chips, and kale chocolate.

Besides kale, Millennials also like the following superfoods:

Favorite brands

In general, Millennials still prefer branded foods, but cannot always afford them due to economic reasons. These are the top 15 food brands among Millennials:

  1. Starbucks
  2. McDonalds
  3. Frito Lay
  4. Kellogg’s
  5. Hershey’s
  6. Taco Bell
  7. Whole Foods
  8. Chick-fill-A
  9. Chipotle
  10. Kraft
  11. Kroger
  12. Pizza Hut
  13. Trader Joe’s
  14. Wendy’s
  15. Trader Mills

What else do they buy more often than others?

Gas station food. Because they’re always on the run, about 30% Millennials tend to buy food from gas stations and eat it on the go.

Sriracha is the new hot trend among young foodies. It is literally everywhere around you, on pizzas, burgers, even in beer!

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Same-day delivery. As a result of the daily usage of gadgets, Millennials are not very patient. They are prepared to pay more money for same-day delivery of online purchases.

Energy drinks are favored by young, under-slept American parents.

Organic food, as mentioned before, 53% Millennials believe organic food is important.

Craft alcoholic beverages as opposed to mass-market options. 43% Millennials say craft booze tastes better and are likely to pay more for such pleasure.

The future of food is largely dependent on Millennials’ preferences and desires. Is it safe to say it is looking bright?

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