My family usually sticks to roasted turkey during the holidays, but this year we’ve decided to expand our menu to include roasted duck. Peking duck is a traditional Chinese dish that includes serving the crispy duck in a pancake that’s loaded with thinly sliced scallions and Hoisin sauce (a sweet and pungent sauce made from garlic, soybeans, red chili and vinegar). Preparing the duck in and of itself can be a bit time consuming, so we use already prepared Hoisin sauce and very thin, partially cooked tortillas for the pancakes. Spice up your holiday menu by including this Peking duck dish along with all of your traditional favorites.
Baking at a high altitude can be pretty tricky and can lead to cupcakes that fail to rise or cookies that are rock-hard. This recipe adjusts for the many perils caused by high altitude baking by reducing the amount of sugar to account for the drier climate. Just like a basic cookie recipe you can customize your batch with any variety of nuts, dried fruits or different types of chocolate.
I am constantly watching the Food Network to not only learn new culinary techniques, but also to find inspiration for my next recipe. And with Ina Garten, Paula Deen, Tyler Florence and Rachael (does she even need a last name?) Ray at the top of my list of favorite chefs, it’s no wonder that I’m glued to the TV. Some of the featured recipes are so good that they don’t even need tweaking, and Paula Deen’s Lots O’Meat Lasagne and Zesty Roasted Garlic Bread are among the absolute best. I’ve provided a link to the recipes below, as well as some helpful hints for preparing the meal. Both recipes are guaranteed crowd pleasers and great easy-to-make dishes for entertaining large groups.
Paula Deen’s Lots O’Meat Lasagne (recipe courtesy of the Food Network)
Paula Deen’s Zesty Roasted Garlic Bread (recipe courtesy of the Food Network)
This chocolate bread pudding ranks at the top of my list of ultimate desserts. I guarantee all dessert lovers will enjoy this recipe (even if you aren’t a chocolate lover). The moist texture of the chocolate-soaked bread combined with the crunchy bits that form on top of the pudding make for a great ending to any meal. For an over-the-top indulgence, serve a slice of the bread pudding with caramel or vanilla sauce and a scoop of ice cream. This is one dessert that will impress your guests and leave them wanting more!
Tomato soup and triple grilled cheese. If anyone knows comfort food, it’s Ina Garten. And with snowstorms blowing from New York to Chicago and even to Las Vegas this year, this perfect pairing provides warm comfort even on the coldest day. Using canned San Marzano tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes not only adds extra flavor, but also makes this soup an easy fix during any season. My twist on the classic grilled cheese invites customization of all sorts using sliced meats, pickles or additional dressings.