Food Network celebrity chef, Claire Robinson, knows what it takes to make a great holiday meal, with just five ingredients or less.
“When it comes to the holidays, no one wants to spend hours preparing meals when they can be with friends and family,” says Robinson. “I think simple and delicious dishes are the best.”
In keeping with that spirit, here are five easy things you can do to enjoy great food and a great holiday season:
Make a meal plan. When you plan out your meals, even the larger holiday ones, you can simpli- fy the shopping and avoid the “what’s for dinner tonight?” stress.
Stock the shelves. Make sure to keep your kitchen stocked with the basics like sugar, flour and eggs to avoid running back and forth between home and the grocery store multiple times.
“In particular,” says Robinson, “I like Eggland’s Best eggs because they are nutritional all-stars with four times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E and more than three times the omega 3 compared to ordinary eggs. Not to mention, they taste great!”
Try batch cooking. Take a little extra time to cook a double batch of spaghetti or make a larger casserole, so you can freeze the rest for another meal later in the week. After a busy day of running holiday errands, simply take leftovers out of the freezer and re-heat for dinner.
Plan a potluck. Make holiday get-togethers eas- ier by hosting a potluck dinner. Assign a different dish to each guest so that everyone can bring some- thing they love to make. If you don’t have enough plates or utensils, have guests bring those as well. When everybody helps, the party burden is lighter and the fun factor is higher.
Keep desserts easy. Holiday sweets are fun to have, but can be time-consuming. Make extra cook- ie dough and keep it in the freezer. When you need a few cookies — or a few dozen — you’ll be ready to bake and enjoy with ease.
For more easy holiday recipes, like this delicious Baked Egg Casserole, please visit www.egglands- best.com.
BAKED EGG CASSEROLE
Makes 4 Servings (or double the recipe and freeze the rest for later) Total time: 45 Minutes 6 ounces hot maple flavored pork sausage (Southern style), crum- bled
3 cups water 1 cup half-and-half Kosher salt 1 cup stone-ground grits or course polenta Freshly cracked black pepper 4 ounces grated Gruyere 4 Eggland’s Best eggs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.
Remove the sausage to a paper towel to drain.
Use the rendered sausage fat to grease 4 large individual ramekins (gratin dishes or individual cast iron pots work too) and arrange them on a rimmed sheet tray.
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring the water and half-and-half to a boil and season with salt, to taste. Rapidly whisk in the grits. Continue whisking while returning to a boil, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick and creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper and more salt if needed.
Divide the cooked grits between the prepared baking dishes and top each with cooked sausage and grated cheese. Make a divot with the back of a spoon into the cheese and sausage topped grits.
Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and top the ramekins with the eggs. Bake until the egg whites are fully set, about 15 minutes.
Recipe Courtesy Food Network chef and host of “Five Ingredient Fix,” Claire Robinson, 2010
Source: Eggland’s Best
CLASSIC EGGNOG IS BACK
Classic eggnog is pure and simple. Just three main ingredients — eggs, cream and sugar — mag- ically create the quintessential holiday sip of thick creamy custard with puffs of softly beaten egg whites.
For those of us who have lamented the fact that we could no longer safely enjoy homemade eggnog prepared with raw eggs, there’s good news. Call it a gift for this holiday season and beyond: pasteurized shell eggs. Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs enable us to once again partake of all of those favorites that call for raw or lightly cooked eggs, whether it’s the yolks or the whites or both, without fear of food-borne illness. Think chocolate mousse, meringues, Caesar salad dressing, French silk pie, mayonnaise from scratch, sunny-side up eggs.
The eggs are pasteurized in the shell using a warm water bath. Only water — nothing else added — makes them safe to consume whether over easy, poached or in your favorite hollandaise recipe. A red circle “P” stamped on each egg lets you know they’re safe.
So set out the punch bowl and bring back a tradi- tion. This Classic Eggnog base can be prepared up to one day in advance and refrigerated, a great time- saver during this busy season. It’s delicious with the addition of rum, brandy or bourbon, or just topped with a sprinkling of ground nutmeg. Flavored spirits such as vanilla-infused vodka, peppermint schnapps or clear creme de cacao can impart unexpected taste twists to this classic, and for a little whimsy, top each serving with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.
To learn more about Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs, such as where to buy, or to find addition- al recipes and serving suggestions, visit www. SafeEggs.com.
Preparation time: 30 minutes Chilling time: 4 hours or overnight 12 pasteurized shell eggs, separated 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream 2 cups whole milk 2 to 3 cups dark rum, bourbon or brandy (optional) 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (optional) Ground nutmeg or cinnamon
Place egg yolks in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until combined. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in cream and milk, then rum and vanilla, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until chilled or as long as overnight.
Just before serving, beat room temperature egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir custard mixture. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour eggnog into punch bowl. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Makes 20 servings.
Source: Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs
BEST BRUNCH TIPS FOR HOLIDAY HOSTING
There’s nothing like the holiday season to warm the soul. Good cheer, cozy fires and scrumptious foods bring family and friends together. Start your guests’ visit off right with a morning meal that embodies the spirit of the season. Help guests feel more at home with homemade dishes full of fun and festive touches.
With these helpful hints from King’s Hawaiian Bakery, cooking for a crowd and creating a break- fast or brunch setting full of homey holiday flair can be an enjoyable, no-stress experience:
• Delightful Detailing: Customized touches make a guest feel special. Create name cards with a personal message inscribed on each one. This will help your guest feel connected to you, as well as take the guess work out of seating arrangements.
• Sharing Is Caring: Simplify serving your brunch by preparing a variety of dishes that can easily be passed around the table family style, such as French toast, fresh fruit salad, breakfast potatoes and egg scrambles.
• Seasonal Sipping: Perk up your guests on chilly fall mornings with delightful drinks. Opt for freshly brewed coffee or hot cocoa with a splash of festive flavored syrup or creamer in taste sensations such as cinnamon, peppermint or pumpkin, or start with a holiday-inspired flavored coffee, such as hazelnut.
• Infused Favorites: Spice up your traditional breakfast and brunch offerings with a holiday twist, like Eggnog French Toast or a festive frittata using fall vegetables. A number of creative breakfast and brunch recipes are available at www.kingshawai- ian.com.
• Classic Chromatics: Selecting one color for your brunch decor is an easy way to create high style and impact with very little extra effort. When you have selected your color, use it for table linen, plates, napkins, glasses and serving ware.
- DIY Decor Dos: For more decorative dazzle, add earthy pops of color and texture to your mono-chro- matic backdrop. Natural ways to warm up your brunch furnishings include simple arrangements of any in-season foliage, such as fall maple leaves, pine sprigs, seasonal squashes or holly.
Here is an easy and irresistible festive French toast recipe designed to add a simple dash of aloha spirit into your brunch and breakfast menus this holiday season:
EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST
Makes 4 servings 1, 16-ounce loaf King’s Hawaiian Bread 3 eggs 1 cup eggnog 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (if not included in the eggnog)
Slice bread crosswise so that each slice is approximately 1-inch thick.
Cut slices in half. Combine remaining ingredients. Quickly dip slices (do not soak) in egg mixture and cook on hot
buttered or oiled griddle until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with warm butter and syrup.
Source: King’s Hawaiian