Your Christmas Weeknight Meal Planner

Christmas week is finally upon us, and if you’re feeling an overwhelming amount of holiday stress, you’re not alone. Lighten your load this week with five fast and easy meals that will warm you up from the inside out. We’ve even come up with great solutions for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners! Even if you’re not celebrating, you’re sure to love this week’s delicious dinners.

 

Monday, December 22

Mushroom Soup with Marsala

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How to Make an Edible Christmas Tree

This tabletop display sparkles with decorations you can eat: doughnut holes!

 

How to: poke the bottom portion of an S-shaped ornament hook into a plain doughnut hole; repeat with additional hooks and holes. Melt one package of chocolate chips or mini Candy Melts according to directions, then roll doughnut holes in the melted candy and coat in sanding sugar. Let dry on parchment until hard, about 15 minutes, then thread a Life Savers candy onto the hook to rest flat on top. Hang ornaments on a tabletop tree and, when dinner’s done, let guests help themselves to dessert!

 

 

Related Links

Our 6 Favorite Homemade Food Gifts

How to Make a Snack Stadium

The Best Christmas Cocktails


Anna Gershenson’s Homemade Caesar Dressing

In our January/February issue, Anna Gershenon (mother of Food Features Editor, Gabriella Gershenson) shows her grandkids how to create personal pan meat loaves and homemade Caesar salad. No salad would be complete without this creamy dressing, though!

 

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 small cloves garlic, grated

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. anchovy paste

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup EVOO

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, grated garlic, Dijon mustard, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the EVOO, blending until smooth.

 

Whisk in the mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. If the dressing is too thick, whisk in a tablespoon of cold water.

 

Toss the dressing with chopped romaine and garnish with croutons. Makes 1 cup.

 

 

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A Four-Ingredient No-Fuss Cocktail

The holidays, though delicious, exciting and a helluva good time, can be stressful. Sometimes, you just need a relaxing night in with a good book and a stiff drink. You need a Gimlet.

 

 

Ingredients

4 ounces gin

2 tablespoons sweetened lime juice, such as Rose’s

1 lime wheel, for garnishing

Ice

 

Directions

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake gin and lime juice for about 1 minute. Pour into a martini glass. Garnish with the lime. Makes 1.

 

 

More Four-Ingredient Cocktails

 Coffee Mate

Winter Shandy

Double Orange Spritz


Lauren Purcell’s Favorite Hors d’Oeuvres Recipes

In the January/February issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, our editor-in-chief Lauren Purcell dishes about all things dinner parties. “I’m deeply fond of theme parties,” she says, “But somehow, my theme-mania never translated to dinner parties. Until now!”

 

 

As the Queen of Cocktail Parties (she did write her own cookbook on the subject, in fact), it only makes sense that the first party Lauren wants to throw in the new year is an hors d’Oeuvres party: a small (and seated) group so everyone can be in on the same conversations, plus the festive feel you get from having a bite of this, a taste of that. Check out her three recipe picks below!

 

Goat Cheese and Leek Croustades

 

Ingredients

For the croustade cups

36 slices high-quality white sandwich bread

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

 

For the filling

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup finely chopped leeks, white and pale green parts (about 2 medium leeks)

8 ounces soft mild goat cheese

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup pine nuts

 

Directions

Prepare the cups

Preheat oven to 350°F.

With a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out a round of bread from each slice. Brush one side of each round with the melted butter. Press the bread, butter side down, into the cup of a mini muffin tin. The bread will not reach the top of the cups.

Bake until the top edges are browned, 11 to 13 minutes. Remove the croustades to a wire rack to cool.

 

Prepare the filling

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. If the leeks begin to brown, lower the heat.

In a food processor, blend the goat cheese, olive oil, yogurt, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in leeks. Set aside.

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat, shaking frequently, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

Return the croustade cups to the muffin tins and fill each cup with goat cheese mixture. Top with 3 to 4 pine nuts. Bake for about 5 minutes.

Makes 36 croustades.

 

 

Shrimp with Spicy Lime Dip

 

Ingredients

For the shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp

2 garlic cloves, crushed

 

For the spicy lime dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 small chipotle chiles in adobo, minced to a paste, plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (1 lime)

 

Directions

Prepare the shrimp

Peel the shrimp and devein them, if desired. Put the garlic in a pot of generously salted water and bring water to a boil. Put shrimp in and cook until they’re pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. (The water may not return to a boil in that time.) Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Prepare the dip

Prepare the dip: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 40 to 50 shrimp and 1 1/2 cups of dip

 

 

 

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Dill Sauce

 

Ingredients

For the meatballs

1/3 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices white bread, ground in food processor)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup white sesame seeds

 

For the sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
ground white pepper to taste

 

Directions

Prepare the sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

 

Prepare the meatballs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a small, nonstick skillet, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a big bowl. Stir in the salt, mint, allspice, and cinnamon. Add the lamb, bread crumbs, egg, cranberries, and sesame seeds and combine thoroughly (the easiest way is to use your hands).

Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. (Guests will be spearing them with toothpicks, so they should be no bigger than two bites’ worth.) Line up the meatballs on an ungreased baking sheet as you go (they can be close, just not touching). Bake just until no longer pink in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with the dill sauce alongside.

Makes about 32 meatballs and 1 1/4 cups sauce.

 

 

For more of Lauren’s recipes, visit her website here.


4 Fun Twists on Our Favorite Chanukah Foods

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, and to keep your holiday extra sweet and delicious throughout the next eight days, we’ve collected some of our favorite Jewish recipes with a twist. So let bubbe know her workload is lightened this year, grab your biggest frying pan and get to work. There are candles to be lit!

 

Coffee-Braised Brisket is sweet and smoky, with a caffeinated kick!

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A Fun & Festive Weeknight Meal Planner

The official holiday countdown has begun: 2 days until Chanukah, 11 days until Christmas and 17 days until New Year’s Eve. But you still gotta eat—and latkes, candy canes and champagne do not a meal make. In honor of the season, we have a special Weeknight Meal Planner just for you. Flavorful, festive and fancy only begin to describe this week’s recipes, and the best part is they’ll be on your table in minutes, leaving you plenty of time for last-minute shopping.

 

Monday, December 15

Fettuccine with Champagne Cream Sauce

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The 4 Best Slow Cooker Dishes for the Holidays

Our idea of a holiday meal winner? A delicious and hearty recipe that feeds a crowd but requires little effort. Stop slaving over your stove–your slow cooker is here to help! We’ve chosen the best recipes for any occasion (game day! Christmas eve!) that go from your fridge to your slow cooker to your plate. Now how easy is that?

 

Sweet Chile Hot Wings

 
 

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John Cusimano’s Holiday Playlist

John Cusimano is the lead singer of one our favorite bands, The Cringe. (He’s also married to our favorite food guru, Rach!) This holiday season, we asked John to help us channel our inner rock stars with his top musical picks to keep feet tappin’ and spirits bright.

 

1. Happy Xmas (War is Over) — John Lennon
2. Christmas Wrapping — The Waitresses
3. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town — Bruce Springsteen
4. Step Into Christmas — Elton John
5. Father Christmas — The Kinks
6. 2000 Miles — Pretenders
7. Feliz Navidad — José Feliciano
8. I Believe in Father Christmas — U2
9. Wonderful Christmastime — Paul McCartney
10. The Chanukah Song — Adam Sandler
11. Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time) — Pearl Jam
12. Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) — Elvis Presley
13. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm — Billie Holiday
14. Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth — David Bowie/Bing Crosby
15. Ave Maria — Chris Cornell

 

Download the entire playlist here.

 

From John, Rachael and the entire Every Day with Rachael Ray staff, happy holidays!

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Our 6 Favorite Homemade Food Gifts

‘Tis the season for gifting, baking and, above all, eating! But why keep the three separate when you can make delicious gifts from scratch? They say the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, and the holidays are the perfect time to show your loved ones just how much you care. From the candy lover to the bacon aficionado, cross every taste off your list with these 6 festive treats.

For the animal lover: Ginger Pigs

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