Holidays

Mix it up for Memorial Day

When we think of Memorial Day, one of the first things that comes to mind is a smoking hot grill and all the delicious foods that are searing away. But we’re not just talking about hot dogs and hamburgers; did you know you can grill leafy greens, desserts and even cheese? This year, instead of sticking to the classics, we’ll be grilling up some of the wackiest, wildest recipes that are sure to leave an impression– both on the food and on our guests! Did you know you can grill….

 

Coleslaw and even Caesar Salad?

 

Fruit and cheese like Haloumi, watermelon and stone fruit?

 

Forget burgers! You can grill meatballs instead

 

Don’t forget to save room for dessert, like grilled doughnuts or pound cake!

 

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

 
 
 

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St. Patrick’s Day Done Right!

If you’re channeling your inner Irish this weekend, don’t stop with the “Kiss me, I’m Irish” tee and pint of Guinness. A true St. Patrick’s Day isn’t complete without a hearty menu full of flavor (and booze) that’ll make you feel like you’re in the homeland. We’re taking classic Irish flavors and St. Pat’s traditions and transforming ‘em into delicious dishes that you’ll definitely want to eat more than once a year. The best part? They’re super simple, so you’ll have plenty to time to join in all of the festive fun. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Corned Beef Melts with Sweet and Sour Onions and Wilted Cabbage

 

Guinness Float

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

 

Bailey’s Coffee Cake

More Holiday Menus

Mardi Gras

Three King’s Day

New Years

#TrendingTuesday: Mardi Gras

You may not be roaming Bourbon street, sipping on hurricanes and munching on beignets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still embrace the New Orleans-famous holiday of Mardi Gras. It’s Fat Tuesday, people, and you should be celebrating. Whether you’re looking for a snack native to the Bayou or a full blown Big Easy dinner, we’ve got the perfect recipes to suit your fancy. So dig out your beads and masks and get cooking, y’all!

 

Shrimp & Grits

 

Battered Okra Bites

 

Chicken Andouille & Shrimp Jambalaya

 

Beignets

 
 
 

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Zucchini

Do the Dip

Bacon-Wrapped Anything

Happy Three Kings Day!

Not ready for the holiday season to be over? You’re in luck! Today is Three Kings Day! This traditional Mexican and Latin American holiday celebrates the day the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem. A traditional King Cake is baked, and a small plastic doll is hidden inside to symbolize baby Jesus. ABC’s The Chew’s Evette Rios shared her fabulous Cream Cheese King Cake with us, and we’ve pulled a few other sweet treats that can help you enjoy one last celebration.

 

Cream Cheese King Cake

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Healthy Holiday Lunch with Top Chef Richard Blais

During the winter months, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet while still indulging in all of our favorite holiday treats. Top Chef Richard Blais and Alli hosted a luncheon at the Andaz Hotel to show that eating well during the holidays is manageable, without sacrificing on flavor and your favorite holiday recipes. Chef Blais has recently lost over 60 pounds by maintaining an active lifestyle and balanced diet, and his demonstration proved that you don’t have to be a top chef to eat and cook healthfully.

Chef Blais shared some helpful tips on how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays as he prepared a healthy and fantastic lunch. He started with a raw beet salad with jicama, apple & mustard dressing, explaining that the term “salad” shouldn’t sound boring: it shouldn’t signify just leafy greens, but rather “any combination of fruits and vegetables, tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette.” Blais also shared a tip that’s all too familiar to Rachael Ray readers, that your vegetable stems are just as delicious to eat and fun to cook with as the vegetables themselves.

 

 

Next, Chef Blais moved on to a beautiful rack of lamb with date syrup and Swiss chard. He wanted to make something alternative to the traditional turkey, while staying true to holiday flavors. He explained how to add flavor without adding fat, by incorporating spices and herbs to make a dish more savory. He also shared how to liven up a dish with an element of citrus, but if you’re looking to get a citrus flavor without the acidity of an actual orange, lemon or lime, adding the zest will do the trick.

 

 

Finally, Chef Blais demonstrated how using a whipped cream canister can cut calories by adding volume to desserts, and thus helping with portion control. He made a whipped buttermilk and Greek yogurt parfait with lavender honey, clementines and puffed rice cereal, and shared how adding flavors we normally associate with sweet (such as vanilla, cinnamon and lavender) without adding an actual sweet element is a great way to add flavor without making a dish unhealthy, too.

 

It was a truly inspiring and delicious afternoon with Chef Richard Blais that left me feeling full and satisfied without that lingering holiday guilt. I hope to use some of his helpful tips in my own cooking all year round!

 

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12 Days of Cookies Day 1: Buttery Holiday Cookies

Christmas time is upon us, and what better way to count down the days than with cookies? Over the next three weeks, we’ll be sharing 16 different cookie recipes. The best part? They all start with the same base dough, so you can mix and match flavors as you please! Holiday baking just got a whole lot easier.

 

 

For our inaugural #RRcookiecountdown post, we’re sharing the recipe for our Buttery Holiday Cookie dough that’ll be the base for the rest of your doughs. But don’t worry–if you want to stop here, the dough is just as delicious by itself or covered in frosting!

 

Buttery Holiday Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Halve the dough, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies, transfer to cookie sheets and chill 15 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks. Decorate with Easy Icing and sprinkles.

Easy Icing

In a medium bowl, stir 2 cups confectioners’ sugar with 3 tbsp. whole milk and 3 tbsp. melted butter. Thin with a few drops of water to desired consistency.

 

Be sure to check out our Holiday Cookies Pinterest Board for enough recipes to last throughout the new year! We’ll be pinning and instagramming all season long.

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Charm Them with Cheese!

Your holiday cheese plate is only as good as its pairings. Our five favorite fromages–each perfect on its own–become utterly sublime when put together and served with their best sidekicks.

 

Cheddar: Strong English-style cheddars can stand up to bold, salty meats, like salami (though garlicky ones will overtake the cheese’s complex flavor). Walnuts bring out cheddar’s earthiness.

Blue: When serving a blue, think sweet: honey (its classic match), bittersweet chocolate, dried dates and even that seasonal standby, fruitcake.

 

Triple-Créme: Truth is, you don’t want to muck up an already perfect triple-créme with anything fancy. For textural contrast, munch on a handful of hazelnuts.

 

Goat: Tart dried fruits like apricots or cranberries compliment the tang of goat cheese. Crumbly, buttery pine nuts are small enough to press right into the cheese.

 

Sheep’s-Milk: Take a cue from Spanish tapas bars and serve sheep’s-milk cheese with sweet, slightly tart membrillo (quince paste), available at cheese shops and many supermarkets. Roasted almonds bring out the cheese’s nutty, salty flavors.

Tip: Contrary to popular wisdom, not every cheese should be eaten with bread or crackers. Harder cheese don’t have much moisture, so the combination can be unappetizingly dry. Eat those on their own and save the carbs for creamier cheeses.

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Cocktails, Anyone?

Because the holiday gatherings deserve better than the stuff in the carton, we’re sharing our favorite recipes for Eggnog! Just start with our classic recipe for Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Eggnog, then can change it up…two different ways!

 

 

 

Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Eggnog


Chocolate-Hazelnut Eggnog

Change it up based on the Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Eggnog: In Step 1, whisk 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread and 6 tbsp. cocoa powder into the egg yolk-sugar  mixture; substitute brandy for the bourbon; omit the nutmeg. To serve, moisten the rims of 8 glasses with water, then dip them in 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts Fill the glasses with ice and then the eggnog. Garnish with dark-chocolate shavings.

 

Coconut Eggnog Floats

Change it up based on the Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Eggnog: In step 1, substitute 1 cup canned cream of coconut for the 1/2 cup sugar and spiced rum for the bourbon; omit the nutmeg. Pour into glasses and top with scoops of coconut sorbet or ice cream. Sprinkle with large flakes of toasted coconut. Serve with spoons.

 

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Technique Tuesday: Latke Lessons

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, the holiday season is a perfect time for potato latkes. They’re basically a blank canvas for a myriad of flavors and toppings. So whether you like sweet or savory, traditional or something different, here are three quick tips that’ll take you from latke novice to potato pancake pro:

 

 

Oil Check

Test the oil’s temp by dropping in a tiny bit of latke batter. It should sizzle but not burn. If the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat down. No sizzle? Crank it up a bit. As you cook, you may need to keep adjusting the heat.

 

Flat-Out Delicious

Dollop the latke batter into the hot oil, then flatten with a metal spatula. An even latke will cook up crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

 

Goodbye, Grease

Transfer the latkes to a paper-towel-lined plate to sop up extra oil.

 

Get all of our potato pancake recipes here!

 

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Thanksgiving + Hanukkah  = Thanksgivukkah!

 

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

As the holidays approach, we know how essential it is to have the perfect hostess gift. But why settle for the usual flower bouquet or box of chocolates when you can give something truly special and personalized? Personal Wine is a company that will let you do just that.

 

 

Ranging from custom labels to etched wine accessories and more, Personal Wine will help you send the perfect message for any occasion. First, choose from a wide range of red, white or sparkling wines. Then pick out a label or engraving with a special message, and you’ll be well on your way to winning Dinner Guest of the Year.

 

 

 

But the holiday cheer doesn’t stop there; now through December 10th, you can enter the promo code RAY15 for a 15% discount off your entire purchase! Now, can gift giving get any better than that?!

 

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