Edible, handmade holiday decor perfect for gifting
(Family Features) ’Tis the season to pop up some holiday fun by creating a scenic winter wonderland that tastes as great as it looks.
Gather the kids and make a hands-on family holiday tradition out of crafting festive, edible decorations. Popcorn is the perfect choice to pop up and eat while trimming your popcorn tree and decking out your creations. At 30 calories a cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn offers a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday party nibbles. Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.
These clever recipes can help you make edible decor or gifts to give to friends, family and co-workers. Find more creative holiday recipes at popcorn.org.
Festive Popcorn Trees
Yield: 10 trees
- 10 cups air-popped popcorn
- 1 bag (10 ounces) miniature marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- nonstick cooking spray
- green decorating sugar
- blue decorating sugar
- 1 tube white frosting with decorating tip
- small, colorful candies (such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees)
- Place popcorn in large bowl.
- Place marshmallows and butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
- Line baking sheet with foil.
- Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop up about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
- Shape mixture into cone, keeping base flat to form tree.
- Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place tree on baking sheet.
- Make nine additional trees.
- Pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.
Serving suggestion: Place each tree on sugar cookie and decorate serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.
Notes: For best flavor and color, start recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make your own colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in bowl or shaking vigorously in sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.
Holiday Popcorn Snowman
Yield: 5 snowmen
- 1 package (1 pound) large marshmallows
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 cups popped popcorn
- sprinkles (optional)
- licorice (optional)
- gum drops (optional)
- cinnamon candies (optional)
- In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Let stand 5 minutes.
- Pour over popcorn and stir mixture.
- Butter hands well and form into balls.
- Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, as desired.
Holiday Wreath Popcorn Treats
Yield: 8 wreaths
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 quarts popped popcorn
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 3 tablespoons lime gelatin dessert mix
- small red candies
- red fruit leather
- Lightly spray large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
- In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert mix until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix until coated.
- Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into 9-inch logs then bend to form wreaths.
- Place wreaths on wax paper. Press candies and jellybeans into wreaths as decorations; cut fruit leather to make ribbon and add.
- Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage. Add ribbon tie to plastic wrap as decorative closure.
Tip: Soak saucepan before cleaning.
Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer
Yield: 8 reindeer
- 8 cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
- 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons butter or light olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 pretzel sticks
- 16 eyeball candies
- 8 red candy-coated chocolate candies
- Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
- In saucepan set over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
- Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls total. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.
- Insert pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for eyes and red candy for nose. Let cool completely.
Tip: Eyeball candies can typically be found in baking aisles of supermarkets or bulk food stores.
(Family Features) While the main course is in the oven and guests mingle in anticipation this holiday season, tide them over with simple appetizers the whole crowd will enjoy.
That sometimes tall task may be easier said than done depending on the size of your get-together, but you can make it less daunting with quick starters that incorporate dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt, which can serve as helpful on-hand ingredients that also provide flavor and nutritional value. Since dairy foods are readily available in many family kitchens, they are ideal for creating recipes for last-minute noshes and nibbles, especially perfect for holiday entertaining.
For quick snacks to help keep appetites at bay, try these Antipasti Holiday Skewers that have something for everyone with bits of pasta, cubed cheese, pepperoni and veggies. Or for a warmer dish perfect for a snowy holiday, this Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip can help chase away the chill.
Other easy ways to give the gift of dairy during the holidays by incorporating it into tasty dishes include:
- Starting the day with egg casserole or a quiche made with milk and cheese.
- Sprinkling shredded cheese on steamed vegetables, casseroles or pasta dishes.
- Replacing mayo with plain Greek yogurt in tuna or chicken salads.
- Creating warm, comforting soups using milk.
Find more dairy-inspired recipes perfect for holiday entertaining at midwestdairy.com.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach frozen, thawed and drained
- 8 ounces plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup shredded, low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons red pepper, chopped
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, yogurt, cheese, onion and garlic; mix well.
- Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
- Sprinkle with red peppers.
Nutritional information per serving: 179 calories; 12 g total fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 383 mg sodium; 227 mg potassium; 7 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein.
Antipasti Holiday Skewers
Prep time: 45 minutes
Yield: 16 skewers
- 1 package (9 ounces) cheese-filled tortellini, cooked al dente and cooled
- 1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
- 1 block (8 ounces) reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cubed
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 32 pieces turkey pepperoni
- 3 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 16 wooden skewers, 9-10 inches each
- In large bowl, marinate tortellini in Italian dressing 30 minutes in refrigerator.
- To assemble skewers, start with two pieces tortellini, one cheese cube, two spinach leaves, one pepperoni slice (folded in fourths), one tomato and repeat. Each skewer will have total of four pieces tortellini, two cheese cubes, four spinach leaves, two pepperoni slices and two tomatoes.
- Repeat until skewers are complete. Refrigerate until serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 81 calories; 2 g fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 191 mg sodium; 113 mg potassium; 8 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein.
Source: Midwest Dairy
(Family Features) The holiday season can be full of special occasions that bring friends and family together around the dining room table. While certain classic dishes may be expected, adding new recipes to your holiday menu can keep even the traditionalists reaching for seconds.
A staple of any holiday dinner is the tried-and-true green bean casserole. Tender green beans immersed in a creamy mushroom sauce that are then topped with a crunchy layer of classic French’s Fried Onions to complete the dish. These flavorful and crunchy onions can be the star ingredient of many of your holiday recipes.
The green bean casserole recipe may be an expected part of the holiday dinner spread, but you can add other sides to bring a new twist to this year’s meal. A fun way to start is a macaroni and cheese recipe with a twist to spice up the dinner table.
Mix French’s Crispy Jalapenos into your favorite mac and cheese recipe to kick the spice and crunch up a notch. Made with real jalapenos, the addition creates a flavor explosion of cheesy goodness paired with just the right amount of spice to become a new family favorite.
For more holiday recipe inspiration, visit Frenchs.com/Friendsgiving.
Crunchy Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- 8 ramekins (4 ounces each), greased
- 1 box (7 1/2 ounces) macaroni and cheese
- 1/2 cup milk, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
- 1 cup French’s Crispy Jalapenos
- Heat oven to 350° F. Place ramekins on baking sheet.
- Cook macaroni and cheese, according to package instructions.
- Stir in 1/4 cup milk, chili powder and paprika while macaroni is still hot. Add cheddar cheese and 1 cup Italian cheese blend and continue to stir, over low heat, until melted.
- Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 cup of crispy jalapenos.
- Fill ramekins topping with remaining Italian cheese blend and crispy jalapenos. Bake 10 minutes.
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups cooked cut green beans
- 1 1/3 cups French's Crispy Fried Onions, divided
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In 1 1/2-quart baking dish, mix soup, milk and pepper. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup onions.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until hot. Stir.
- Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes until onions are golden.
Substitution: Use 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) green beans, drained, in place of 4 cups cooked cut green beans.
(Family Features) From savory starters and sides to a show-stopping main course, there are so many recipes to choose from this season. The secret to creating those hallmark holiday moments – the ones that leave us with delicious memories – is choosing the right dish.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect recipe for the special holiday meal, an office potluck or a simple snack to warm up with after ice skating, these recipes are an easy way to elevate any moment with tastes you’ll savor for years to come – and leftovers you’ll devour the next day.
“Pork lends itself to a multitude of flavors and preparation methods, making it the perfect protein for any occasion,” said Pamela Johnson, Director of Consumer Communications at the National Pork Board. “You can transform a classic ham with a simple glaze or mix up your starters by adding a nutty, Spanish-inspired sauce to tender pork meatballs – giving those traditional dishes everyone loves a special touch.”
For more holiday recipes, visit PorkBeinspired.com, or try the interactive Pork Be Inspired Facebook bot that provides pork fans with great-tasting recipes. Just visit the Pork Be Inspired Facebook page, open Facebook Messenger and say, “Hi.” The bot will respond by asking questions to help you find the right recipe. You can also uncover more inspiration from the National Pork Board on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Thyme-Basted Ham with Roasted Grapes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours
Servings: 15-20 (4 ounces each)
- 1 cooked, bone-in ham (6-8 pounds), trimmed
- 1/2 cup grape jelly
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cups whole grapes (red, green or a combination)
- 4 shallots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in lower third of oven.
- In large shallow roasting pan, place ham flat-side down and score a diamond pattern about 1/8-inch deep into any fat. Season with pepper and bake 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in small saucepan over medium heat, combine jelly, butter and thyme, whisking occasionally until jelly and butter melt together and mixture comes to gentle boil, 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside. In medium bowl, combine grapes and shallots. Set aside.
- Baste ham with jelly mixture. Continue baking, basting with jelly mixture and/or pan juices about every 15 minutes. When ham’s internal temperature reaches 120° F, add grapes and shallots to roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Continue baking and basting until internal temperature reaches 140° F, 15-18 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven, transfer to cutting board and let rest 15-30 minutes. If grapes and shallots aren’t tender yet, return roasting pan to oven.
- Slice enough ham to serve and arrange on plates or platter. Season roasted grapes, shallots and pan juice mixture with pepper, and spoon some on top of ham. Serve remaining grape mixture on side.
Stuffed Pork Meatballs with Romesco
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 (40 meatballs)
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
- vegetable oil, for the baking sheet
- 3/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 40 red-pepper-stuffed green olives (not large)
- 40 wooden toothpicks or bamboo cocktail spears, for serving
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed under knife, peeled
- 2 drained, jarred roasted red bell peppers
- 1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
- 2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- To make Romesco Sauce: In food processor, drop garlic through feed tube to mince. Stop machine and add peppers, almonds, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt. Pulse about 10 times until minced. With processor running, slowly pour oil through feed tube. Transfer to serving bowl. Makes about 1 1/4 cup sauce.
- To make meatballs: Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly oil large rimmed baking sheet. In large bowl, mix bread crumbs, egg, sherry, parsley, paprika, garlic and pepper. Add ground pork and mix thoroughly but gently with hands. Using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture for each, shape into 40 meatballs. Stuff 1 olive in center of each meatball then completely enclose olive. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs 15 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue baking until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to serving platter. Spear with toothpicks and serve hot with Romesco Sauce for dipping.
Note: Romesco sauce can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Five-Spice Pork and Apple Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Fuji apple or other sweet-tart apple
- 1/4 red onion
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
- 12 cups mixed greens (about 6 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Season tenderloin on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Place tenderloin in shallow pan and roast about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches between 145° F (medium-rare) and 160° F (medium).
- While pork is cooking, core and thinly slice apple. Thinly slice onion.
- While pork is resting, in large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and remaining five-spice powder. Add greens, apple and onion; toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Arrange salad on plates or platter.
- Cut pork into thin slices. Arrange on top of salads and serve.
Source: National Pork Board