Flavorful holiday dishes for every course
(Family Features) Whether this holiday marks your culinary debut or you’re a seasoned chef looking for a fresh take on seasonal favorites, you can take some notes from the pros. Every good chef has an arsenal of tricks and techniques to create amazing dishes every time, and the perfect blend of spices is one of those winning secrets.
In a properly seasoned dish, the spice accents the natural flavors without overpowering them. That’s why it’s a good idea to build your menu around spices and herbs of the highest quality, such as Spice Islands, which crafts and packages spices and herbs from around the world to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible.
Add flavor-rich, seasonal spices to your holiday table with these flavorful recipes for a Traditional Turkey Rub, Cranberry Apple Chutney, Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter and Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.
From the appetizers to the main dish to dessert, flavorful seasonings can make a good recipe great. Find more ideas for spicing up your holiday menu at SpiceIslands.com.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Yield: 18 mini cheesecakes
- 18 paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch diameter)
- 18 gingersnap cookies
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- Heat oven to 325° F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Place 1 cookie in each cup.
- With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.
- Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until just set.
- Chill 1 hour.
Cranberry Apple Chutney
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 large apples, cored and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2/3 cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Minced Garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cloves
- 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- In large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, apples, sugar, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cover, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add corn syrup, vinegar and pecans. Cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Serve with roast turkey, pork roast or baked ham.
Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter
Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
- 3 pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- Thyme Butter:
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- In large bowl, combine oil, ginger and cayenne pepper. Add squash, apples and onions; toss to coat. Transfer to 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Roast in single layer 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven.
- Working in batches, combine squash mixture and one can chicken broth in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to large saucepan. Stir in remaining chicken broth and water. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
- To make thyme butter: Combine butter, thyme and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon onto wax paper and roll into 3-inch log; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm.
- To serve, cut butter into thin slices. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls; top each with slice of butter.
Tip: Puree can be made in advance, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.
Traditional Turkey Rub
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: rub for 1 turkey (about 15 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons Spice Islands Crushed Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Onion Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
- sea salt
- Spice Islands Ground Black Pepper
- pure olive oil (optional)
- 1 turkey
- In small bowl, combine rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder and cinnamon. Generously add salt and pepper. Lightly coat turkey with oil, if desired.
- Rub all surfaces of turkey with seasoning. Roast according to package directions.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (whole turkey on platter)
Source: Spice Islands
(Family Features) Fall is the perfect time to welcome warm, robust flavors to your kitchen as well as your wine glass. With its bold, spicy, dark fruit flavors, cabernet sauvignon is a perfect wine for crisp fall weather.
Cabernet sauvignon is more versatile for pairing than some believe. It pairs well with different cheeses, meats, hearty vegetables and even fish. The key to creating a great dining experience is balancing the flavor of the meal with an elegantly balanced wine. When cooking, consider the three main flavors: sweet, salty and sour.
Sweet sauces can make cabernet sauvignon taste harsh and astringent, which takes away from the fresh fruit flavors in the wine. However, sour and salty flavors can make the wine taste more vibrant, creating a velvety mouthfeel of soft tannins while making the fruit taste more pronounced.
A well-balanced cabernet, such as Sequoia Grove Winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with any meat or fish that is prepared with an acidic sauce or when given a squeeze of lemon juice. The winery, located in the heart of the Rutherford region in Napa Valley, specializes in the production of elegant, food-friendly cabernet sauvignon. Crafted by winemaker Molly Hill, the wine has aromatics of bright black cherries and blackberry, followed by cinnamon with a touch of black pepper. The palate is elegant with a round, full body, soft tannins and tasty blackberry flavors.
This recipe for a savory lamb shank stew has just the right amount of salt, acid and spice to create a deliciously balanced meal that is perfect to pair with an elegant glass of cabernet sauvignon. Learn more about Sequoia Grove’s wines and tasting seminars that include pairing suggestions at SequoiaGrove.com.
Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Stew
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon juice
- In slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf; stir.
- Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours.
- Transfer lamb shanks to large serving dish. Remove bay leaf from cooking liquid. Using blender or stick blender, add generous squeeze of lemon juice to cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Pour some sauce over shanks. Serve with cauliflower puree and glass of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits
- 4 (10- to 14-ounce) Omaha Steaks rib eye steaks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 teaspoons Blackening Seasoning (recipe below) or Omaha Steaks Blackened Seasoning
- 1 cup Creamy Horseradish Sauce (recipe below) or Omaha Steaks Creamy Horseradish Sauce
- 3 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon green onions, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- Heat a cast iron skillet until very hot, in a well ventilated area.
- Brush steaks with olive oil.
- Coat each side of the steaks with 1 teaspoon of blackening seasoning.
- Place steaks in the iron skillet, flipping steaks halfway through cooking. To cook a 1-inch-thick steak medium rare, cook about 4 minutes on first side and 3 minutes on other side.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of Creamy Horseradish Sauce on each plate before topping with the cooked steak.
- Blackening Seasoning - Yield 1 cup -Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Creamy Horseradish Sauce - Yield 1 cup -Combine all ingredients and mix well.
SOURCE: Omaha Steaks
(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board
(Family Features) - In the restaurant world, professional chefs can afford to spend hours on their culinary creations. When they come home after a long day, however, even the most passionate cooks tend to relish a few cooking shortcuts. From simple recipes to pantry essentials, there are a variety of tips and tricks that home cooks can add to their repertoire, too.
Timesaving products, such as prepared stock and mashed potatoes, allow home cooks to replicate restaurant-quality dishes without spending all day over a hot stove. Here are a few recipes that are easy to prepare, but rich with flavor.
For an elegant main course, try Pan Sautéed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs. This moist, flavorful dish gets its richness from Swanson chicken stock. Or trade in the traditional salmon filet for savory Butter and Herb Salmon Cakes. Made with cayenne, tarragon, garlic and Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, these cakes are a cinch to prepare, but friends and family will think you ordered in.
Butternut Squash Soup With Sage is a show-stopping first course that is accented with the flavors of sweet apples and sage. For an appetizer that will please a crowd, try Four-Cheese Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 bone-in chicken breast halves
- 2 small red onions, cut into quarters
- 1 pound new potatoes, cut into quarters
- 8 ounces fresh whole baby carrots (about 16), green tops trimmed to 1 inch
- 1 1/2 cups Swanson chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Heat oven to 350°F. Combine black pepper, paprika and flour in small bowl. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
- Heat the oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet.
- Add onions and potatoes to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups Swanson chicken broth (regular, Natural Goodness or Certified Organic)
- 1 tablespoon butter OR margarine
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- Heat oil in saucepot over medium heat. Add squash, apples and onion and cook until almost tender. Stir in sugar, coriander and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
- Add broth. Heat to a boil. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Place cooked squash mixture in food processor, using a slotted spoon. Cover and blend until smooth, adding enough cooking liquid to make soup of desired consistency.
- Heat butter in small skillet. Add sage and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve butter in skillet. Divide soup among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with sage butter and garnish with fried sage leaves.
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 10 to 12-ounce salmon filet
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 4-ounce pouch Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, dry
- Canola oil
- In a medium pot, boil 4 cups water with the juice of the lemons, placing one lemon half in the water. Reduce heat to a simmering boil. Poach salmon filet in water by cooking, covered, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until done. Remove with spatula. Set aside to cool.
- When salmon is cool, combine with celery, onion, mayonnaise, cayenne, tarragon, garlic, dry mustard, salt and black pepper in large bowl and mix well. Add dry potatoes slowly while mixing until everything is moist.
- Form patties and cook in preheated canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until both sides are brown (3 minutes per side).
- Serve hot.
- 1 4-ounce package Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- 12 large mushrooms or 18 medium mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Prepare potatoes as package directs.
- Remove stems from mushrooms; chop stems and set aside. Carefully scoop out center of each mushroom cap with a spoon, leaving 1/2-inch shell.
- Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add chopped mushroom stems and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons chives and salt.
- Fill each mushroom cap with potato mixture, mounding it slightly. Bake 10 minutes or until potatoes are lightly golden. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.