Bring out the thermos! On cold winter days, warm food makes for a soothing school lunch. We've rounded up 15 kid-friendly hot dishes — from savory soups to comforting pastas — that'll stay deliciously flavorful and toasty 'til lunch.
A touch of heat can make any meal go from bland to brilliant in just a drop or pinch. To get that same zest, turn to these spicy food recipes, many of which are ready in less than half an hour. With that kind of cooking time, they're bound to end up in your weekly rotation.
While the chefs are slow cooking à la sous-vide, we'll stick to a good old-fashioned Crock-Pot. Toss in all the ingredients in the morning, plug it in, and let the cooker do all the work for you during the day. Don't you love coming home to a warm, aromatic house with dinner already ready?
If you will be entertaining this holiday season, be very aware that though the holidays are a time of fun and celebration, they can quickly morph into an embarrassing fiasco if you don’t make the right preparations. To ensure that your planned celebration runs smoothly, here are five things you will want to consider the next time you host a holiday dinner celebration.
1. Unexpected Guests
So you have planned, plotted and everything is perfect for the upcoming dinner party. That is, until you realize that you don’t have enough food. You would have had enough food, except a cousin that you have not seen in two years brought along three uninvited guests! So what do you do now? First of all, always plan to have a little more food than the guests you expect to have. During holiday celebrations, most people tend to be a bit more lax about their diets and will indulge in bigger portions. Apart from that, plan to accommodate at least three to five more people than expected for a small (less than 10 people) holiday dinner. That way, you will always to be prepared. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed if there are leftovers after a holiday meal.
2. Food Allergies
Once you have invited the guests, make sure that you inquire about any food allergies that they may have. Forget about being embarrassed, such a mistake could be downright deadly. Something like lobster bisque or seafood gumbo is a little more obvious to someone that has a seafood allergy. Less blatant are things like peanut and walnut oil (possibly used in fried turkey or salad dressing) and wheat (found in all-purpose flour and likely used as a thickener in gravy). Most people that have known allergies will be diligent about avoiding certain foods, but if the ingredients are hidden as in the examples above, it will be up to you (the host) to remember and alert guests if needed.
3. Properly Cooking the Turkey
The best way to avoid undercooking a turkey is to plan to cook the turkey according to the weight of the bird. In other words, keep the packaging or be sure to write down the size of the turkey so that you don’t forget. A 10-18 pound unstuffed bird should be cooked for 3-3 ½ hours. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that the thickest part of the thigh registers at 180˚F when done. The "pop up" timer that comes inserted in most turkey breasts should not be used to determine the "doneness" of the turkey because white meat cooks more quickly than dark meat. In addition, make sure that the turkey is properly thawed before you cook it. For every five pounds, allowing 24 hours to defrost is always a good idea.
4. Remove the Turkey's Giblets
Turkey, turkey, turkey… there is so much to remember. Speaking of which, don’t forget to remove the giblets before cooking. If you any questions about cooking your turkey, Butterball has a toll free number (1-800- BUTTERBALL) that's available in November and December of every year. The operation is staffed by true home economic professionals and they are ready to answer your most difficult and daunting turkey questions.
5. Stock Your Paper Products
Besides having enough food and drinks available, one of the other most important things to have on hand at a holiday dinner party is paper products. It would be incredibly embarassing if you run out of toilet paper. Can you imagine that? Not a good vision at all. Maybe not likely, but it's best to be prepared. What is inevitable though, is that you will need paper towel at some time during the evening. You may even need a lot of it. So do yourself a favor and make sure that it is on hand. Next time you decide to get some family and friends together for a holiday dinner party, plan for the unexpected, ask about allergies, check the turkey and please, please don’t forget the toilet paper.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.
Still full from an indulgent Thanksgiving feast last Thursday? After a recent run of rich dishes, a little cleanse may be in order. Here are five healthy dinner ideas for this week that are light on the waistline, but still packed with flavor.
When everyone's in town for the holidays, that calls for a special blowout brunch. Since you're probably still recovering from the large feast, forget about standing over the stove, making batch after batch of pancakes and eggs. Instead, select recipes that are a breeze to make and require little prep. And since there are so many mouths to feed, choose dishes that can easily be made in large batches. Here are a few of our suggestions.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
No fancy equipment is required for a homemade pumpkin spice latte. Heat up milk and pumpkin in the microwave, then blend the two to create a frothy top for your coffee. It's a special way to drink coffee during brunch, and the alluring scent from the spices will convince the family that no one will need to venture out to satisfy a Starbucks fix.
Mimosas Three Ways
For the adults of the household, serve bottomless mimosas three ways: with pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice, lime slices and lime juice, and orange wedges and orange juice.
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
When pancakes and waffles are too much trouble, opt for blueberry cornbread muffins to please the sweet tooths of the family. The cornmeal adds an unexpected texture, and the blueberries pop with every bite to reveal their sweet berry juices. You can always use frozen blueberries or experiment with other fruits like dried cranberries or fresh cranberries, soaked in orange juice overnight.
Winter Fruit Salad
Combine a simple fruit salad made of seasonal Winter fruits like pomegranate, orange, and kiwi.
Baked Eggs in a Ham Shell
Rather than making run-of-the-mill scrambled eggs, bake your eggs in salty ham shells, using a ramekin to hold their shape. Each person can personalize the shells by adding cheese, aromatic vegetables, and vegetables to his or her liking.
Fingerling potatoes are naturally buttery in flavor and texture, plus their small size makes them easy to cut and faster to cook. If you prefer them crunchy, roast them in a 400ºF oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until they develop brown edges and are tender on the inside.
Vegetarian Baked Eggs
If anyone in the household is meat-free, prepare this baked eggs in a cinnamon tomato sauce, topped with long shavings of pecorino romano.
Gloomy weather and declining daylight calls for finding comfort in every which way, particularly on the plate. And while my ultimate comfort food harks back to childhood — ultrasimple egg noodles with butter and parmesan cheese — I turn to these classics when I'm looking for something a bit more dynamic.
One of the main stresses in my life happens to be doing the dishes. Cooking a delicious, homemade meal is great and all, but the war zone of dirty dishes that emerges from that can be totally disheartening. That's why I like to turn to one-pot meals that minimize the mess. Here are five delicious recipes that only require one dish.
Thanksgiving may be the tastiest day of the year, so why celebrate it only once? Instead, plan a Friendsgiving party, a meal where flavor trumps fuss and drama is not allowed. The only necessary ingredients are implied: your second family (friends). Beyond that, look to these recipes, which fall into at least one of these categories: supersimple, make-ahead, or easily transportable (so as to divvy up the responsibilities within your group of friends).
The Normandy CocktailFriendsgiving is not Friendsgiving without booze, and lots of it. If you're a cocktail aficionado, shake up easy yet impressive cranberry-apple Calvados cocktails, otherwise ample beer and wine are the way to go. Our top pick? Sparkling wine or Prosecco (or even the champagne of beers)— its light flavor and effervescence plays nicely with everything from cheese to stuffing.
Caramel-Topped BrieLeave elaborate appetizers for the big day and instead set out a simple cheese plate — preferably with this four-ingredient (including crackers for serving) caramel-topped brie at its center. Spiced nuts are an excellent low-fuss alternative or addition: make your own or pick up a bag at Trader Joe's (their rosemary Marcona almonds are a standout).
Do images of gray canned green beans and soup that stands up on its own volition come to mind when you think canned food? Think again. Time and time again we turn to the pantry when looking to pull together last-minute meals or set the foundation for an elaborate weekend project. From the classic to the exotic, here's what we keep in our cupboards.
- Tomatoes: While few things beat a juicy peak-season tomato, the rest of the year, canned tomatoes are the way to go. We're partial to whole over diced: whole tomatoes tend to be higher quality and are more versatile.
- Fish: Keep tuna, anchovies, and sardines on hand to add briny bite to salads, or even eat straight out of the tin. Look for those that are packed in their own juices or olive oil, although the best anchovies tend to be packed in salt.
- Pumpkin: As a general rule of thumb, fresh pumpkin is a better choice in savory applications, but canned is the way to go for baked goods, thanks to its consistent moisture levels and smoother texture. Just make sure to choose plain pumpkin over pumpkin pie filling, which is already sweetened and spiced.
- Beans: Canned beans reign supreme when it comes to whipping up speedy weeknight meals. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse away the briny liquid before using.
- Condensed and evaporated milk: Both of these cooked dairy products are baker's staples, essential for key lime pie, dulce de leche, and fudge.