Thursday, December 23, 2010

Easy Holiday Recipes for Kids!

Try these yummy sweet treats at home this holiday season!

No-Bake Snowball Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


3 cups powdered sugar, divided

½ cup butter, softened

¼ cup milk

1 large banana, mashed with a fork until smooth

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 cups oats

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup creamy peanut butter


  1. In a large sauce pot mix together 2 cups of the powdered sugar, butter, milk and cocoa.
  2. Place mixture on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. Have an adult help you remove the pan from the stove and pour into a large glass bowl
  3. Stir the oats, vanilla, and peanut butter into the warm sugar and mix until a dough forms
  4. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop balls of the dough into a cookie sheet lined with wax paper
  5. Place the wax paper in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
  6. Roll in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar to resemble snowballs. Store in an airtight container.

Microwave Cornbread with Honey Butter

Yield: 6-8 servings


1 ¼ cups flour

¾ cup yellow corn meal

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 egg

¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature

¼ cup honey


  1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt
  2. In a small bowl mix together the milk, oil and egg
  3. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough
  4. Pour the batter into an ungreased glass or plastic pie plate or round microwaveable cake pan.
  5. Microwave at on high for 5-6 minutes, or until the surface of the bread looks dry
  6. Have an adult help you remove the hot pan from the microwave and let the bread cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting
  7. To make the honey butter, place the softened butter and honey in a bowl and stir with a spatula to evenly combine. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Gooey Chocolate Cake in a Microwave

Yield: 4 servings


3 Tbsp butter, softened

¼ c white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ c milk

½ c all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

¼ tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt


  1. Spray a medium microwave-safe bowl with non-stick spray and set aside
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and milk; blend together. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; blend into the mixture until smooth. Pour into greased bowl.
  3. Cook in the microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched. Since all microwaves cook differently, adjust the cooking time to accommodate your machine. To serve, let the cake cool five minutes, then cover the bowl with a plate and turn both bowl and plate upside down so the cake falls onto the plate.

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

Yield: 6-8 servings


1 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave

½ c sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ c milk

2 eggs, beaten together

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 ½ c bread cubes – buy a pre-sliced baguette and let kids tear the slices into pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease oven-safe ramekins or a medium casserole dish with butter and place the bread cubes in the dishes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted chocolate
  4. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat in the milk mixture, then add in the chocolate chips. Let this mixture stand, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture.
  5. Use a big spoon to divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins or pour the whole bowl into the prepared casserole dish
  6. Bake pudding for about 12-15 minutes or until set. Check pudding by inserting a toothpick through the middle and it should come out clean.
  7. Serve the pudding warm, with or without whipped cream

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 10 items you need in your holiday pantry!

Let Chef Katie take the stress out of holiday entertaining with a quick kitchen makeover! Whether you need to create delicious dishes for for a festive feast, or simply whip up quick, tasty appetizers for pop-in guests, you'll have just what you need in a pantry stocked with these staples.

1. French Baguettes
While this might not seem like an item you can keep on hand for weeks, baguettes actually freeze quite well; I always pick up an extra when they’re on special at the store, cut it into thin slices, and freeze the pieces in an airtight bag. When I need to throw together a quick and easy party appetizer, toasted crostini are my go-to recipe; to make them, simply thaw the bread at room temperature, sprinkle lightly with water, and bake in at 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes to warm through. Finish of the dish with cheeses, jams, vegetable ragu, or other seasonal toppings.

2. Olives
These salty bites can be served alone or alongside nuts, cheeses, and charcuterie on an antipasto plate, pureed in a delicious tapenade, or even tossed in a warm tomato sauce over broiled fish or cooked pasta. I like to keep a few jars of Kalamata, green, and even blue cheese-stuffed olives in the pantry for making warm marinated olives (think lemon or orange zest, fresh minced garlic, and chopped herbs – yum!).

3, 4, & 5. Horseradish, Quality Mustard, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
More than just condiments for your Christmas roast! Prepared horseradish mixed with sour cream is great for topping mashed potatoes and adds a kick to your favorite dips (think spinach and artichoke, blue crab, or any other creamy, cheesy spread). A spoonful of mustard added to a pan sauce puts a delicious gourmet twist on your classic main dishes, or simmer aged balsamic vinegar with brown sugar until reduced by half and use as a glaze over roasted vegetables, meats, and even fresh cheeses.

6 & 7. Canned Tomatoes and Dried Pasta
Nothing beats the winter blues like a big warm bowl of pasta! I keep my pantry stocked with cans of whole, crushed, and paste to whip up an easy tomato sauce, bisque, or even a batch of comforting chili for easy weeknight dinners and casual family entertaining.

8. Frozen Puff Pastry
Whether you’re in need of a fancy holiday main dish (think filet de bouef Wellington) or a quick and easy sweet treat (chocolate croissants anyone?), frozen puff pastry sheets can be rolled, cut, and baked off in no time. I use this for everything from mini tart shells for cooked mushroom ragu to individual apple-cranberry turnovers when I don’t have the time to measure, mix, and roll fresh dough.

9. Beans
Think beans are boring? Think again! Beans can add a filling, flavorful shot of protein to lots of great winter dishes. Toss them into soups, hearty salads, or create a homemade hummus dip that will truly impress your guests.

10. Wine
It's great to cook with, great to drink, and of course, it makes a great holiday gift, too!

Chef Katie leads a class on Holiday Cocktail Party Pairings. View our upcoming easy entertaining classes.