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Serve Up Simple Holiday Comforts

Everyone deserves a warm welcome during the holidays — especially your loved ones. But instead of working all day in the kitchen while the kids are home, fill up your fridge with mouthwatering snacks. Then you can do what you do best: get comfy and focus on your family.

From savory shrimp cocktail with a make-ahead sauce, decadent bacon wrapped potatoes, to a hearty spinach dip, there’s something for even the pickiest eater in your family.

Plus, many of these recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. So what are you waiting for? Get cookin’.


CARAMEL POPCORN
Serves: 8
Difficulty: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
 

Ingredients:
3 quarts plain popped corn
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda  

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to boil, and continue to boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda, and stir. Pour over popped corn in a large bowl.  

Note: Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


SNAPPY SHRIMP COCKTAIL
Serves: 8
Difficulty: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


Ingredients:
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic
Dash of salt and pepper
1/3 c. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsps. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 pounds cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

Directions:
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft, about 3 -5 minutes.

Next, add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Fold in cilantro and serve with the shrimp.

Note: Cocktail sauce can be made up to a week ahead. Shrimp can be cooked a day ahead and served cold.


BACON WRAPPED TATERS
Serves: 8
Difficulty: 3
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (about 15), halved
15 slices bacon, halved crosswise
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. caraway seeds
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Steam the potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wrap each potato with a piece of bacon and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is crisp, 18–20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, dill, caraway seeds and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with potatoes.

Note: Bacon-wrapped potatoes can be made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Also, consider serving on bamboo skewers.


SPINACH AND CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
Serves: 8
Difficulty: 3
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 16-oz container sour cream
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and      squeezed of excess liquid
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Broccoli and cauliflower florets, endive spears and radishes, for serving

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Add the sour cream, spinach, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the onions and mix to combine. Serve with the veggies.

Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES
Serves: 6
Difficulty: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 bag of white chocolate chips
1 container of strawberries
1 c. chopped and toasted cashews

Directions:
Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl or a double boiler. Dip strawberries in chocolate and coat with chopped, toasted cashews. Place on a wax paper covered tray. Refrigerate until set.

Note: Place chocolate dipped strawberries atop wax paper in a plastic container. Layer the wax paper between strawberries before shutting lid. Freeze strawberries for up to a week and served when chilled.


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