A festive menu suitable for family and friends

Hearty snacks, seasonal sides, tasty main courses and mouth-watering desserts complement each other perfectly for the holiday season with loved ones. This year, when planning your menu, be sure to consider recipes that will satisfy family and friends from the time they hang up their coats to the goodbye hugs.

These delicious options for a satisfying bread bowl, pumpkin-spiced potatoes, artfully glazed lamb chops, and a fresh apple pie can get your guests running to the kitchen (and keeping them there) while you are celebrating all the season has to offer.

Wave vacationers with a bowl of bread
While your loved ones patiently wait for the main course to be served, hearty appetizers like bowls of bread can keep the appetite at bay. This spinach-ham dip is the perfect combination of comfort and satisfaction when served with cubes of bread, crackers or tortilla chips for a warming snack before the big meal.


2 cups of ricotta
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
¼ pound of ham, cut into cubes
¾ cup of grated Parmesan
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 round loaf (16 ounces), not sliced

■ Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
■ In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add the spinach, ham, Parmesan and green onions; mix until well blended.
■ Cut a circle 1 to 2 inches in diameter from the top of the bun. Reserve at the top. Remove the bread from the inside of the bread, leaving about 1 inch on the sides. Pour the cheese mixture into a bread bowl. Replace the top. Cover bread with foil and bake for 60 minutes, or until heated through.
■ Take the bread removed from the inside of the bread bowl and cut it into dip-sized pieces.
■ Remove bread from foil and place on a plate. Divide the bread pieces around the bread bowl to dip them in the cheese sauce.

A side of the season with a flavorful touch
No matter what life may be like this holiday season, you can put a smile on the faces of your loved ones with classic dishes and sides that are fondly remembered.
Use a traditional holiday ingredient, potatoes, for easy but delicious recipes like these Pumpkin-Spice Scalloped Potatoes. Perfect to accompany your favorite main course, they are a delicious twist on a classic sweet potato casserole.
Plus, they’re made from ready-made little potatoes without any washing or peeling, perfect for busy families at busy holiday gatherings. To save time, use the slicer attachment in a food processor to evenly slice potatoes in minutes.

Baby potatoes with pumpkin spices. Courtesy photo


3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
2 ½ cups of milk
1 ½ pounds small potatoes, sliced ​​1/8 inch, kept in water until ready to use
5 slices thick sliced ​​bacon, sliced, cooked until crispy and drained
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons of water
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

■ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
■ In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low then slowly add the milk gradually, making sure it is incorporated before adding more. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
■ In a bowl, add the drained potatoes, sauce, bacon, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Season with salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
■ In a greased 8 x 11-inch baking dish, line the potatoes on the sides in the desired pattern. Stuff the extra bacon between the potatoes with any leftovers left in the bowl. Pour additional sauce over the potatoes.
■ Cook for 60 minutes.
■ In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar and water. Cook to melt the sugar and simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the pecans; stir for 2 minutes. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let cool. Once cooled, cut into pieces.
■ Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle pecans on top.
Serve a seasonal treat
No seasonal gathering is complete without dessert, and quality baking during the holidays results in fresh dishes like apple pie.
Allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon add spice to this holiday favorite while brown sugar adds a touch of caramel sweetness with a subtle, chewy and nutty molasses flavor, ideal for desserts of all kinds.

Apple pie. Courtesy photo


1 prepared 9-inch double crust pie crust, divided
¾ cup Domino light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 pounds of apples, cored, quartered and sliced
¼ teaspoon of chili

■ Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 9-inch pie dish with half-dough then prick the bottom and sides with a fork.
■ In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add apples and toss to coat evenly. Heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the apples begin to soften and cook, up to about 6 cups.
■ Pour apple mixture into a lined pie plate. Top with the rest of the dough. Cut and flute the edges with a fork. Split the top crust to allow steam to escape.
■ Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
■ Serve hot or at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Add color and flavor to the holiday table
When a holiday celebration calls for a truly memorable meal, this is the perfect opportunity to serve up a dish that just might become a family favorite. Combining a seasonal staple like cranberries with naturally tasty lamb could be your ticket to a new tradition.
Maple Cranberry Glazed Grass-Fed Lamb Chops can brighten up your holiday table with an irresistible and deliciously red lamb pop.

Maple-cranberry-glazed grass-fed lamb chops. Courtesy photo

Cranberry and Maple Glazed Lamb Chops

1 cup fresh or thawed cranberries
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons of orange zest
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
crushed black pepper

Lamb chops:
8-10 Lamb chops
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
olive oil

■ To make the frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Put aside.
■ To make lamb chops: Pat the lamb chops dry with paper towel.
■ In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and garlic powder.
■ Sprinkle dry rub over lamb chops and press mixture into meat.
■ In a large pan, heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Sear chops for 2 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 140 F. Remove chops from pan and set aside.
■ Add the frosting to the pan and cook, 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly until reduced by half.
■ Pour icing over chops before serving.

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