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Simple Sides for Holiday Entertaining

Simple Sides for Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) Preparing side dishes can be time consuming. Save those precious minutes to enjoy the holidays by using refrigerated, never-frozen options like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked apples and even macaroni and cheese that can be heated in the microwave and ready to serve in minutes.

Like many hosts, you are likely searching for perfection in your holiday get-togethers. With an ever-expanding guest list, each year may seem more and more difficult to pull off the perfect gathering. Make things easier and still delicious by serving ready-to-eat options like refrigerated macaroni and cheese made with real milk and cheese.

Perfect Holiday Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a staple on many holiday menus, but all that peeling and mashing can take hours. This year, save time by using refrigerated, ready-to-eat mashed potatoes, such as Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes, which taste just like homemade.

  • Add your family’s special ingredient, like sage butter, and no one will know they aren’t homemade.
  • Microwave the mashed potatoes just before dinner or throw them in a crockpot on low and pitch the packaging so no one knows you didn’t make them ahead of time.
  • Buy a couple extra and store them in the fridge in case you have unexpected holiday guests.

Find more ideas to make your holiday sides simply delicious at bobevansgrocery.com.

Fancy Mac

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          package Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1          package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/4    cups shredded Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1          package Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2          eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Spray four ramekins with cooking spray.
  2. Heat macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Once cooked, stir in spinach, 1 cup cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.
  3. Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes to cool. Add eggs. Spoon evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 20 minutes, or until centers are set.

Sweet Potato Cookies

Prep time: 28-33 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Serves: 36

  • 3/4       cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4       cup brown sugar
  • 1          large egg
  • 1          cup Bob Evans Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 2          cups all-purpose flour
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1          cup butter, unsalted
  • 3          cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon maple extract
  • chopped honey roasted pecans (optional)
  • mini marshmallows (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large bowl, using hand mixer or paddle attachment, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
  3. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture until well mixed. Using small cookie scoop, drop rounds onto greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.
  5. In separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and maple extract until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost each cooled cookie with maple butter cream frosting.
  6. Sprinkle with pecans and mini marshmallows, if desired. Carefully toast marshmallows with culinary torch, if desired, while avoiding melting frosting.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Mini Hash Brown Casseroles

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 24

  • 1          pound Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage
  • 4          large eggs
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 1          package (20 ounces) Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
  • 3          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1          cup ham, cubed
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
  3. In bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, black pepper and cheese; mix thoroughly. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Substitution: For healthier alternative, substitute 1 cup AllWhites liquid egg whites instead of eggs.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 40

  • 2          packages Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, slices cut in half
  • 1          package Bob Evans White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
  • 1          package garlic herb cheese spread
  • 20        jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded with membranes removed
  • 1/4       cup brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Set bacon out to thaw to room temperature so it is pliable.
  2. In mixing bowl, use rubber spatula to combine mashed potatoes and garlic herb cheese. Stir until incorporated. Spread 1 teaspoon mashed potato mixture in each jalapeno half; level each with butter knife or spatula.
  3. Wrap each jalapeno with bacon; use three half slices for large jalapenos or two halves for smaller sizes. Be sure bacon is wrapped sealing in mashed potato mixture tightly.
  4. In small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Generously sprinkle over bacon and pat gently to make it stick.
  5. Line cookie sheet with piece of parchment paper so sugar does not burn to pan. Bake until bacon reaches desired crispiness, around 25-35 minutes.
  6. Let peppers cool slightly before serving, about 5 minutes.

SOURCE:
Bob Evans

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Holiday Baking for Family and Friends

A holiday season filled with gatherings calls for simple recipes that make baking for family and friends easy and enjoyable.

Traditions are often enjoyed more around the holidays and some classic flavors are must-haves for seasonal parties and dinners. Individually portioned desserts are ideal for entertaining, and these smooth, creamy cheesecakes with vivid holiday color are a perfect single serving that is sure to brighten any dessert table. Or put a festive twist on apple pie with a cinnamon roll-inspired crust.

Each of these desserts features quick and easy preparation, and the delicious flavors of Lucky Leaf Fruit Fillings, which use high-quality fruit and contain no high-fructose corn syrup, for great tasting desserts every time. An array of popular flavors like apple, blueberry, cherry and strawberry make it possible to prepare your favorite holiday desserts in minutes.

Find more inspiration for this season’s holiday baking at luckyleaf.com.

Mini Marbled Cherry Cheesecakes

18        chocolate cookies with white filling

2          packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/3       cup sugar

2          eggs

1          teaspoon vanilla

1          can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Premium Cherry Fruit Filling, divided

Heat oven to 350 F.  Line muffin tins with 18 paper liners.

Place one chocolate cookie in bottom of each paper liner.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Fold in half of fruit filling. Fill each muffin liner about three-fourths full with mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until done. Cool. Top each cheesecake with spoonful of remaining fruit filling.

Cinnamon Apple Pie

1          refrigerated pie crust

1          tablespoon butter, melted

2          teaspoons ground cinnamon

2          cans (21 ounces each) Lucky Leaf Premium Apple Fruit Filling

1          stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened

1          cup flour

1          cup light brown sugar

1/2       cup powdered sugar, plus additional (optional)

1/4       teaspoon vanilla

1/4       teaspoon cinnamon

2          teaspoons milk, plus additional (optional)

Heat oven to 400 F.

On lightly floured surface, unroll pie crust. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Roll up tightly and slice into 1/2-inch rounds, like miniature cinnamon rolls.

Press miniature cinnamon rolls evenly into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate, making sure there are no spaces between rolls. Pour fruit filling on top of crust.

In large bowl, using pastry blender, combine stick of butter, flour and brown sugar, until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple filling.

Bake pie until top and crust are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 40-45 minutes (cover top and crust with foil, if necessary, to prevent from getting too dark). Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk to form icing. Add more sugar or milk, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Drizzle icing over cooled pie.

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Poppable, Handmade Holiday Decor

(Family Features) ’Tis the season to pop up some holiday fun by creating a scenic winter wonderland that tastes as great as it looks.

Gather the kids and make a hands-on family holiday tradition out of crafting festive, edible decorations. Popcorn is the perfect choice to pop up and eat while decking out your creations. At 30 calories a cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn offers a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday party nibbles. Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.

These clever recipes can help you make edible decor or gifts to give to friends, family and co-workers. Find more creative holiday recipes at popcorn.org.

Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer

Yield: 8 reindeer

8          cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn

2 1/2    cups mini marshmallows

1/2       cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips

2          tablespoons butter or light olive oil

1/4       teaspoon salt

16        pretzel sticks

16        eyeball candies

8          red candy-coated chocolate candies

Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.

In saucepan set over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.

Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls total. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.

Insert pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for eyes and red candy for nose. Let cool completely.

Tip: Eyeball candies can typically be found in baking aisles of supermarkets or bulk food stores.

Holiday Popcorn Snowman

Yield: 5 snowmen

1          package (1 pound) large marshmallows

1/4       cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional

1          teaspoon vanilla

10        cups popped popcorn

sprinkles (optional)

licorice (optional)

gum drops (optional)

cinnamon candies (optional)

In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Let stand 5 minutes.

Pour over popcorn and stir.

Butter hands well and form into balls.

Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, as desired.

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