Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tips for Easy Entertaining

The holiday season is a time for celebrating and entertaining. Celebrations usually involve food of some kind. If you are entertaining, you don't want to be stressed. You want to be a successful host and enjoy the party. Here are some of my tips for easier entertaining.

If you are making a meal with multiple dishes, the preparation and cook times can be challenging. You are making multiple things with different cook times. Here are my tips to help make entertaining and cooking less stressful when entertaining.

RDtipoftheday Herbed Turkey

1) Make a plan. 
To make a plan for a successful dinner, assemble your recipes. Work backward to make a time line. For example, here's a plan for a 20-pound turkey.

Step 1: Defrost frozen turkey (about 20 pounds) in the refrigerator for 4-5 days before Thanksgiving.

Step 2: Brine or season the turkey over night.

Step 3: Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound (20 minutes x 20 pound turkey = 400 minutes or 6 hours and 40 minutes). The turkey will need about 25-30 minutes to rest after cooking to an internal temperature of 165*F. You will also need to allow time to carve the turkey. The oven may be open and shut to add extra items, so you would want to plan for the turkey needing about 7.5 hours to cook, rest, carve, and serve. If you have Thanksgiving lunch at noon, you would need to start cooking the turkey at 4:30 AM.

2) Prepare ahead.
Preparing ahead of time reduces stress. Set the table the night before if you're able. It's always nice to have something to cross off the to-do list.

Pick a simple appetizer or dessert that can be made ahead of time. Or, ask your guests to bring something. Pick up an appetizer from the store or make a fruit platter, cheese board, or vegetable platter.

Try making a turkey veggie tray with homemade hummus. The hummus can be made a few days before and refrigerated. The veggies can be washed, chopped, assembled and kept in refrigerator. You can have your kid chefs assemble the turkey. Extra hands make light work.

Try making a non-traditional dessert like my browned butter cereal treats. You can make it the day before and keep it sealed in an airtight container. These cereal treats are quick and easy to make. Kids and adults love them!

RDtipoftheday Glazed Carrots

3) Plan for extra.
This is a motto in my family. Knowing you have a little extra food prepared is nice for eliminating the mental stress caused by the question "did I make enough food?". It's also handy for the unexpected but welcome guests.  Also, who doesn't love leftovers?!?

RDtipoftheday Green Bean Bundles
4) Enjoy the party.
You've gathered your favorite people: your friends and family. You've prepped and prepared a delicious meal. Now, enjoy the party! A great host is relaxed and fully involved in the present. Have fun!

RDtipoftheday Tex Mex Deviled Eggs
To review, here are the four steps for successful entertaining.
1) Make a plan.
2) Prepare ahead.
3) Plan for extra.
4) Enjoy the party.

Stay tuned this week for leftover ideas to create new and delicious meals form your holiday leftovers. 

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders

I love Fall! The crisp air, yummy food, football, tailgating, and holiday celebrations! There's something about holiday food. It's usually decadent and reserved for a few days out of the year. But, I've created this slider, which is a play on chicken cordon blue.

This is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to prepare because ham and cheese sandwiches were my favorite sandwich when I was a kid. These are more of a "grown up" ham and cheese with chicken, which is better known as chicken cordon bleu. These bring back a childhood favorite that kids and adult will enjoy. They're even better because they're bite sized. Could it get any better?

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders
12 potato rolls or Hawaiian rolls
1 pound chicken breasts, sliced
1/2 pound ham, sliced
1 pound provolone slices
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire   
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 300* F.

Split rolls in half to make a top and bottom bun. Place the bottom rolls in a 9x13 pan.
Layer 2 slices chicken and 1 slice ham on each roll.  

Top with provolone. Add the top 'bun'. 

Mix parsley, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and garlic with melted butter. Drizzle butter on top of rolls. Toast sandwiches for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted, and the sandwiches are warm and toasted. Enjoy!

I like pairing these mini sandwiches with hummus and vegetables or baked potato soup.

P.s. This would be a great sandwich to make with Thanksgiving or Christmas leftovers. My family always has a turkey and a ham on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So you could make turkey cordon blue sandwiches. Delicious!

My Jalapeño chicken sliders would also be great. Just substitute turkey for the chicken and enjoy those leftovers!

Let me know if there are any nutrition-related topics you would like me to cover. You can comment below or tag me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

RDTOD November Favorites

Welcome to RDtipoftheday's favorites November edition. This blog series highlights my favorite recipes and things I'm loving this month! Since it is t-minus 16 days until Thanksgiving, I thought that I would focus on Thanksgiving favorites for planning and preparing the Thanksgiving meal to help make this holiday a little less stressful.

Eating & Cooking
This month I'm thinking about and preparing for Thanksgiving. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Ideas for Thanksgiving Sides and Meals
Stress-free Thanksgiving tips from Ina Garten and Good Housekeeping.

Here are make ahead ideas and Thanksgiving tips

Turkey Talk
The Thanksgiving turkey seems to be the most intimidating and stressful part of Thanksgiving for home cooks. 

Here is a step-by-step slideshow with tips on how to roast your turkey and an infographic on how to roast a turkey

Infographic from HuffingtonPost.com

Here are some Thanksgiving turkey recipes because the turkey is the star of this meal.

After you've roasted your turkey, here's a video about how to carve the turkey and a slide show from Food Network.

Now you know what to do to make a successful turkey, here are some tips on what not to do for Thanksgiving turkeys. Avoid these mistakes, and you'll be golden!

Sides and More 
Now that you've got your turkey taken care of, here are some ideas for sides to complement your main course.

If those weren't enough, here are 223 Thanksgiving recipes.

My current favorite appetizer to prepare is a crudite platter, which is a fancy way of saying a veggie tray. For one of my husband's work parties, I arranged this crudite platter to look like a turkey! It was a huge hit with the adults and kids! 

Thanksgiving and holiday foods tend to be very rich. I like to offer lighter options and always make room for fruits and vegetables. 

I love serving hummus with my vegetable tray, so here are 3 quick and tasty hummus recipes. There's a garlic & red pepper hummus, lemon & artichoke hummus, and a basil pesto hummus. So good! And, they can be made ahead!

Ideas for Thanksgiving Baking
Pie feels so festive and appropriate for the holidays. Here are 8 ideas for finishing the edges of your pie crust.

Lattice pies are impressive. Some people are intimidated to try them, but it's easier than it looks! Here's tips on how to create a lattice pie crust or here's nine pictures to walk you through each step.

Need Thanksgiving dessert ideas? Here are >100 ideas for cakes, cookies and pie - oh my!

If pies or dessert cause you stress, here's a quick and easy dessert recipe for browned butter salted cereal treats. There's no baking required. You simply mix, color, form, and cut. 

These crispy treats are officially nephew-approved! Kids and adults love these rice cereal treats. They are a simple, quick, and tasty dessert that can be made in advance. What's not to love?

Thanksgiving is a time to slow down and give thanks. I don't know how your holidays look, but sometimes my holidays get packed with so many good, fun things that it becomes stressful. The holidays are not a time for stress; they're a time to celebrate.

I hope you enjoyed these tips, recipes, and all of my favorites from this month. I'm planning some more holiday and entertaining posts that I hope you will love, so stay tuned!

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter


Friday, November 4, 2016

November Food Celebrations

Y'all I LOVE celebrations! I love birthdays, holidays, Tuesdays, and Fridays! I love celebrating achievements: graduations, babies, marriage, or just being an amazing human being. Give me a reason, and I'll celebrate with you! Grapes are in season, so I'm celebrating.  

In this series, I'm provide an overview of the food celebrations and holidays in the month, so you can celebrate. For me, it's helpful for menu planning or throwing themed dinners. These food holidays are a great way to have a themed meal and invite people over to your home. 

Inviting people into your home is a great way to build community. There's something about breaking bread, cooking, sharing recipes, and food that sparks conversation. I love talking and celebrating around a table. So, here are some food celebrations in November.

November has several celebrations throughout the month. November is:
  • National Georgia Pecan Month
  • National Peanut Butter Lover's Month
  • National Pepper Month
  • National Stuffing Month 
  • National Raisin Bread Month
  • National Fig Week is November 1-7
There are also many celebrations on days throughout November. 

  • November 2 is National Deviled Egg Day

One of my favorite quick lunches is soup and a salad; here's how to make my favorite cobb salad. Here's another fun sandwich idea. If you like jalapeno poppers, you'll love my mini jalapeno chicken sliders.
  • November 4 is National Candy Day
  • November 5 is National Doughnut Day
  • November 8 is National Cappuccino Day
  • November 10 is National Vanilla Cupcake Day
  • November 11 is National Sundae Day
  • November 12 is National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day
  • November 14 is National Guacamole Day
  • November 15 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator & National Raisin Bran Cereal Day
  • November 17 is National Baklava Day & Homemade Bread Day
  • November 18 is National Apple Cider Day & National Vichyssoise Day
  • November 21 is National Cranberry Day & National Gingerbread Cookie Day
  • November 22 is National Cranberry Relish Day
  • November 23 is National Espresso Day
  • November 25 is National Parfait Day & National "Eat with a Friend" Day
  • November 26 is National Cake Day
  • November 28 is National French Toast Day
  • November 30 is National Mousse Day

I thought this list would be inspiring for your meal plan for October. I hope it is inspiring. So, let's celebrate. If you participate in these monthly celebrations, tag me, @RDtipoftheday, and use the hashtag #RDTODcelebrate for a chance to be featured. 

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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