From the hors d’oeuvres to the main course and all the way through dessert, creating a full holiday menu doesn’t have to be hard. The key to a successful feast is focusing on dishes that can please loved ones of all ages and palates, such as a festive salad before the turkey or ham main dish, which can be accompanied by complementary sides like au gratin potatoes. Finally, top off the celebration with a divine dessert featuring classic cranberry flavor. To find more holiday recipe inspiration, visit Culinary.net.
Start Holiday Celebrations with a Salad
With a bed of tender, leafy green spinach and pops of red cranberries, a salad lends itself perfectly to the colors and flavors of the holiday season. Plus, as a lighter bite ahead of the big meal, it makes for a delicious introduction to festive dinner parties, family gatherings and get-togethers. This Spinach Christmas Tree Salad offers a fresh, festive option that adds a seasonal presentation to the table while inviting guests to take a bite. Harvested at the peak of flavor, tender Fresh Express Baby Spinach has a mild and delicate taste that makes it an ideal addition to recipes throughout the holidays. Find more ways to freshen up your holiday menu at FreshExpress.com.
SPINACH CHRISTMAS TREE SALAD
2 packages (5 ounces each) Fresh Express Baby Spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries, divided
1/3 cup pistachios, divided
1/2 cup feta cheese, divided
1 red pepper, cored, cut into thin strips
1 large apple, thinly sliced, cut into star shapes
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
3 tablespoons cranberry juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
In large bowl, toss baby spinach with 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/6 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup feta cheese. Transfer to Christmas tree cake mold. Neatly arrange spinach leaves to create smooth surface.
Arrange red pepper strips, trimming as needed, to create garland. Arrange remaining dried cranberries, remaining pistachios and remaining feta cheese as “ornaments” on top of spinach. Create tree topper with one apple star; place remaining apple stars around “tree.”
To make dressing: In blender, process cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, brown sugar, and salt until smooth.
Dish Up a Divine Holiday Dessert
Give your holiday gatherings a new twist this year with a creamy cranberry delight that’s a cause for celebration all on its own. Smooth, divine taste at the dessert table can be the memorable moment your family craves year after year. This rich, festive Cranberry Cheesecake combines classic flavor with a homemade cranberry compote-infused layer above a crust sweetly made using C&H Light Brown Sugar and graham crackers. Top it all off with fresh and sugared cranberries, rosemary springs and whipped cream for a tempting treat that tastes as good as it looks. To find more sweet eats to celebrate the holidays, visit chsugar.com.
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup C&H Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons C&H Light Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups C&H Organic Raw Cane Sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup cranberry compote
To make cranberry compote: In medium saucepan, bring cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest to boil. Lower heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until most cranberries burst. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature then transfer to bowl; refrigerate.
To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter 8-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
In medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, butter, brown sugar and salt. Press crumb mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
To make cheesecake: In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Add cane sugar and beat 2-3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add flour, vanilla and salt. Beat 1 minute until incorporated.
Add one egg at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add sour cream and mix 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. In medium bowl, mix half of cheesecake batter with 1/2 cup cranberry compote.
Wrap springform pan with aluminum foil and place in large roasting pan. Pour cream cheese and cranberry mixture into prepared pan. Top with remaining cream cheese batter. Place roasting pan in oven and add hot water to 1-inch of springform pan. Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until cake looks set in center. Remove from oven and rest 1 hour. Refrigerate in pan overnight.
Decorate cake with fresh and sugared cranberries, rosemary springs and whipped cream.