Tag Archives: special occasions

Graduation cupcakes on countertop

Easy Graduation Cupcakes to Celebrate Your Loved One’s Success

Graduation — whether it be from high school, university or a toddler who just learnt to walk — is a great achievement. It calls for celebration and cupcakes are a great way to do this. This cupcake recipe has a perfect balance of tart summer raspberries and aromatic vanilla beans. They’re oh-so delicious and are decorated just for the occasion that’ll surely “wow” the crowd, big or small.

Graduation cupcakes on countertop

Easy Graduation Cupcakes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup whole milk
24 raspberries

Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ tsp white food colouring (optional)

Assembly
12 mini peanut butter cups
12 chocolate squares
4 licorice candy strings (cut into 24 equal pieces)
12 Smarties

Graduation cupcake ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper cups.

2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients listed for the cupcakes (except the raspberries). Using an electric mixer or whisk, combine to form smooth mixture.

3. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon, fill the cupcake tin with the batter. Push in two raspberries per cupcake and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once baked, let the cupcakes cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Graduation cupcakes being assembled

4. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream: using a mixer, whisk the butter and icing sugar together until light, pale yellow and fluffy. Add the vanilla, milk, and food colouring. Whisk for another 2 minutes.

5. Using a spoon, fill the piping bag with the prepared buttercream and pipe it on top of the cupcakes. Then, add a peanut butter cup (upside down) on top of each frosted cupcake.

Related: Best Homemade Doughnut Recipes Perfect for Any Celebration

6. Attach a chocolate square on top of the peanut butter cup using a small amount of buttercream. Dip one end of two cut licorice strings into the buttercream and place onto the centre of the chocolate square. Then place a Smartie on top using a little buttercream.

Graduation cupcakes on countertop

Like Yakuta’s cupcake recipe? Try her one-bowl flowerpot cupcakes.

Galettes on serving plate

Drop off a Batch of These Mini Potato and Leek Galettes to Mom (She Deserves It!)

Mother’s Day may look a little different this year — and while we might not be gathering in large groups to celebrate mom or the mother figure in our lives, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still show her we care. Drop off a batch of these Baking Therapy potato and leek galettes! They’re flaky, cheesy and drizzled with sweet honey. Made with homemade chive pie dough (store-bought dough works too!) and layered with creamy fontina cheese, caramelized leeks and yellow potatoes that crisp up around the edges. These individual galettes transport really well and heat up perfectly in a toaster oven!

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop

Potato and Leek Galettes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 22-28 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Servings: 6 galettes

Ingredients:

Chive Pie Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1 cup ice-cold water
3 tsp apple cider vinegar

Caramelized Leeks
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, sliced
Salt to taste

Assembly
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil, for tops
1 egg for egg wash
Flaky sea salt
Honey for garnish

Equipment:

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, Amazon, $500 or KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven, Amazon, $150.

Savoury potato and leek galette ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. For the pie dough: in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Add the butter and rub between your fingers to break it up into pea-sized pieces. Add in chopped chives. In a separate bowl, mix together the water and apple cider vinegar. Add 8-10 Tbsp of the water-vinegar mixture to the flour and mix with a fork until the dough starts to come together, dough will feel a little dry. Transfer to plastic wrap, form into a disc and chill for 45 minutes.

2. For the caramelized leeks: in a non-stick skillet over medium-heat, melt the butter and add olive oil. Add the leeks, salt to taste and saute for 15-20 minutes until the leeks are soft. Set aside to cool.

Related: Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Every Budget

3. Preheat oven to 425°F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Divide the pie dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out to about 8 inches in diameter. Spread about 1 Tbsp cream cheese, leaving about 1 inch from the edge. Add 2 Tbsp caramelized leeks, sprinkle on fontina cheese, Parmesan and layer on the sliced potatoes. Fold the edges over the potatoes, pleating as you work your way around. Stagger on baking sheets and freeze for 15 minutes.

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop being assembled

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop before baking

5. Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with a little olive oil, brush dough with egg wash and add a pinch of flaky salt. Bake for 22-28 minutes until the dough is golden brown. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

Savoury potato and leek galettes on countertop

Like Sabrina’s galettes? Try her pork bao buns or her soft pretzels.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Anna Olson's vanilla and caramel birthday cake on a display

5 Classic Cake Recipes & Expert Advice for a Perfect Bake Every Time

Baking a cake from scratch can be easier than you think, especially when armed with professional tips and tricks. Veer too far from a few established rules, however, and you can end up with a cake catastrophe on your hands. Never fear, we’ve got you covered: with these five foolproof tips, we can help you ensure baking success and turn out a perfect, professional-tasting cake every time.

Let’s take a look at five favourites: classic cakes that you can make again and again, from anything-but-basic vanilla to next-level carrot cakes.

Vanilla Cake

Anna Olson's vanilla and caramel birthday cake

This delightfully moist cake is a stellar example of vanilla-flavoured deliciousness that can be used as a base for your favourite frosting. Sifting the flour mixture serves two purposes: it disperses small amounts of crucial ingredients, such as leaveners or salt, throughout the cake and also aerates the flour to make it easier to combine. Two types of pastry cream — vanilla and caramel — are used in different ways to create a multi-layered and hued cake with impressive height and fantastic flavour.

Chef’s Tip: Sift dry ingredients together onto a large piece of parchment paper before adding it to your stand mixer to keep things nice and neat. You can also grab the paper by the corners and use it as a foldable slide to help transfer your dry ingredients around your kitchen and pour into your mixing bowl.

Get the recipe for  Anna Olson’s Classic Vanilla Birthday Cake With Caramel Pastry Cream

Not sure which flour to use for your next big bake? Check out Flour 101: Your Guide to Mastering Holiday Baking and Ardent Mills’ complete flour portfolio including definitions and best-used-for applications.

Chocolate Cake

Six-layer chocolate fudge cake with slice cut out

This tall tower of cake perfection from pastry chef Anna Olson is a spectacular showstopper for any celebration for chocolate lovers. Four layers of fluffy cake (made with cake and pastry flour leavened with baking soda for extra rise) are sandwiched together with creamy, fudge frosting for a confection that’s decadent without being heavy. Using brewed coffee adds balance and depth to the chocolate notes in the cake, while a combination of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder adds plenty of chocolate-forward flavour to the fudge frosting.

Chef’s Tip: Chocolate flavour intensifies and improves with time. If you can resist the temptation, wrap your cake layers well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in the freezer for a few days before thawing and icing them. Plan ahead for future chocolate cravings and make a double batch to freeze for up to 30 days.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sponge Cake

Strawberry sponge cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit

Although all-purpose flour works well for cakes that require some structural integrity for heavier fillings, a soft wheat or cake and pastry flour (can lend the tender yielding quality needed to roll this sponge cake around a simple raspberry jam filling. Vary the filling based on your preference, and use homemade jam for an extra special touch.

Chef’s Tip: When whipping egg whites, your bowl needs to be perfectly clean. Any fat or oil residue in the bowl will keep your egg whites from whipping up and holding a structure no matter how long you beat them. A pinch of cream of tartar can also help to strengthen your whipped egg whites.

Get the recipe for Classic Raspberry Jelly Roll

Carrot Cake

Cream cheese iced carrot cake with heirloom carrot flowers

Keeping carrot cake from being too heavy, while still incorporating plenty of carroty goodness throughout, can be a bit of a challenge. Attempting to get the shredded carrots evenly dispersed in the batter causes some home bakers to over mix and overwork the gluten in the sturdy all-purpose flour, causing a tougher cake. This recipe from Molly Yeh provides some guidance to help counter this common error, including mixing the batter to 90 per cent before incorporating the carrots.

Chef’s Tip: To help your cake bake evenly, rotate the pan in the oven halfway through baking, helping ensure even temperature no matter the placement in the oven. Also, begin checking the cake for doneness about 20 minutes into your bake time to ensure the cake is not overbaked.

Get the recipe for Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Coffee Cake

Ree Drummond's blueberry crumb coffee cake on a plate

An easy coffee cake is a secret weapon for any baker: ready in under an hour with no frosting or decorations necessary, since it comes with its own crunchy and golden topping fortified with all-purpose flour such as Ardent Mills Bakers Hand®. With a cake this simple, the ratio of the ingredients plays a big part in a successful bake. The commonly used scoop and flatten method may unnecessarily compact flour into the measuring cup, adding more than intended to your recipe. A better technique is to simply spoon flour into the cup lightly and level off with a knife.

Chef’s Tip: For a consistent creaming cake batter, take all ingredients out of the fridge ahead of time to ensure they are all at room temperature. Softened butter creams easier and builds more volume. Also, eggs and milk that are at the same temperature ensure a more consistent creaming, and prevents the butter from clumping again.

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

Looking for more classic cake inspirations? Try these birthday cake recipes that are sure to make you a dessert person.

Sponge cake photo courtesy of Ardent Mills

Passover seder meal

How the Passover Dinner (and Passover Story) Are Becoming More Progressive in 2021

For generations, Jews across the world have gathered to scoop fluffy matzo balls from chicken soup and slice piping hot beef brisket — but before they dig into their festive Passover seder meal, they must read a Haggadah. “Basically the Haggadah is… a guidebook, it’s a workbook, it’s a resource all at once. If anything, it’s a lot like a zine,” explained Rabbi Andrea Myers who serves queer Jewish communities in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. In sum: the Haggadah is where you talk about the Passover seder plate, sing songs, ask questions and talk about struggles.

Passover seder plate from above

The Book of Exodus in the Torah (or the Old Testament) tells the Passover story of how the Hebrews escaped slave labour at the hands of the Egyptian Pharaoh (spoiler alert: Moses parts the Red Sea and they get away). But while the Exodus text is always the same, there are hundreds, if not thousands of versions of Haggadot (plural of Haggadah), all meant to spark discussion about what we can learn from this collective historical trauma. “It’s not necessarily about the freedom per se, it’s really so much about the struggle,” Myers said. “And in our world today, we understand that we’re not the only ones that struggle.”

Rabbi Andrea Myers

Over time, Haggadot have gone beyond the Exodus tale, reflecting the struggles facing Jews and the communities they share the world with. For instance, the ornate Szyk Haggadah drawn in the mid-1930s highlighted links between Nazi persecution of the Jews and the Pharaoh. In 1997, the Stonewall Seder brought the plight of LGBTQ2+ communities to the forefront.

Lately, there are more and more progressive Haggadot being shared online about a plethora of progressive issues from food justice to refugee rights to incarceration to Black Lives Matter. There’s even a seder for the BDSM community.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

“The world is a very complex and fraught and grieving place and we need to just be real about that, which is what I think that these Haggadot are saying,” Myers said. “That’s why I love Passover so much because it’s an opportunity for us in our own communities and families or core groups or whatever constellations people have for each other to have these conversations.”

Different foods or cutlery are also now commonly added to the seder meal in order to ignite mindful discussion. “I use a blood orange to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women and it’s not something that people would know unless they’re asked about it,” Myers said.

Pile of blood oranges

Having Your Own Progressive Seder

Ahead of the meal, Myers suggests having a frank conversation with those gathering around your table, virtual or not, about the issues most important to everyone. You don’t need to focus on just one struggle since many Haggadot online are short (Haggadot.com is a helpful tool that lets you customize your own Haggadah).

The idea isn’t to start a fierce mandlen (soup nuts) fight but to show solidarity with other people’s struggles. “Are we going to be people who sit back and say, ‘Oh well, we got ours.’ Or are we going to follow the ethical imperative to look and say, ‘Hey, here’s what we learned, how can we help you?’” Myers asked. “I think [this] is a very valid conversation to have, particularly when there are kids involved when we’re trying to role model what it means to repair the world.”

Did you enjoy this interview? Read more! Here’s our chat with Joshna Maharaj (on food insecurity and inclusion in Canada’s hospitality industry).

Photo of Andrea Myers courtesy of Andrea Myers; food photos courtesy of Getty Images

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

You Will *Heart* These Moroccan Stuffed Artichokes

These stuffed artichoke hearts take me back to festive Shabbat dinners and Passover seders with my family. My Moroccan mother makes this dish with frozen artichoke hearts (found at Middle Eastern grocery stores), but you can also use fresh artichokes if you’re up to the task of peeling and cutting them. If you’re short on time, skip the step of dredging and frying — both ways are classic — but I like the texture it adds. If you’re making this dish for Passover, you can swap regular flour for matzo meal. For a gluten-free option, you can also use chickpea flour.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

Moroccan Stuffed Artichokes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 16 stuffed artichokes

Ingredients:

Sauce
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 lemon, halved and juiced, reserving both juice and peel
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped cilantro
4 or 5 inner celery stalks, cut into 3-inch chunks (can substitute with cardoon stalks or anise)

Stuffed Artichokes

½ lb of ground beef (can substitute with chicken, turkey, lamb or a mix)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper (or ground white pepper)
1 egg, beaten
1 potato, grated (with peel if it’s thin-skinned)
1 onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp ras el hanout
½ tsp turmeric
2 14-oz bags of frozen artichoke hearts (also known as artichoke bottoms), defrosted or 16 fresh artichokes (peeled and cleaned into hearts by removing leaves, fuzzy choke and stem)

Dredging (optional)
3 eggs, beaten, seasoned with sea salt
1 cup flour, seasoned with sea salt (can substitute flour with matzo meal or gluten-free chickpea flour)
Canola oil

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Make the sauce. You’ll need an extra-large saute pan with a lid or a tagine. Heat olive oil on medium heat, add garlic, sauteing for about 30 seconds, then add turmeric right before adding lemon juice and chicken broth. Add lemon peels and cilantro. Reduce to simmer. (Keep celery chunks aside to be added later).

Related: Traditional Jewish Comfort Food Recipes to Try

2. Make the meat filling for the artichokes. In a bowl, mix the meat with the cilantro, sea salt, black pepper, egg, potato, onion, garlic, ras el hanout and turmeric. Mound mixture into artichoke hearts.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ready to stuff

3. Prepare for dredging and frying (optional). Place beaten eggs in one bowl and flour in another. Lightly cover the stuffed artichokes in flour, dusting off excess and then dip in egg mixture and set aside. When you’re done coating half of them, heat a large skillet with about an inch of canola oil on medium to medium-high. Finish coating the remainder of the stuffed artichokes and then begin frying, handling gently with a large slotted spoon. The stuffed artichokes should be golden on both sides, about one minute per side. Work in batches so you don’t overcrowd them.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes ready to cook

4. Place the celery chunks in the sauce pan, covering most of the bottom of the pan. Place the stuffed artichokes, meat side up, over the celery pieces and the sauce. (If your pan isn’t large enough to fit all 16 stuffed artichokes side by side, divide sauce and celery between two medium-sized pans).

5. Cover and simmer for one hour until artichokes are tender, meat is fully cooked and sauce is reduced. Serve with the sauce and enjoy with crusty bread, rice or matzah.

Moroccon-style stuffed artichokes

Like Claire’s stuffed artichokes recipe? Try her comforting mujadara or sfenj AKA Moroccan doughnuts.

Molly Yeh’s Pretty Almond Tarts Are the Perfect Spring Dessert

Many of us have turned to at-home baking projects in recent months, finding comfort in the nostalgia that comes with revisiting classic desserts – and, with spring around the corner, we’re craving bright, bold treats that’ll satisfy our sweet tooth. Enter: Molly Yeh.

Almond meal, granulated sugar, fresh raspberries and colourful sprinkles with sliced almonds come together beautifully in this gorgeous, mouth-watering dessert you can enjoy year-round.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is a Birthday Treat to Remember

Molly Yeh’s Almond Tarts

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes (includes chilling and cooling time)
Yields: 12 servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (168 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 large eggs, separated
Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

Filling:
1 cup (120 grams) almond meal
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

Glaze:
About 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar, or more as needed
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream, or more as needed, or 2 ounces fresh raspberries
1/4 tsp almond extract
To decorate: sprinkles, sliced almonds

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

Directions

1. For the shells: Pulse together the granulated sugar, flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4-inch-thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3-inch circles and press them into the muffin cups so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. (No worries if the dough tears; just patch it up with additional dough.) Freeze the shells for 15 minutes.

3. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Combine the almond meal, granulated sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined.

5. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4-inch from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the glaze: If making the glaze with heavy cream, combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and almond extract in a bowl until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue.

7. To make the glaze with the raspberries, place the raspberries in a fine-mesh sieve and give them a rinse. Place the sieve over a bowl and use a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon to smash them through the sieve into the bowl until you’re just left with seeds in the sieve. Be sure to scrape the underside of the sieve to get the stuff that’s sticking to it. (You should be left with about 2 tablespoons seedless puree. If it’s a tiny bit more or a tiny bit less, that’s fine.) Add the powdered sugar and almond extract and mix to make a thick glaze. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. It should be the consistency of a thick glue.

8. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, almonds and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge.

Related: These Gorgeous Desserts From Molly Yeh Deserve a Standing Ovation

Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Watch the how-to video here:


Anna Olson holds up a ceramic ramekin dessert

Anna Olson’s Genius Way to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure – and this rule certainly applies in the kitchen! From pie crusts to trifles, there are dozens of creative ways to use stale cookies in sweet repurposed recipes. Use Anna Olson’s tip below for any type of cookies you have on hand, or try your hand at one of our other great recipes that make use of your sweet holiday leftovers.

Related: Shop Anna Olson’s Top 10 Baking Gadgets

Sugar Cookies


To use as a crumble topping, break up leftover sugar cookies into little pieces in a bowl. For every one cup of crumbled up cookies, add two tablespoons of melted butter and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. It’s that easy! After cooling, serve this delicious dessert as you like it – drizzled with caramel sauce, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dash of icing sugar.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Wooden charcuterie board with a chocolate dessert salami cut into small coins

Take leftover store-bought or homemade chocolate sandwich cookies and make a rich, chocolate-y no-bake dessert (that makes a great late holiday gift!). Chocolate sandwich cookies, graham crackers and pretzels stud this dessert salami, making it the perfect recipe to use up all your leftover snacks.

Get the recipe for No-Bake Oreo Salami

Gingerbread Cookies

Milk chocolate bark studded with ginger snap cookies, cranberries and pistachios and drizzled with white chocolate

Got surplus gingerbread cookies or a smashed gingerbread house? Crushed up gingerbread cookies work perfectly in place of ginger snaps in this milk chocolate holiday bark.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Holiday Bark

Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla ice ccream swirled with strawberries and topped with a cookie crumble

For a sweet, buttery topping, crumble leftover shortbread cookies on top of ice cream drizzled in homemade strawberry rhubarb syrup. It’ll add a little crunchy texture to your sundae.

Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb & Shortbread Cookie Crumble

Anything Else!

Grasshopper pie with chocolate crust and mint cream filling and a sprinkling of chocolate cookie crumble

Instead of graham crackers, use a cookie of your choice to make a delicious pie crust. For this traditional grasshopper pie recipe, crush chocolate cookies and mix with melted butter. Press into a pan and then fill with marshmallow fluff. Delish!

Looking for more ways to use up leftovers? Check out these tasty ways to use all that leftover turkey, plus these sweet & savoury ways to repurpose pie dough.

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

It really doesn’t matter whether you serve turkey, ham, a turducken or even a tofurky — for many, the real star of a holiday meal is the mashed potato. Nothing beats the side dish’s creamy texture and buttery flavour, which is why we’re always looking to up our mashed potato game with cheese, buttermilk, bacon and other delightfully decadent toppings.

Close-up of Mashed Potato with Goats Cheese, as seen on Barefoot Contessa: Back to the Basics, Season 15.

Related: Ina Garten’s Coziest Holiday Brunch Recipes

Ina Garten’s stress-free, goat cheese-filled make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe will certainly become a winner at your festive table this year. These spuds are one of those amazing dishes you can make ahead, and then heat up on the day to give them a crunchy Parmesan crust. Because who doesn’t want to check off another item on your to-do list before the big day? The only real trick will be not eating them all yourself. Simple, laid back and delicious — exactly how Ina Garten believes gatherings with friends and family should be.

Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 lbs large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch chunks
5 large garlic cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 to 8 oz garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature, such as Montrachet
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the goat cheese, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth.

See More: Ina Garten’s Vegetable Sides That Will Steal the Show 

3. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

4. Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Celebrate the Holidays With Molly Yeh’s Brussels Sprout Latkes

Our favourite Girl Meets Farm recipes often include Molly Yeh’s mouth-watering holiday staples, and this clever twist on the Hanukkah classic is no exception. Whether you’re trying your hand at making latkes for the first time or looking for a new spin on a family favourite, this quick and easy masterpiece is your best bet.

Chickpea flour, red pepper flakes, onion, garlic and shredded Brussels sprouts come together in this healthier latke recipe that will become a household favourite. Just don’t forget the homemade balsamic Dijon sour cream dip for the finishing touch!

Related:  Molly Yeh’s Spinach and Feta Rugelach Are a Savoury Twist on a Classic

Host Molly Yeh's Brussels Sprouts Latkes & Balsamic Dijon Sour Cream, as seen on Girl Meets Farm, Season 2.

Molly Yeh’s Brussels Sprout Latkes

Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

Balsamic Dijon Sour Cream:
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Latkes:
4 large egg whites
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
4 cups (about 12 ounces) lightly packed finely shredded Brussels sprouts
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup all-purpose or chickpea flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Related: The Most Delicious Chocolate Babka with a Healthy Twist for Hanukkah

Directions:

1. For the balsamic Dijon sour cream: Stir together the sour cream, mustard, honey, vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. For the latkes: Whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, onion and garlic and stir to combine.

3. Stir in the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, some black pepper and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

4. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Scoop an eighth of the mixture (about 1/2 cup) into the skillet and use a spatula to pat it out into a flat pancake, about 1/2-inch thick. Cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

5. Remove to the paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve with the balsamic Dijon sour cream and lemon wedges on the side.

Related:  20+ Hanukkah Decorations You’ll Want to Display All Year Long

Watch the how-to video:


Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

cheeseball bites

Cheese Ball Bites Are the Ultimate Make-Ahead Party Appetizer

Your favourite party-perfect appetizer made mini! A simply adorable starter for the holiday season, these mini cheese balls are easy to put together and can be rolled in a variety of delicious ingredients. Serve with fresh bread for spreading, and you’re set for festive entertaining. No time? Make your gathering even easier by preparing and rolling the cheese ball bites (without coatings) up to two days ahead (wrap and refrigerate). When guests arrive, roll in your desired coatings, then dive right in.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 24

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Ingredients:

Cheese Ball Bites
1-½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 brick (250g) cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, minced
1 tsp paprika
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

Coating
3 Tbsp chopped, toasted walnuts
3 Tbsp chopped dried cranberries
3 Tbsp chopped crispy fried onions
3 Tbsp minced chives
3 Tbsp (3 strips) cooked, crumbled bacon
3 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds

Serving
Sliced fresh baguette
Crostini
Crackers

Directions:

Cheese Ball Bites
In a large bowl, stir together cheddar cheese, cream cheese, green onions, paprika and cayenne pepper. Form mixture into 24, 1 Tbsp balls (tip: dampen hands with a little water if mixture is sticking).

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Coating
Roll 4 balls into walnuts, pressing lightly to adhere, and place on a serving platter. Repeat with remaining balls and coatings (4 balls per 3 Tbsp of topping).

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Serving
Serve finished cheese ball bites with fresh baguette, crostini or crackers.

You can also try these 25-minute everything bagel smoked sausage rolls, along with our best last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy.