Take advantage of Christmas this year and try some new recipes! With work out of the way and the kids at home, it's the perfect time to learn how to make new dishes for every meal course. Because there are literally millions of recipes out there, the toughest part is figuring out which recipes to try first. We've picked our favorites to help you start cooking:
Really Great Tomato Soup from The Grain Brain Cookbook
Everyone needs a perfect tomato soup recipe in their recipe box arsenal! Heat 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add 8 ounces of chopped onions and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, lower the heat and continue stirring frequently. The onions and garlic should be softened (but not colored) at around 20 minutes. Next, add in 6 pounds of very ripe, cored and chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium-low and stir frequently until the tomatoes are mushy and the mixture is soupy — this should take about 25 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to a blender (in batches if necessary) and process until smooth. Be sure to hold the lid of the blender down with a kitchen towel, because the pressure from the hot liquid can force it off! When all of the soup has been pureed, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Return the mixture to a medium heat and cook until hot. Remove from the heat and ladle into soup bowls. Recommended: sprinkle with feta cheese before serving!
Greek Salad from 500 Treasured Country Recipes
Cleanse your taste palate with a fresh salad! In a large bowl, toss together 2 heads of romaine lettuce, 1/2 a chopped red onion, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 seeded and chopped green bell pepper, 1 tomato cut into wedges, 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese and 1/3 cup of sliced black olives. In another bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 clove of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano). Salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve!
Good 'n Easy Garlic Chicken from Eat More of What You Love
The perfect staple chicken recipe, Good 'n Easy Garlic Chicken is quick, healthy and delicious. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt (reduced-sodium or regular). Wrap 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in plastic wrap and gently pound to 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness. Then, coat the chicken breasts with the seasoning mix.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until well browned and barely cooked through. Pour 1/4 cup of reduced-sodium chicken broth into the skillet, tilting to evenly distribute the broth. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook chicken for an additional 3 minutes (or until cooked through). After transferring the chicken onto plates, swirl 2 teaspoons of butter into the broth and reduce the mixture slightly. Finally, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve!
Lexington-Style Chicken from The Southern Living Community Cookbook: Celebrating Food and Fellowship in the American South
For a more complex main dish, this grilled chicken is marinated with a bracing vinegar sauce inspired by the type of pork barbecue that is near and dear to Lexington, North Carolina. Stir together 2 cups of cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons of dried crushed red pepper, 4 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. Then, separate into two medium-large bowls or zip-top plastic freezer bags. Add 1 whole chicken (cut into serving pieces) to each, cover and seal. Chill the chicken for at least 2 hours (or up to 8 hours), turning occasionally. Remove the chicken and discard marinade.
Grill the chicken, covered with the grill lid, over 350 to 400 degree heat (medium-high) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done, while turning occasionally. Once it is done cooking, the chicken is ready to serve!
Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops from Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook: 250 Favorite and Delicious Recipes for Every Meal
Pairing prosciutto with sweet scallops is a match made in heaven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and spray your baking sheet with a nonstick spray. Combine 1 cup of orange juice with 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil until syrupy (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest. Place 1 slice of proscuitto on a cutting board and slice into four 3/4 by 5-inch strips. Repeat with the remaining 4 prosciuttos. Wrap each scallop in a proscuitto strip and place it, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the scallops for 5 minutes, brush them with the orange-balsamic syrup and roast until cooked through (for about 2-3 more minutes). Brush the scallops with any remaining syrup just before serving.
Glazed Carrots from Wildly Affordable Organic
Sweet and simple, this glazed carrots recipe is perfect for inexperienced and unconfident cooks. First, put 2 carrots (cut in quarter-inch wide half-moons), 1 teaspoon of butter or corn oil, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl and microwave on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then stir to coat carrots with the heated flavoring mixture. Replace the cover and microwave on medium-high for about another minute or so, until the carrots are tender. Stir the carrots once again and serve the dish hot.
One Pan Eggless Chocolate Cake from The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook
What's better than chocolate cake? Chocolate cake that's easy to clean up! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees as you stir together 1 1/2 cups of unbleached spelt flour, 1/2 cup of whole evaporated cane sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of unprocessed sea salt in an ungreased 8-inch square pan. Add in 6 tablespoons of expeller-pressed oil, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour 1 cup of water over everything and mix well with a fork. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, then your cake will be ready to serve!
Chewy Lemon-Almond Sugar Cookies from Cooking Light Snacktastic!
Don't judge this cookie by its looks: the marzipan gives it a truly one-of-a-kind flavor that is both dairy and gluten-free. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees as you line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Pulse one 7 oz. tube of marzipan and 1 cup of sugar in a food processor 15 times or until paste is crumbly. Add 2 large egg whites and 1 1/2 teaspoons of grated lemon rind, then process for 10 seconds or until smooth. Spoon the batter (1 1/2 teaspoons at a time) 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 8 minutes, placing 1 pan on the middle over rack and the other on the lower rack. Switch pans, and bake for an additional 7 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 1 minute, then remove cookies from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. This recipe serves around 40 people (if everyone has one cookie each).
Hot Toddy from Whiskey: The Manual
In a tall glass, add 5 fluid oz. of hot water to some citrus peel and 1 teaspoon of honey. Stir to dissolve. Add 2 fluid oz. of Scotch or Irish whiskey, then stir. Recommended garnishes: a dust of nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and/or cloves.
Morello Bourbon Daiquiri from Cocktails Galore (Mini)
Shake 2 parts of Bourbon, 1 part of Morello cherry puree, 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/2 part of sugar syrup together with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge or other fruit as a desired.
The holiday season is a great time to try new dishes and share classic recipes with friends and family. What recipes are you excited to try out this year?