Source: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/gut-check/2011/11/09/more-ways-to-savor-the-season-at-mimis-cafe/
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Best Recipes for the Holiday Season

Winter comes with plenty of snow and holiday frenzy, along with the question of what to cook for your friends and family. Whether it be appetizers to desserts, it can sometimes be tough to decide what is easy to make that will please everyone. These recipes put a twist on some classic winter foods that will make everyone feel at home and fall in love at first bite.

Winter Vegetable Pot Pies

Winter vegetable pot pie adds a wintery twist to a succulent and hearty main dish that will please everyone. The recipe from eatliverun.com makes four small pot pies or one large pot pie for sharing among family and friends. A healthy vegetable-derived meal will sit well in your stomach and is ideal for warming your heart on a chilly winter day. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this pot pie with others, letting the taste and presentation speak for itself!

Ingredients:

1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 leek, thinly sliced

1.5 tbsp olive oil

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup flour

1 quart vegetable broth

1 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup cream

1 box defrosted puff pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sweet potato, butternut squash and parsnip cubes and simmer until just tender — about 10-15 minutes. Drain and set veggies aside.
  2. In another large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and leeks and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Then, add the carrots and mushrooms and continue to saute for another 10 minutes until carrots are tender. Sprinkle with the flour and mix until combined.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and cream and raise the heat to high. Add salt, pepper and oregano and bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously until very thick.
  4. Add cooked root veggies to the pot and season additionally to taste.
  5. Preheat oven to 425.
  6. Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface and slice into four large squares (if making individual pies). If making just one pie, leave the puff pastry in one large rectangle.
  7. Divide filling amongst four miniature oven-safe cocettes or a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Drape pastry over the tops of the cocettes (or over the top of the dish) and brush with beaten egg.
  8. Bake pot pies for 10 minutes then lightly cover with tin foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until pastry is deep golden brown and puffy. Serve immediately.

 

Spinach Artichoke Lasagna Rollups

This spinach artichoke lasagna rollup recipe from twopeasandtheirpod.com is easy to follow and makes for an innovative twist on classic lasagna. The dish perfectly balances the tasty flavors of lasagna with classic winter veggies. This delicious dinner will be a hit with lasagna lovers and warm wishers alike!

Ingredients:

12 lasagna noodles

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 large egg

2 cloves garlic, minced

10-ounces frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed to remove water

1 cup chopped, canned, or jarred artichoke hearts

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon dried basil

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 cups Easy Marinara Sauce or your favorite sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and cook the lasagna noodles to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and carefully lay the lasagna noodles out flat on a large piece of parchment paper. Let sit to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, basil, crushed red pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom with marinara sauce, about 1/2 cup. Set aside.
  4. Take about 1/4 cup of the ricotta spinach mixture and spread it evenly onto each lasagna noodle. Top each noodle with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce. Carefully roll the noodles up and place them in the prepared pan. Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Spray a large sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Snowmen Cupcakes

Featured on allyou.com, these adorable snowmen cupcakes will add delectable decoration to your table throughout the winter months. Use the recommended ingredients or spice it up with any candies of your choice to make these cupcakes suitable for all the ones you love. These are the perfect snack to munch on while you watch the snow fall outside the window. Decorate these holiday-themed cupcakes however you like and devour them with your family and friends!

Ingredients:

12 cupcakes, baked in colored foil liners, cooled

¼ cup each red and green decorating sugar

24 mini vanilla wafers

1 can (16 oz.) vanilla frosting

4 orange fruit slices

¼ cup dark chocolate frosting

1 cup white decorating sugar

6 each red and green licorice twists

24 pink large sprinkles

24 mini brown M&M’s

Directions:

  1. Place the red and green sugars in separate shallow bowls. Spread a thin layer of vanilla frosting on top of the mini vanilla wafers to cover. Press the top of 12 wafers into the red sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining 12 wafers and press into the green sugar. Set aside.
  2. Cut 12 1-inch triangles from the orange slices to make the noses. Spoon the dark chocolate frosting into a freezer-weight ziplock bag. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a freezer-weight ziplock bag. Place the white decorating sugar in a shallow bowl. Spread the remaining frosting on top of cupcakes and make a smooth mound. Roll the tops of the frosted cupcakes into the white sugar to cover completely.
  3. Add the cut orange candy as the nose in the center of the cupcake. Add the chocolate candies as the eyes. Snip a very small corner from the bag with the chocolate frosting and pipe a mouth. Add the pink sprinkles as cheeks.
  4. Cut the licorice twists into 12 6-inch lengths for the bands of the earmuffs. Insert the 2 cut ends into either side of the cupcake for the headband. Snip a small corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe a dot of vanilla frosting on either side where the licorice enters the cupcake. Add the like colored vanilla wafers as the muffs. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

 

White Chocolate Mousse

Spotlighted on the Food Network Kitchen, this one-of-a-kind dessert is the perfect delicacy to follow a hearty meal. White chocolate mousse is a vanilla-flavored mousse that uses white chocolate as the distinctive and most enticing ingredient. Don’t let this holiday season pass without trying this tempting treat!

Ingredients:

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (or other liqueur)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon pasteurized egg whites (from a carton), at room temperature

⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

Shaved dark chocolate, for topping

Directions:

  1. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and combine with the liqueur in a small saucepan.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and cook over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Add the white chocolate and continue to cook, stirring, until melted.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool 25 minutes.
  6. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the white chocolate mixture until almost incorporated.
  8. Add the remaining 3/4 cup cream to the mixer bowl and beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form; fold into the white chocolate mixture until incorporated.
  9. Divide among small bowls.
  10. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  11. Top with shaved chocolate.

 

Do-It-Yourself Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Put a twist on this classic wintery Starbucks drink by making it yourself! This quick recipe allows you to taste the flavor of the peppermint hot chocolate without having to go out and buy a cup. The ingredients are easy to find and the steps are simple. You can even top it off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. This is a great new recipe from the Food Network for when you are snowed-in — create the irresistible Starbucks flavor right in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1 ½ cups milk

¼ cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

3 drops peppermint oil

Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt and heat over medium-low heat in a saucepan.
  2. When the cream mixture just begins to steam, add the chopped chocolate.
  3. Stir until melted.
  4. Stir in the peppermint oil
  5. Divide the hot chocolate among mugs and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings

About the author

Olivia Morrisey