Fine-tune your holiday menu with ideas from Food Network and Cooking Channel

Holiday fixins to warm the insides

By now, you’re probably knee-deep in menu ideas for your holiday party. At least, we hope so.

If not and you find yourself at a loss for what to make, look no further than Food Network and Cooking Channel for suggestions that will keep your guests clamoring for more and put your bash on everyone’s must-attend list for Decembers to come. If that’s what you really want.

An excellent place to start would be Sunday, Dec. 8, on Food Network as “Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro” finds host Ina Garten sharing recipes and pro tips for a seasonal brunch, including a shakshuka with feta cheese, smoked salmon tartines with gravlax sauce and a fresh fruit platter, all washed down with a spicy bloody mary. Sweet and savory.

Immediately following is “Giada’s Holiday Handbook,” in which Giada De Laurentiis invites her cousins to bring appetizers for a Christmas party and the results are sumptuous and eclectic: a pomegranate glazed pork, braised escarole with olives and raisins, baked penne with squash and goat cheese and a colorful cherry and cranberry cobbler.

Earlier that day, Molly Yeh is celebrating Chrismukkah on “Girl Meets Farm,” and that means down-home comestibles including chicken and apples, a brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and dijon dressing and pistachio linzer Christmas cookies with tahini hot chocolate – because those Minnesota winters can be awfully cold.

Jumping ahead to the morning of Saturday, Dec. 14, it’s “The Pioneer Woman” and host Ree Drummond, who is hard at work making hearty foods that warm the insides and are cooked in one pot. Among them are an Asian braised beef that is slow cooked and served over rice, a cheesy tomato soup with croutons and a black bean soup. Also, she makes her 10-minute “chicken curry in a hurry,” prepared in 10 minutes.

Then on “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” Trisha Yearwood goes to Nashville to meet with a friend and gather ingredients for a warm, comforting meal consisting of a tea-poached pear and goat cheese galette, mushroom and butternut squash risotto, a flavorful spice-rubbed roast chicken and for dessert, dark chocolate chai cookies. Yum.

If you’re getting a bit of wanderlust, Cooking Channel’s Monday, Dec. 9, holiday-themed episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” brings Brad Miller to Wilmington, Del., for a holiday steak, Andrew Zimmern to New York City for dim sum and Geoffrey Zakarian to Mystic, Conn., for baked goods.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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