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No matter how busy you are, there's no need to sacrifice the pleasure of cooking and baking for the holidays. Follow our helpful hints while creating something special in the kitchen.
Convenient Ingredients to Have on Hand
Nonstick spray coating. Forget the mess of greasing pans. Seasoning blends. One sprinkle adds a dose of good taste. Try Italian and pasta seasonings, Cajun seasoning, pepper blends, fajita seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, and five-spice powder. Minced garlic. Buy it in a jar and give thanks; 1/2 teaspoon equals 1 clove.
Dress up a side dish, such as mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes with a long sprig or two of fresh rosemary or thyme.
Add flair to dinner rolls with fresh herbs. Before baking the rolls, brush them with a mixture of 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water. While the egg white glass remains moist, place fresh Italian parsley or sage leave on the rolls. Brush again with the egg white mixture. Bake as directed.
Keep these basics stashed in your freezer. Whole bags of toasted nuts and coconut Grated gingerroot and finely shredded citrus peels, wrapped a teaspoon at a time in plastic wrap.
Help with Herbs
You can't beat the flavor of fresh herbs. But when fresh herbs aren't available or you're too busy to clean and snip them, dried herbs make convenient stand-ins. Substitute dried herbs for fresh (and vice versa) by using 1 teaspoon dried mild-flavor herb (basil, mint, oregano, and savory) for 1 tablespoon snipped fresh herb. For stronger-flavored herbs, such as dillweed, marjoram, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme, use 1/2 teaspoon dried herb for each tablespoon of fresh. If you're adding a ground form of a dried herb, use even less.
Layer three ingredients -- olives, marinated feta cheese cubes, and marinated artichoke hearts - in a stemware glass dish.
Cut a Brie round into five wedges. Top each wedge with kumquat slices, champagne grapes, edible flowers, and sprigs of herbs.