Just as soon as Halloween’s over, Thanksgiving rushes toward us and suddenly it’s Christmas. The holidays can be a little hectic, especially if you’re hosting friends and family in your home. Here are five holiday hosting tips to make your seasonal gatherings warm, merry and bright.
Whether you’re preparing the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, chances are you’re going to have a lot of mouths to feed. Try making a list of everything that needs to be accomplished before the big dates, including food, entertainment, etc. Stock up on items you might need — and buy a few extra so you won’t be short. As for the meals, it might be wise to begin preparing them the day before they’re served. It’ll take more pressure off you and give you time to focus on other preparations.
Don’t be proud. Preparing holidays meals by yourself is hard, if not impossible. If the kids or other family members want to help, it’ll make your work much easier. You’ll have free hands to tend to other matters, a true culinary form of multitasking!
Prepare Non-Food Items Early
Plates and silverware are just as important as the food you’ll be preparing, so make sure to stock up. Try and take inventory of them the day before the holiday. You might also want to set the table the day before as well, freeing yourself of the task later.
Don’t Forget Beverages
There’s so much going on while preparing holiday meals that it’s easy to forget the all-important drink. Ideal compliments for a Thanksgiving dinner could be apple cider or white wine, while hot buttered rum or eggnog would make a perfect Christmas quencher.
Once the meal is prepared, it’s time to kick back, have a few plates, catch up with the family and relax. Now that the work has been done, your holiday is finally beginning.
Text by Nick Adrian
As a holiday, Thanksgiving deserves more respect. It’s a day where it’s socially acceptable — and expected of you — to eat as much as you possibly can (and be thankful for your loved ones, of course). Since this is a holiday that revolves around food, you’re going to want the best recipes you can get your hands on. Here are five Thanksgiving essentials no gathering should go without.
No great Thanksgiving meal is complete without turkey. It’s synonymous with the holiday. So why fight tradition? You’ll want the best offering possible to satisfy your holiday guests. This recipe makes delicious turkey and gravy, giving you the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal.
Another Thanksgiving staple? Potatoes, of course! Whether they’re mashed, boiled, baked, etc… they’re a must. This simple and traditional recipe for mashed potatoes will leave even your pickiest guests satisfied. It’s a classic recipe without any of the frills, perfect for anyone who wants to stay in their comfort zone.
Green Bean Casserole
Some kind of green vegetable is an essential for every meal, not just Thanksgiving! That being said, green beans are always an ideal side. But if you want to shake things up this holiday, why not try this tasty casserole? It’s a “no cans” take on the classic dish, offering a fresher take on a Southern staple.
Classic Cranberry Sauce
Here’s another holiday favorite that deserves a place at your family’s dinner table. There are several fancy ways of fixing cranberry sauce up, but why not go the traditional route? It’s a classic for a reason.
Thanksgiving desserts are a must and one that is truly essential is pumpkin pie. This recipe gives you a classic offering, sure to satisfy every sweet tooth. The recipe leaves off whipped cream, so guests can add their preferred amount.
With these essential Thanksgiving recipes, no mouth will go unfed and no appetite will go unsatisfied at your dinner table. Of course, cooking a full Thanksgiving meal can be intimidating to even the most experienced chef. Plus, the holiday season’s always rushed and hectic. Why not give yourself a break and let Market Table do the work? Our Thanksgiving catering options include everything from a Smoked Turkey Breast to Rosemary and Garlic Green Beans to Pumpkin Pie — you can even get the entire meal catered! Place your orders online or in-store by Friday, November 16th then sit back and relax until Turkey Day comes!
Text by Nick Adrian
Say goodbye to the summer heat and hello to the crisp and cool feeling of fall. You’ve probably been waiting for this moment since you saw a random leaf fall out of the tree in the backyard. What better way to celebrate the change in seasons than with a change in seasonal taste buds? These five fall casserole recipes will put even your grandma’s casserole to shame.
Squash is a clear front runner if there was an autumn vegetable contest. And if you’re a little squash obsessed, then this dish makes the vegetable the star of the show. This recipe is perfect to cook if you have some vegetarians coming over for dinner.
Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
If you’ve struggled making chicken pot pie before, then this recipe will be your savior. The casserole is an easier way to make chicken pot pie while still maintaining full deliciousness. On a cool autumn night, cook up this dish for that ultimate comfort food feeling.
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Don’t forget your veggies when it comes to casseroles! This dish is loaded with broccoli and packed with lots of cheese. What makes this recipe even better? It can be cooked in 30 minutes and all made in one pot. This casserole is perfect for a quick and easy dinner option.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
Time to stop worrying about your Thanksgiving desserts because this recipe is perfect for your Thanksgiving table or any fall feast. Sweet potatoes are already healthy, but this recipe allows alternatives to make it even healthier. That means more room for the stuffing!
Chicken Noodle Casserole
If you’re big fan of this famous soup, then you’ll love this dish. This recipe contains all the veggies, chicken and noodles you’ll need to make replica of the soup. This warm comfort food will make it feel like autumn. And the peas, carrots, and corn will definitely give you fall color vibes.
Too tired from football games, holiday planning, and pumpkin patch visits to cook? Market Table’s got you covered! Swing by and grab one of our healthy and delicious casseroles from the freezer!
Text by Kendal Harris
Fall is the traditional time to harvest fruits and vegetables. If you have your own vegetable garden, you may already know this. However, if you’re new to the in-season-produce game,trying to figure out the ins and outs of eating seasonally may be a little intimidating. Fear not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to seasonal produce.
What Does “In Season” Mean?
Simply put, “in season” refers to food that’s harvested at a particular time of year. This ensures that you’re getting produce when it’s at its very best. This produce will have all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. Also, your produce won’t be treated with harmful chemicals, so it’s even more healthy for your family.
What’s “Peak Season”?
“Peak season” is the time of the season when buying a particular fruit or veggie is most beneficial. First off, it’s when the produce is most available. Next, since it’s in abundance during peak season, the produce is far cheaper than any other time of year. Another benefit is that the produce has the most flavor during this time because it’s been allowed to fully ripen. However, perhaps the most important reason to buy produce in peak season is that it also has the maximum amount of nutrients.
Why Buy Local?
Buying locally grown produce ensures that there are little to no chemicals used as preservatives. If you were to buy seasonal produce from a farm out West and you live in the South, it’s highly probable that the farm will treat the produce with preservatives. Also, local produce doesn’t have to be shipped from another location, cutting down on pollutants like carbon dioxide gas. You can either purchase produce directly from the farmer at a farmer’s market or from a nearby farm.As an added bonus, buying locally stimulates the economy in your area, which is good for everyone in the long run.
Not in the mood to shop and cook for produce? Here at Market Table, we partner with local farms and food distributors to make sure we use locally grown and responsibly farmed produce whenever possible.
Finding Out What’s in Season
The best way to find out what’s in season in your area is to visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website. They will have a list of produce with information on when the season for something starts and when it ends. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture also offers convenient seasonality charts. On Alabama Farmers Market Authority’s website, you’ll find a list of seasonal produce and information about when it’s in peak season. This Alabama Cooperative Extension System guide, put together by Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities, lists seasonal produce and ideas for preparing it.
What’s in Season Now?
Here’s a list of what’s in season this fall and winter in the Southeast:
Text by Amber Pope
Making dinner doesn’t have to be a task you dread at the end of a long day. Letting your kids join you in the kitchen turns cooking into an exciting bonding time for your whole family. Kids can learn and practice valuable skills through age-appropriate cooking tasks. Here are seven safe and fun ways your kids can help make dinner.
Read the recipe
This is a great job for a kid who needs to work on their reading skills. Recipes contain a variety of ingredients, directions, and measurements. The variety in language will challenge your child and help their vocabulary grow.
Get the ingredients
Depending on which ingredients you want your child to gather, this job can be for almost any age. Younger kids can fetch familiar ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Older kids can fetch heavier things, things that could spill, and ingredients that might require them to read the label.
Crack the eggs
Cracking eggs can be tough, but it’s a very rewarding accomplishment if you get it right. For kids, the idea of perfecting their cracking skills will make them want to continue helping in the kitchen. For your older kitchen helpers, this is a job they’ll enjoy.
Rinse off the produce
Kids love playing in water, and rinsing off the produce is no exception. Kids at the youngest of ages can hop up on the counter to wash the vegetables and fruits you’ll need for your dish. This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids the importance of rinsing off their produce and making sure it’s clean.
This is another task that works for children of almost any age. Older kids can stir things on the stove with close adult supervision. Younger kids can stir the necessary ingredients together. Either way, mixing things together is a great job for kitchen beginners.
Watch the timer
This is a great job for a kid that knows or is learning how to tell time. Set a timer on your phone or stove and have them watch the clock. It’ll seem like a very important job to your young ones, especially since timing is key to a great dish.
Set the table
While they’re waiting for the food to cook, have your kids set the table for dinner. This is a great job for older kids in case something is breakable. Don’t stop at putting out the plates and silverware, though. The kids can even proudly serve the food they helped make.
Text by Kendal Harris
School’s out, and the kid’s are hungry. After a busy day, you won’t have much desire to cook up some elaborate meal. Here’s five easy after-school snacks that are super delicious and will keep your child’s hunger at bay.
Milk and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Milk and cookies aren’t just for Saint Nick. Be like the jolly old man himself, and gift your kids with this after-school snack. This match made in heaven is a great comfort food and is completely irresistible. Plus, there’s no Santa Claus suit required.
Kiwi Ice Pops
Summer vacation is over, but it looks like the weather never got the memo. If you’re still trying to beat the heat well into fall, try these kiwi ice pops. They’re mouth-wateringly delicious and will help you continue to conquer those hot summer-like days.
Homemade Goldfish Crackers
Save some money at the grocery store, and tackle this homemade version of the famous snack. These cheesy crackers go perfect with a peanut butter spread. They’re the snack that smiles back, and they’ll definitely put a smile on your kid’s face.
Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers
We all love chicken nuggets. There are songs, videos, and Vines dedicated to this bite-size food. But what about its less popular cousin, chicken fingers? Well, be the change and start a movement that we need in this world by whipping up these healthy oven-baked chicken fingers. Your kids (and I) will thank you.
Pigs in a Blanket
The first step to this recipe is to reassure your younger children that there aren’t any real pigs in a blanket. Once that’s done, it’s smooth sailing from here. Get some frozen pastry dough and all-beef hot dogs, and you’re all set to make this popular snack.
Text by Kendal Harris