My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

When I get invited to parties I am almost always given a food assignment, which is great. I love to help lighten the load of the hostess, I love to cook, and well…I love to eat! In the past I always hoped to be assigned an appetizer or a salad because I really didn’t think of myself as a dessert person. That has changed.

I love making desserts now and have picked some of my favorites for holiday get togethers. Each of these desserts will be a hit at any party.
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission off sales which allows me to keep my site up and running. Thanks for your support!)

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake with Whipped Ganache:

A perfectly textured cake with just about the best frosting I can imagine! Decorate with holiday flowers and greenery or leave it plain, either way it’s all going to be eaten in record time! 

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding:

Festive, delicious and flavorful this dessert (<–recipe link) will be gone as soon as you drizzle it with that homemade vanilla bean cream!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

 

The Chocolate, Fruits and Cheese Platter:

Talk about a simple dessert (or appetizer), this platter is lovely, elegant and as simple as spreading dried fruit with cheeses, sweet jams, or dipping in chocolate and nuts!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Vanilla Buttermilk Spice Cake:

My version of a spice cake is a little different than most. This one has just a hint of ginger, nutmeg and vanilla bean…and that glaze is scrumptious! 

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Lemon Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis:

Not as tricky as a traditional cheesecake and less labor intensive, these mini cheesecakes are made with ricotta cheese and topped with a yummy berry coulis!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

The Naked Chocolate Cake:

Triple layer, double chocolate and divine! The frosting is buttercream and during the holidays I top this beautiful cake with bright red currants or cranberries!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Browned Butter Brownies with Salted Caramel:

The word decadent comes to mind here. I wonder why? Dark chocolate pecan browned butter brownies with buttercream frosting drizzled with salted caramel…sheesh! You can make it with traditional flour or grain free!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Not Your Mama’s Root Beer Floats…for the casual affair:

Make the hand dipped chocolate mason jars ahead of time and then all you have to do on party night is fill them ice cream and an extraordinary root beer! Decidedly gourmet, these are definitely NOT your mama’s root beer floats. 

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

The Berry Galette:

Easier to make than pie, this Blackberry Walnut Galette is a nice cap to a great holiday meal! Top with my vanilla ‘sour’ whipped cream and you’ll have very happy guests!

My Favorite Holiday Dessert Collection!

 

Mini Goat Cheese Cakes:

Feeding a crowd? This is a great solution! These mini cheesecakes are made with pre-made fillo dough and topped with jams, jellies or preserves for any time of year!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

The Hummingbird Cake:

Yum! A beautiful holiday (or birthday) cake with cream cheese frosting! A little cinnamon-y and little sweet…it’s sure to be a new favorite.

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Blueberry Bread Pudding:

Another favorite…seriously, if you haven’t tried bread pudding yet, you need to. It’s so simple and delicious and the vanilla bean cream sauce just puts this dessert over the top!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

The Orange Cranberry Pound Cake:

Are you drooling yet? Just checking. I feel like I have used every adjective to describe desserts by now…so I will just say…Orange Cranberry Pound Cake, make it.

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone:

Looking for a “different dessert”? Then this one is it! Lemon Shortbread Bars topped with Mascarpone and during the holidays you can leave plain or top with red currants!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée:

Last but definitely not least this Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée is a creamy, rich, sweet delight! And don’t be intimidated. It’s not as tricky as you think!

My Favorite Holiday Desserts!

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My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table

Salads are an important part of a holiday meal. They provide a splash of much needed color amongst the creamy beiges of turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing. In my humble opinion a good salad can be the star of the celebratory feast! So let’s take a look at my top salad picks for this year’s holiday table.
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission off sales which allows me to keep my site up and running. Thanks for your support!)

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table

Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

This beautiful salad (<–link to recipe) is quite simple and elegant. To keep this salad low stress and assembly only, seed the pomegranate and make the beautiful pomegranate dressing a day ahead.

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table

Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranates:

You may be noticing a theme arising… pomegranates just happen to be in season around the holidays, so why not use them as often as you can? I offer two dressing options on this healthy, colorful salad, a traditional balsamic and a winter lemon vinaigrette!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table

The Organic Kitchen House Salad:

A very simple salad that works well with any main course. Super traditional but a real crowd pleaser. Everyone loves this salad!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table

Baby Spinach with Roasted Carrots and Couscous 

This spinach salad with roasted carrots and Israeli couscous is not only beautiful, it’s also totally unique! This one is one of my all time favorites. If spinach isn’t your jam, you can always make this salad with baby greens.

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table!

Greens with Pears and Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:

A seasonal favorite, this salad incorporates sweet pears, feta cheese, caramelized nuts and a fig balsamic dressing to make a delightful, light side dish!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table!

Greens with Warm Breaded Goat Cheese:

I debated adding this fabulous salad only because the warm breaded goat cheese has to be cooked right before serving and I know holidays can be stressful and you don’t need any last minute cooking. BUT! If you are up for it, or are assigning other people the side dishes and therefore won’t be stressed, I say go for it! Your guests will be wowed!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table!

Spinach Salad with White Balsamic!

This spinach salad doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you, it is pretty incredible! The white balsamic dressing and a bite of sea salt make this simple salad truly extraordinary!

theorganickitchen-87-72dpiThe Chopped Apple Salad:

A crunchy chopped salad made with romaine, caramelized nuts, aged gouda and diced apples, all drizzled with a sweet tangy apple vinaigrette! And that aged gouda…is so, so gouda!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table!
Last but Definitely Not Least: The Kale Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

This salad will be a gorgeous addition to your holiday meal. Bright green chopped kale, apples, figs, hazelnuts, grapes and citrus come together brilliantly! When in season, use red currants instead of blueberries for a burst of holiday color!

My Favorite Salads for The Holiday Table!

 

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Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is tasty albeit unusual salad. The ingredients are unusual; Grilled romaine topped with avocado, grilled corn and pomegranate seeds. It is also unusual because this salad is served warm, right off the grill pan. And it’s versatile; main course or side salad, lunch or light dinner, it’s up to you! 
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission off sales which allows me to keep my site up and running. Thanks for your support!)

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The Process:

I start by grilling the corn on the cooktop. While the corn cooks I peel off the outer layers of the romaine and then cut the romaine ‘heart’ in half. When the corn is done I add the romaine to the grill pan. When grill marks form, I remove from heat…

Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette

…and top with the warm grilled corn, diced avocado and pom seeds. Then I drizzle it all with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Such a unique and beautiful seasonal salad! Be sure to make this salad soon, pomegranates are only in season from late October to February.

Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette

LEARN TO SEED A POMEGRANATE THE EASY WAY:

Using fresh pom seeds in recipes doesn’t need to be a time consuming mess. In fact you can seed a pomegranate in two minutes flat. See my tutorial here. 

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The Recipe: Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette

What you will need: a good grill pan. This recipe is gluten free and dairy free.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A truly unique salad that can be served as a side dish or main course! This recipe is gluten and dairy free.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • The Dressing:
  • ⅓ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons good quality aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • a few turns freshly ground pepper
  • The Salad:
  • 2 ears corn, kernels shaved off with knife
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt, pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, outer leaves peeled off and cut in half
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. The Dressing:
  2. Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a bowl and whisking until emulsified. Set aside.
  3. The Salad:
  4. If removing seeds from pomegranate yourself, do it now (see link above for instructions)
  5. Wash lettuce. Peel off outer leafy layers and cut the 'heart of romaine' in half lengthwise. Pat dry with paper towels. Set aside
  6. Shave kernels off corn cob with a knife
  7. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a grill pan and place on med/high heat.
  8. Add corn and cook until corn is soft and edges start to brown. If corn starts popping, lower heat.
  9. While corn cooks, peel and dice avocado
  10. When corn is done, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, remove form pan and set aside
  11. Add romaine to hot pan and cook until grill marks form (1-2 minutes)
  12. Remove lettuce form pan and set grill mark side up on a plate
  13. Top with corn, avocado and pom seeds
  14. Drizzle with balsamic and serve immediately

 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE and Privacy Policy: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. View The Organic Kitchen’s Privacy Policy.

 

Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Jam and Mashed Potatoes

I have teamed up with Sun Basket once again to bring you a recipe for an irresistible meal. This mouth watering goodness is most definitely comfort food! Swedish comfort food that is. Turkey meatballs with creamy mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam make this meal casual enough to serve the family anytime but also festive enough to serve as your holiday meal! 
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission off sales which allows me to keep my site up and running. Thanks for your support!)

Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Jam and Mashed Potatoes

Honestly, the chefs at Sun Basket out did themselves with this delicious comforting meal! Swedish meatballs aren’t exclusive to a certain Scandinavian furniture store. Called köttbullar, they’re beloved throughout Sweden, especially at the holidays. Gently spiced with allspice and nutmeg they double as a warming main course or an appetizer for an easy holiday party. If you feel up for entertaining, serve them with the lingonberry jam and toothpicks for guests to help themselves; save the gravy and mashed potatoes for dinner the next night!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Jam and Mashed Potatoes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Swedish meatballs aren’t exclusive to a certain Scandinavian furniture store. Called köttbullar, they’re beloved throughout Sweden, especially at the holidays. Gently spiced with allspice and nutmeg, they double as a warming main course, or a passed appetizer for an easy cocktail party. If you feel up for entertaining, serve them with the lingonberry jam and toothpicks for guests to help themselves; save the gravy and mashed potatoes for dinner the next night. For the ultimate gravy, add the yogurt slowly, at room temperature, or the sauce can break.
Author:
Recipe type: Complete Meal
Cuisine: Swedish
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 3 scallions
  • ½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 10 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 pasture-raised organic egg
  • ¼ cup whole wheat panko
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons lingonberry jam
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil for pan
Instructions
  1. Prep the yogurt, potatoes, and scallions:
  2. Let the yogurt come to room temperature.
  3. Trim the root ends from the scallions; thinly slice the scallions. Reserve the white parts for the potatoes, the green parts for the meatballs.
  4. Peel the potatoes; thickly slice them.
  5. Cook the potatoes:
  6. In a medium pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the white parts of the scallions; cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1½ cups water, season generously with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the pot and coarsely mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm. While the potatoes cook, make the meatballs.
  7. Prep the meatballs:
  8. Drain the turkey on a paper-towel-lined plate.
  9. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, panko, allspice, nutmeg and the green parts of the scallions. Add the turkey, season generously with salt and pepper, and mix until just combined. Using wet hands, form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  10. Cook the meatballs:
  11. In a large pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the meatballs and cook, turning once, until golden brown but not yet cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off any excess oil but do not clean the pan.
  12. Make the gravy:
  13. In the pan used for the meatballs, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Gradually add the yogurt, about 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking between additions until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs; cook over low heat until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile:
  14. Strip the parsley leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves.
  15. Serve:
  16. Transfer the potatoes to individual plates. Top with the meatballs and gravy. Garnish with the parsley and serve the jam on the side.

 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE and Privacy Policy: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. View The Organic Kitchen’s Privacy Policy.

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, salami, ham, and sausage and it’s suddenly all the rage. Why?

Well as the saying goes, “Everything old is new again”. Like many traditional foods that are making a comeback, charcuterie is a culinary art developed from necessity; it is the way meats were preserved long before the days of refrigeration. And just like pickles, fermented vegetables, home drafted beer, broth and kombucha, charcuterie has been revived and brought front and center by the traditional food movement. And in my humble opinion front and center is exactly where it deserves to be. That said, arranging a platter is intimidating to some people. So here are my tips for making a beautiful charcuterie platter.
This post is sponsored by Back to Nature Foods!

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Choosing Ingredients: Sweet, Salty, Savory and Spicy!

Every charcuterie platter should have a wonderful combination of flavors. When shopping keep on mind you need a sweet, salty, savory and spicy component to have a well rounded board. The ‘sweet’ on this platter is provided by seasonal fruit. The cured meats, kalamata olives and lightly salted crackers and nuts from Back to Nature provide the ‘salty’ and of course the cheeses provide the savory! So what did I do for spicy? I added a spicy cranberry jam on top of a round of soft goat cheese. Yum!

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Start with The Trimmings and Arrange Asymmetrically

When assembling a charcuterie platter I begin with some kind of greenery, most often lettuce, but during the holidays I like to use sprigs of rosemary. Not only does rosemary look like pine needles but it smells great too. If you arrange a platter too symmetrically I think it loses a little of it’s charm, so I like to use an odd number of whatever greenery I choose and arrange them a little haphazardly. If you picture my platter like the face of a clock, I placed the rosemary springs at 12:00. 2:00, 3:30, 7:00 and 10:00. 

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Layer and Overfill!

After placing the greenery, choose something to place in the center of the platter. I usually go with the the biggest food item. For this platter I chose purple grapes. Then I placed plenty of rolled up cured meats like salami and prosciutto around the centerpiece. The key to a beautiful charcuterie display is to overfill the platter so it looks plentiful and opulent. Letting some of the ingredients ‘spill over’ is a nice touch too. Notice the Back to Nature Cashew Almond Pistachio Mix toppling onto the table!

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Use Small Bowls To Create Interest:

To add interest I like to place a few small round bowls filled with items like olives, nuts or seeds on the platter and then I fill in any empty gaps on the platter with lots of cheeses, seasonal fruits and finally nuts and crackers! I always like to work in odd numbers, but for this platter I used two round bowls because the round of goat cheese provided the third ’round’ visual feature. (see photo two up)

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!The Nuts and Crackers:

If you want your charcuterie board to be top notch you need to use the best ingredients. I use Back To Nature Stoneground Wheat and Multigrain Flax Crackers and roasted salted Cashew Almond Pistachio Mix and Jumbo Cashews because they are certified organic and Non GMO,soy free, and delicious! Back to Nature also makes gluten free products and cookies that taste like girl scout cookies with none of the artificial ingredients! Where to buy Back to Nature Products.

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

The Seasonal Fruits:

No matter what time of year you make a charcuterie platter, select seasonal fruits to add color and flavor! For the holidays I chose persimmons and pomegranate seeds. Both are in season for such a short time, I love to use them while I can. Other great choices for a holiday board would be tangerine sections, kumquats and pears.

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

Let The Lucky Guests Serve Themselves!

The great thing about a charcuterie platter is once you assemble it, the work is done. Your lucky guests serve themselves and they will be quite content waiting for the holiday meal as they snack on organic crackers topped with charcuterie, gourmet cheeses and fruit!

5.0 from 5 reviews
How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!
 
An easy to assemble charcuterie platter that incorporates seasonal fruits!
Author:
Recipe type: Holiday Charcuterie Platter
Ingredients
  • Amounts are up to you! For this platter I used:
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • grapes
  • Salami and prosciutto
  • sliced or diced cheddar cheese from grass fed cows
  • organic crackers
  • roasted salted cashews and mixed nuts
  • 4 oz round of goat cheese
  • spicy cranberry jam
  • kalamata olives
  • pomegranate seeds
  • persimmons, sliced (or use tangerine sections kumquats or pears)
Instructions
  1. If you picture your platter like a clock face, place the rosemary springs at 12:00. 2:00, 3:30, 7:00 and 10:00.
  2. Add grapes to center of platter
  3. Layer rolled prosciutto and salami in three bunches randomly around platter
  4. Add small bowls filled with pomegranate seeds and kalamata olives and a round of goat cheese topped with cranberry jam (or other seasonal jam)
  5. Fill in the gaps with persimmons and plenty of crackers, cheeses and nuts!
  6. Serve.

 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE and Privacy Policy: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. View The Organic Kitchen’s Privacy Policy.