Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quick & Easy Holiday Recipes

By Chris LaRose

'Twas the night before Christmas and you don't know what to do - holiday dinner is all up to you. You've got turkey and pies and stuffing galore, but you know that your family is going to want more. The cookbook is old and tattered, it's through, you need something special, something easy and new. And what to your wondering eyes should appear? Three holiday recipes to help you this year.

The holidays are a time to celebrate family, friends and the amazing food of the season, but as people scramble to finish wrapping presents, stuff stockings and make sure their home is filled with holiday cheer, it can be difficult to cook extravagant dishes for holiday dinner. Many people have a few quick and easy holiday recipes up their sleeve that they bring out every year and below are three of the easiest, yet cutest, recipes that I've come across. Hopefully they will bring a little holiday cheer to you and your family, while taking away some of the stress of creating unique food ideas for the holidays.


Christmas Crunch Balls












Ingredients:
- 2 cups of Captain Crunch cereal
- 1 package of marshmallow
- 1 stick of butter
Directions:
- Melt marshmallow and butter together on low heat, until melted
- Add captain crunch to mixture
- Remove from stove top, stir together gently
- Let cool and then form into balls

"My four boys ask me every Christmas to make my crunch balls," said Melissa Bushey, who invented the balls herself after substituting Rice Krispies with Captain Crunch, "they're the most random idea that has somehow become a staple in my house every year." Melissa says that when people first hear of them they expect them to be way too sweet, but after tasting them they change their mind. "They're my favorite dessert at Christmas," said Nick Bushey, Melissa's son, "I like them a lot more than normal rice krispie bars." So this Christmas if you're looking to add a little color with a delicious flare to your dinner table this season, Christmas Crunch Balls can be the solution.


Jello Ice Rink

Ingredients:
- 4 boxes of blue jello
- 2 1/2 cups of boiling water
- a cup of little/big marshmallows
- sprinkles
- toothpicks
Directions:
- Let marshmallow dissolve in the 2 1/2 cups of boiling water
- Pour into a 9/13 inch pan
- Refrigerate for 3 hours
- Cut jello to your liking
- Use marshmallows, toothpicks and sprinkles to create snowmen, igloos, or any of your own ideas

The jello ice rink is a ridiculously easy recipe that can be a great addition to your Christmas dinner, for both children and adults to enjoy. "My mother and I just thought one day how cute a little jello ice rink would look," said Nicole Couture, who has used the ice rink for the past three Christmas parties she's thrown, "and when you add the snowmen and other directions to it, the rink really comes to life." The look of the jello ice rink alone is enough to impress people, but the familiar taste of jello and marshmallows always brings people to whatever table houses the little rink at the party. "I know that I always make a bee-line for the jello every year at our party," said Justin Couture, Nicole's husband, "and my mom has been jealous since she saw it the first time."


Holiday Oreo Balls

Ingredients:
- 8 ounce package cream cheese
- Whole package of Orea cookies
- Powdered sugar
Directions:
- Soften cream cheese (leave out for 20 minutes or so)
- Mix cream cheese and crushed oreos together
- Form into balls
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Once hardened, roll in powdered sugar

"Oreo balls have been around for a while," said Kim Crockett, who put her own special twist to the recipe, "but most people dip them in white chocolate... I found that to be too intense of a taste." The Oreo balls resemble snowballs, so Kim yearly fills a tiny, decorative wheel barrel on her table with them to resemble a child's snowballs during a snowball fight. "I've gotten compliments on how adorable the wheel barrel turns out," Kim said, "and it's really such an easy thing to make." Kim's friend, Chrissy Allard, agrees. "The first time I tasted the Oreo balls I was hooked," Chrissy said, "they're decorative and delicious - and you'd never think they're so easy to make."

What's so special about the three recipes that were chosen is the fact that they all came from the heart of the women who created them, and they're easy to prepare when you're in a tight spot. With just a little imagination you can even put a twist on the recipes, whether it's adding more snowmen to the Jello Ice Rink, or dipping the Holiday Oreo Balls in white chocolate - it's all up to you. But hopefully this holiday while you're frantically searching for a quick recipe before a holiday party at work, or before your family members arrive for dinner on Christmas Eve, you'll look to North Country Entertainment for help.

Photo credits: Chris LaRose

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