A full, delicious menu with sides and snacks

(Family Features) Preparing the perfect ham for all of your holiday guests to share can feel like a lot of pressure, but complementing the main dish with sides, snacks and desserts can help take a bite out of that overwhelming feeling.

To help fill out your dinner table this holiday season, start with a crowd-pleasing appetizer like Bacon and Cheddar Ranch Dip that can ease everyone into the meal. Serve up a tasty side, such as Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables, so that the ham doesn’t stand alone. Then, just as dinner’s grasp wears away, treat your guests to White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark as a delightful holiday sendoff.

The Perfect Piece of Pork

To make sure the main course this holiday season – a yummy, juicy ham – is cooked and prepared to perfection, there are some simple steps to follow.

Thaw It
While ham can be cooked without thawing, for best results the first step to a tasty ham is properly thawing it in either the refrigerator or cold water. Never thaw a ham on the counter, as it can become subject to bacterial growth when the outside warms but the inside remains frozen. Remember: The larger the ham, the longer it needs to thaw before cooking.

Bake It
Once the ham is properly thawed, start by heating your oven to 325° F and lining a roasting pan with aluminum foil. You’ll want to cook the ham low and slow to avoid drying it out, and lining the pan helps limit the mess. As it bakes, don’t forget to flip it over about halfway through the process.

Check It
When the ham gets close to being done cooking, take the safe route and check its temperature. The USDA recommends bringing pork to 145° F to help ensure it’s cooked thoroughly.

Finish It
After pulling the ham from the oven, let it rest 15 minutes before slicing. Because the ham will continue baking outside the oven for a short period, allowing it to rest holds in those delicious juices. If you’re looking for a different way to please your guests’ palates, try glazing it with different mixtures that could include anything from brown sugar to fruit juices.

A Dozen Ways to Dip
Liven up the party platter by transforming traditional ranch dressing into crowd-pleasing dips, just by adding a few simple ingredients. Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing is a versatile base that can be mixed with anything from sriracha to basil and Parmesan cheese to create dips that pair perfectly with fresh-cut vegetables, crackers, bread and more.

bacon-and-cheddar-ranch-dip

Bacon and Cheddar Ranch Dip

  1. Combine ranch dressing with chopped bacon and shredded cheddar cheese, to taste.
  2. Serve immediately with assorted dippers.

Variations: To achieve different flavored dips, use any of the following mix-ins in place of bacon and cheddar cheese:

A Tasty Holiday Treat
As your calendar begins to fill up around the holidays, keeping a few simple ingredients on hand can be the difference between enjoying the festivities and feeling overwhelmed. An ingredient such as popcorn can help you serve up a tasty dessert like this White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch that packs both a festive punch and a sweet crunch. Find more quick holiday recipes at popcorn.org.

white-chocolate-popcorn-crunch

White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch

  1. Cover baking pan with foilor wax paper; set aside. Place popcorn, cranberries and almonds in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, or melt according to package directions. (If chocolate is not smooth after melting, stir in 1-2 tablespoons shortening until mixture is smooth and loose enough to coat popcorn.)
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture; stir to coat.
  4. Spread onto prepared pan; allow to cool completely.
  5. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving.
  6. Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature.

Roast a Savory Side
Fill your home with the wonderful aroma of Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables. Easy-to-make and completely satisfying, this holiday staple is ideal for a crowd and comes together beautifully with a pan that has raised circles for better browning, like the Circulon Symmetry Chocolate sheet pan. For more Circulon cookware and bakeware options, shop Circulon at Macy’s and Macys.com.

balsamic-glazed-roasted-root-vegetables

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of Circulon Gourmet Cookware

Glaze:

  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Combine vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme; toss well. Spread on sheet pan. Cover and bake 40 minutes.
  3. Check vegetables and cook another 5 minutes, if needed, or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Remove rosemary and thyme; add salt and pepper.
  4. Combine glaze ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes until thickened. Pour over vegetables before serving; stir to combine.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (ham photo)

SOURCE:
Litehouse
Circulon
Popcorn Board

 

Leave a Comment