King Kullen Offers Tips For The Holiday Season

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The local grocer provides holiday cooking tips and recipes

The most wonderful time of year to host holiday gatherings is here. To make holiday party prep easier, King Kullen has put together a list of tips and recipes to try. The local grocer has ideas to simplify holiday prep and have fun along the way.

Planning Ahead

Hosts can start by putting together a guest list, menu and grocery list. Keep in mind, for larger guest lists, a buffet-style dinner is preferable to a sit-down meal. Once the guest list and menu are finalized, head to the closest King Kullen to find everything on the holiday party grocery list.

The day of can be particularly hectic for a hostess, but by preparing as many dishes ahead of time as possible, some of that stress can be alleviated. Setting the table can be crossed off the to-do list a day or two before. Ordering the ham or turkey centerpiece two to three weeks prior to the holiday gathering can help avoid any last-minute delivery or pickup issues.

With a few less things to worry about, everyone will have plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company, including the hosts. As far as the menu goes, King Kullen has lots of suggestions for how to get started.

Appetizers

Guests love something to snack on before the meal, so be sure to fill the table with favorites to keep everyone munching. Stock up on snacks like cheese and crackers, chips and vegetables and pick up jarred pestos, tapenades or dry mixes to easily combine with sour cream for tasty dips.

Save time by arranging all appetizer trays the day before. Make hot dips a week before and freeze unbaked, and throw them in the oven an hour before guests arrive.

For appetizer inspiration, try out any of these tasty snacks. Get the kids involved with this seasonally-inspired veggie tray in the shape of a snowman. The Snowman Veggie Tray is easy to make and can be prepared the night before (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648233/).

For reds and greens that are festive and delicious, try this recipe for Cranberry Feta Pinwheels (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648245/). This holiday snack only requires five ingredients and it can be made a day or two prior.

Pasta Dishes

Lasagna, eggplant parmesan, stuffed shells and baked ziti are Italian food lovers’ favorites, and easy to make. Plus, all of these dishes can be made up to a week before and frozen and heated up the day of. Director of Deli Al Spinazzola shares some of his favorite pasta dishes for the holiday season.

Keep it quick, simple and delicious with this recipe for Simple and Classic Stuffed Shells (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648404/). Or try this Eggplant Rollatini recipe that’s healthy, hearty and full of flavor (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648425/). This makes for a tasty alternative for any vegetarians on the party’s guest list.

Side Dishes

Stovetop space is a hot commodity on the day of any gathering. Any dishes that can be cooked ahead of time can minimize the chaos. Grains can easily be pre-cooked and rice, quinoa and beans can be prepped and frozen for later use in a side dish.

Instead of candied sweet potatoes, opt for a healthier side dish recommended by Director of Produce and Floral Rich Conger. Impress guests with this recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts, and include cranberries for added sweetness (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648466/).

Garlic lovers will enjoy this Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes recipe seasoned with parmesan cheese, thyme and parsley (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648447/). It’s simple to make, yet unbelievably appetizing.

Even the pickiest eaters won’t pass on this savory side dish, they may even fight over it. This recipe for Italian Green Beans is coated with a buttery, garlicky and cheesy mixture, and only takes 20 minutes to prepare (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648436/).

Desserts

Indulging in sweet treats is a delicious way to finish any meal. Cookies, bars and breads can be baked and frozen, so they’ll be ready to be served when guests arrive.

Decorating cutouts is a holiday tradition for the whole family to take part in and enjoy. The dough for this classic holiday recipe can be made a week or two before, set aside and frozen. These Cutout Sugar Cookies can be decorated with icing the day before or the morning of (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670936524114/).

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark is a festive holiday favorite that can be made a week or two in advance and kept in the freezer. For extra flavor and crunch, try with milk or dark chocolate instead and add crushed peppermint candy canes and Oreos to the batter (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670936556917/).

Everyone loves gingerbread– try something new that’s soft and chewy with this recipe for Gingerbread Cookie Bars. Bake and freeze beforehand, take them out the night before to thaw and then ice with cream cheese frosting the day of (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648515/).

Drinks

Every holiday gathering needs all the right libations. Start by stocking the bar with wine, beer, liquors, mixers and lots of ice. With a drink cart, guests can make their own drinks just the way they like them.

For something extra special, make a holiday-themed drink like Christmas sangria for all the adults to enjoy. This is a timeless favorite among red and white wine drinkers, and there’s endless ways to customize it for the party’s invitees.

Craft the perfect pitcher to raise a glass to this holiday season. This Christmas Sangria recipe (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938678846/) is easy to make, delicious to drink and fun to toast with. The crisp and fruity beverage combines all the seasonal flavors everyone knows and loves, including rosemary sprigs, cranberries and granny smith apples. These ingredients paired with a well-balanced chardonnay create a combination that’s rich, but not overly sweet. Christmas sangria complements all types of meals, no matter what’s on the evening’s menu. Start mixing and serving to keep guests’ glasses plenty full at all times.

Be sure to get plenty of non-alcoholic beverages too, including sodas, coffee and tea. Setting up a hot cocoa bar, complete with mugs, cocoa mix, packets or K-cup pods, will keep guests warm and toasty all night. Arrange toppings, including marshmallows, chocolate chips, cinnamon, whipped cream, chocolate or caramel syrup, chopped nuts, sprinkles, candy canes and pirouette cookies for stirring. This way guests can customize their cup, mixing in any toppings they enjoy. Don’t forget to set aside Bailey’s Irish Cream for the adults.

For an added treat, make a batch of Christmas Chocolate Spoons for guests to stir in hot chocolate or coffee. Top them with melted chocolate, holiday sprinkles or crushed peppermint (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938654328/). This is a treat for all ages; kids will love decorating them and everyone will enjoy stirring with them.

DIY Décor

Festive decorations get everyone in the holiday spirit. Do-It-Yourself décor is perfect for spreading holiday cheer on a budget.

Fill glass bowls with holiday ornaments for table centerpieces, and paint mason jars filled with holiday flowers for the dinner table. For more creative inspiration, check out DIY Ornament Garland (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199917670938648568/) and get ready to welcome guests with holiday-themed décor.

Weeknight Meals

With so much time spent preparing for the holidays, it can be hard to find time for cooking daily meals too. Keep it simple and try suggestions from Easy Home Meals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K_inBIsuEg&t=2s). There are suggestions for every meal of the day that are quick and easy.

Start by stocking the freezer and fridge with some essentials. In the morning, make easy, flavorful tarts using Pepperidge Parm Puff Pastry, sautéed spinach and onions, bacon, egg and shredded cheese. For dinner, prepare easy homemade pizza made with self-rising crust, and let the kids choose their own toppings. Complete any meal with blueberry pie using crust and frozen blueberries from King Kullen’s Frozen department.

Getting Started

Follow King Kullen’s tips and stop by the closest location to pick up everything to keep friends and family full and entertained this holiday season.

About the Company:
Headquartered in Bethpage, New York, King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc. is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as America’s first supermarket. Michael J. Cullen opened the doors of King Kullen in 1930. Today, four generations later, King Kullen is still family owned and operated. It remains a leader in the supermarket industry. From that very first store in 1930, King Kullen today operates 34 supermarkets and five Wild by Nature stores across Long Island. In addition to traditional grocery, King Kullen features a large catering and prepared foods department, freshly-baked breads and sweets, and healthy and organic areas, with pharmacies and online shopping in many stores as well.

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Tracey Cullen
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