holiday recipes


5 Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

pictured: low calorie soda with raspberry Torani syrup, vanilla Torani syrup, and Perrier sparkling water in a Waterford wine glass /

The holidays are here! Chances are, you are hosting at least one party or event this season at your home. When hosting an event or party, it’s always a good idea to have non-alcoholic drinks for guests who are underage, designated drivers, or who don’t drink. Of course, it’s easy to provide water, soda, coffee, and tea; but what hostess wants to be that boring?! N’est pas de moi!

Since I am all about “easy” recipes when I entertain, I wanted to share my five favorite, easy non-alcoholic drink recipes for the holidays with you. I hope you love them; and I hope your guests do too! Of course, you don’t have to be a hostess to make these drinks. They can be made on any evening and served with dinner; or randomly throughout the day as a snack! They are that yummy! So, without further ado, here are five easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays:

Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

  1. Egg Nog Hot Chocolate: One of my favorite holiday drinks is hot chocolate with egg nog! I like to mix hot cocoa with one ounce of Budd’s Egg Nog. Budd’s is really the best egg nog, but if you can’t find it in your area, Southern Comfort also makes a good one!
  2. Butterbeer: If you are a Harry Potter fan, or you like sweet drinks such as cream soda, then you will love Butterbeer! Click here to read my no-fail recipe so you can make it at home for yourself, or any event you are hosting.
  3. Low Calorie Italian Soda: My favorite way to enjoy soda, without actually drinking soda, is with this trick! One tablespoon Torani Syrup, flavor of choice, and then fill the glass with mineral water. I prefer San Pellegrino or Perrier. To sweeten a fruit Torani Syrup, add half a tablespoon of vanilla Torani syrup. Works like a charm! Makes a 20-40 calorie soda, unless you use sugarless Torani syrup, then it’s a zero calorie soda! Love!
  4. Shirley Temple: This is an old fashioned favorite! Chances are, you grew up drinking Shirley Temples when your family went out to dinner. It was definitely my go-to drink as a child! It’s really easy to make at home too; so you don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to order one. You can make them for the kids at your holiday parties; and any adult who wants a fun drink that is alcohol free. Love! To make a Shirley Temple, you use a high ball glass (or red wine glass if you’re feeling fancy), fill it with 3-4 ice cubes, one shot of Grenadine, and then fill the rest of the glass with Sprite. It’s that easy! Pop in a cocktail straw and/or maraschino cherry, and you have a fun mocktail for your guests!
  5. Hot Apple Cider: Most hot apple cider recipes are crazy! They have ten steps, and want you to do fancy things with cloves. Ain’t no-one got time for that! I don’t have an original recipe for hot apple cider, what I do have, is a link to an easy version. Click here to check it out. I love any recipe which is easy, and includes whip cream! Love! This is an apple cider recipe both kids and adults will love. It’s perfect for the holidays; and any cold evening when you want to warm up! It’s the coziest, low calorie drink I can think of! Enjoy!

A few things you might need to make these holiday drinks:

There they are! Five easy non-alcoholic holiday drink recipes for kids or anyone who doesn’t want alcohol. What are some of your favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes you like to make for yourself, your family, or your guests? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy


Homemade Potatoes Au Gratin recipe

potatoes au gratin recipe homemade

One of my favorite types of potato dishes is Potatoes Au Gratin. I cook potatoes often at home since my husband loves them, but I never tried to cook Potatoes Au Gratin at home in fifteen years of marriage! So, over the weekend, I decided to try cooking it, but couldn’t find a recipe I liked. What do I do when I don’t like the recipes I find online and in cookbooks? I make up my own!

I tested out this recipe with my whole family, and served it with seared scallops, and fresh carrots. I have to say, carrots don’t really go well with scallops; so lesson learned! Haha That being said, they all loved the way I cooked the scallops and the Potatoes Au Gratin! Yay!

Potatoes Au Gratin is a tasty side dish, especially during the colder months. There is something comforting about them; so I will place this dish in the comfort food category!

This is a great side dish to serve at home, or to cook and bring to a family or friend gathering that is pot-luck style! It goes great paired with steak, meatloaf, pork, or a vegetable stew if you are vegetarian. It was a little overwhelming with seafood; oooops! Still tasty though! haha

Without further ado, here is my new Potatoes Au Gratin recipe! I hope you enjoy it with your family!

Tools you’ll need:

13 x 11 casserole dish

Mixing bowl.

Wooden spoon

Cutting board

Mezzaluna or cutting knife.

Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

4 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.

½ pint heavy whipping cream (I prefer Clover)

½ stick of butter (I use unsalted and prefer Clover or Land O’ Lakes)

1 8 oz. package of Sargento Italian Blend shredded cheese. If Sargento isn’t sold near you, this is a mix of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, provolone cheese, Romano cheese, Fontina cheese, and Asiago cheese.

Season to taste: salt, paprika, and finely ground basil

how to make potatoes au gratin at home

Prep:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and make sure there is a shelf in the middle of the oven.

Melt butter, and ensure it covers the bottom of the casserole dish.

Slice potatoes as thinly as possible.

In a mixing bowl: pour whipping cream and add salt, paprika, and basil to taste. Whisk or stir to blend.

Line the bottom of the casserole with potatoes, overlapping each other. The first layer should be about two potatoes.

homemade potatoes au gratin recipe

Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Use 1/3 of the cheese mixture, spreading it out evenly over the top of the creamy potatoes.

Layer the rest of the potato slices over the cheese. There should be about two potatoes left.

Pour the remainder of the creme mixture, about 2/3, over the potatoes, ensuring they are all covered.

Cover the top with the rest of the cheese.

Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.

yummy potatoes au gratin recipe

Cooking instructions:

Bake for 60 minutes at 400 on center rack.

After 60 minutes, remove, serve, and enjoy! Makes about twelve servings.

Calories per serving: about 259

potatoes au gratin recipe

There you have it! A yummy Potatoes Au Gratin recipe to enjoy with your friends and family! I hope you love it for the holiday season and anytime you want a yummy, comforting side dish.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

*My apologies for the so-so photos. I took them in my poorly lit kitchen at night. 

comfort food side dishes


Sliced baked potatoes recipe

how to serve sliced baked potatoessliced baked potatoes
This is a sliced basked potato recipe I created myself. I found myself always serving mashed potatoes or baked potatoes as a side dish at dinner, so I decided to create a new potato recipe in order to mix things up at mealtime.

My kids are ages 12, 10, and 8; and they really enjoy these sliced baked potatoes. If you have kids, chances are, they will enjoy them too! I hope you love the recipe. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

how to make sliced baked potatoes

Sliced Baked Potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Garlic

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees with the stick of butter inside the baker in the oven. When the oven reaches about 200 degrees, remove the baker while wearing an oven mitt, and CAREFULLY slice up the butter stick, and then place the pats around the inside of the baker.

Slice uncooked, peeled potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Spread out the potato slices in the baker on top of the melted butter. I use a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish similar to this one, but anything similar will work fine.

After the potatoes are evenly distributed in the baker, spray olive oil on top of all the potato slices. If you don’t have an olive oil sprayer, you can find the one I own online here. It is amazing, and very handy! You can also find a less expensive sprayer online here.

Season to taste. Sprinkle basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and paprika over the tops of the potato slices. I use about a tablespoon of each; with the exception of the salt. I only use a few dashes of salt. You can delete any one of these seasonings you don’t like. If you have kids who don’t like mild spice, delete the paprika. If you want to kick things up a notch, try adding Cayenne Pepper; seasoned to taste.

sliced baked potato recipe

*Shown with Paprika on the left, no Paprika on the right.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Some of the smaller pieces will start to get crispy, and the larger ones will be soft. I prefer the crispy pieces, and my kids prefer the soft ones. So this is a plus!

potato side dish idea

I hope you enjoy my baked sliced potato recipe. My kids really enjoy it, so I’m happy to share it!

This is a great side dish with steak, salmon, chicken, or anything you like to serve with potatoes! Enjoy!

Happy entertaining!

XOXO

Cathy

Things you might need to make this recipe:

party side dish idea