9 Delicious Holiday Mug Cakes

Perdue Knows How To Party On Game Day

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By Cooking Panda

Chicken enchiladas. PerduZas. Buffalo chicken cheesesteaks. All made from a number of ingredients you can buy in the express lane. The only downside of a Perdue game day party? When it stops.

THE MEALS

THING YOU NEED TO KNOW

  1. Use PERDUE FIT & EASY Tenderloins in all of your recipes.
  2. Use Buffalo Hot Sauce instead of regular hot sauce in your Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas.
  3. Spice up tomato sauce with garlic powder and dried oregano, and use that instead of pizza sauce for your PerduZas.
  4. Use shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack instead of Provolone cheese for your Easy Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steaks.

HERE’S YOUR SHOPPING LIST

Chicken (the best part)

  • 3 pounds PERDUE FIT & EASY Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Tenderloins

Fruits and Veggies

  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro

Dairy

  • 1 package Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 package Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 package Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 jar chunky blue cheese dressing
  • 1 container sour cream

Random Stuff

  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 package pepperoni slices
  • 1 package hoagie rolls
  • 1 bottle buffalo hot sauce

Things You Probably Already Have on Hand

  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Hot sauce
  • Black olives
Tags: Party, Perdue Chicken, recipes, Super Bowl
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The Ultimate Holiday Shopping List for a Trader Joe’s Lover

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By Cooking Panda

Giving is great and all, but it’s common knowledge that festive foods put the “Wonder” in “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The holidays are nigh, everyone. The chilled wind dances with a rare cheer, smiling cheeks are rosy with merriment and out wafts from chimneys the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. 

Trader Joe’s does not underestimate the power of snack, food and drink to make any holiday party the most joyful night of the season. Below, find the ultimate shopping list for the most excellent of gleeful gatherings — TJ’s style.

Fuel For The Day

Gingerbread Oat Bars

It’s ideal to think that holiday cheer lies aplenty within us all, but throwing a soiree is no easy task for a host. As you rush through the house, whipping cream and hanging lights, take a moment to savor a gingerbread oat bar. The ginger-rich gluten-free treats will satiate you with almond butter, flax seed and oat flour. They’re just 140 calories a pop, so your soon-to-transpire feasting is still well deserved.

Drinks

Michael Buble is blasting, lights are twinkling and guests are pouring in. Now it’s time for libations. 

Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage

Serve this to dairy-sensitive partygoers chilled, warmed or even blended with ice and banana for a beverage nearly as fluffy as the fallen snow. 

Egg Nog

Fill friends’ cups with the holiday season’s dreamiest drink, and add a splash of rum when no one is looking. TJ’s nog even comes in a light version with 40 percent fewer calories.

Ginger Brew

Use this brew for Moscow Mules that will make even the truest ginger junkies grin.

Winter Wassail

This sweet punch sings notes of black currant, apple and lemon and whispers hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and orange peel — to name a few. TJ’s suggests serving it warm in a great big mug with a cinnamon stick garnish, or steaming after a simmer session with red wine on the stovetop. 

Small Bites

Your guests each have one hand busy with a drink. Now bequeath unto them other offerings from appetizer trays. Think cheese plates and hors d’oeuvres. They’re the types of bites you might see at the grandest yuletide ball, but all you need do is buy, heat and plate. Now that’s a party.

Fromage Pave

A unique ultrafiltration process renders this cheese a rich and buttery triple-creme delight. Be fair and warn guests that they may faint from elation after the daintiest taste.

Baked Lemon Ricotta Cheese

Admittedly, this could count as a dessert. But it’s wintertime, so let’s classify it as a necessary prerequisite to an elaborate feast. How does it work? Standard cheese ingredients get cozy with a mix of lemon and sugar, the curd is baked at low temperatures and the final cooled treat resembles a lemon cheesecake. 

Salami Trio

Cheese looks gorgeous on crackers and baguette, but looks aren’t everything; it could feel lonely without company. Consider cheese’s feelings and give it the gift of friendship — better known as salami. This trio comes in fennel, chorizo and herbes de Provence varieties.

Pistachio & Pomegranate Crisps

These crunchy crisps will make the perfect cheese-mobile. Studded with appropriately red and green pomegranate and pistachio bits, the crackers will transport guests to better days.

Nuts & Fruits & Honey

Despite its uncanny resemblance to tableside decor, this is not a gorgeous lava lamp made of food. Rather, it is a beautifully edible marriage of nuts, dried figs, coconut, seeds, honey and bee pollen. Stick a spoon into it and lay it on the cheese platter, or save a jar for your best foodie friend’s stocking.

Roasted Onion & Garlic Jam

Trader Joe’s attests that this savory jam — the product of slowly simmered garlic, onions, balsamic vinegar and herbs — pairs flawlessly with the aforementioned fromage pave, but keep it around as an addition for the main dishes, too.

Cocktail Stirrers

Fancy-fy any cocktail in no time with stirrers stacked with all of the following goodies: gherkin pickles (gherkin … that’s fun to say), baby onions, green chili peppers, red bell peppers, carrots and olives. You can also add them to the appetizer trays for a briny contrast.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Now it’s time for something a little hotter. Like these, for example: delightful pigs in a blanket for the sophisticated palate. Each bite combines the soft and sweet chewiness of Medjool dates, the creamy tang of California goat cheese and the salty crispiness of apple-smoked bacon. 

Mini Brie en Croute

They’ve experienced flavor jubilee from the previous bundle of bliss, and now your guests will be yearning for more. Have them give these a try. They’re bites of smooth brie melted in a puff-pastry blanket. Dip them in your sweet or savory jams for added taste.

 

Activity

Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit

Drinks are flowing, snacks are bountiful and conversations are chipper. Give your guests a break from standing while keeping their hands busy and spirits high — with an ugly sweater cookie kit, of course. Without the fuss of gingerbread construction, the kit packs 10 sugar-cookie sweaters, vests and TJ’s signature Hawaiian shirts. And for decorating purposes, there is icing and a heap of sprinkles.

 

Big Bites

Your guests will have had so much fun at this point, they’re sure to be skeptical that the main course could eclipse the previous events. Fret not; TJ’s products assure this part of the evening will be the opposite of a bore. Serve these tasty temptations with something green for good measure.

Fondue

Fondue is like the breadbasket — but much, much better. Scatter the dining table with bowls of baguette and brioche bites, plus sticks for spearing, and your guests will be dippin’ ’til they drop. 

Tamales

If you’re from the southwest, these might bring back fond memories of the holidays at home (and induce sweet tears of nostalgia). A celebratory staple, these delicate tamales come filled with chicken and green chile, pork and red sauce, and vegetarian cheese and green salsa. They’ll be a welcome addition to the spread. 

Bacon Wrapped Porchetta Pork Roast

(No judgment if you had to Google “porchetta.”) This here hearty hunk o’ meat is a pork shoulder rubbed with garlic, sage, oregano, rosemary and a hint of lemon. It’s wrapped in bacon and packaged so it’s ready to be popped into your oven. No need to spray the dining room with fragrance — TJ’s says the roasting porchetta will fill your home with aromas of bacon and porky goodness.

Stuffed Lobsters

These Canadian crustaceans are stuffed with more lobster and crab, mayonnaise, celery, bell pepper, lemon juice and garlic. Give each guest a sizeable piece of the lobster, and you can call the meal a holiday surf ‘n’ turf. 

 

Dessert

With hearts full and bellies nearly there, it’s time for dessert. Have your guests clear the table, gather ’round the fireplace for a goodhearted gift exchange, and succumb to a proper sugar coma.

Gingerbread Sticks

These cookie sticks have the flavor of gingerbread plus the convenience of dip-ability. Hold them like biscotti and have them take a swim in a frothy bath of egg nog. You shan’t regret it.

Macarons des Fetes

TJ’s iconic macarons are back for the most festive time of the year, this time in chocolate peppermint, chocolate raspberry, four-spice caramel, pear cinnamon, gingerbread and cappuccino flavors. Since they’re French, now would be a great time to pop open the champagne. Treat yourself.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Have you ever imagined bathing in cake? No? Okay. But if you were to dream of such a thing, it would likely involve this cake. It’s made with lots of butter, sugar and chopped dates, and it oozes with hot toffee sauce — add ice cream or whipped cream, if you’re into that contrasting-temperatures thing, which we are.

Jingle Jangle Ice Cream

This ultra-sweet ice cream is abound with the jingliest and jangliest. You know, like chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter cups, red candy gems and Joe-Joe’s cookies. It’s best eaten with a ladle for maximum jingle distribution in each bite. 

Peppermint Joe-Joe’s Ice Cream

For those who like their ice cream chunky, but not jangly, this is the answer. It’s a swirl of Joe-Joe’s-laden peppermint ice cream and fudge-ribboned vanilla ice cream. Those who say ice cream shouldn’t be eaten in cold weather just haven’t tried this one yet.

 

Party Favors

Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers

Perhaps you expected the last word in that title to be “cookies,” or even “potato chips.” Crackers, really? But that’s just the thing. The crunchy cracker provides a blank canvas for the flavors of milk chocolate, diced honey toffee and almonds — and an also delightfully unexpected dusting of ground coffee — to shine. Embrace the unusual. Be great.

Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Bar

Your guests will arrive hungry and leave happy — and extra happy if you give them this dark chocolate bar with caramel filling and crumbs of gingerbread cookies.

Chili Chocolate Collection

The package comes with a key detailing each piece’s level of spiciness. Get the low down on your friends’ heat tolerance, then hit ’em with a sweet and smoky treat for the road. 

Crunchy Truffle Trio

Each velvety chocolate ball is coated with fine flakes of speculoos cookies, caramelized coconut or caramelized pecan. They’re truffles, people, and they’re not to be trifled with. 

RECOVERY

You’ve done it, you convivial host! After an ample night’s rest, wake up to the last two treasures from your shopping cart, and take the rest of the day for yourself. 

Festively Flavored Coffee Cups

After a long night, what’s your poison? Chocolate mint? Maybe wintry blend? French vanilla, perhaps? You’ll find it here.

Gelato Filled Panettone

OK, this could be overkill for a quiet breakfast alone. Whether you indulge solo or keep it in the freezer for when Mom comes to town, this is a traditional Italian cake filled with Italian-style ice cream, wearing a hat of chocolate chips. It’s just begging to be tried at Christmas brunch.

Happy Holidays, happy shopping, all happy everything!

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr (Edited by Cooking Panda)

Tags: Christmas, festive, Groceries, holiday, Party, TJ's, Trader Joe's
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Drinking This Tequila Won’t Give You A Hangover, According To The LA Health Crowd

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By Cooking Panda

Uh oh.

If you are of legal age and want to responsibility indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two some nights or can you get a hangover from tequila, that is perfectly fine. There are studies out there that allege that a glass of red wine is actually good for our health!

However, I don’t think anybody was arguing that taking shots of tequila was doing our bodies any big favors — until now.

Per Metro, the Los Angeles wellness crowd is now saying that tequila — yes, the alcohol you drank on that one night that you hardly remember, but really, really would like to forget — being gluten-free and also vegan, is… healthy?

More specifically, the purest type of tequila made from 100% agave, blanco tequila, is in, because it doesn’t give you a hangover.

Hello darkness my old friend:

Here is the best tequila for no hangover.

I guess the idea is that you can drink your fill of tequila, party all night, and then feel well enough to hit the gym and your wheatgrass-smoothies the next morning with ease.

Does tequila give hangovers?
Does tequila make you hungover?
Does patron give you a hangover?

“We have a lot of trainers and fitness gurus who come in and drink every day,” Jason Eisner, director at a trendy vegan Hollywood bar, Gracias Madre, told The Cut. “The way they’re able to do that is to stick to pure agave spirits.

“As long as you stay hydrated and don’t drink, like, a whole bottle, you’re fine. Not hungover.”

Have you ever wondered, for instance, why after a night of drinking whiskey you feel so much worse than after a night of drinking vodka?

According to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, congeners — a chemical that gets produced during alcohol’s fermentation process, which occurs particularly in barrel-aged drinks like wine, whiskey and brandy — increase the severity of any given hangover.

Pure tequila, as opposed to normal mixed tequilas, do not have as many congeners or sugars. Thus, minimal hangovers.

As for the argument on whether or not the drink is beneficial to your health (as opposed to just not hangover-inducing), while it is true that the blue agave plant has been found to contain certain sugars that help lower blood-sugar levels, there’s no proof that finished tequila has those effects too.

Sources: Metro, The CutScientific American / Photo credit: Hangover PricesTags: Bachelor's Party, best tequila, hangover party, hangovers, health, Party, shots, tequila, tequila hangover, vodka
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Nine Incredible Appetizer Platters That Are Better Than The Entree

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By Cooking Panda

There are many wonderful things to be said about appetizer platters. Or antipasto plates. Or cheese boards. Whatever you call them, they’re delicious, they’re beautiful, and they’re often better than the main meal.

Become the talk of the town and serve one of these awesomely customizable platters at your next dinner party for many reasons.

1) They’ll give your guests something to do while you’re undoubtedly still stressing in the kitchen.

2) With tons of variation in taste and texture, these platters are sure to have something for everyone.

3) Nothing feels classier than holding a glass of wine in one hand and a brie-topped piece of baguette in the other. Nothing.

4) All you have to do is unwrap things and arrange them on a plate. The hardest part is not eating so much that you’re full before dinner.

Now, let’s get crackin’.

1. Greek-Inspired Antipasto Platter

Have you ever seen so much color on a single plate? Get your Greek on with marinated artichokes, peppers stuffed with goat cheese and plenty of sun-dried tomatoes. Don’t forget to provide a healthy amount of pita bread for dipping.

2. Grilled Vegetable Antipasto Platter With White Bean Puree And Chevre

Slice up some veggies and a baguette, brush ’em with plenty of rosemary and olive oil, give them a good char on the grill and enjoy with plenty of tangy goat cheese and mild white bean puree. Bliss.

3. Bruschetta Bar

Bring the party to life with this bruschetta board, freshened up with additions of sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions. We can smell it already.

4. Prosciutto Burrata Asparagus Salad

Because the best kind of salad can be eaten with your hands. This one’s got just a few ingredients and a whole lot of flavor.

5. Bruschetta, Indian Style

Serving Indian food but want to start with bruschetta? Your wish is our command. This version has tasty paneer and mint-cilantro chutney.

6. Spanish Antipasto Platter

Take the squad down to flavor town with tasty Spanish delights like chorizo, Manchego, and Marcona almonds.

7. Southern Antipasto Platter

Honey ham, pickled okra, green tomatoes and pepper jack cheese. Does it get more wonderfully Southern than that? (Click on the photo of the adorable Neely chefs to get the Food Network recipe.)

8. Cheese and Nut Board

This recipe highlights the best part about a cheese board: the cheese. Plus chocolate. Drooling.

9. The Ultimate Appetizer Board

Do as the Italians do: Eat better than everyone else. This board is heavy on the meat, heavy on the cheese, and heavy on the heaven.

Featured Photo Credit: Half Baked Harvest

Tags: antipasto, Appetizer, cheese board, Party, platter, snacks
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