COVER 3 Offering NYE & New Year’s Day Specials

To help Central Texans kick off 2018 on the right foot after those late-night New Year’s Eve celebrations, all Cover 3 locations in Austin and San Antonio will offer brunch on Monday, January 1 – an offering normally reserved for only Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The full brunch menu will be available that morning from opening at 11am to 3pm, including the popular U-Mix-It Bubbles and Bloody Mary Bar. The traditional lunch and dinner menus will also be available throughout that Monday until close at 10pm as COVER 3 will be screening each of the NCAA 2018 College Football Playoff games that afternoon and night (includes Georgia vs Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl at 4pm & Alabama vs Clemson in the Sugar Bowl at 7:45pm CT). COVER 3′s brunch was recently named “Best Brunch” in Austin and San Antonio this year by Austin Monthly Magazine and San Antonio Current respectively, so this is a great opportunity to kick off the new year with some of the best local bites around!

Additionally, on NYE the preceding day, all COVER 3 locations will be offering various specials for champagne drinks, although details on specific promotions will be revealed online in the days leading up to the holiday. On NYE day, all COVER 3 locations will have normal business hours with traditional brunch/lunch/dinner menu offerings – 11am to 10pm.

A Simple, Family-Friendly Menu

For many households, there are some requirements when you make time to prepare a family meal. Each component must be something you can prepare quickly around extra-curricular activities and homework, and it must feature foods that even the pickiest of eaters will happily devour.

These simple recipes can help you focus that precious time on catching up around the table together. Find more family-friendly recipes at

A Sweet Dinner Idea

Chicken is a favorite for all ages, and this recipe gives crunchy chicken a sweet twist that’s sure to earn clean plates. Baked, not fried, these tenders are a healthier take on traditional dippers. The tangy barbecue sauce and sweet honey mixed right into the breading makes them tasty on their own, but even better dipped in a sweet honey barbecue sauce that complements those flavors. Look for more sweet meal ideas at

Honey Barbecue Baked Chicken Tenders

Recipe courtesy of The National Honey Board

Servings: 4

  • 2/3       cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 1/2    cups whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2       cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3       cup milk
  • 2          eggs, beaten
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • 2          pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • Honey Barbecue Dipping Sauce:
  • 1/4       cup barbecue sauce
  • 2          tablespoons honey
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, mix flour and panko with salt and pepper. In another large bowl, whip together barbecue sauce, milk, eggs and honey. Dip tenders in wet mixture then generously roll chicken tenders in panko mix. Spray tenders with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. To make Honey Barbecue Dipping Sauce: Combine barbecue sauce and honey, stirring together until fully mixed.
  4. Place chicken strips on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Flip tenders and bake until cooked through and outsides are crisp, about 10 minutes. Serve with Honey Barbecue Dipping Sauce.

Create Lifelong Memories in the Kitchen

Give your family an opportunity to spend quality time together in the kitchen by engaging little ones. Simply involve them in the process to teach them some lifelong kitchen skills while having fun.

Turn cooking time into family time with these tips from Uncle Ben’s “Ben’s Beginners” campaign.

1. Have Kids Set the Table. Convince your kids to help set the table by putting out utensils, plates and napkins. It’s a simple task to get children of any age involved in family routines.

2. Let Them Stir. Give those fidgety fingers something to do by letting kids stir ingredients.

3. Get Clean. Use this time to teach food safety as your children help you scrub produce. As a bonus, it also helps reinforce washing hands.

4. Count on the Counter. Put your kids to the test to help count and measure ingredients as you add them to the recipe.

5. Rock ’n’ Roll. Blast some fun tunes. This can help hold kids’ attention while working.

6. Share the Joy. Make every moment sharable by staging the final product for a quick photo shoot.

7. Have Fun. Dress for the occasion with matching aprons and chefs’ hats. Tweak recipes to embrace your family’s interests and make dinner something to smile about.

For more tips and tricks on getting kids in the kitchen, and for recipes the entire family can cook together, visit

Easy Rice

Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice, Original Recipe
  • 2 1/4    cups water
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2          cups chopped leeks (white parts only)
  • 1/2       cup orange juice
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1          large clove garlic, passed through press
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In 2-quart saucepan, add rice and spice packet, water and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes.
  2. In large skillet, melt remaining butter. Add leeks and cook over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring, until soft and golden. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sage and garlic. Cook over high heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cooked rice to skillet and stir 1 minute until rice is hot. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cinnamon.

Delicious Dessert in Minutes

These no-bake frozen cupcakes are the perfect size for a light and refreshing after-school or evening dessert. Creamy and tart, they’re just the right blend of flavor for a treat the whole family can enjoy. Even better, the prep time is minimal so you can whip up a batch after bedtime and have them ready to enjoy the next day. Or ask your little ones for help with making the cakes for a fun activity together. Find more desserts you can share together at

Frozen Lemonade Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Nestlé Kitchens

Servings: 18

  • 1          frozen pound cake (10 3/4 ounces), reduced-fat or fat-free
  • 1          can (14 ounces) Nestlé La Lechera Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk or Nestlé Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1          container (6 ounces) frozen lemonade or limeade concentrate, partially thawed
  • 1          tub (12 ounces) frozen light whipped topping, thawed
  • grated lemon peel (optional)
  1. Prepare 18 muffin cups with 18 liners.
  2. Cut pound cake into 18 slices. Using 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter or appropriate size to fit into paper liners, cut slices into rounds; discard cake scraps or save for another use. Place cake rounds into paper liners.
  3. In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and lemonade concentrate; stir well. Stir large spoonful of whipped topping into mixture. Fold in remaining whipped topping. Spoon evenly into liners.
  4. Freeze 2 hours. Cover; freeze several hours, or overnight, before serving. Garnish with lemon peel, if desired.

(Family Features)


Festive Season Recipes from Jaime’s Spanish Village Gourmet Salsas

Photography courtesy of Jaime’s Spanish Village Gourmet Salsas.

We’re thrilled to share some of Jaime’s Spanish Village Gourmet Salsas and Queso holiday Tex-Mex recipes including their Tamale Casserole, Turkey Chilaquiles and sides like their Mac n Queso and Spicy Stuffing.


Jaime’s opened in 1931 as just “Spanish Village” and when it closed was the oldest restaurant in Austin – in continuous operation. Jaime Tames, an ex bull-fighter from San Luis Potosi, Mexico took over the establishment 40 years later, bringing with him his famous Jaime’s Margarita’s and charismatic personality. The name Jaime’s Spanish Village invokes strong nostalgia and memories of those that visited the restaurant either as a college student, repeat tourist, or local regular with his spirit and tradition living on through our salsas and queso. From the family’s humble beginnings, to the opening of the restaurant and the organic launch of the salsa itself, this has been a true family business from the start.

Jaime’s award-winning brand of traditional, hand crafted and gourmet salsas are the #1 seller in Whole Foods and Central Market with a variety of flavors winning or placing in several hot sauce competitions, including the Austin Chronicle’s annual contest.  Jaime’s Spanish Village famous salsas and queso are available for purchase at various locations of Whole Foods Market (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma & Arkansas), Central Market & other fine retailers and available online for purchase at


Jaime's Mac 'n Queso

Jaime’s Mac ‘n Queso

Jaime’s Mac ‘n Queso


1 lb. elbow pasta

12 oz. bacon

¼ C flour

4 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp butter

3 C whole milk, room temperature

1 jar Jaime’s Spanish Village Chile con Queso

3 oz. Cheddar, shredded

1 bunch Lacinato kale

1 clove garlic, minced

1 TBSP Jaime’s Spanish Village Hot Red Salsa, room temperature

1 ½ tsp salt

1½ C panko breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 350 and grease the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish.

Place the panko in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tbsp butter in the microwave and pour evenly over the panko, stirring until combined, set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions on box, but remove from the water 1 or 2 minutes early. The pasta should be al dente, as it will continue to cook in the cheese mixture. Return the pasta to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, wash kale and remove veins. Chop into bite sized strips and reserve. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat till crispy. Place in a paper towel-lined bowl to drain.  Remove 2/3 of the fat from the skillet. Add the kale to the skillet, turning constantly with tongs. Cook for 3 minutes, until the Kale is soft and has shrunk. Make a space in the center of the skillet and add the garlic. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring to combining kale and garlic when you’re done. Remove from heat.  When the bacon has cooled, crumble into small pieces.

In a large saucepan over melt 4 tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until mixture begins to bubble. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps forming. Increase heat to medium and whisk occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. This can take 10-15 minutes. When the mixture is boiling, lower the heat and add the Jaime’s Chile con Queso, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking to incorporate. Once the entire jar has been added to the sauce, add the cheddar and stir until smooth. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat. Add salt and stir.

Combine the cheese sauce with the pasta, kale, and bacon. Add the salsa and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish and top with the panko mixture. Bake in the lower third of the oven until the cheese sauce is bubbling on the sides and the panko is golden, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Jaime's Spicy Stuffing

Jaime’s Spicy Stuffing

Jaime’s Spicy Stuffing


12 C stale cornbread (or dried in the over), cut into 1 inch cubes

½ C chicken broth

1 C half-and-half

1 ¼ C Jaime’s Spanish Village Hot Green Salsa

3 eggs

1 lb. Mexican Chorizo

3 onion, finely chopped

3 celery ribs, finely chopped

2 medium red bell peppers, seeded, veined, and chopped

½ C pepita seeds

6 TBSP unsalted butter

2 TBSP fresh sage, minced

2 TBSP fresh thyme, minced

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper


Combine the eggs, half-and-half, chicken stock and Jaime’s Spanish Village Hot Green Salsa in a large bowl, stirring to blend. Add the cornbread and toss gently, to coat the cubes, but not break them up too much. Set Aside.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.  Remove the chorizo from casing and add meat to the pan, breaking up as it browns. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it has browned and released the fat. Remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the remaining fats. Add the butter to the pan with the onion and cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 more minutes until softened. Finally, add the garlic and cook for 3-5 more minutes, watching for the garlic not to burn. Remove from heat. Stir in the herbs, pepita seeds, cooked chorizo, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over the corn bread, tossing gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to let flavors blend.

Lower the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400. Grease a large casserole dish (about 10 by 15 inches) with butter or shortening. Add mixture to baking dish and cook for about 35 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

Jaime’s Tamale Casserole


3 C masa harina flour (like Maseca)

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 lbs cooked, shredded chicken

1 jar Jaime’s Green Salsa (mild or hot, depending on your taste!)

4 C chicken stock

1.5 sticks butter, melted

2   1 oz. packages of chicken taco seasoning

1 14.75 can sweet corn kernels, drained

1 C Jaime’s Chile con Queso

6 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend

nonstick cooking spray

sliced Jalapeños for Garnish

Jaime’s Green Salsa for garnish

Sour cream for garnish


Spray a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spry and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina and the baking powder and set aside. In a large stockpot, combine the 1 jar of Jaime’s Green Salsa and 4 cups of chicken stock over medium heat. Add the 2 packages of taco seasoning and stir together. Let heat for about 4 minutes, and add the masa harina mixture, stirring constantly so no lumps form. When they are filly mixed, add the melted butter and stir the masa mixture over medium heat for about 10 minutes, making sure the butter is well incorporated. Finally, add the corn kernels and stir till combined. Remove from heat.

Spread a little more than half of the masa mixture into the prepared pan. Go ahead and use your (washed) hands to spread it evenly. Then, add the shredded chicken in an even layer. Press it into the masa. Melt the Jaime’s Chile con Queso in the microwave, and drizzle evenly over the chicken layer. Top with the remaining masa mixture, distributing evenly with a spatula (or your hands.) Sprinkle with the shredded Mexican cheese. Spray lightly with cooking spray and cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden in spots. Remove from the oven and garnish with sliced jalapeños. You can  Serve with Jaime’s Green Salsa and sour cream. ENJOY!

Warming Up with Winter Drinks at Houndstooth Coffee

Temperatures are dropping and with the holiday season upon us, Houndstooth Coffee is serving up some cappuccinos worth cozying up with.
Now through the rest of December, Houndstooth Coffee will offer limited edition winter specialty drinks in all cafes. See details below.
Houndstooth Coffee Winter Specialty Drinks ($6 each)

Available at all Houndstooth Coffee locations

Rhum Nut Cappuccino (green) + Cinnamon Spice Cappuccino (red)

Sweet & spicy, warm & tasty.

Each drink is a cappuccino made with one of two simple syrups crafted in-house. The Rhum nut syrup is a blend of Rhum extract and hazelnut. The Cinnamon Spice syrup is a blend of Cinnamon extract and Anise.

Perfect Apple Pie

From family dinners to spur-of-the-moment picnics, pies are easy to make and easy for family and friends to appreciate.

To save time in the kitchen, start with Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts for a flaky, tender base. Just unroll it into your favorite pie plate or tart pan, spoon in a delicious fruit filling, bake and enjoy. Pillsbury has updated the packaging with a fresh, contemporary look and features a recipe for Perfect Apple Pie. For this recipe and more, go to (Family Features)


Spoon Up Tradition

When cooler temperatures call for something to warm you up, good, old-fashioned soups and stews may be just what you need.

You can create delicious, steaming pots that taste like they’re straight out of mom’s kitchen with flavorful, convenient ingredients such as Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets and READ Salads to help streamline preparation. With these contemporary recipes, you’re in and out of the kitchen in under an hour without any long simmering required.

Find more recipes to warm yourself from the inside out at and

German Potato Salad Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1          cup chopped onion
  • 1          cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 2          cans (15 ounces each) READ German Potato Salad, chopped
  • 1          bottle (12 ounces) light beer
  • 3/4       cup reduced-sodium, fat- free chicken broth
  • 6          ounces (1 cup) diced ham, smoked turkey or sliced smoked sausage (optional)
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1          tablespoon chopped parsley
  • rye croutons (optional)
  • crumbled bacon (optional)
  1. In Dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and bell pepper in oil until onion starts to brown, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add potato salad, beer, broth and meat, if desired, and stir to combine. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, if desired, pepper and parsley.
  3. Serve topped with rye croutons and bacon, if desired.

Rustic Vegetable Beet Soup

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Whole Pickled Beets, drained
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2          medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1          medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2          large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2          zucchinis (about 5 ounces each), coarsely chopped
  • 2          cans (about 14 ounces each) vegetable broth
  • 1          teaspoon seasoned salt (optional)
  • 1          can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Gremolata (optional)


  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          teaspoon grated lemon peel
  1. Coarsely chop beets; set aside.
  2. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots, sweet potato and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add zucchini, broth and seasoned salt, if desired. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add chickpeas; heat through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  4. To prepare Gremolata: In small bowl, combine all ingredients.
  5. Stir in parsley and dill. Stir in beets. Serve immediately; top with Gremolata, if desired.

Tex-Mex Bean and Butternut Squash Stew

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 1          can (15 ounces) READ Southwestern Bean Salad, divided
  • 1          teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2  teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1          clove garlic, chopped
  • 2          cups cubed or chopped butternut squash, fresh or frozen (about 1/2- 3/4-inch pieces)
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2    cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1          teaspoon lime zest, plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • Chipotle-Lime Crema
  • chopped cilantro (optional)

Chipotle-Lime Crema:

  • 1/4       cup plain nonfat yogurt or sour cream
  • 1          teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/8       teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  1. To prepare stew: Place half of canned bean salad, cumin, chili powder and garlic into bowl of food processor. Puree until blended but still slightly chunky.
  2. Add remaining bean salad to large saucepan. Stir in butternut squash, tomatoes, broth, pureed bean salad mixture and lime zest. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until squash is tender and stew reaches desired thickness.
  3. To prepare crema: In small bowl, combine yogurt, lime zest and chili powder.
  4. Serve topped with Chipotle-Lime Crema, cilantro and lime zest, if desired.

Notes: If using frozen butternut squash, add to stew during last 2-3 minutes of cooking to prevent overcooking. Orange zest can be used instead of lime zest, if desired. Recipe can be doubled.

Bacon-Apple Red Cabbage Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 2          slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1          medium red onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage, not drained
  • 2          cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1          medium apple, chopped (about 1 cup), plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
  • crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
  1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through and crisp. Remove bacon from skillet; reserve. Drain drippings; return 1 tablespoon to pan; discard remaining drippings.
  2. Add onion to pan. Cook about 2 minutes, until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir about 30 seconds. Add red cabbage and liquid from jar, broth and chopped apple. Stir in cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add water, 1/2 cup at a time, if soup is too thick. Add bacon to pan. Continue simmering about 3-5 minutes, until apples are tender and soup reaches desired consistency.
  3. Spoon into bowl. Garnish with apples, yogurt and crumbled bacon, if desired. (Family Features)

Aunt Nellie’s

Throw a Festive Season Cookie Party

The next best thing to baking cookies for many home chefs is baking cookies with friends. Dust off your favorite recipes, create a festive playlist and fill your home with the tantalizing aroma of baked goodies for the ultimate Festive Season cookie party.

Turn things up a notch and swap classic sugar cookies for these festive Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, Peppermint Truffle Cookies and Almond Gingerbread Cookies. Along with those tasty treats, don’t let your guests go thirsty. Add peppermint extract to a slow cooker hot chocolate so guests can sip and be merry throughout the party.

Find more holiday recipes at

Peppermint Truffle Cookies

  • 8          ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1          cup sugar, divided
  • 1          egg
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2          cups flour
  • 36        milk chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat chocolate and butter on high 1-2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Add 1/2 cup sugar, egg and peppermint extract. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually beat in flour on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press chocolate candy into center of each ball, forming dough around candy to enclose it. Roll in remaining sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Almond Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3          cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ginger, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4       cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1          egg
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3    cups sliced almonds
  1. In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In separate large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla extract; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours, or as long as overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sliced almonds, pressing almonds into dough. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2       gallon (8 cups) whole milk
  • 1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          package (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  1. Place whole milk, condensed milk, chocolate chips and peppermint extract in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 60-70 minutes on high, or until chocolate is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to warm or low to serve.

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 2/3    cups flour
  • 1/3       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4    cups granulated sugar
  • 2          eggs
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to completely coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. (Family Features)


6 Simple, Festive Cocktails for the Festive Season

Eggnog Martini and Maple Amaretto Sour are two festive season cocktails that could easily be found on a festive bar menu. However, you can make them yourself in the comfort of your own home. Dazzle guests with an easy, simple trick: extracts.

A simple drop of an extract – peppermint, maple, rum or almond – can transform a holiday cocktail or warm drink into a truly special experience. Add rum extract and nutmeg to white chocolate liqueur and cream for an Eggnog Martini. Or try a few drops of maple extract with coffee, whiskey and half and half for a festive Irish Coffee.

Find these cocktails and more recipes at or on Facebook and Pinterest.

  1. Chocolate Coconut Martini– A dusting of delicious coconut and rich chocolate syrup makes for a drink that’s a dessert and cocktail in one. Coconut extract takes the decadent flavor to the next level.


  1. Eggnog Martini – There’s no taste that says “holiday” quite like eggnog. Swap the actual rum or bourbon for rum extract then mix with white chocolate liqueur and cream for a less alcoholic version. Top with snowy whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

  1. Maple Amaretto Sour – Give the sweet-tart Amaretto Sour – made with amaretto, simple syrup and lemon juice – the seasonal treatment with warming maple extract.


  1. Almond Ale Shandy – This nutty riff on a shandy calls for almond extract, which joins pale ale and cilantro in this lemony, fizzy drink. For a non-alcoholic version, just replace the beer with micro-brewed ginger ale.


  1. Peppermint Martini – The crisp bite of peppermint extract and the smooth sweetness of white chocolate liqueur unite in this quintessential winter martini. Be sure to use colorful mints for a candy-dipped rim that’s both pretty and tasty.


  1. Maple Irish CoffeeFor a seasonal twist on Irish coffee, add a few drops of maple extract. It brings authentic maple flavor to this warm favorite when combined with hot coffee and whiskey. (Family Features)


Prepare the Perfect Turkey for Your Festive Season Meal

Festive Season

Think of the festive season and answer this question: The festive season is the only time of year I do … what?

Maybe it’s the only time of year you set up a Christmas tree, hang mistletoe or travel to a certain destination. For many, the festive season is also the only time of year that you prepare the traditional festive season meal.

And that can lead to trouble.

Each year in the U.S., one in six people will experience food poisoning. There are 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 patient deaths that can be traced back to foodborne pathogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s especially dangerous for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems.

Improper food preparation is one of the most common causes of food poisoning, and the risk increases during the festive season when people try to make lavish meals they would otherwise not prepare. To help keep you and your family safe this season, The Partnership for Food Safety Education — supported by Cargill, Costco Wholesale and the Frozen Food Foundation — is launching The Story of Your Dinner campaign and sharing safe preparation tips for a festive season staple: the turkey dinner.

Preparing the perfect turkey this festive season

* Plan for one pound of meat per person. If a frozen turkey works best for you, allow the bird to thaw for several days in the refrigerator. Generally, you will need to plan one day for every four pounds of turkey to ensure your bird completely thaws. While your turkey is thawing, keep it on the bottom shelf in a rimmed baking pan to prevent juices from spreading.

* Do not rinse your raw turkey. Rinsing the turkey is not a safety step and can increase the risk of spreading bacteria to the sink and other surfaces.

* For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole. Because stuffing is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, it’s important to handle it safely and cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature (at least 165 F) as measured with a food thermometer.

* Cook your turkey to at least 165 F and always use a food thermometer to ensure your turkey reaches this safe internal temperature.

* When checking to see if your turkey is done, insert the food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

* Put extra turkey, stuffing and other leftovers in the fridge within 2 hours. Consume, freeze or discard leftovers within 3 or 4 days.

The annual turkey dinner is a seasonal staple. A little extra preparation can make the meal as satisfying and enjoyable as the rest of the festive season. To learn more about safe food preparation and find a complete turkey roasting chart, visit (BPT)

A Sicilian Twist on Festive Season Entertaining

When it comes to preparing a spread for a festive season gathering, some may look to traditional wine varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, as holiday traditions become less traditional, you can also branch out in your selection of wines.

Produced from the indigenous grapes of Sicily, wines from Sicilia DOC offer fresh taste, quality and variety. The wines come to life when paired with a variation of holiday dishes.

These three tips can help you pair Sicilian wines with the dishes you may serve as part of your festive season spread:

For the Light White Wine Fan

With a low alcohol percentage and fruity notes, an option such as Grillo can be a fan favorite at any holiday gathering and makes for a perfect hostess gift. This white wine features notes of white peaches and grapefruit and can pair well with seafood appetizers, baked casseroles, vegetarian sides or a well-known Sicilian dish like this Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad.

For Guests Looking for a Graceful Red Wine

A modern take on Pinot Noir, Frappato is a light-to-medium-bodied wine with a lingering freshness that’s persistent and balanced with notes of cherry and strawberry. This wine pairs well with both white and dark meat of flavorful holiday turkeys as well as pastas, pizza, roasted meats, potatoes and cheeses.

For Friends Who Favor a Complex Red

For guests who favor Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, an option such as Nero d’Avola is a nice alternative, with aromas of ripe cherry, rose, sweet spices, licorice and cocoa. As a go-to red wine, it pairs well with a hearty charcuterie platter, roasted meats, lamb, pizza and pastas.

For more holiday wine pairings and recipes, visit

Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad

Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicilia DOC Servings: 8

  • Salt
  • 2 pounds thin green beans
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • maple syrup
  • almonds
  1. Add salt to large pot of boiling water. Add green beans and cook until tender and bright green. Drain beans in colander and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Once cool, drain and pat dry with towel.
  2. Peel four oranges and remove white pith. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release sections into bowl. Zest one remaining orange and juice both uncut oranges; reserve zest. Transfer juice to saucepan and add vinegar, honey and pepper flakes. Bring to boil then simmer over moderate heat until reduced to syrup, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In large bowl, toss beans, orange sections and 3 tablespoons vinegar syrup. Transfer to serving platter; drizzle with maple syrup, almonds and orange zest.

Pair each serving with a glass of Grillo. (Family Features)

Wines of Sicilia DOC