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Host a Hassle-free Holiday Meal

Morgan Kelly Burke
Nov. 1, 2012

One food blogger shares her passion for a cook-friendly holiday as part of the Care.com Interview Series

When you're skilled in the kitchen (and even when you're not), the holidays always seem chock full of recipes and ingredients and time and more ingredients. Kimberley Hasselbrink, food blogger over at The Year in Food, believes in a way of cooking that any parent would appreciate: make it healthy without all the time and fuss. While there are no kids at her holiday table, Hasselbrink shared her take on holiday entertaining, tells us why being creative in the kitchen doesn't have to be hard, and how she's learning to adapt her recipes for gluten-free options.

Tell us about your blog, your culinary style and your family.

My blog is a place that celebrates creative, unfussy food that's also good for you. I really care about eating well, but I also care about it tasting good and being simple to prepare. And I love seasonal produce, so there are lots of images of what's in season locally.

Can you share some of your favorite holiday traditions? How do you celebrate?

Every year growing up my mother would make Cioppino (a seafood stew) - it's a tradition we adopted from her boyfriend at the time, an Italian-American. We love it and have kept it up ever since. Food is very central to our celebrations. My stepmom is a talented and creative cook - every year she chooses something different and interesting. One year it was goose, one year it was duck. Sometimes it is crab. We often have seafood at Christmas.

What is your favorite part of the holiday meal to make? Do you have a signature dish?

For years I was responsible for the stuffing. I am gluten-free now, so this year my goal is to make an amazing gluten-free stuffing, perhaps with cornbread! And I adore brussels sprouts at the holiday table as well.

Check out Kimberley's top 3 recipes fit for adults and kids:

TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES
These potatoes combine the sophisticated flavors of kale and thyme with everyone's love for cheese, making this sweet and savory combo perfect for the whole family.

Makes 12 servings as a party side; makes 4-6 substantial dinner side servings

Ingredients

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup minced kale
1/4 cup strained Greek yogurt
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
salt + pepper to taste

For the recipe, click here.

CAULIFLOWER MASH
Put a spin on the guilt-ridden mashed potato recipe and enjoy your veggies with this healthy and delectable side dish.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, rinsed, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon butter
lots of freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

For the cauliflower mash recipe, click here.

MINI TURKEY TURNOVERS WITH GOAT CHEESE, BRIE and CRANBERRIES
So something amazing with all that leftover turkey with these festive, delicious handheld calzones.

Makes about 12 calzones

Ingredients

2/3 cup roast turkey meat, diced small (breast meat is ideal for its mild flavor, but not necessary)
1 12-oz ball of pizza dough (found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and the like)
1 small onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/3 cup mild Brie, cut into small cubes if the cheese is firm enough
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt + pepper
olive oil

For the mini turkey turnover recipe, click here.

Get more family-friendly recipe ideas in our Care.com Interview Series: 16 Easy Holiday Recipes That I Would Actually Eat »

Kimberley Hasselbrink is a photographer and food blogger living in San Francisco, CA. Her blog, The Year in Food, chronicles creative cooking and a focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables. She is also a regular contributor to the Etsy Blog and soon-to-be cookbook author. You can find Kimberley on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo used with permission from Kimberley Hasselbrink.

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