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Save Time to Savor the Holidays

Dec 07, 2015 05:50AM ● Published by Family Features

The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, yet it’s easy to find yourself in the kitchen for hours prepping for a festive holiday meal instead of enjoying the occasion.

The secret to spending less time in the kitchen? Make a few smart shortcuts for a memorable meal and dessert that will still look, taste and smell just like homemade so you can slow down and savor the holidays together.

Savory sides
Side dishes are the perfect opportunity for saving time in the kitchen. Start with a family-size portion of wholesome family meal, such as Marie Callender’s Scalloped Potatoes in a Creamy Cheese Sauce with Ham or the Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. Prepare as directed, then transfer to a pretty serving dish and add your own personal touches, such as bacon bits or scallions.

Scalloped potatoes also make a great foundation for a fun and festive self-serve food bar. Let guests serve up a scoop of cheesy potatoes in a fancy glass (stemless, goblet wine glasses work perfectly) and then add the toppings of their choice.

For a time-saving veggie dish, saute frozen broccoli florets in olive oil along with minced garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Or put a fast and festive twist on sweet frozen peas by adding some crisp bacon crumbles, frozen pearl onions and a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper; simply heat in a skillet and serve.

Dazzle with desserts
When it comes to the holidays, desserts are key – especially pie. But making a pie from scratch can be very time-consuming. Instead, look to the frozen aisle for a delicious, just-like-homemade pie from Marie Callender’s, which are made with special touches like made-from-scratch lattice crust and hand-placed chocolate curls. Then add your own signature, special touches. Drizzle warm caramel on top of an apple pie or cut seasonal shapes from sugar cookie dough and add them to the top of your frozen pie before baking.

Another quick tip for making your frozen dessert look as good as it tastes: place a doily on top of a pumpkin or apple pie and sprinkle powdered sugar on top. When you remove the doily, you will be left with a beautifully decorated holiday pie.

Find more tips on the Marie Callender’s Meals Facebook page or at

Sponsored by Marie Callender's

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