How To Make Puppy Chow (or Muddy Buddies) — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

A bowl of Puppy Chow is like a bag of classic potato chips: Once you start snacking, it’s impossible to stop. Every time I say I’m going in for my last bite, my hand, as if I no longer have control over it, finds its way back into the mix.

I know I’m not alone in this obsession. Put Puppy Chow out at any holiday gathering and it will always be the first thing to go. Pack it up as a party favor and you’ll be crowned hostess of the year. But the very best Puppy chow has a few tricks up its sleeve that you won’t find on the back of the Chex cereal box. Here’s how to make the very best batch that I guarantee will impress even the most discerning Midwesterner.

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10 Platforms for Little Kitchen Helpers — Shopping

Help from kids in the kitchen has so many benefits: It includes the whole family in meal prep, teaches useful skills, develops early interests in food and healthy eating, and eases the stress of keeping little ones entertained while you work (the work is the entertainment!).

While the ol’ kitchen-chair-turned-backward setup worked just fine for me in the ’70s, today there are a slew of helpful platforms specially made to bring small children to kitchen counter height. And don’t worry — they’re as cute as they are safe.

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Martha Stewart Is Living Her Best Life on Santa’s Lap — Pop Culture

Martha Stewart’s entire existence seems like a fairy tale. She rides around her farm on her horse snapping pictures of her pet peacocks like the queen that she is, presumably in between sending texts to Snoop Dogg. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but aspire to her level of carefree bossiness.

Of course, Stewart’s power only grows during the holiday season, when she can truly flex her cookie-decorating and table-setting skills. When she recently posted a picture sitting on Santa’s lap in what looks like a fur stole, holding a glass of wine, I knew that the Christmas vibe had officially been set. This holiday season, we need to all try to enjoy ourselves as much as Martha Stewart clearly is.

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Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Easy, Cozy Vegetarian Meals for Winter — Next Week’s Meal Plan

There are lots of reasons my omnivious family eats vegetarian meals throughout the month. We include at least one or two meatless days each week to encourage our kids to eat more vegetables, to cut down on our food costs, and to keep dinner interesting.

This week’s meal plan is vegetarian purely out of utility — we need to eat up things in our pantry and freezer and stick to our grocery budget this week so there are more dollars for fun dinners out, hosting holiday parties, and festivities over the holiday break. Here are the five easy vegetarian meals my family is eating this week.

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10 Essential Sides for a Holiday Dinner — Recipes from The Kitchn

When I’m in charge of hosting holiday dinners, I have two requirements for all the side dishes on the table: Since it’s more of a special occasion than a regular weeknight dinner, I want the sides to feel elevated and impressive alongside the main course, but they must not be fussy or especially time-consuming to pull off. Here are 10 of my favorites. They’re fast and fancy, and easy to pair with a variety of mains.

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Who Wins the Title of Best Mac & Cheese Ever? — Celebrity Recipe Showdown

I have high standards when it comes to macaroni and cheese. Everyone in my family knows my sister’s version — made with three types of cheese and a buttery Panko topping — by heart. At least once a week you can find one of us whipping it up, whether for ourselves, a potluck, or to bring to a friend (often by request).

Her version, now dubbed “Maddie’s Mac and Cheese,” is straightforward and easy to make, yet results in the cheesiest, creamiest casserole that tastes, to me, like home. So this month, when I tested four of the most popular mac and cheese recipes out there — from Ina Garten, Ree Drummond, Alton Brown, and Sunny Anderson — I knew wasn’t going to give out a perfect rating that easily. These recipes would have to tick all the boxes: easy to make, impossibly creamy (with, ideally, some type of crunch on top), and deliciously cheesy without being too rich.

For consistency’s sake, I tested all four of the recipes with elbow macaroni (the shape they all call for, although Ina offers the option of cavatappi, too), boiled the pasta in a pot of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, and used Cabot cheese when possible (Gruyère being the exception).

Here’s how they ranked, from my least favorite to the very best.

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I Tried Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (& Here’s What I Thought) — Celebrity Recipe Showdown

Whenever I think the hype over the Pioneer Woman — aka Ree Drummond — has died down, she drops something new that everyone goes crazy for: a piece of floral cookware, a whole line of bedding, and, most recently, her very own Barbie. I quickly realized I either needed to jump on the bandwagon or move out of the way, because the Ree is here to stay — and it was time I tried one of her recipes to experience the hype for myself. My recipe of choice? Her uber-rich (and uber-popular) macaroni and cheese.

Get the recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese

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I Tried Sunny Anderson’s Spicy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (& Here’s What I Thought) — Celebrity Recipe Showdown

When it came time to compare some of the most popular mac and cheese recipes on the internet, I was expecting to see four almost identical recipes. How different could the simple combo of cheese sauce and noodles actually be? But the second I saw Sunny Anderson’s version, I realized just how wrong I was.

At first, it was the title of the recipe that stood out to me: Spicy mac and cheese? Then it was the photo: What are those Texas toast crouton-looking things doing on top of the pasta? By the time I got to the ingredient list (cubes of cheese) and technique (no béchamel in sight), I had to find out: Is this the mac and cheese recipe my life has been missing? Or is it so far from the classic that I’ll be disappointed?

Get the recipe: Sunny Anderson’s Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

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These 2-Ingredient Appetizers Are Impossible to Mess Up — Snapshot Cooking

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or signed up to bring something to the office potluck, you likely have appetizers on the brain this time of year. Snacks and small bites are synonymous with the season — but with everything else going on, the thought of starting from scratch is daunting. That’s why we came up with five ridiculously easy appetizers that you can make with just two common grocery store ingredients. In just a few minutes, you’re left with an impressive appetizer worthy of any and all holiday festivities.

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