Impress Your Guests this December

By Family Features Editorial Syndicate, Special for USDR

Bringing an element of elegance to your holiday celebration is easy when you start with party-pleasing ingredients, and great tasting food often starts with dairy. Foods like milk, cheese and yogurt not only enhance the flavor and texture of dishes everyone loves, but they also add high-quality nutrients to support the health and wellbeing of your  guests.

Each of these recipes features a different variety of cheese as the essential ingredient for success. These decadent, elegant apps, which can be prepared in minutes, are sure to be party favorites. Find more ideas for serving up an elegant, yet simple menu your guests will love a t

Holiday Baked Brie

Recipe created by Foxes Love Lemons on behalf of Milk Means More

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 14 minutes

Servings: 8


tablespoons unsalted butter


ounces button mushrooms, sliced

kosher salt

ground black pepper


Brie round (8 ounces)


tablespoons honey


cup pomegranate arils


cup shelled pistachios

crackers or toasted bread

Heat oven to 350  F.

In large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 8-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper; remove from  heat.

Place Brie on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking pan; drizzle with honey. Transfer to oven and bake 5-7 minutes, or until inside of cheese is softened, but outside remains  intact.

Transfer Brie to serving platter; top with pomegranate arils, pistachios and  mushrooms.

Serve immediately with crackers or  bread.

Butternut Squash Queso Dip

Recipe created by Rachel Cooks on behalf of Milk Means More

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 10


ounces butternut squash puree, frozen


teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil


finely diced red onion


clove garlic, minced


can (10 ounces) petite diced tomatoes and green chiles


teaspoon ground cumin


teaspoon chili powder


ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Place unwrapped squash in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave 5 minutes at 50 percent power, or until  thawed.

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until  fragrant.

Add squash, tomatoes, cumin and chili powder, and bring to boil over medium-high  heat.

Reduce heat to low and add cheese. Stir until melted and serve  immediately.

Parmesan Crisps with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomato

Recipe created by Art From My Table on behalf of Milk Means More

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 8


ounces shredded Parmesan cheese


cup balsamic vinegar


tablespoons sugar


basil leaves


sun-dried tomatoes, jarred

Heat oven to 375 F.

On baking sheet, make eight flat circles out of 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese each. Bake cheese 5 minutes, or until just beginning to turn  golden.

Using metal spatula, remove crisps from pan immediately, placing on rack or plate to  cool.

Place vinegar and sugar in small saucepan and boil until mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup and is  thickened.

Top each crisp with 1 fresh basil leaf and 1 sun-dried tomato. Drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Recipe created by The Lemon Bowl on behalf of Milk Means More

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Servings: 24


large mushrooms, stemmed and reserved


tablespoon olive oil


clove garlic, grated


teaspoon salt


teaspoon black pepper


cups chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained


can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped


cups crumbled feta cheese


cup minced onion


pinch chili flakes


pinch minced scallions

Heat oven to 350 F and place mushroom caps in single layer on baking sheet lined with  foil.

Mince reserved mushroom stems and heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and mushroom stems to pan along with salt and pepper. Saute 2-3 minutes, or until mushrooms are softened. Add spinach and artichoke hearts to pan and cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture in large mixing bowl. Stir in feta cheese and onion. Adjust seasoning, to  taste.

Using small cookie scoop, add 2 tablespoons filling to each mushroom cap. Bake mushrooms 20-25 minutes, or until mushroom caps are softened. Sprinkle with chili flakes and minced scallions to  serve.

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SOURCE Family Features Editorial  Syndicate

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