Spend a little more time in your kitchen at home and a lot less time in line at The Mall. Homemade food gifts are a great way to spread the holiday spirit.
It’s Part 2 of Foodie Holiday Gift Ideas from the Kitchens of The Food Channel…and it’s another chance to meet some of the people from our pantry. Happy holidays!
1. Bean Chili Gift Basket>> from Trip, corporate executive chef
This hearty holiday gift basket is brimming with warmth: a beautiful bean chili dry mix jar, a loaf of crusty bread and some fire-roasted tomatoes. A welcome wintertime gift.
‘I love to give this gift because it’s lovely to look at, and ready to prepare on some cold winter day. When the aroma fills the house and they sit down to enjoy the meal, they’ll remember who gave them this nice holiday gift.’
2. Parmesan Popcorn>> from Erica, our intern from the Culinary Institute of America
Something as simple as popcorn can make a great gift if you dress it up by packing unpopped kernels into a gift jar and accompanying that with a wedge of Parmesan cheese and a small cheese grater…all nestled in a nice gift basket.
“This makes a great holiday gift because at this time of year, when it’s cold outside, more people are staying indoors…they can watch an old movie and enjoy some fresh hot popcorn served up with a little different flavor.”
3. Goodness Granola>> from Lisa, culinary
Give the gift of whole grain goodness! This wholesome snack will be especially well-received in households that strive to eat healthy, even during the holidays.
‘Making homemade granola has always been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember! I love giving it as an any-time-of-the-year hostess gift, but especially around the holidays! My family and friends just go nuts over it!’
4. Grandma Nirelli’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs>> from Cathy, culinary
Bring this Italian heritage family recipe dish over to a neighbor around dinner time, and you’ll be friends forever. A thick, rich tomato-ey sauce with big, tasty meatballs, everyone loves it!
‘All I need to say around my house is ‘Sauce!’ When I announce to my family I’m going to make ‘sauce,’ my daughter comes home for dinner and I hear joyful applause from my son. When my mother made sauce, we did the same thing, and even when Grandma made sauce everybody would just drop by to get a plate of her delicious spaghetti and meatballs. It’s what brings the family together, ‘sauce’!’
5. Lemon-Thyme Infused Champagne Vinegar>> from Gail, corporate executive chef
Champagne vinegar infused with fresh sprigs of thyme and fresh lemon zest makes a festive chef-inspired foodie gift. They’ll think of you every time they cook with it.
‘This is a way to share a bit of what I’ve grown in my garden this past summer. I love bringing some of the flavor that’s inside the bottle to the outside by adding a wreath of the herb—or even just a few sprigs.’
6. Ice Cream Toppings Basket>> from Cari, development chef/nutritionist
A pair of homemade ice cream toppings accompanied by an ice cream scoop and a package of pecans, packaged up nicely in a festive holiday basket. All you need is a carton of vanilla ice cream.
‘This makes a fantastic family gift. Chocolate Fudge Sauce for the kids, and Bourbon Butter-Pecan Sauce for the grownups. It’s really easy to make, and fun to give.’
7. Cranberry Walnut Scones>> from Damion, interactive designer
This impressive jar of ‘scones makings’ makes a great last minute gift with standard pantry items you probably have in your cupboard. Scones are delightful for breakfast or brunch, or for an afternoon snack served with tea or coffee.
‘Anyone who’s ever made sand art before will appreciate this gift. It’s not only distinctive to look at, it’s also easy to put together for the giver and easy to bake and enjoy for the recipient.’
8. Cranberry Panettone from Deanna, culinary
Just because you have no time doesn’t mean you can’t give a nice holiday foodie gift. You can pick up a seasonal specialty from your local bakery, dress it up with a ribbon or other personal touch, and it’s good to go. This panettone is an excellent example, picked up from Panera Bread.
‘I am so busy this time of year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t show up with a tasty food gift for friends, neighbors or party hostess. A quick stop by the bakery, and I’m all set.’
9. Poppy Seed Bread>> from Kay, senior editor
A mini loaf (or two) of poppy seed bread is a welcome holiday gift. Perfect to go along with a cup of coffee or hot tea on a cold winter afternoon.
‘This poppy seed bread is one that a friend originally gave to me, and I couldn’t get enough of it. She shared the recipe and has graciously allowed me to claim it as my own by putting it in the mini-loaf pans and giving it as gifts. Every year I like to give a small food gift to some of our neighbors and this one is a great hit. It freezes easily, too, if they have plenty of holiday food already on hand.’