My husband just celebrated his birthday on December 9. With his birthday being so close to the holidays, we always have a few people over for snacks, chit-chat, games and of course birthday cake. Luckily, I had a chance to check out one of my favorite Food Network stars cooking and baking products and specialty food collections, which are exclusively at Target. Who else but Giada De Laurentiis! I absolutely adore Giada; her cooking skills, the tips she provides, easy recipes for entertaining guests not to mention she is beautiful and seems like a genuinely kind woman. If you are arranging holiday entertaining with family and friends this holiday season you may want to check out the Giada de Laurentiis for Target line of products and a few tips for entertaining like the pros.
-Plan ahead! Prepare most of your dishes ahead of time, rather than trying to cook everything at once. You’ll feel less stressed and will be able to enjoy the party. Giada recommends leaving only one item for last minute prep – this brings everyone into the kitchen and sets the tone for a cozy, comfortable evening.
-Don’t overdo your menu – keep it simple! As a general rule, Giada suggests offering four to five appetizers. During the holidays, choose foods that have vibrant colors for an added festive touch. Also select foods that are beautiful to serve and easy for guests to eat.
I was sent a nice collection of Giada products for my holiday entertaining from the collection, and there was absolutely no way I was waiting until Christmas to dig into the prepared sauces and use the new dishes. I decided to give almost everything a try before the holidays and was very pleased. I made a small snack tray with crackers, toasted baguettes and several of Giada’s products.
Products Included on my tray:
-Black Olive Tapenade
-Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes
-Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
-Eggplant & Pepper Pesto
First let me say these are all under $3.50 so very affordable and less hassle then making homemade products. I am not a fan of mushrooms but all who were here said they were fabulous. I was most excited about the roasted red peppers. I decided to try Giada’s recipe “Sweet Pepper Crostini” and had to make more. Let’s just say there are no roasted red peppers left from the jar and I have already ordered more. This warm snack on toasted multi-grain baguette with melted cheese was a favorite of everyone and would be an ideal appetizer for holiday entertaining.
Sweet Pepper Crostini by Giada De Laurentiis
6 slices baguette (1/2-inch-thick)-I used multi-grain
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush the oil over the bread slices. Bake until pale golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Arrange the bell pepper strips atop the bread. Sprinkle with the cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
Everything in the jars are excellent foods for entertaining. You can use them as dips on crackers, toasted on bread, in pasta, or just to munch on. A little tip from Giada for those guests who are late or who pop-in unexpectedly.
Keep ready-to-serve delights in the pantry such as Giada De Laurentiis for Target Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Marinated Mushrooms for quick entertaining options. The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Genovese Basil Pesto and Eggplant & Pepper Pesto are also easy and delicious treats.
I was really excited to try the Genovese Basil Pesto mixed in pasta with some garlic, parmesan and olive oil. I had left-over pasta from dinner one night, so mixed in about 2 tablespoons of the basil pesto with about 3 cups of spaghetti, 2 cloves garlic-minced, 1/2 cup of homestyle Parmesan Romano Grated Cheese and about 1/4 cup of heavy cream. I then baked this in the 2-Quart Ceramic Oval Baker in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes and served to my family. Yum. This dish was light even the kids enjoyed it. This oval baker worked well for baking and displaying with convenient handles. This is a durable well made baking dish and affordable for anyone at only $19.99!
Everything we received from the Giada line exclusively at Target was really fabulous. The kitchen tools such as the balloon whisk, Silicone Spoonula with Stainless Steel Handle, the ceramic pie pan, measuring cups and the 3-piece plastic bowls with pour are all high quality, under $20 and products any home should own. I’m thrilled to try the bowls for Christmas morning breakfast. I have never had pourable mixing bowls and I know without a doubt these are going to work well for pancakes and other desserts I make for Christmas dinner such as brownies or cakes. Best of all? Less clean-up!
I decided to give one more of Giada’s recipes a try, because we all have our coffee drinkers(I am one of them!) This warm, spiced coffee is a wonderful treat to warm you up and delicious with all the baked goods that will be served. Let me mention her coffee is wonderful.
Spiced Coffee with Cinnamon Whipped Cream: Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp of ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 cup boiling water
1 cup brewed Giada De Laurentiis for Target Giada Blend Coffee
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
In a small sauce pan combine the granulated sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce heat to low. Add allspice, cinnamon and ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and set aside. In a heat proof pitcher or measuring cup add the boiling water to the coffee /espresso. Divide it among four 6 to 8 oz cups. Add 2 tablespoons of the spiced syrup to each cup and stir to combine. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until stiff.(I skipped making homemade whipped cream and purchased the canned stuff.) Top each with a dollop of whipped cream – dust with cinnamon and add cinnamon stick.
Yield: 4 servings/ 4 (6-8 oz) cups
So my over-all thoughts on the Giada De Laurentiis for Target Collection? Impressed. High quality fresh flavors in all the jarred foods which are easy to prepare. The ceramic dishes are extremely durable and will be used for years. I cannot wait to display my pie in the pie plate and use the casserole from oven to table more, for less clean-up. I get to show off everything to family and friends in just over a week. I am thrilled her line is affordable and there is a vast collection of products to choose from including cookware, cutlery, bakeware, food even small appliances.
For more information on the Giada De Laurentiis for Target collection, helpful tips and recipes visit Target.
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Giada De Laurentiis for Target and received product samples to facilitate my review.