SOURCE: Kerrygold

December 02, 2011 05:00 ET

'Tis the Season

Easy Recipes for the Holidays

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Dec 2, 2011) - (Family Features) If time and money are in short supply, use creativity to turn small splurges into celebrations. Here are holiday ideas and recipes that won't break the bank nor leave you exhausted afterwards.

Each recipe features an affordable import -- butter and cheeses from Ireland, where cows are grass-fed and milk from small farms is used to make prized dairy products.

The Family Holiday Dinner
Keep the main course simple with a no-fuss roast. Make a splash with a festive salad featuring creamy and elegant Cashel Blue Irish farmhouse cheese. Serve on your best china.

Pear, Roast Onion, Hazelnut and Cashel Blue Cheese Salad

1 red onion, peeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 pears (not too ripe)
2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Irish Butter
2 ounces hazelnuts, lightly toasted, halved
5 ounces baby greens (watercress, baby spinach and frisée)
10 ounces Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled
Dressing:
2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Halve onion and cut it into crescent slices. Put into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes, or until soft with slightly caramelized tips. Keep warm.

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Halve and core pears, then cut lengthwise into slices slightly thicker than 1/4 inches. Melt butter in a frying pan and quickly sauté on each side until golden. Don't overcook -- they should still hold their shape.

Toss salad greens with nuts, using most of the dressing; divide among 6 plates. Add pear and onion slices to each plate and scatter with cheese. Drizzle each plate with the rest of the dressing. Serves 6.

As featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour.

A Tree Decorating Party
A holiday party doesn't have to be fancy; any simple excuse to gather informally, like trimming the tree or decorating the house, will do. It's a great way to include children in the festivities. Serve up mugs of chowder enriched with Irish Cheddar, plenty of bread and Irish butter, a salad and some Christmas cookies.

Potato Chowder with Pancetta and Aged Cheddar

6 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Salt and pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Aged Cheddar

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1/2 teaspoon fat from pan. Add onion and sauté over high heat until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add potatoes, celery and broth. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add buttermilk and pancetta and stir until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings; multiply recipe for a crowd.

Gifts from the Kitchen
Give a gift of love and save money, too, with home-baked goods wrapped in pretty packaging. Use premium Irish butter to give everything you bake true buttery flavor and natural golden color. Kids would love to help with the decorating.

Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces or 1 cup) Kerrygold Salted Irish Butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1/3 cup granulated sugar or coarse sugar crystals for rolling the cookie log

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl and set aside. In large bowl beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mixing on low just until flour is incorporated and soft, smooth dough forms.

Divide dough into 2 pieces; form each into a log about 7 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 1 hour until cold and firm, or overnight. Or freeze, wrapped securely, for up to 1 month. (Defrost in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In small bowl, beat egg white with fork until foamy, about 30 seconds. Brush each log with egg white. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar on strip of wax paper then roll each log back and forth in sugar to coat lightly. Use sharp knife to cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake one sheet at a time on middle rack of the oven until cookie edges and bottoms are light brown, about 18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly covered. Makes 60 cookies.

And for Every Holiday Get-Together, a Cheese Board
A universal favorite of guests and the easiest choice for the host is a cheese board. An assortment of Irish cheeses like Dubliner, Cashel Blue and Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with fresh fruit and chutney make a spectacular presentation.

For more holiday recipes, visit www.kerrygoldusa.com.

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