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Unique Savory Cookies to Throw a Curveball Into Your Holiday Cookie Swap

There are only so many gingerbread figures and snowflake-shaped sugar cookies that you can make, so impress everyone at your cookie swap party by going savory this year. Try Parmesan-black pepper thumbprint cookies with cranberry-orange-thyme marmalade, or just top chocolate chip cookies with candied bacon — they’ll be a welcome break from the holiday sugar rush.

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Spread Holiday Cheer with These Cheesy Appetizers

A foolproof way to keep hunger at bay — and ravenous partygoers out of the kitchen — before the big holiday dinner is appetizers, and lots of ‘em. We have plenty of tried-and-true Christmas appetizer recipes to choose from, but the ones that fly off the table the fastest are always ones filled with cheese.

Here are  five of our favorites, including crunchy crostini topped with baked prosciutto, apple butter and melted Brie (pictured above) and deep-fried mozzarella bites. The best part? They’re all ready in 30 minutes or less, so you can get back to babysitting your slow-roasted prime rib and other magnificent holiday dishes.

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What to Look for in a Quality Cheap Eat

 

Eating well on the cheap. It’s not nearly as easy as just eating on the cheap. And we have 50 years of the fast-food industry to thank for that. Not that I’m opposed to the occasional bag o’ drive-thru, mind you, but the old maxim is still true: You get what you pay for. The truth is we all have our own budgets in mind, and not all $6 burgers are created equal. So let’s look for a moment, beyond the bucks, to what makes food bang at any price point — a happy medium sandwiched in between Kobe dry-aged beef and the dollar menu. Here are my four tips for finding a legit cheap eat:

Figure out if the food/restaurant is “people driven.”

This is kinda like “chef driven,” but it involves a little more on your part than pulling up a website or a Yelp review. Bottom line: Are the people who work at this restaurant proud about the food there? Do they eat there on their days off? Can they list the faves from the menu in, like, no time flat? For most of you, this means gathering intel from your waiter, but don’t ignore the person bussing your table either. And, no, this doesn’t apply to only table-service restaurants. I reviewed a national burger chain ($6 and up) and was floored by how both the ladies taking my order were so down for their employer and the burgers they smashed (that’s a hint). After all, don’t you want happy people — people who genuinely believe that they are worthy of your hard-earned buck — serving your food?

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How to Cook Like an Italian Grandpa

Chef Pasquale grew up in Orsara di Puglia, Italy, and brought his recipes and stories to America. Watch how to make eggplant Parmigiana, meatballs, chicken cacciatore and more like an authentic Italian grandpa with skills from the old country.

Watch how he makes eggplant parmesan like he learned in Italy after the jump and check out the rest of his Cooking It Old School videos.

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See Bone Marrow Doughnuts and More Crazy Food on the Unique Sweets Premiere

Seven seasons in, Unique Sweets is still finding wacky treats across the country. In the premiere episode, our colorful commentators tried savory bone-marrow-stuffed doughnuts and everything-bagel doughnut hybrids at The Doughnut Project in New York, edible cookie shot glasses at Dirty Cookie in California and much more. If you missed any of the sweet action, watch the full episode for free below, and tune in for more on Sundays at 10pm ET.

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Every Day We’re Brusselin’: 4 Craveable Brussels Sprout Salads

Brussels sprouts have come a long way in the palate-pleasing department. Once known as the foul-smelling, boiled, soggy vegetable of nightmares, they’ve transformed into a trendy, craveable and usually healthy dish. When you get sick of roasted Brussels, try crafting new, innovative salads instead.

Chuck Hughes makes a warm Brussels sprout salad (pictured above) by lightly sauteing leaves with bacon and Parmesan — hey, we said usually healthy. Check out three more of our favorite Brussels salads below.

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Learn the Hole Truth About Bagels on the Food: Fact or Fiction? Premiere

On the Season 2 premiere of Food: Fact or Fiction?, host Michael McKean brought bagels, doughnuts and other treats to court for an important question: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the hole truth and nothing but the truth?” Actually, he just learned the history of baked goods with middles missing, including why New York City bagels are so good, whether doughnuts helped end a war and what makes Bundt cakes important. Check out the full episode streaming for free below, and watch Food: Fact or Fiction? on Mondays at 10pm ET on Cooking Channel.

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See a Doughnut Worth $10,000 in the Sugar Showdown Premiere

Sugar Showdown is back and sweeter than ever. On the Season 2 premiere, three bakers competed in a speedy elimination round using basil as their mystery ingredient, but only the final two had a chance at scoring $10,000. The ultimate challenge was making Italian doughnuts that were unique and delectable enough to impress the judges.

Miss any of the showdown? Check out the full episode streaming for free below, and tune in for more Sugar Showdown on Wednesdays at 10pm ET.

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See What Haylie Duff Eats on Her Ultimate Cheat Day

There is only so much green juice and chia pudding that one gal can handle, so on the premiere episode of Haylie’s America, it was time for the biggest, baddest cheat day ever. Haylie Duff teamed up with friend Jonathan Bennett for a day of wine tasting, savory waffle sandwiches, West Coast barbecue and a cupcake-frosting competition in Santa Barbara, Calif., and their adventures may inspire you for your own day off.

Miss any of the fun? Watch the full episode below, and tune in for more Haylie’s America on Thursdays at 10pm ET on Cooking Channel.

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5 Regional American Dishes Everyone Must Eat Before They Die

I’m a good ol’ Southern girl, so it’s no big surprise I love America! My new show, Haylie’s America, pays true homage to some of my favorite regional dishes. I love to discover new and exciting foods, but there are a few dishes that everyone should eat before they die — no exceptions. Here’s my ultimate list and why:

Fried Green Tomatoes (pictured above)

These are a staple in the South and you really don’t see them on menus anywhere else. I’m weak in the knees for my grandmother’s cornmeal-batter version, dipped in ranch dressing.

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