Special Occasions

Special Occasions

Just as daily meals bring our immediate family together for good food and good times, holidays call for, and reward us with, more. We make a greater effort to get together, pulling out old recipes, sliding another leaf in the table. These celebrations stop time for a moment, as the seasons and years slide by.

Traditions and rituals link us with our extended families, our ethnic groups, our religions, and our heritage. They help us remember what is important. Even if the event doesn’t go perfectly, we come away with a deeper sense of where we come from, a feeling of being part of a whole.

Whether seeking traditional holiday dessert recipes or looking for new innovative twists on classic favorites here are some great recipes to give you inspiration for the holidays. These special occasion cookbook favorites include a variety of recipes for a festive, fun, and sweet season.

A Cheesy Gift for Dad

Kids can make this delightful snack to honor their dad for Father's Day. This recipe is sure to make dad proud.

  • Complexity: easy

A Fool's Dinner

Plate up a deceptive April Fool's Day meal.

  • Complexity: easy

Bacon and Spinach Quiche

Filled with eggs, cream, and bacon, quiche has been a popular dish for hundreds of years. What makes it such a particularly good recipe for aspiring chefs, besides the fact that it tastes great, is how versatile it is.

  • Time: 1:20 min.
  • Complexity: advanced

Banana Cream Pie

Sweet graham cracker crust piled with layers of vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, and whipped cream -- the very sight of one of these homemade pies can tickle a kid's taste buds. Plus, making one is practically a rite of passage for young pie chefs. The only challenging part can be waiting for the pudding filling to chill (it takes a few hours) so that you can pile on the bananas and whipped cream and dig in.

  • Complexity: easy

Blueberry Pancakes

Here's our favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes along with some tips to help your young short-order cook griddle them to perfection. Just remember, hot pancakes wait for no one. So have everything else (juice, milk, softened butter, and syrup) ready to go so you can enjoy them right out of the skillet.

Broccoli, Ham, and Cheese Omelet

What fillings to put into an omelet is a decision that can really bring out an aspiring chef's creativity. So while this classic combination is great for first-timers, once your child gets the hang of omelet making, encourage her to experiment with other.

  • Complexity: very easy

Candy Cane Cookies

With peppermint extract and red food coloring, your kids can turn this simple dough into edible ornaments for the tree.

  • Time: 1:20 min.
  • Complexity: medium

Caramel Apple Pie

This apple pie recipe is super easy, but is unusual in it's construction. It contains no flour or other starch in the filling to bind it together. The filling is basically caramelized apples, glued together with the natural pectin from the apple skins, and a glossy, clear, just thick enough, apple syrup.

  • Complexity: easy

Carrot Cake

Filled with finely grated carrots and crushed pineapple, then spread with a smooth coating of cream cheese icing, this classic dessert will be an extra-special treat for your aspiring baker to make.

  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Complexity: medium

Chestnut and Apple Stuffing

Stuffing that is to be cooked inside turkey should be warm or at room temperature; it should not be refrigerated. Be sure you are ready to stuff the turkey soon after stuffing is made

  • Complexity: easy

Chicken Not-Pie

Trick your family this April first with a sweet dessert that looks just like a savory potpie.

  • Time: 50 min.
  • Complexity: easy

Chocolate Brownies

Few kids can pass up a chance to bake a batch of brownies, and this Best Fudge Brownies recipe is especially irresistible. Made with generous measures of chocolate, butter, and sugar, it yields the fudgiest bars we've sampled yet.

  • Complexity: easy

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate chips give this classic bread an especially nice touch. The addition of yogurt makes this favorite especially moist and delicious!

  • Complexity: very easy

Christmas Hot Cocoa Mix

The secret ingredient in this mix is the mini chocolate chips, which melt when combined with the boiling water and give the cocoa an extra-rich flavor. The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions, each of which can be measured into a small plastic bag and tucked into a cup or mug filled with mini marshmallows, candy stick stirrers, and a spoon. Wrap each filled gift cup in cellophane and don't forget to include a tag with the following instructions: "Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your cup (depending on the size), add boiling water, and stir well."

Cool Cake for Mom

Surprise Mom with this yummy, easy dessert that needs no baking.

  • Complexity: easy

Deviled Egg Upgrade

Take hard-boiled Easter eggs to the next level with deviled eggs, a classic party snack and the perfect recipe for chefs-in-training.

  • Complexity: easy

Ducky Desserts

Make a splash on a rainy day by scooping up a flock of these ice-cream ducklings..They're delicious, fun to make and take no time at all. Just follow these five easy steps.

  • Complexity: easy

Easter Basket Cake

This Easter basket cake is a terrific alternative to the store-bought plastic variety.

  • Complexity: easy

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

A cupcake decorated to look like a bunny.

  • Complexity: easy

Eggs in a Hole

It's fun to eat and a tasty treat!

  • Complexity: very easy

Eggs-travagant Nog

This brightly colored party punch can be dressed up with an optional wreath of frozen berries and (for those who like its distinctive licorice flavor) bits of floating star anise.

  • Complexity: easy

English Muffin Hearts

Topped with butter and jam, homemade English muffins are a real treat any day of the year--but these heart-shaped ones make a particularly unforgettable breakfast or snack for your child to make and share on Valentine's Day.

Father's Day Bee-bee-cue Sauce

Create Father's Day Bee-bee-cue Sauce, a Father's Day craft inspired by Winnie the Pooh, with step by step instructions. Enjoy this fun craft activity with your kids and family.

  • Complexity: easy

Festive Chocolate Bark

Once you've sampled this melt-in-your-mouth confection, you'll be tempted to fill your own candy dish with it instead of giving it away as gifts. Best to plan on making a couple of batches from the start. Just enlist a young helper--swirling the white and semisweet chocolates is a particularly popular job--and package the finished candy in see-through cellophane bags to show off the mouthwatering goods.

  • Complexity: easy

Football Turnovers

Enjoy these hearty treats while cheering on your favorite team.

  • Time: 20 min
  • Complexity: very easy

Fruit Flower Bouquet

When Snow White and her forest friends tidied up the Seven Dwarfs' cottage, little did they know that one of the residents would be allergic to the golden rod centerpiece they placed on the dinner table. Here's an arrangement that no dwarf would sneeze at. Created from colorful fresh fruits, the flowers are fun to pick and eat.

  • Complexity: very easy

Gelled Juice

April 1st is a day for fooling, so why not make a little mischief this year? A thirsty family member is the perfect target for this glassful of trickery that's impossible to drink. And since the undrinkable beverage is made by the batch, you'll be able to fool more than one person.

  • Complexity: very easy

Gingerbread Family Kit

This kit of baked gingerbread men, decorators' frosting, and candies will give a family all the pleasures of cookie decorating with none of the mess of baking.


Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata

This classic brunch dish is more than delicious. It also helps eliminate some of the scrambling around you'll have to do on Easter morning. It's designed to be prepared ahead of time and then popped into the oven when you're ready. Feel free to substitute

  • Complexity: easy

Handwritten Valentine Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze

Write a special message to your valentine on chocolate-glazed cupcakes.

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