As you prepare and plan for the holiday season, it’s easy to stress over cooking the best recipes, finding the perfect gifts, and decorating your home just right. If you’re anything like us, you love to look online for inspiration. With that thought in mind, we want to introduce you to three local food bloggers. Next time you need a dose of creativity and encouragement, head to their websites or social media feeds!
Get Inspired in the Kitchen!
MacKenzie Smith at Grilled Cheese Social
MacKenzie Smith is a two-time Food Network champ, cookbook author, and blogger as well as the Executive Chef at Black Dolphin Inn. In addition to delectable (and, of course, cheese-filled) recipes, her blog includes family travel hacks and lifestyle posts.
Her best time-saving tip is particularly handy during holiday meals: Use an Instant Pot! “I love to use my pressure cooker when I’m in a time crunch,” she shares. “Whether it’s for meat, beans, or spaghetti squash, the Instant Pot can do it quicker than any other piece of equipment.” With this gadget, you’ll no longer have to worry about having enough room in your oven or on the stove.
Another helpful piece of advice is to make sure your kitchen is organized and your ingredients are prepped. “My mise en place is always stocked and ready to go,” she adds.
We can’t wait to try her Southern Jiffy Cornbread Dressing. The sweet and fluffy cornbread, combined with spicy sausage, caramelized veggies, and flavorful herbs, becomes a Southern staple that you’ll want to include at every holiday meal!
Christine Pittman at COOKtheSTORY
Christine Pittman is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful and of COOKtheSTORY as well as a podcast host and cookbook author. As a busy single mom of two, she focuses on creating recipes that take less time in the kitchen so she can spend more time enjoying life. At The Cookful, you’ll find inspiration and recipes from a variety of cookbook authors and expert chefs.
If you’re craving a comforting and quick meal during the holiday season, try Christine’s Chicken Noodle Soup. “My mom and my Baba always made tons of it, and now, I do too. I usually make a batch every week,” she shares. The key to both speed and flavor is to use noodles with a short cook time, dark chicken meat cut into small pieces, and some butter.
Healthy Holiday Meals from a Local Food Blogger
Carly Paige at FitLiving Eats
For a healthy spin on holiday cooking, look no further than nutrition expert and chef Carly Paige. She believes that cooking nourishing and tasty meals doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring, or restrictive.
If you’re entering into the holiday season feeling like you can’t cook, think again. “Can you hold a knife? Can you read this recipe in front of you? If yes, then you can cook,” she says. “It can be intimidating if you’ve never spent much time in the kitchen, but I promise that you’ll find confidence if you just start and practice.”
Want a little extra help? Carly is also the founder of FitLiving Eats Winter Park, a company focused on helping you make nutritious swaps to help you feel your best. Her team offers plant-powered cooking classes, private chef meal prep services, and boutique catering services.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Edible Orlando.