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Simple Basics Become Simply Magical this Holiday Season

11/25/2014 10:47AM, Published by Wendy Turner, Categories: Family Features Food, Family Features

The holidays are that special time of year when ingredients are more than just ingredients - they're what you make of them. The secret to amazing appetizers, memorable meals and fantastic celebrations can be as simple as a few key basics. That's why Safeway is making it easier to find value and the essentials you need all season long, so you can create your own holiday magic.

"The six-week holiday season always comes down to the essentials," said Jeff Anderson, executive chef of the Safeway Culinary Kitchens. "My advice is to stock your pantry with basics like flour, sugar and butter - both regular and unsalted. That and a few simple recipes will have you prepared for any meal and ready in a pinch if you need to make an extra batch of cookies."

From a spicy spin on popovers to a savory version of a favorite holiday side dish, Chef Anderson recommends easy, delicious recipes using simple ingredients that won't break your budget.

This holiday season, your local Safeway is your go-to source for great prices on all the basics to help you create a simply magical holiday. For more holiday recipe ideas, visit

Chef Jeff's Holiday Essentials

Simple basics go farther than you think. Keep these items on hand all season and you'll be ready for delicious meals, holiday events and guests.

Buy extras and keep some in the freezer. Refresh them in minutes in the oven for mealtime, as well as for sandwiches, breadcrumbs and homemade croutons.

Stock up on both hard and soft cheese for entertaining and last-minute guests. It holds up well in the refrigerator and can be used in any meal, even dessert.

Everyone loves crackers, but they're not just for appetizers. They are a versatile ingredient for last-minute casserole topping, crunchy breading or baked into meatballs.

The essential holiday essential. From cookies to mashed potatoes, butter is key for rich flavor in almost everything. Using unsalted butter allows you to control exactly how much salt goes into your dishes.

In addition to all-purpose flour, consider alternatives - you can get great results. Try whole wheat flour for bread, pastry flour for desserts and cornstarch for thickening sauces and gravy.

Ice Cream
Delicious as a topping for freshly baked pies, dropped into coffee after a big holiday meal, layered with cake or cookies as a frozen dessert or enjoyed alone, ice cream is a holiday favorite for everyone from kids to adults.

Always have a pie in your freezer for last-minute guests. Keep frozen pie crust handy too. It's great for making quick pot pies with holiday leftovers.

Mashed Potato Casserole


  • 4 large russet potatoes (2-2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cubed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled (see below)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Lucerne Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups Lucerne Reduced Fat 2% Milk Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook potatoes and garlic in large pot of boiling salted water until potatoes are tender; drain. Preheat oven to 350°F. (Do not preheat if refrigerating casserole overnight.)
  2. Mash potatoes and garlic with potato masher or handheld mixer until smooth.
  3. Stir in sour cream, butter, 1 cup shredded cheese, chives, parsley and salt to taste.
  4. Transfer potatoes to 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Bake 15 minutes (30 minutes if refrigerated) in preheated 350°F oven until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Pepper Jack Popovers


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Lucerne Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Lucerne eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Lucerne butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup of cheese, salt and cayenne in medium bowl.
  3. Stir in milk and eggs until mixture is well blended.
  4. Using pastry brush or paper towel, evenly coat 12-muffin tin with melted butter.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup while pan is still hot. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over batter-filled cups.
  6. Bake until popovers are puffed and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes in dark metal pan or about 30 minutes in shiny metal. Remove pan from oven and let stand 1 minute. Run table knife around edges and lift popovers out of pan. Serve hot.

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