Use nuts where you use breadcrumbs for added flavor and nutrition. Grind some almonds, for example, and use them to make a crust for meat or fish.
Use ground nuts to coat slices of French toast just before browning the slices. It will add great flavor and texture.
Add some ground nuts to your next spice rub for meat. The nuts can mellow some of the heat from the spice and add needed richness to the mix.
Instead of traditional stuffing, make a nut stuffing. Core an apple or pear, chop it up and mix with chopped dried fruit and nuts. Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing. Roast with some apple cider and cinnamon sticks. The leftovers taste great on French toast or pancakes for breakfast.
Keep a tray of mixed nuts over the stove while cooking your holiday meal and serve them, still warm, to your friends and family as a pre-meal snack. Nuts taste even better served warm.
Soak some nuts in a little water or milk overnight to make nuts a part of a fruit or vegetable smoothie. The softened nuts will become a brilliant part of the smooth texture while adding all of their good flavor and protein to your breakfast.
No fall holiday is complete without that special pie. Try rolling some crushed nuts into ready-made pie dough to give it that homemade touch and rich flavor without all the work.
Nuts with fruit make a great stuffing combination for your turkey. Try adding apples and walnuts or pears and pecans to your favorite recipe for a unique taste and texture. Roast the nuts a little before mixing into the stuffing for added flavor.
Mix some slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or chopped pecans into your favorite barbeque sauce and brush on meats like pulled pork, brisket skirt steak or chicken legs for a nice crunch that complements the sweet notes in the sauce and the smoky flavors of the meat.
When baking muffins or cakes with nuts, toss the nuts in a small amount of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom during baking. There is nothing like biting into a muffin and getting delicious bits of walnut all the way through.
For any recipe that calls for chopped or blended nuts that are toasted first, toast the nuts and allow them to cool. Waiting for the nuts to cool before chopping or blending prevents them from getting pasty and oily.
Making a tart? Using almonds adds great flavor and has other added advantages: with a moist filling, the nuts prevent the crust from getting soggy when it sits. That way, you can have a chilled tart with cream and fruit and a crunchy crust all in one!
Entertaining guests? Try a cheese plate as your opener. Include a few wedges of cheese with some dried fruits, nuts, jam and crackers, and let people help themselves. It can be an icebreaker and inspire conversation when your snacks are communal.
My number one rule? Set the table first. I set the table completely and then start in the kitchen. That way, when my guests arrive, even if dinner isn't ready, I "look" ready and the food can get served and devoured immediately!
Nuts are wonderful mixed into things to add flavor and texture but they are even better mixed with a little cayenne and quickly roasted in a little olive or nut oil for a healthy snack.
Need a new vinaigrette? Roast a handful of nuts, walnuts for example, and blend them with 3 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice.
Slow cooking a piece of meat? Add a few nuts to some of the cooking liquid, blend it smooth and pour it back into the rest of the cooking liquid to naturally enrich the flavor and thicken your sauce.
For a great addition to desserts, melt some sugar in a pan until golden brown and stir in some nuts. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool and break into pieces for a quick nut brittle.
Healthy greens are a great companion to nuts. Try making a salad with chopped arugula with walnuts or dandelion greens and pecans. Radicchio is delicious with almonds and apples. Using nuts can easily expand your salad horizon.
Thicken that Thanksgiving gravy with some ground nuts instead of flour. Simply blend a little of the gravy with ground walnuts until smooth and whisk it back in. No lumps!
Spruce up holiday side dishes by stirring in some toasted pecans or almonds. Top gratins with a thin layer or stir a handful into sautéed or braised vegetables. The nuts bring out the earthy flavors of vegetables but also add richness without making dishes too heavy.
Stir together melted semisweet chocolate and a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts. Add a pinch of cinnamon and roll into bite-size candies. It’s an easy way to have something different than a pie or cookies (and something gluten free!) for the holidays.
To make a spicy or sweet nut mix, put the spices in a strainer to evenly “dust” the nuts (from cinnamon to curry powder) so they get an even coating. To combine different tastes, coat one type, pecans for example, with a light layer of curry powder or walnuts with cayenne pepper. Lightly toast (separately) and mix together.
Make nuts part of any season by toasting them in a little warm olive oil over medium heat. When the nuts are toasted and coated in the oil, stir in any fresh herb (for example, rosemary for winter or basil for summer) and allow the herbs to gently crisp up and meld with the nuts. Serve with a pinch of salt.
For the perfect complement to your appetizers and table, place flavored nuts in little bowls on side and main tables. Mix with soy sauce, rosemary, curry powder or paprika and toast for a great addition to the holiday meal.
That macaroni side dish or pasta salad can be made more interesting and a little less dairy-centric by substituting ground nuts for some of the cheese. The flavor of the nuts adds a great twist to any pasta dish.
What is better than a quickie trail mix? My favorite? Equal parts pecans and almonds tossed with equal parts raisins, toasted oats and slivered, dried coconut.
Make your own nut spread. Blend about 2/3 cup oven-roasted, cooled almonds, walnuts or pecans in the food processor until they are smooth and creamy... Add honey or melted chocolate for a sweeter treat.
Make homemade nut butter in small batches by blending 1 cup of your favorite nuts with a generous tablespoon of oil until smooth, or leave slightly chunky. When you make it with freshly unshelled nuts, there's nothing to enjoy but the freshness of the nuts!
I am always looking to make a smaller snack into a satisfying dessert. One of my favorites? Partially dunking walnuts into some melted dark chocolate (preferably 60% or 70% chocolate so it's not too sweet). Like a hint of saltiness? Add a light sprinkle of salt. Allow them to cool. The bite of chocolate with the richness of the walnut is top notch!
Ever make your own almond milk? Come unshelled and try it: Simply soak almonds overnight in cool water then pour the water off. Blend the almonds with fresh water (about 3 cups of water for 1 cup of almonds) until smooth. Like it sweet? Add a few dried fruits or some honey and blend.
Nuts are delicious in a classic rice pilaf. Stir some roasted nuts into the rice just before serving. They're also delicious mixed with wild rice.
Parsley and basil are great flavors to finish many dishes. Try chopping parsley with some almonds, for example, for added texture and taste.
Cranberry sauce with a tiny grate of orange zest and a handful of toasted almonds stirred in at the last minute puts a simple but tasty twist on a “staple” Thanksgiving side dish.
If you're looking for a little crunch or texture, simply remember that mixing equal parts toasted breadcrumbs and
ground nuts with a splash of olive oil will make a great topping for anything from French toast to lamb chops.
Use nuts to perk up the texture and taste of leftover Thanksgiving side dishes. From a stir fry to a gratin, chopped pecans or walnuts are great stirred in or coating the top. Make a "fresh" coating for leftover gratin by topping it with chopped nuts and baking again.
To add flair and flavor to your holiday desserts from cakes to cobblers, garnish with pecans, walnuts or almonds. Whether in a decorative pattern or all over the top and sides, nuts add an edible, nutritious way to dress up any dessert.
Nuts add tremendous flavor and an unusual twist to homemade marmalades and jams. Stir some walnuts or almonds into your favorite recipe. Makes a great and personal holiday gift.
Want a walnut caramel sauce to pour over a cake just before serving? Melt some sugar in a clean skillet over low heat until it turns amber. Stir in some walnuts and a splash of warm cream and allow it to cool before arranging them on top of the cake.
Is your cake slightly dry or over baked? Make a syrup by simmering equal parts sugar and water with a splash of vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Brush some of the syrup right into the layers of the cake to moisten before assembling.