Cover image for Al Roker's hassle-free holiday cookbook : more than 125 recipes for family celebrations all year long
Al Roker's hassle-free holiday cookbook : more than 125 recipes for family celebrations all year long
Roker, Al, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2003]

Physical Description:
xx, 282 pages. 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX739 .R65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TX739 .R65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TX739 .R65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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From Thanksgiving and Christmas to Super Bowl Sunday, the Fourth of July, and Halloween, holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, not to spend hours working alone in the kitchen. Al Roker is passionate about food and cooking, but he also knows that spending time with his family is more important than preparing a seven-course meal for Easter dinner. In Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook, Al presents more than 125 simple and casual recipes that will make your holiday gatherings stress free and special. Here are traditional American favorites for every occasion, from no-cook appetizers and simple side dishes to manageable main courses, and of course, plenty of grilling and outdoor food. And Al has the classics covered -- Thanksgiving turkey with gravy, stuffing, and all the trimmings; splendid Christmas fare, including Crown Pork Roast with Fruit Stuffing and scrumptious and quick gift breads and cookies; satisfying Super Bowl Sunday chili and snacks; a romantic Valentine's Day menu for two; and Halloween treats for adults and kids. Enjoy a Fourth of July picnic of Oven-Fried Chicken with Pecan-Cornmeal Crust accompanied by appetizing salads; honor the patron saint of barbecue on St. Lawrence Day with Texas Brisket and Al's fabulous Grilled Glazed Doughnuts with Vanilla Ice Cream; or try a St. Patrick's Day menu of Irish Stew, Soda Bread, and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Al provides his own holiday memories and tells how his family holiday celebrations have evolved over time. There are also a wealth of tips and hints on topics such as how to stock a holiday pantry, carve a turkey, handle leftovers creatively, and cook with kids. Think of Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook as the one thing you'll need to make each holiday flavorful, easy, and fun -- even for the cook!

Author Notes

Al Roker, 1954 Al Roker was raised in Queens, New York, and received his B.A. in Communications from the State University at Oswego in 1976. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the school in 1998. Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college when he got a job as a weekend weatherman for WTVH-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1974. After graduating from college, he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. from 1976 until 1978 and in Cleveland, Ohio from 1978 til 1983. He transferred to WNBC-TV as a weekend weathercaster in December 1983 from WKYC-TV, the NBC Television Station in Cleveland.

Roker soon became a features reporter as well as a weatherman for NBC. He interviewed many people on a variety of subjects, but the highlight of his interviewing career was when he conducted an exclusive interview with Peanuts creator Charles Shultz shortly before his death from colon cancer. Since 1985, he has served each holiday season as co-host for the annual Christmas at Rockefeller Center. He also co-hosts The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rose Bowl Parade and appears on various specials for NBC.

In 1994, he founded Al Roker Productions, Inc. which is involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video and public television projects. Two of the most successful projects of his production company include the critically acclaimed PBS special about severe weather, Savage Skies, as well as a highly rated travel series called Going Places. His company is also producing a series of specials for The Food Network. Roker is the author of "Don't Make Me Stop This Car! Adventures in Fatherhood," which was released in June 2000. Al is the co-author of Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle for Good.

New York Magazine has twice named Roker Best Weatherman. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. He is also a seven time Emmy Award winner and a member of several professional organizations including the Friars Club, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Meteorological Society.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

In this guide to preparing tempting meals for special occasions from the Fourth of July to Christmas, popular Today show weatherman Roker offers traditional American favorites like stuffed pork crown roast and whiskey bread pudding. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction The Holidays. Those two words can strike terror into the heart of just about anybody. Why? Because not only does it mean family and friends are coming to your home, which, depending on the family and friends, can mean you're going to have the beginning of a nervous breakdown, it means you have to cook for them. Now, if you're like me, you enjoy the chance to show off a bit. You wanna let 'em know that you can burn some pots. On the other hand, you want to enjoy the holidays as well. You probably took some time off, thinking you'd kick back and relax. Now you're thinking that your home is going to be sacked by the Visigoths. You will be spending hours in the kitchen preparing huge sides of roast mutton and great roasts of beef, while your guests gorge themselves at long wooden tables by the massive stone fireplace and Great Danes gnaw on the bones the gluttons toss aside. Oh, I'm sorry. I was thinking of the Great Hall scene from Robin Hood when Errol Flynn tosses a dead deer at the feet of the Prince. Anyway, fear not, forsooth and verily. That is why you purchased this book. My merry band of thieves take from the time-rich and give to the time-poor. Forget about taxing recipes! But enough of the Robin Hood theme. I know what you're thinking. "Al, I don't need a cookbook for just Thanksgiving and Christmas! I entertain year-round!" Of course you do. This is a year-round holiday book, a book that can proudly sit out on your counter or under a small child to help him reach the table. Preferably one who's been potty trained. With this book, you can throw a party celebrating February 2nd, the day Punxsutawney Phil is hoisted from his burrow. I bet many is the time that you longed to rejoice on St. Lawrence's Day, feast of the patron Saint of barbecue, and now you can. Love to love Valentine's Day? We've got you covered. Ever hear of Boxing Day? Considering scaring up a party for Halloween? With these and so many other holidays in this book, you'll never be without an excuse to entertain. We've presented a menu for each holiday, starting with appetizers and moving on to main courses, sides, and desserts. We even have cool, refreshing beverages if the season calls for it, or hot, comforting drinks if that's what the calendar indicates. To accomplish this feat of cookbook derring-do, I had help. Marialisa Calta is a recipe writer par excellence and a darn good cook in her own right. We teamed up a couple of years ago for Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue. She took the recipes that I had gathered over the years from my own backyard cookouts, friends, and family and massaged them. Before I met Marialisa, my basic M.O. was a handful of this and a pinch of that. Measuring cup? We don' need no stinkin' measuring cup! Actually, we did. Otherwise, how would people know how much of what to use? So Marialisa refined the recipes and then, more importantly, tested them to make sure nobody keeled over. Since this book is a little more wide-ranging, we collaborated a lot more. We spent a lot of time talking about what kind of food I cooked and when, the holidays my family celebrates, and what we ate, both as kids and now as adults. Then we put together the menus and themes for the holidays. Some menus are direct throwbacks to childhood, and others reflect what we like to devour now. Still others represent what we'd like to set on the table. As you know when you cook for the holidays, it takes real skill to be able to come up with food that not only tastes good but is interesting and not a pain in the keester to make. While Marialisa and I were developing the recipes, we felt it was important to keep things as hassle-free as possible. In fact, this book is intended to help you actually enjoy yourself at your own holiday gatherings. This ain't America in the 1950s and 1960s. In those days, our mothers were mostly at home, taking care of the kids and making sure the family was well fed. It was hard to prepare for a holiday then, but it's even harder now, with both parents working and children whose after-school schedules can resemble the flow chart of a major corporation. Maybe you have your parties catered, complete with white-jacketed servers passing trays of canapés to your family and friends. But if you're like me, you and your significant other are running around like maniacs to get everything ready -- cook, set the table, make the drinks -- and visit with the people you invited and intended to be with in the first place. There was a time when I wanted to do everything. From appetizers to dessert, I had to be in control. And I was. I was also missing out on being at my own party, whether it was a brunch or a sit-down dinner. I've learned that being in control is a hassle. I have learned that my best, most fun parties are hassle-free. I don't have to make everything from scratch. I can purchase prepeeled garlic cloves. I can use bagged spinach or lettuce (I still wash it no matter what the bag says), and I have learned to appreciate ready-made pie crusts. And guess what? If I invite you over, don't ask, "Can I bring anything?" if you don't mean it. That's because I will take you up on it. See, that's using the hassle-free philosophy. If you make a better apple pie than I do, why would I waste time trying to make that pie when you can bring it? One less thing for me to do. My mother, Isabel Roker, worked miracles during the traditional holidays. With only one oven and a four-burner cooktop, she would churn out two meats, several vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a baked macaroni, effortlessly. Well, it seemed effortless. Now I know why she only weighs about 100 pounds. She was juggling pots, roasting pans, and baking dishes, putting the guy who spun the plates on the Ed Sullivan Show to shame. But my mother was no control freak; she would enlist us kids to help out. Potatoes to peel, green beans to cut, dishes to set out? She got us involved. Helping mom became part of our family tradition. Involving your family is the best hassle-free strategy of all. Not only does it give you a break, it allows you to spend time together. don't have to do it all yourself. And so what if it isn't done exactly the way you'd do it? No one will know if you don't tell. Hassle-free, baby. From St. Patrick's Day to Halloween to the Fourth of July, we love any excuse to get together. You can take advantage of them all if you live by the hassle-free philosophy. This book is full of recipes, shortcuts, tips, and strategies that can make entertaining for any holiday as easy as possible. Do not fear the holidays. Together we can look at a holiday on the calendar and say, "Bring it on! Do your worst! I am ready for you." I do, however, draw the line at talking to your Aunt Millie, the one who's got the fuzzy lip thing going. You're on your own with her. Copyright (c) 2003 by Al Roker Excerpted from Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook: More Than 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long by Al Roker All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xvii
Thanksgiving with All the Trimmingsp. 1
Creamy Mushroom Soupp. 3
Stocking the Holiday Pantry and Freezerp. 4
Potato Leek Soupp. 6
No-Cook Hors d'Oeuvres for a Crowdp. 8
Thanksgiving Salad with Parsley Dressingp. 10
Festive Juice Drinksp. 11
Roast Turkey and Gravyp. 12
Turkey Basicsp. 16
Turkey Leftoversp. 18
Basic Bread Stuffingp. 20
Corn Bread Stuffing for a Crowdp. 22
Higher Stuffing Mathp. 23
Sweet Potato Poonp. 24
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoesp. 26
Baking Powder Biscuitsp. 28
Green Beans with Walnutsp. 30
Warm Cabbage with Bacon and Apple Ciderp. 31
Roast Acorn Squashp. 32
Cranberry Saucep. 35
Fresh Cranberry Relishp. 36
Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crustp. 37
How to Freeze Piesp. 39
Chocolate Pecan Piep. 40
Freezing Unbaked Pie Crustsp. 43
Sour Cream Apple Piep. 44
Pear Tart with Cranberries and Almondsp. 46
Christmas Dinnerp. 47
Eggnogp. 48
Store-Bought Eggnog with a Twistp. 49
Mulled Winep. 50
Creamy Squash Soupp. 51
Fennel Salad with Orange-Mustard Vinaigrettep. 52
Red and Green Christmas Saladp. 53
Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cracked Pepper Crust and Horseradish Creamp. 54
Crown Pork Roast with Fruit Stuffingp. 56
Christmas Leftoversp. 58
Braised Endive with Orange Zestp. 60
Sauteed Kalep. 61
Scalloped Potatoesp. 62
Spoon Breadp. 63
Red Velvet Cakep. 64
Christmas Brunchp. 67
Citrus Salad with Raspberry-Lime Pureep. 68
Breakfast Stratap. 69
Blueberry Coffee Cakep. 70
Brunch Beveragesp. 72
Christmas Gifts from the Kitchenp. 75
Orange-Cranberry Breadp. 76
Banana-Rum Breadp. 78
Testing Baking Powder and Baking Soda for Freshnessp. 79
Microwave Fudgep. 80
Bourbon Ballsp. 81
Basic Sugar Cookiesp. 82
Freezing Cookies and Cookie Doughp. 84
Decorating Unbaked Cookiesp. 84
Decorating Baked Cookiesp. 84
Thumbprint Cookiesp. 86
Cinnamon Almond Pinwheelsp. 87
Sesame Date Half-Moonsp. 88
Packaging Cookies for Gift-Givingp. 89
Homemade Mixes: Toffee-Chip Cookies-in-a-Jarp. 90
Gingerbread-in-a-Jarp. 91
Vanilla-Cinnamon Party Nutsp. 93
Caribbean Spice Mixp. 94
Boxing Day: A Caribbean Menup. 95
Tropical Punchp. 97
Twice-Fried Plantains with Green Salsap. 98
Chicken Pilaup. 100
Caribbean Christmas Cakep. 102
New Year's Eve Retro Cocktail Partyp. 105
Classic Cocktailsp. 107
Cocktail Talkp. 109
Make-Ahead Drink Garnishesp. 109
Cocktail Party Mathp. 110
Cocktail Party Equipmentp. 111
Champagne Cocktailsp. 113
Garlicky Cheese Dipp. 114
Hot Crab Dipp. 115
Cheese Strawsp. 116
Ten Things to Put on a Crackerp. 118
Biscuits with Ham and Apple Butterp. 119
Shrimp with Cocktail Saucep. 120
Pigs in a Blanketp. 122
Swedish Meatballsp. 124
Edible Toothpicksp. 125
Rumakip. 126
Chocolate Fonduep. 127
Super Bowl Partyp. 129
Nachosp. 130
Spicy Chicken Wingsp. 132
Spicy Party Mixp. 134
Meaty Chilip. 135
Corn and Cheese Muffinsp. 137
Muffulettap. 138
Mac and Cheesep. 140
Overnight Saladp. 142
Texas Sheet Cakep. 143
Groundhog Day Weatherman's Mealp. 145
Chilled Pea Soupp. 146
Hot Split Pea Soupp. 147
Pasta Primaverap. 148
Pot Roast with Pennsylvania Dutch Noodlesp. 150
Sunshine Cakep. 152
Mud Piep. 154
Valentine's Day Dinner for Twop. 157
Pink Ladyp. 158
Smoked Salmon Hors d'Oeuvrep. 159
Herbed Stuffed Mushroomsp. 160
Filet Mignonp. 161
Oven Friesp. 162
Wilted Spinachp. 163
Easy Chocolate Moussep. 164
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberriesp. 166
Valentine's Day Treats for Kidsp. 167
Traditional St. Patrick's Day Dinnerp. 169
Irish Stewp. 170
Irish Soda Breadp. 172
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Saucep. 173
Easter Celebrationp. 175
Spring Saladp. 176
Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Tarragonp. 177
Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Herbsp. 178
Glazed Baked Hamp. 180
Easter Leftoversp. 182
Pan-Glazed Carrotsp. 184
Roasted Baby Potatoesp. 185
Peas and Mintp. 186
Lemon Piep. 187
Meringue Berry Basketp. 190
Mother's Day Breakfast in Bedp. 193
Sparkling Cocktailp. 194
Overnight French Toastp. 195
Baked Eggs With Salsap. 196
Home Friesp. 198
Breakfast Meatsp. 199
Broiled Honey-Ginger Grapefruitp. 200
Man-Pleasin' Father's Day Mealp. 201
Deviled Eggsp. 202
Seven-Layer Dipp. 203
Mixed Grillp. 204
Grilled Garlic Breadp. 207
Warm Potato Salad with Baconp. 208
Cashew Coleslawp. 210
Frosted Yellow Cakep. 211
Banana Cream Piep. 213
Fourth of July Picnicp. 215
Fizzy Raspberry Lemonadep. 216
Antipasti Saladp. 217
Oven-Fried Chicken with Pecan-Cornmeal Crustp. 218
Vegetarian Picnic Sandwichp. 219
Classic Macaroni Saladp. 220
Three-Bean Saladp. 221
Platinum Blondiesp. 222
Candy Bar Barsp. 223
St. Lawrence Day Barbecuep. 225
Smoked Beef Ribs with Mustard Saucep. 226
Texas Brisketp. 228
Braised Greens and Turnipsp. 230
Spicy Baked Beansp. 232
Rice Salad with Broccoli and Peanutsp. 234
Chopped Summer Saladp. 235
Grilled Glazed Doughnuts with Vanilla Ice Creamp. 236
Labor Day Summer Send-Offp. 237
Ham and Pineapple Appetizersp. 239
Orange Beef Tidbitsp. 240
Curried Chicken Skewersp. 241
Stovetop Clambakep. 242
Berry Crispp. 244
Triple Melon Saladp. 246
Halloween Party for Kids and Grown-Upsp. 247
Cider Punchp. 249
Dill Dipp. 250
Mini Burgersp. 251
Sticky Spare Ribletsp. 252
Chicken Fingersp. 254
Corny Crispy Rice Cereal Treatsp. 256
Carrot Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frostingp. 258
Chocolate-Chocolate Cookiesp. 260
Caramel Applesp. 262
Holiday Hotlines and Helpful Web Sitesp. 263
Sourcesp. 265
Indexp. 269