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Tips and Recipes to Ease Meal Planning During Holiday Hustle and Bustle

Image: easy holiday bars (ARA) - Whether tackling last-minute shopping, trimming the tree, baking sugar cookies for your kid's classroom, or heading off to a company holiday party, the festive, yet hectic, holiday season is upon us. Cooking homemade meals can certainly be a challenge during these busy times - and it's tempting to order in pizza or race through the drive-thru in between the holiday pageant rehearsal and your aunt's annual cookie swap.

However, by adhering to some simple tips and keeping a collection of easy recipes at your disposal, you and your family can enjoy delicious meals round-the-clock while allowing you to slow down and enjoy the special holiday season with your family. King's Hawaiian, the nation's leading and original baker of Hawaiian sweet breads and dinner rolls, has developed the following tips and recipes for you to create "ease like an island breeze" when tackling the hectic needs of your holiday schedule.

Create a Weekly Meal Planning Calendar: Each week, sit down and review your family's schedule, plan out your menu for the week and let your plan be the basis for your shopping list. You'll know that you have all the ingredients at your disposal to satisfy your family and friends' hearty appetites. And, you'll be able to put more money in your Christmas shopping fund as fewer trips to the store means less budget-hindering impulse buys!

Keep a Well-Stocked Kitchen: Make sure that your kitchen is stocked with all the essentials - from eggs, milk, and cheese, to pantry staples such as pasta, sugar and holiday spices. Also, select recipes that only feature a few ingredients and take advantage of your pantry. King's Hawaiian offers an array of recipes at that are six ingredients or less and require as few as three steps - make it easy on yourself!

Know When to Use Convenience Foods: Supermarkets nowadays are filled with a variety of healthful convenience foods that can ease meal preparation. Stop by the deli and you'll find that most supermarkets have meal-deal programs allowing you to buy pre-cooked turkey, fried chicken or rotisserie chicken with side dishes and King's Hawaiian dinner rolls. For sweets, purchase some packaged sugar cookie dough, as well as red and green candies and icing - you'll be armed for any quick holiday dinner party dessert!

Two-for-One Deal: In many cases, preparing one meal is just as easy as making two, so double your recipes for mealtime ease. For instance, if making spaghetti meat sauce one evening, use that same sauce in eggplant parmesan later that week. Or, shred tonight's leftover pork roast for spicy pulled-pork sandwiches, a fun Saturday lunch with the kids.

Make Room for Nibbles: The holiday season is notoriously filled with late-nights and surprise drop-by guests. Stock your kitchen with easy-to-serve, but elegant, snacks, such as artisan cheese, marinated olives, quick bread mixes or frozen mini desserts. To pair with turkey or ham leftovers, keep an ample supply of dinner rolls for quick snacks or mini-sandwich platters

King's Hawaiian bread and rolls are a holiday staple that is a delicious accompaniment or ingredient at any holiday gathering. To help in the holiday hustle, they've developed following quick and easy recipes using everyday pantry staples and only a few fresh ingredients, so that a delicious homemade creation can be prepared at a moment's notice. Whether it's an impromptu brunch, a late-night snack or a family Sunday dinner, these recipe solutions will steer you from "holiday humbug syndrome" to holiday island-style paradise.

King's Hawaiian Original Recipe French Toast

Makes 4 Servings

1 loaf King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Slice bread crosswise so that each slice is about 1-inch thick. Cut slices in half. Combine remaining ingredients. Quickly dip slices (do not soak) in egg mixture and cook on hot buttered or oiled griddle until golden brown on both sides.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with warm syrup.

King's Hawaiian Grilled Aloha Ham Sandwich

Makes 2 Servings

4 (3/4 inch) center slices King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread
8 slices (4 oz.) cheddar cheese
6 oz. shaved deli ham
4 slices canned pineapple, drained

Place 2 slices of cheese side by side on 2 slices of bread; top with ham. Layer 2 pineapple slices side by side over ham, then add remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.

Cook over medium heat on a grooved stovetop indoor grill until cheese is melted, turning once. Cut each sandwich in half; serve hot.

King's Hawaiian Island Coconut Bars

Makes 32 bars.

1 loaf King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Lightly coat cookie sheet with nonstick spray (do not use dark metal pan). Set aside.

Form bars: Remove crust from loaf. Cut loaf horizontally into 4 layers. Leaving layers stacked, make 3 vertical cuts down through loaf, about 2 inches apart. Turn loaf one-quarter and cut again vertically in half. Each resulting bar will be about 4 x 2 x 1/2 inches.

Pour milk and coconut into two separate shallow pans. Dip one cut side of bread bar into milk to coat. Press same side of bar into coconut. Transfer to baking sheet with coated side facing up. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Bake in center of pre-heated 375F oven for 10 to 11 minutes or until top and bottoms are lightly golden brown; watch carefully. Immediately remove from pan and cool.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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