Contributed by: NAPSA
(NAPSA) - Preparing family meals shouldn't become just another routine chore in your household or an additional task at the end of the day. There are simple tips to help make any at - home dining experience a fun and special treat for you and your loved ones. From experimenting with different table settings to offering a new take on traditional dishes, a few easy steps can truly change the look and feel of any meal. Below, Lulu Powers, renowned Hollywood caterer and celebrity personal chef, offers straightforward tips that will add fun and flavor to everyday dining!
No need to jet set around the world to taste different cuisines - mix things up by setting a theme for your next meal and serve international dishes from your favorite country. Experimenting in the kitchen can be hassle free by using Pepperidge Farm(r) Puff Pastry sheets and shells; they're easy to use and very versatile for a variety of meals. For example, Blueberries Vol - au - Vent from France or Mexicali Napoleons from south of the border will impress diners and please their palates, too!
Arrangement often enhances even the simplest of dishes and it's easy to spice up any meal with a fabulous presentation. Serve food in colorfully lined baskets or on different geometric - shaped platters. Scour flea markets for vintage - looking serving pieces. Don't worry about matched place settings; the more variety, the more original your table will look.
Quality time shouldn't be reserved for weekends or special outings. Invite everyone into the kitchen and make mealtime a family time by assigning each person a key job. For example, kids love dessert, so let them create their own with the Easy and Delicious Sumptuous Pepperidge Farm(r) Puff Pastry Fruit Tart - a dessert even the tiniest chefs can make! Or have someone make homemade breadsticks and place them in the middle of the table so everyone has something to share throughout the meal.
Mix it Up:
Good food doesn't need to be served during specific times of day. If your specialty is eggs Benedict or French toast, serve breakfast for dinner as a special treat! Make it fun for kids and let them wear their pajamas to the table. Or, for a Friday night treat, serve up finger foods and treat family members to their own mini - cocktail party.
Incorporating little personal touches and exciting dishes will help make everyday dining a little more fun. For more information on puff pastry tips and recipes, visit www.puffpastry.com.
Thaw: 40 minutes - Prep: 20 minutes - Bake: 20 minutes - Chill: 30 minutes
Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 350¡F.
Beat the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer in a small bowl.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 12 - inch square. Trim the pastry to fit into a 10 - inch springform pan.
Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes more or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on the crust. Arrange the fruit over the cheese.
Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until jam melts. Brush the jam mixture over the fruit to coat.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until cheese is firm.
Use a 2 - or 3 - inch cookie or heart - shaped cutter.
Microwave the jam and water in a microwavable cup on HIGH for about 30 seconds.
Serving Size: Makes 10 Servings
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