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Home for the Holidays with Team Joanna       


It’s no secret that Team Joanna is a bit culinary crazy. If you look at any of our Instagram accounts (Joanna, Alyssa, Ryan, Paloma, Allie), you wouldn’t be shocked to find an over-the-table shot of a delicious food spread or perhaps a quick snap of our photo-worthy breakfast or office snack. Typical Monday morning conversation consists of one of us dishing on a new restaurant we tried over the weekend or the recipe we tested out. But even with the constant writing about, photographing and sampling apps and entrees (not a bad gig!), paired with the hype around Boston’s newest eateries or menu changes, we can’t help but appreciate a hot, home-cooked meal shared with loved ones, especially around the holidays.

To celebrate the season of honey baked ham and gingerbread smelling up our kitchens, each of us decided to bring one of our family’s favorite holiday recipes to the table. Please note, we cannot promise that the presentation of these dishes will be as elaborate as our Instagrams.


Alyssa’s Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars (1)

What You’ll Need:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts



HEAT oven to 350˚F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

COMBINE graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork.

BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars or diamonds.

For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with no-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan.

Cut into bars.


Paloma’s Milaneza de Carne o Pollo (Milanese)

 What You’ll Need:

  • One chicken breast or steak sliced thin
  • 2 eggs
  • Panko or regular bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying


Beat the eggs and add a little salt and pepper, set aside while you cut your chicken breast very thin.

Season chicken and prepare your bread crumbs in a bowl.

Take the meat or chicken one at the time and cover with the beaten eggs and the bread crumbs.

Put the oil in the fry pan just enough to cover the bottom, medium heat and fry two or three at a time, about two or three minutes each side.

Remove from oil when it looks light brown, drain on paper towel and serve.


Allie’s North Stars

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 package (11 oz.) refrigerated French bread dough
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) reduced-fat shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • ½ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 package (0.7 oz.) dry Italian salad dressing mix
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper


Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly spray star-shaped bread tube and caps with vegetable oil spray. Cap bottom of bread tube; fill with dough and place cap on top. Bake vertically, 50-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove bread from tube and cool completely. Combine cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salad dressing mix in 1-Qt. batter bowl; mix well. Using serrated bread knife, slice bread into ¼-inch thick slices. Spread cheese mixture onto bread slices and sprinkle with chopped peppers. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Please note that not many have a star-shaped bread tube laying around the house. You can also cheat and use French baguette slices.


Photo Credit: http://www.eaglebrand.com/recipes/magic-cookie-bars-3934


–Team Joanna

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