Holiday Recipe Testing

One of the things I’ve learned over the past few years is the importance of recipe testing. No one wants to experiment with a new recipe or stress about whether something will turn out yummy or blah on the day of the party. So, testing out your recipes beforehand is a foolproof way to ensure your dinner party menu is top notch.

Now that we have our updated appliances from Samsung, you better believe I take full advantage of the cool technology to make dinner party prep that much easier.

When it comes to setting my menu, I love using some of the cool apps on our home screen –  honestly, I still can’t believe I have a refrigerator with a home screen. I use the Tasty app to browse for new recipe ideas. You can search by meal or ingredients and the recipes come complete with IG worthy photo inspiration and video tutorials for easy prep. I’m also a huge fan of the Instacart integration. You can add ingredients to your cart and order all of the things you need for your next dinner party straight from The Family Hub refrigerator. Once you place your order, you can head over to the meal planner app and start mapping out your menu. All of these things can be done from ONE screen and in just a few minutes and that’s efficiency I just can’t get enough of.

I spent some time in our kitchen last weekend testing a few of my go-to recipes along with a few new ones and couldn’t wait to share. Spoiler: the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are B’s absolute favorite – and a total crowd pleaser.

Roasted Brussels, Broccoli and Cauliflower


Halved or quartered brussel sprouts

Broccoli florets

Cauliflower florets

Olive oil



Red cayenne pepper

*Note: you can really use any veggies – this is just my favorite combo as of late

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. With the FlexDuo Range, I love that I can use the full capacity option for everything from roasting veggies to baking chicken breast.
  2. Combine all veggies in a roasting pan.
  3. Drizzle olive oil to coat moderately.
  4. Top with your favorite seasonings. I love red cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Sometimes I sprinkle a little Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joes.
  5. Mix and stir all veggies with the olive il and seasonings to make sure everything is evenly coated.
  6. Pop into the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, checking occasionally. I like my veggies a little on the crispy side so sometimes I leave them in for a little bit longer.

Fresh Tomato + Arugula Chickpea Pasta


Banza chickpea pasta shells (the penne and rotini noodles are great options, too!)

Two small cartons of baby tomatoes – I like using the mixed variety

One bag of arugula

One (1) tablespoon minced garlic

Two (2) tablespoons olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper


  1. Cook pasta per package directions
  2. While water is boiling  and pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and garlic in a saute pan on medium heat
  3. Toss in tomatoes and cover with lid to simmer, stirring constantly
  4. Once tomatoes have cooked down, add in arugula and stir until arugula is cooked down
  5. Take tomato and arugula mixture off stove and pour over cooked noodles immediately
  6. You might want to add in a little drizzle of olive oil if most of it cooked down when making the “sauce”
  7. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and serve

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon – I actually tend to just sprinkle in a lot, i love the flavor

1/2 Teaspoon salt (optional)

1 Teaspoon  nutmeg (this is my secret no to secret ingredient!)

3 cups oats

1 cup chocolate chips



Full disclosure: I use the recipe on the Quaker oats lid! Just added a few extra things to make the recipe my own.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I like using the top level capacity option in the FlexDuo Range for quick cooking, especially when I like a crispier yet still chewy-on-the-inside cookie!
  2. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
  5. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
  6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.

Vanilla Bean + Cinnamon Honey Simple Syrup



Vanilla beans



  1. Pour equal parts honey and water into a small saucepan. I typically use an entire small jar of honey that measure at a little over a cup. So that means one cup of water.
  2. Cut a slit into one fresh vanilla bean, scrape out the beans and mix into honey/water mixture
  3. Sprinkle in cinnamon
  4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat
  5. Once mixture starts boiling, take off heat and pour into a heat-safe dish or Tupperware. I like using major jars and then sealing with the lid
  6. Serve with your morning coffee or use as a simple syrup in holiday desserts!

Note: lasts up to one week in a refrigerator

This post was written in collaboration with Samsung. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Photos by Shelby Gordon