My Fiesta: Michelle Stanton

Staff Picks MichelleMichelle Stanton, National Retail Accounts & Export Manager                       

Favorite Fiesta colors: Lemongrass, Poppy, and Turquoise

Favorite Fiesta items:
Tapered Mug, Medium Bistro Bowl, Dinner Plate, and the Deep Dish Pie Baker.

MichelleFavsPNA Fiesta item I have the most of:  Mugs! I love coffee and enjoy having a variety of Fiesta mugs in my cabinet to choose from.

 Most used Fiesta items: The Tapered Mug, of course. I love how these mugs hold a larger amount of coffee.

I always find myself using my 15” Baking Tray when making dinner.  It is perfect for roasting veggies that have been tossed in oil and parmesan cheese.

MichelleRoastPNAGo-to recipe for entertaining:  French Toast Custard Bake is must when hosting a brunch.  You make it the day before in a 9×13 Baker and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. Then, simply slide it in the oven and bake in the morning.

MichelleBakeFB2A I like to give my guests options to accompany this dish: fresh berries, maple syrup, and whipped cream. With a toddler at home, it’s all about effortless, easy entertaining, so make ahead dishes are key for my family.

MichelleBakeFBA 

French Toast Custard Bake
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Ingredients
  1. 8 to 10 slices day old french bread, 1 inch thick
  2. 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2 egg yolks
  5. 3 cups milk
  6. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  7. 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Brush both sides of bread slices with butter and place in a single layer in baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks. Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  4. Pour egg mixture over the bread slices. Cover and chill overnight.
  5. Remove bake from refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to baking.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
A veggie tray with dill dip is another one of my favorites. I love using the 15” Baking Tray (or the 12” Baking Tray, depending on the amount of guests) to hold an array of freshly cut veggies. In the center, I place the Medium Heart Bowl filled with dill dip. 

MichelleVeggieAFavorite foods:  It’s all about brunch:  breakfast quiches, bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese, sweet and savory crepes and gourmet cheeses.  

 Favorite Fiesta items to give as a gift:  The 3 Piece Baking Bowl Set and 2 Piece Prep Bowl Set.  Theses bowl are wonderful for kitchen prep and nest perfectly inside each other.  

Favorite holiday:  Thanksgiving.  I host Thanksgiving every year and do a buffet-style meal with all of my Fiesta dishes.

Favorite memory of Fiesta: When I hosted my sister’s wedding shower, we served her white bridal shower cake on a mix of brightly colored Fiesta Salad Plates.  All of the guests were “oohing” and “awing” over the beautiful presentation.

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A Tortilla Fiesta

aTortillaFiesta3Cinco De Mayo is nearly here, but we were just too excited to wait.  Our brand new Tortilla Warmer was burning a hole in our cabinet, so we threw an impromptu tortilla fiesta featuring our tried-and-true Flour Tortilla recipe.  If you’ve never tried your hand at homemade tortillas, this is the occasion for it.  Our recipe is simple but not quick, perfect for a laid-back afternoon with friends.

aTortillaFiesta8These pillow-soft flour tortillas are so warm and cozy you’ll want to roll one up and eat it as-is, which is perfectly acceptable as far as we’re concerned!  They have a nice chew to them and tremendous flavor, reminding us that tortillas are part of the meal, not just a delivery vehicle for spicy meats and melty cheese.

aTortillaFiesta7Speaking of meat, we couldn’t think of a better match for our hand-rolled tortillas than the rich and savory flavors of Beef Barbacoa.  Shredded beef seasoned with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce is a standby on Mexican and Tex-Mex menus, and our recipe couldn’t be easier.  We threw a roast in the slow cooker along with a flavorful sauce we blended together and let the flavors marinate on low for 8 hours.  It is only fair to warn you that this can be the longest 8 hours of your life if you have the misfortune of being stuck next to the slow cooker, with those mouth-watering smells wafting through the air.

aTortillaFiesta12To complete the meal, load up on fresh, flavorful sides like pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and bunches of cilantro. Shredded cheese, rice, and pinto beans round out the offering, along with the mandatory, perfectly salted tortilla chips.

 TortillaFiesta14Our gorgeous Fiesta® Tortilla Warmer held the hand-rolled Flour Tortillas at an ideal temperature for several hours, keeping the rounds soft and flexible.  If you decide to go with store-bought tortillas, the Tortilla Warmer is the perfect vessel for warming and serving those as well.  Simply line the bottom of the Tortilla Warmer with a damp paper towel or a damp tea towel and then load the tortillas on top.  Wrap the damp cloth up and around the tortillas (or cover with another damp paper towel) and then place the warmer, sans lid, in the microwave and heat on high for about 30 seconds.  Remove from the microwave, cover, and serve.

aTortillaFiesta1

aTortillaFiesta11

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Mexican shredded beef barbecue.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  2. 3-4 pound chuck roast, fat trimmed
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. Sauce
  6. ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  7. 6 cloves garlic
  8. 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  9. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  10. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  11. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  12. 4 chipotle peppers (from a can, packed in adobo sauce)
  13. 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle pepper can)
  14. 1 cup chicken broth
  15. 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, blend together the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  2. Cut roast into about 8 large chunks. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, making sure each side is covered.
  3. Warm a heavy-bottom skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and then sear beef on each side until it has browned. Place seared beef into a slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Add bay leaves and cover with lid.
  4. Set the cooker on low and allow to cook for 8 hours (5-6 hours on high).
  5. After about 7 hours on low (5 hours on high), shred the beef using 2 forks to pull apart. Stir it to completely coat in sauce, then cover and cook for 1 hour more.
Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
Flour Tortillas
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ¼ cup cold lard*
  5. 2/3 cup warm water
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl or in a food processor. Cut in lard, blending until a course meal forms. Stir in water and turn the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until soft and smooth.
  2. Divide dough into eight pieces and then form into balls.
  3. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  5. Meanwhile, start rolling dough balls out into an 8-inch round circle.
  6. Cook tortilla rounds, one at a time, in the skillet for about one minute per side, watching closely to avoid over cooking.
  7. Use a toothpick to burst any bubbles that form while the tortilla is cooking.
  8. Transfer the finished tortillas to your Tortilla Warmer.
Notes
  1. *You may substitute some or all of the lard for vegetable shortening.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/

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Sweet and Smoky Skillet Hash

Skillet Baker Main

In the world of kitchen wares, few objects are as homey as the humble skillet.  With a round body punctuated by a sturdy handle, the skillet evokes sweet memories of breakfast sizzling and the heady scent of bacon filling the air. 

Memories like these, shared by all, across oceans and generations, were the inspiration behind Fiesta® Dinnerware’s most recent addition to the line: the Individual Skillet Baker.  The Skillet Baker’s curvy shape features an oval body and gently sloping sides that extend up to the handle forming a tear-drop-like silhouette.  The handle’s u-shaped contouring is the perfect spot to rest your fork and makes easy work of gripping a piping hot dish straight out of the oven.

To be clear, the Individual Skillet Baker is not to be used on the stovetop or over open flame.  It is a beautiful piece of ceramic ware, and like all Fiesta Dinnerware, it can safely be used in the oven. 

Skillet Hash 3b

When considering how best to showcase this new piece, we looked back to the nostalgia of a skillet breakfast, brimming with heart-warming, hearty fare.   To start, a bed of country-style potatoes with crispy skin and a plush, starchy interior.  Add to that a savory onion and the sweet, juicy flavors of maple sausage and you’ve got yourself a good old fashioned breakfast hash.  Top it all off with a couple of oozy, soft-baked eggs and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper to start your morning off with a win.

The beauty of this dish is that it is assembled, baked, and served in the skillet, or four skillets to be exact.  You can choose to scale the recipe up or down to your preferences.

 Skillet Hash 1

Sweet and Smoky Skillet Hash
Serves 4
A classic breakfast hash of potatoes, sweet maple sausage, baked eggs and smoked cheese.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb loose maple sausage
  2. 1.5 lbs petite red potatoes, cubed
  3. 1 large onion, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  4. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  5. 2 teaspoons salt
  6. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. 1/3 lb smoked gouda, cubed*
  8. 8 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter four Individual Skillet Bakers.
  2. In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium-high heat. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add cubed potatoes to the skillet and cook in the sausage grease. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. When the potatoes are cooked about halfway through, add the sliced onion. Cook until onion is caramelized and potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add cooked potatoes and onions to the bowl of cooked sausage. Add in cubed cheese and mix well. Distribute evenly among the four greased Skillet Bakers.
  5. With a spoon or your fingers make two shallow wells in the potato and sausage mixture of each skillet. Crack one egg into each well (two per skillet).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs are at desired doneness.
  7. Garnish with freshly minced herbs, such as parsley or cilantro and serve.
Notes
  1. *You can substitute with your choice of cheese. Smoked cheddar is another great option.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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Italian Easter Bread Recipe

Fiesta Dinnerware Easter Bread Recipe on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe
(Pane di Pasqua all ‘Uovo)

We all have our traditions, and of course holidays bring out those traditions more than ever. Holiday recipes are some of the most beloved traditions in every family. The tastes, the smells. Just thinking about it takes us back to grandma’s kitchen!

With Easter just around the corner, we’ve decided to share an Italian Easter Bread recipe that’s been a secret for generations. But we feel such a close bond with you, our Fiesta friends, that we feel compelled to share it with you. However, this recipe comes with a fair warning. It’s not for the faint of heart: be prepared to set aside about half a day to prepare it. Trust us when we tell you, it is so worth it!

Fiesta Dinnerware Easter Bread recipe on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

But really, the waiting and preparation is all part of the fun when you turn it into a family group effort. They’re the moments you’ll cherish forever. 

So tie on your Fiesta apron strings, bring out your Baking Bowl Set and get ready to make a family tradition. It’s Easter Bread time!

With the colorful eggs and sprinkles in this recipe, it really is quite Fiesta-y. We like to coordinate the sprinkles with the color of the eggs and our Easter tablescape. For a Fiesta enthusiast, it’s kind of a dream come true.

Fiesta Dinnerware Easter Bread recipe on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

After you dye your eggs, it’s time to activate the yeast and get to the bread baking. If you’ve never made bread using active dry yeast, don’t be afraid! It’s not nearly as daunting as it might seem. 

After some mixing, setting and rising, the next “challenging” moment, if you haven’t done it before, might be kneading the dough. If you don’t have an experienced aunt nearby who can show you the art of kneading dough, a simple look up on YouTube will have you well on your way. 

Easter Bread Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 5 eggs
  2. 2 packages active dry yeast
  3. 1/2 cup warm water
  4. 1/2 cup warm water
  5. 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  6. 3/4 cup shortening
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  8. 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  9. 1 cup sugar
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 1 egg white
  13. 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups sifted flour
  14. 1 egg yolk
  15. 1 tablespoon milk
  16. Tiny multicolored candies
Instructions
  1. Lightly butter a Fiesta Pizza/Baking Tray.
  2. Dip 5 uncooked eggs in food dye to color (follow directions on package) and set aside.
  3. Soften 2 packages active dry yeast in ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F). Let stand 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large bowl and blend in 1 ½ cups sifted flour.
  5. Stir softened yeast and add to flour-water mixture, mixing well. Beat until very smooth. Cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let stand in warm place (about 80 degrees F) for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  6. Cream together until shortening is softened: ¾ cup shortening, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel.
  7. Add gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition, a mixture of: 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.
  8. Beat until thick and piled softly: 2 eggs and 1 egg white. Add beaten eggs in thirds to sugar mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add yeast mixture, mixing well.
  9. Measure: 4 ½ to 4 ¾ cups sifted flour. Add about one-half the flour to yeast mixture and beat until very smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface.
  10. Select a deep bowl just large enough to allow dough to double. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place into a greased bowl. Turn dough to bring greased surface to top. Cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let dough rise until doubled (about 1 ½ to 2 hours).
  11. Punch down with fist. Divide dough into two equal balls. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.
  12. Roll each ball out into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Place on the prepared Fiesta Pizza/Baking Tray. Place colored eggs into the spaces of braid. Cover loosely with towel. Set dough aside in a warm place until doubled.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  14. Brush bread with a mixture of: 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk.
  15. Sprinkle with tiny multicolored candies.
  16. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or more or until bread is golden brown. (Eggs will be hard-cooked.)
Adapted from Italian Cookery
Adapted from Italian Cookery
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/

Fiesta Dinnerware Easter Bread recipe on the blog at www.alwaysfestive.com.

You’ll notice a lot of downtime during this process, which is perfect for family games or making Easter baskets. If you do end up making Easter Egg Bread a part your Easter family tradition this year, please share photos with us on Facebook and tell us about some of your Easter traditions too!

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Mint Chocolate Brownies

Mint ChocolateBrownies 

St. Patrick’s Day is closing in, so we wanted to celebrate one of our favorite colors in the Fiesta spectrum: Shamrock! So get those Shamrock Square Bakers ready, because we’re making a quick and easy dessert that’s totally leprechaun approved: Mint Chocolate Brownies.

brownies

These magically minty confections might just be the treasure at the end of the rainbow- the Fiesta rainbow, that is. The best part about them is that you can use boxed or homemade brownies, depending on how much time you have. We used a box this time, but would love to try this recipe homemade as well. That’s right, they’re so good that we’re already planning round two. No shame.

oreos

frosting

The key to these tasty treats is the mint. We added mint extract and crumbled mint cookies to get the perfect fresh taste to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. But, don’t forget the green food coloring or you’re sure to be pinched!

finish

Trying these at home? Make sure to send us your photos!

Mint Chocolate Brownies
Refreshingly delicious brownies that are perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
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Ingredients
  1. Boxed brownies (we chose dark chocolate for ours) or your own homemade recipe
  2. 2 teaspoons mint extract
  3. 1 jar (7oz) marshmallow fluff
  4. 1 package Mint Oreo cookies
  5. 10 drops of green food coloring (more or less, depending on your favorite shade of mint)
Instructions
  1. Prepare brownies according to directions on box, or make your own and set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine marshmallow fluff, mint extract, and green food coloring. Mix contents very well.
  3. In a small bowl, crumble Oreo cookies (about half of the package).
  4. Pour fluff mixture over cooled brownies and spread evenly. Top with cookie crumbles.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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Saturday Night Bites

Saturday Night BitesThere comes a time when your old standby of chips and dip just won’t cut it.  Perhaps you are celebrating a successful week at work or your friend’s almost-birthday.  Maybe you just feel like getting fancy for the thrill of it.  Whatever your motives, we are here to help you plan your way out of the potato chip blues and into the reds (and yes, we mean wine!).

Saturday Night Bites Star Crackers FBStart your menu off right with some classic crunchies.  Cheddar crackers are universally beloved and these Parmesan Basil Cheddar Stars take it a step further, putting a sophisticated spin on a childhood favorite. You can cut these out in any shape you’d like, but we went with stars for a touch of whimsy.

Parmesan Basil Cheddar Stars
Yields 120
Classic cheddar crackers enhanced with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
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Ingredients
  1. 2-1/2 cups (10 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  2. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  3. 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  7. 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat Cheddar cheese, butter, half-and-half and salt on medium speed in a stand mixer. Gradually add in flour Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and basil, mixing until combined.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a log. Slice into four rounds. One at a time, roll each round out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out pieces of dough with a 1-1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter and place one inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and allow to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.
Adapted from Southern Living
Adapted from Southern Living
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
Saturday Night Bites Brie BlogThis next offering is a real show-stopper.  Seriously, you can’t get much more refined than Brie En Croute and, best of all, this soiree staple is surprisingly easy to prepare. We’ve dressed up our baked brie with a bit of raspberry preserves, a stunning addition when paired with our newest Fiesta color, Claret.

Raspberry Brie En Croute
Savory Brie cheese covered in raspberry jam and baked in a puff pastry shell.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  2. 1 (8 oz.) wheel of Brie cheese
  3. ¼ cup raspberry jam
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tablespoon water
  6. 1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Cut puff pastry into an 8-inch square and place Brie in the center. Top the cheese with the raspberry jam. Pull the corners of the pastry dough up to meet in the center on top of the brie and pinch together to seal.
  4. Beat one egg in a small bowl with the tablespoon of water and salt. Carefully brush on the outside of the pastry and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted.
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
Saturday Night Bites BerriesRound out your menu with a few fresh items such as raspberries and red grapes.  Hit up the olive bar in your local market too.  This savory blend features both Kalamata and Manzanilla olives as well as roasted red peppers for an extra kick.

Saturday Night Bites Spread SausageA nice dry cured sausage is another go-to item for last minute get togethers.  Stay with the milder options for this one, unless you know your guests like it hot.  Don’t skimp on the carbs either! The cornerstone of any good spread, a crusty baguette is practically imperative.   

Saturday Night Bites Plate WineIf you’ve got them, toss a few more cheeses into the mix.  Uncork your favorite reds (or whites!) and have yourself a swanky Saturday night!

Saturday Night Bites Olives

Saturday Night Bites Spread 3

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