Interview: Cooking Expert Kristina Vanni Dishes her Favorite Appetizer & Dessert Recipes!

Are you planning any last minute holiday appetizers and desserts for your Thanksgiving Day celebration at home or at a loved ones? If so, you aren’t going to want to miss out on these great recipes TV host, food writer, and award-winning cook Kristina Vanni dished on recently, which are sure to be a hit at the next holiday party you attend or host!



TV host, food writer and award winning cooking expert Kristina Vanni talks appetizers and desserts! Image courtesy of Twitter.

TV host, food writer and award winning cooking expert Kristina Vanni talks appetizers and desserts! Image courtesy of







Candace Rose: The holidays can be a stressful time for so many, especially when it comes to entertaining. What can we do to make it easier on ourselves?

Kristina Vanni: Well, I think the key is starting the holidays with a really well stocked pantry and some great go-to recipes, that way no matter what happens you’re ready to tackle it and take it on. The key to a well stocked pantry is during the holidays or really any time of the year you’ve got to have a great extra virgin olive oil because it’s used in so many recipes.

One of my favorites is the Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s actually the first olive oil to have the USDA quality monitored seal, so that tells you this is a really high quality product.

You can create a really great warm rustic bruschetta recipe with it (please see video above for details).

What you do is you drizzle the Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the pan, and then add in some garlic (saute it). Put in some chopped tomatoes and some fresh basil, and then some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Mix this all together and spoon it over toasted bread that you’ve toasted with some of that olive oil. It is a great go-to appetizer for any party during the holidays.


Another way to impress your guests is with a holiday ham. You can’t go wrong with a beautiful holiday ham as the centerpiece to your table. I like the Spiral Sliced Holiday Ham from Smithfield’s because it’s really easy and it’s really affordable. All you have to do here is it’s already fully cooked. All you have to do is put a glaze on the top and then pop it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes per pound and you’re done. When it comes out your guests will be wowed. We’ve got some great flavors like caramel apple and a pecan praline. They’re two new flavors and either one, you’ll have a great meal.


Candace Rose: How about those of us who will be heading to holiday parties- what can we do to purchase a great hostess gift?

Kristina Vanni: “Well, there’s a couple of things you can do. You can show up with a dessert (I have a great dessert idea), a hostess gift or both.

The dessert idea I have for you here is another pantry staple, which is JELL-O chocolate instant pudding mix (please see video above for details). You actually use this pudding mix to create these “Hot Cocoa Pudding Cups.” It’s actually an entirely edible mug is made out of the pudding and then you just stick a pretzel on the side (that becomes the handle). Pipe on some Cool-Whip on top, sprinkle on a few mini marshmallows. This you can serve at your party or you can show up and have a dessert ready to go. These are really whimsical and fun.


Jell-o Hot Chocolate Mugs. Image courtesy of

Jell-o Hot Cocoa Pudding Mugs. Image courtesy of



If you want to bring a hostess gift with you (it’s good not to show up empty-handed of course. Rao’s has great specialty food gift baskets (please see video above) like the dinner for eight gift basket or the pasta and sauce sampler. Both of these are filled with pasta and sauces, and they’re really easy because all you need to do is going on You can buy these hostess gift baskets there and you’re all ready to go.”

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?

Kristina Vanni: “All of these recipes and more information about all of these products can be found on their websites. I write a daily blog myself, I always have recipes and tips on there. It’s at:”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *