Comforting Holiday Classics

(Family Features)

December 23, 2021

Whipping up family favorites all season long is a perfect activity to keep loved ones happy in the kitchen. Delicious, heartwarming snacks offer a simple and savory way to bring everyone together while enjoying comforting food flavors.

Lean on beloved ingredients like go-to RAGU sauces when it's time to come together for quick bites. The possibilities are nearly endless with delicious recipes using classics like the RAGU Old World Style Traditional or RAGU Simply Traditional options.

Hearty flavorful recipes can get you into the holiday spirit, like Snowman Pizza Bombs, Polenta Bites and a Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip. Easy to make and fun to create together, these simple snacks are perfect for a family afternoon spent together in the kitchen or watching a holiday movie marathon.

Originally started by an Italian mother more than 80 years ago, RAGU sauce, known for its distinctive yellow cap, is the perfect have-on-hand pantry staple to help you create easy and delicious home cooking. As an invaluable resource and family favorite since 1937, RAGU sauces easily allow anyone, regardless of gender or culinary skills to "cook like a mother" and serve up delicious, homemade favorites. The brand's rich heritage and array of sauce choices ensures that your next day spent with family will be elevated with family-favorite snacks, easy and taste-tempting meals made with RAGU.

Find more recipes perfect for warming up your family at www.Ragu.com

Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip
Recipe courtesy of Marzia Aziz of "Little Spice Jar"
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6

• Nonstick cooking spray
• 2 cups RAGU Simply Traditional Sauce
• 3 cloves garlic, divided
• 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided
• 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 log (10-10 1/2 ounces) goat cheese, softened at room temperature
• 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
• kosher salt, divided
• pepper
• 1 large baguette, sliced on bias
• blistered tomatoes, for serving (optional)

Position one rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small, round baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Add sauce to a small bowl. Grate in two garlic cloves then add 1/8 cup basil and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine then pour sauce into the baking dish.

Smash goat cheese into a ball. Place the ball between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using your hands, flatten cheese into a thick, round disc about 1 inch smaller in diameter than a baking dish. Remove goat cheese from plastic wrap and place in the center of the sauce. Drizzle cheese with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Bake on lower rack, uncovered, 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is warmed through.

Place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake crostini on the upper rack for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. When bread is done, remove from the oven, cut the last garlic clove in half and rub the cut side on the bread.

Top dip with remaining basil and blistered tomatoes, if desired and serve with crostini.

Note: To make blistered tomatoes: Heat skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add 1 pint cherry tomatoes to the dry skillet and let it sit for 1 minute. Lower the heat to low, toss the tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and cook 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are about to burst. Remove from heat; sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Polenta Bites
• 1 tube (18 ounces) polenta
• 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGU Chunky Tomato, Garlic and Onion Sauce
• 1 package (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella
• 2 sprigs, rosemary, de stemmed and chopped
• 3 basil leaves, chopped
• 1 block (8 ounces) hard Parmesan cheese

Cut the polenta into slices. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; fry the polenta slices 10-12 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the sauce.

Place the polenta slices on a tray and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place 1/2 teaspoon warm sauce on each slice then sprinkle with chopped rosemary and basil. Grate hard Parmesan onto each slice for topping.

Snowman Pizza Bombs
• 1 tube (11.8 ounces) pizza dough
• 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGU Old World Style Traditional Sauce
• 1 package (6 ounces) pepperoni slices
• 1 package (6 ounces) Canadian bacon slices
• 1 package (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
• 4 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 package (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese slices

Decorative vegetables (optional):
• multicolored sweet peppers
• olives
• spinach
• mushrooms
• cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cut pizza dough into 12 squares. On each square, place a 1/2 teaspoon of sauce and evenly top with pepperoni, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese.

Pinch the corners of the dough together to round into balls then place them in the muffin tins.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic powder and Italian seasoning; brush generously over dough balls.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from muffin tin and carefully shape dough balls into circles; place on baking sheet. Cover with mozzarella slices and bake until melted.

Create snowman faces by decorating each with peppers, olives, spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, if desired and use the remaining sauce for dipping.