The holidays are here and floods of family and friends will be showing up at your door -- announced or unannounced. While you could purchase a variety of air fresheners and sprays to make the house smell wonderful, nothing beats the odors that come from the kitchen. Before your guests arrive, use one of these recipes/methods to create amazing, comforting smells throughout your home.
10. Anything in a Slow Cooker
A slow cooker can be your best friend during the colder months. By letting your recipe cook all day, you'll warm up your home and fill it with delightful smells. Whether you want to make pot roast, chicken and dumplings, braised chicken/beef/any meat, you'll come home to comforting and welcoming smells.
Who doesn't love to wake up to the smell of bacon? Let alone come into a house that smells like bacon. Slowly cook the breakfast favorite in a cast iron skillet, and before you know it your house will smell like a down-home country kitchen.
8. Roasted Garlic
Drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper on top of a whole head of garlic, then place it in the oven at the lowest temperature to roast. Your kitchen will make your guests think you have been cooking all day ... but little do they know you just placed garlic in an oven. The combination of garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper is simple yet divine.
7. Mulled Wine
I love cooking with wine because the second it hits the pan, the bouquet intensifies. But, you don't have to make a meal with wine to make the house smell amazing; simply make mulled wine with apple cider, a bottle of your favorite red wine, honey, cinnamon, orange zest and juice, cloves and star anise. Heat all of the ingredients in a pot, simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes, strain it and serve. Not only will your home smell like the season, but you'll have a wonderful drink to share with friends and family.
6. Cinnamon Sticks
Mulled wine uses a lot of ingredients, but if you love the sharp scent of cinnamon, just boil a few cinnamon sticks in water. It's as easy as that! Your entire kitchen will smell of the holidays and you will have barely done anything to make it happen.
5. Banana Bread
If I ever make a sweet bread, it's banana bread. Brown sugar with ripe bananas and butter is a combination perfect for making the house smell fantastic. Toss in chopped pecans, chocolate chips or peanut butter chips and you'll add an extra-sweet scent.
4. Sautéed Rosemary
I discovered this outstanding smell when making a rosemary chicken dish. Stems of the rosemary fell off of the chicken and began sizzling in the olive oil used to coat the pan. The bright, fresh scent of rosemary intensified, and it instantly became my new favorite herb. You can either make chicken in a pan with sautéed sprigs of rosemary, or just sauté rosemary in a pan with olive oil. Either way, the scent of fresh rosemary will take over your kitchen.
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Almost any baked good makes the house smell amazing, but there is something absolutely special about chocolate chip cookies. Maybe it's the simple combination of butter, sugar and flour that is able to put anyone at ease and bring a smile to their face, or maybe it's the fact that chocolate chip cookies can bake in ten minutes, so you know your ooey gooey treat is not far away.
2. Candied Pecans/Spiced Pecans
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The only risk to roasting pecans (or any other nut) in the oven is the chance of burning them -- which isn't a pleasant smell. However, if you roast them properly, your whole kitchen will smell of what I believe epitomizes the holidays. Either sweeten the pecans with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, or take the savory-spicy route and season with cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper.
My mom used to make bread in our bread machine for my brother and me when we were younger. Waking up to fresh bread is a treat I will always be thankful for.
Whether you want to knead bread from scratch, or just bake a prepared package of dough, your house will smell amazing as the dough rises and bakes. This is the perfect way to make everyone happy.