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Planning Your Holiday Menu: 4 Ways to a Tasty Meal

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:20 am | Updated: 1:34 am, Wed Nov 20, 2013.

(NewsUSA) - 'Tis the season -- time to break out the decorations, don that holiday sweater and dive into the delicious entertaining season.

According to a recent StarKist survey, an overwhelming 90 percent of people said that they were planning on cooking for a holiday gathering. Don't get caught out in the cold this year when it comes to your menu -- there are quick, easy and tasty ways to sidestep kitchen fatigue and still turn out a dish worthy of your festive table.

Looking for a way to dazzle your friends and family this season? Here are four ways to make any holiday meal a real celebration:

1. Explore Your Culinary Creativity -- More than half of consumers surveyed said they were looking to prepare new holiday appetizers this season. Escape the holiday humdrum and get inspired to add flavor to your recipe repertoire with new ingredients such as tuna. StarKist's new Gourmet Selects line of premium tuna fillets come in seven flavor-forward varieties, including low-sodium versions, giving culinary-inspired touch to everything from spring rolls to dips. Who knows, it might just be your new holiday favorite.

2. Keep It Simple -- Make a list of pantry staples, like breadcrumbs, canned tomatoes, pumpkin and beans, and make sure you have a variety of options on hand to use -- just in case. You can create bold flavors with simple staple items and save time and energy in the kitchen.

3. Stay Centered -- Choosing flavorful, gourmet-quality ingredients doesn't have to cost a pretty penny. If you're like over 75 percent of survey respondents, you're already familiar with the cost-effective options that the center store grocery aisle can offer. In addition to having effortless side dishes and vegetables available, center store items are perfect for use well after the holiday hubbub.

4. Taste Takes the Cake -- Nearly all of survey respondents touted taste above all other factors (e.g., price, uniqueness) when determining which holiday dish to make. No matter what you decide this season, make sure you don't sacrifice taste. Choosing the most flavorful food is a small (but delicious!) way to show your friends and family you care.

For even more ways to explore your culinary creativity this holiday season, check out StarKist.com/Gourmet-Selects and Facebook.com/StarKist.

Laura Ali, MS, RDN, LDN, is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for StarKist. Check out StarKist.com and Facebook.com/StarKist for more tips, recipes and coupon savings.

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