TODAY   |  December 16, 2013

Giada’s kid-friendly Italian finger foods

Giada De Laurentiis is in the TODAY kitchen with delicious treats perfect for parties or festive family dinners, like Italian pigs in a blanket and crunchy chicken fingers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> cooking with giada. many of you will host or attend a holiday party this week and giada de laurentiis has great ideas for finger foods everyone will enjoy.

>> good morning to you. merry christmas .

>> merry christmas .

>> we're going to do finger foods . you think do the small food. not something where you have to sit down.

>> do you host a little christmas party at your house.

>> i have hosted parties before. but i'm one of those open the chips. why do you ask?

>> i just like to hear it. okay. so i like to do something just a little bit fancier than that although my husband does love to open a bag of chips and popcorn.

>> yeah.

>> okay. so i take a little puff pastry and you cut it into thin little strips with a pizza cutter and knife. this is a italian version of pigs in a blanket .

>> can you get it anywhere?

>> at the deli.

>> okay.

>> instead of buying it sliced, you buy a big chunk. so you take a piece.

>> all right.

>> you try that one. i'll guide you. you take it. you start on one side and you just kind of move it over so that you can get a little bit of that kind of -- yeah, there you go. and it just kind of goes just like that.

>> oh, that's fun.

>> that's it.

>> so then you take it and you put a little egg.

>> results may vary .

>> it's even prettier.

>> you don't have to worry about it. keep it cold until the last minute. brush it with egg wash and that will make everything stick together. then put it on a baking sheet and oops.

>> that's probably yours.

>> of course it's mine. so then you top it with cheese and bake it at 375 for 20 minutes .

>> parmesan if you want to. sometimes it can be a little strong. put it in the oven at 200 degrees and keep all of this warm so you don't have to cook while everybody's at your house.

>> i serve it with a little bit of mustard. people love this. it's not my favorite but my husband loves it.

>> it's essential.

>> my husband loves it. so it's for him.

>> he's a smart fan. so next, chicken tenders . something for the kids. i have a 5-year-old so i have to think about people coming over with their kids. panko. a bread crumb mixture. some spinach.

>> wow, sounds windy.

>> parmesan cheese .

>> there's the parmesan.

>> and a little salt.

>> okay. sorry.

>> and then we just kind of fix it all together and power and start and this thing doesn't work and it never does -- is it not plugged in.

>> just imagine.

>> and this is what it looks like and the idea behind this came up because my daughter loves chicken fingers and doesn't like to eat a lot of greens or spinach.

>> you tricked her.

>> yes. so then what i do is i take the chicken which is over there and this is what chicken tenders looks like. sometimes people don't know but you can buy them and they look just like this. i cut it in half and then i put them in buttermilk to tenderize them a little bit and that way the bread crumb mixture can stick to it.

>> you would dip it and then this. you let the extra buttermilk drip off. it's like doing eggs except i think that's more flavorful.

>> yeah.

>> and the egg gives it a really thick crust and i like a nice thin crust. then i put it in here and put it in oil and fry it you want to throw a little bit of the bread crumb mixture into it and if it starts to fry up then it's ready. if it fries up and gets black right away, it's too hot. just throw some in there and we can see how it happens. shallow friday and 3 to 4 minutes . fry these ahead of time. keep them warm until you serve them.

>> i like that.

>> make it a little elegant and the kids can catch up if they want to.

>> real quickly, tell me what this is.

>> these are little shrimp cakes. they're shrimp with ginger. it's my version of a crab cake but made with shrimp and ginger butter right on top.

>> giada you always class our