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Fresh herbs enliven any dish, whether freshly prepared or leftovers from last night’s dinner. The latter is how Roni Proter likes to use them, and in this installment of Cup of Content, she shows you how to properly clean and chop them.

She starts by rinsing them gently and patting them dry with a towel. (Wet herbs are much harder to chop.) Then she demonstrates two techniques.

The first works for dill, parsley, rosemary, and thyme — essentially anything with small or stiff leaves. Gather them in a pile, then rock the knife back and forth while keeping the tip on the cutting board.

For herbs such as basil and mint, Proter likes to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, and slice thinly across.

Want more videos like these? Then watch previous episodes of Cup of Content or Proter’s other series, Dinner Reinvented.

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A little chicken prep goes a long way in the kitchen at mealtime

Cup of Content

Cooking meat can be the most time-consuming part of preparing dinner. But it doesn’t have to be. In this episode of Cup of Content, host Roni Proter explains how she trims valuable time off meal prep with a few slices of a knife and a little plastic wrap.

By cutting and pounding chicken breasts in advance, the smaller, thinner cutlets are ready to use any time she needs them — and for any recipe that calls for them.

First she removes the fat, then slices the breast in half diagonally. After covering the chicken with plastic wrap while still on the cutting board, she pounds it thin.

She recommends dredging the chicken pieces in a favorite coating, or just wrapping them up tight in plastic and freezing as is. Then there is meat at the ready for the next time you need to cook a meal for the family. The smaller, thinner pieces thaw more quickly than the whole chicken breast, saving you precious time in the kitchen.

To see all of the steps, watch the video.

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Oft-ignored vegetable part becomes nutritious snack in this cooking trick

Cup of Content

A mom's job gets harder around dinnertime, especially when she's cooking. Not only does she want to make healthy choices, but she also needs to keep the kids' stomachs from grumbling while she's making a meal.

Roni Proter, who created Dinner Reinvented after she discovered the challenges of preparing dinner as a busy working mother, is full of good advice. In this episode of Cup of Content, she shares a dinnertime trick she learned from her own mother.

When the meal includes broccoli — perhaps in the form of steamed florets side dish — she turns the oft-overlooked broccoli stalk into a nutritious pre-dinner snack for her kids.

The stalk has a milder flavor than the crown, and cutting up the stalk for snacking means you don't waste any bit of the vegetable. Just remove the tough exterior with a peeler, cut it into sticks, and serve.

Want more videos like these? Learn how to make a 60-second breakfast sandwich, easy roasted vegetables, or a faster-than-pasta side dish.

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Whip up this side dish instead of pasta for easy weekday dinners

Cup of Content

In this episode of Cup of Content, host Roni Proter shares her go-to side dish: couscous. When a busy mom has to keep an eye on the kids while cooking, pasta may take too long to prepare.

Quick-cooking couscous works wonders for weekday dinners when you want another kind of "starchy" side. Proter likes to boil two cups of water in her electric kettle, then pour it over one cup of couscous she has waiting in a bowl.

Stir in the water with a pinch of salt, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for five minutes before forking and serving. What could be simpler? And it's only 10 minutes from start to finish.

If only raising kids were that easy.

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Deep Ellum restaurant closure tops this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way. A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum has closed: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which has been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, closed on November 25, to be replaced with another concept whose identity is still to be (officially) announced.

2. Affluent Dallas suburb leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S. As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

3. Dallas-Fort Worth jingles all the way to a top spot on new list of most festive U.S. places. As Dallas-Fort Worth residents start to decorate their homes and view spectacular Christmas lights all around town, we might take for granted that our Yuletide cheer is one of the best in the country. In fact, one recent study names DFW the No. 2 most festive metro area in the U.S.

4. Favorite 'Yellowstone' cowboy to greet fans at North Texas whiskey shindig. Yellowstone star sightings are becoming weekly occurrences around Dallas-Fort Worth, and here comes a new chance to mingle with a fan favorite: Forrie J. Smith, who plays old-timer ranch hand Lloyd Pierce, is coming to Oak & Eden Whiskey's flagship nano-distillery in Bridgeport on Saturday, December 3.

5. Where to eat on Christmas 2022 at Dallas restaurants. Restaurants are already cooking up options for Christmas, whether you're looking to dine out or grab something to take home. This list has a little bit of everything: places that are open on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, or places doing take-out only.

A-list fashion stars align at Dallas’ most stylish black-tie awards gala

FGI Night of Stars

It's been called Dallas' version of the Met Gala. More than 300 of Dallas' chicest packed the Thompson Hotel ballroom for the Fashion Group International of Dallas (FGI Dallas) Night of Stars 2022 gala on Friday, November 18.

They included fashion luminaries, celebrities, socialites, philanthropists, business owners, and influencers — all there to raise funds for scholarships for aspiring fashion designers and professionals.

Event chairs Ken Weber, Richard Rivas, and Cristina Graham presided over the glamorous evening, which was emceed by James Aguiar, the VP Fashion and Creative Director for Modern Luxury. Besides being a chic soiree, the event is also an awards extravaganza, honoring the best and brightest stars in fashion.

This year's honorees were:

House of Pierre Cardin, represented by Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion (presented by Karen Katz). "Founded and led by Pierre Cardin in 1950, [the brand's] bubble dresses, along with celebrity ties such as actress and model Lauren Bacall, launched the brand into the ethos of the 1960s," event organizers said. "Throughout the decades House of Cardin established itself as an avant-garde fashion house often evoking a 'Space Age' quality to the garments."

Palmer//Harding's Levi Palmer, a Dallas native, and Matthew Harding received the Career Achievement Award in Design (presented by Jan Strimple).

And Fern Mallis, regarded as the "Godmother of Fashion" and creator of New York Fashion Week, was honored as the Icon of Innovation (presented by Ken Downing).

The style highlight of the evening was a fashion show presentation by House of Pierre Cardin and palmer//harding, produced by Jan Strimple Productions.

In total, the organization raised over $45,000 toward student scholarships.

Spotted in the crowd, looking fabulous and enjoying the evening, were numerous patrons and guests, including Amy Van Cleave, Maxine Trowbridge, Nerissa von Helpenstill, Kameron Westcott, Carey Deuber, Leeanne Locken, Kendra Tillman, Lynae Fearing, Laura Harris, Patrick Means, Maryanne Grisz, Holly Katz, Michael Buss, Ashley Anderson Smith, Steve Rahal, Natalie Harden, Holly Quartaro, Chuck Steelman, Gail Bass Good, Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor, Heidi Dillon, Steve Lopez, Darren Deville, Steve Hoyle, James Turner, Jessica Jesse, and Susan Posnick.

FGI Dallas is part of Fashion Group International, Inc., a global, nonprofit, professional organization with more than 6,000 members representing all areas of the fashion industry. For more information about the organization, visit the website.

Photo by Thomas Garza Photography and Danny Campbell

Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor

These are the 13 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for December

Theater Critic Picks

This is, in my opinion, the best time of the year to go see a show. There are so many family-friendly offerings just begging to become traditions, and lots of new interpretations of holiday classics.

Plus, there are always one or two non-holiday themes shows, if you need a break from all the tinsel and holly.

Because there were so many holiday shows that opened late last month, they are included again here for easy planning.

In order of start date, here are 13 local shows to watch this month:

My Fair Lady
Broadway at the Bass, through December 4
Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed? The musical boasts such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.”

Jesus Christ Superstar
WaterTower Theatre, through December 11
The iconic rock opera, featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar."

Twas the Night Before...
Cirque du Soleil, through December 11

Cirque du Soleil’s spin on the beloved Christmas tale is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production is a flurry of Christmas cheer and rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil.

Christmas with Nat and Natalie
Casa Mañana, through December 17
Cozy up in the Reid Cabaret Theatre for an “unforgettable” evening with holiday favorites from Nat King and Natalie Cole. The father-daughter duo separately recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts.

Crystal City 1969
Cara Mia Theatre, through December 18

Inspired by a little-known event in Texas history, Crystal City 1969 is based on the true story of Mexican-American students in South Texas who walked out of their school and into civil rights history. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best.

Black Nativity
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, through December 18
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story.

A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana, through December 23
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. This show is suitable for all audiences.

A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center, through December 24
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future that annually delights audiences across North Texas. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul?

Head Over Heels
Uptown Players, December 2-18
An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, Head Over Heels is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery, all set to the music of The Go-Go's.

Six
Broadway Dallas, December 6-25

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take the mic to remix 50 years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power.

Handle With Care
Stage West, December 8-January 8
A young Israeli woman on holiday with her grandmother in the United States is confronted by an unexpected turn of events. Now, she finds herself stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with an oddball delivery man. Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making? Hilarious and tragic circumstances culminate in a heartfelt romantic comedy about what you can find when you feel lost.

The Dimension of Death
Pegasus Theatre, December 29-January 22

The world premiere of the 22nd Harry Hunsacker adventure by Kurt Kleinmann finds us in the year 1955. Harry, Nigel, and Foster have been dispatched to a Top Secret Air Force base in Nevada where a matter of the highest level of National Security awaits them. They’d heard rumors about Paradise Ranch but the reality of what they saw exceeded their imagination. In no time, however, the bodies start piling up and our trio finds themselves trapped in The Dimension of Death.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Theatre Three, December 29-February 18
Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Robert’s musical is headline the grand opening of Theatre Too, the intimate downstairs space that has been closed since 2020. Directed by Joel Ferrell and music directed by Vonda K. Bowling, this comedy takes on the truths and myths behind what it means to love, date, or lose someone. The run includes special performances on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, complete with holiday-focused perks like champagne, chocolates, and flowers.