Featured Category Widget is specially designed for website owners for whom the Featured Post Widget is not enough. There are many different featured category widgets but this Featured Category Widget plugin is highly customizable and provides you a number of display options and features.
Using this widget you can highlight a category of your blog, you can display post thumbnail above the title of the post and if there is no thumbnail in post then it will take first picture of the post. It allows you to set the size for thumbnail or just take the standard from your settings. You can enable the excerpt and there are many more option. Even the plugin allows you to display widget in selected pages, taxonomies etc.
Installation & Usage: Simply install and activate it. After activation visit your admin area Dashboard -> Appearance -> Widget page. Drag its widget to your sidebar and explore its options & features.