Try these simple and delicious holiday recipes to help you win the holidays this year!
The holidays are upon us! And while this is definitely the “most wonderful time of the year” it can also be the most hectic and stressful. Whether you’re having brunch, a cocktail party or family dinner, we’ve got you covered. I’m going to share some of my favorite tips and simple holiday recipes to help you impress your guests and effortlessly slay the holidays this year!
Breakfast or Brunch
With Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s all falling on a weekend, keep these brunch recipes close by. No need to wake up at the crack of dawn- you’ll be able to sleep in and still put out a wonderful spread. Just add fruit salad or a fruit platter and you’re ready to go!
Two of my favorite fruits unite in this scrumptious breakfast bread. Make this a few weeks ahead of time and store in the freezer until needed. If you don’t have a zester, now is the perfect time add one to your kitchen collection.
I am obsessed with egg bakes. Why? They come together quickly and can be made a day ahead of time which means it only needs to be popped in the oven the morning of your brunch. This particular recipe also includes a few different flavor combinations so I’m sure you’ll find one you like.
I always enjoy hosting a cocktail party! A few well-planned appetizers and desserts as well as a signature drink and you’ll have a night to remember. This menu would also be great for a New Year’s Eve party!
Brie is a staple at all of my parties because it’s deceivingly fancy- it looks gorgeous and only takes a few minutes to prepare. Plus, it’s easy to customize for each season. This mouthwatering recipe features figs, pistachios and walnuts. Heat it up in this adorable brie baking dish and serve with crackers, apples and pears.
Appetizers are often quite heavy, so I like to throw in a few veggies here and there. These light Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms fit the bill perfectly.
The meatballs can be made weeks in advance and frozen until you’re ready to toss them in this sweet and spicy cranberry sauce. Leave them simmering in your crockpot all afternoon and they’ll be ready just in time to join the party. (If you’re really short on time you can even purchase premade meatballs to use this sauce recipe.)
These delectable bites of goodness are the perfect combination of salty, sweet and crunchy- everything I love. They do take some time to prepare, but they can be assembled a couple days before your party and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake them.
This 5-ingredient English Toffee is so insanely simple, but it will make you look like a professional candy maker. Make a double batch and keep it on hand because you’ll definitely want to keep some for yourself! And be sure you have a candy thermometer. It’s essential for perfect toffee.
These Hazelnut Slice “n” Bake Cookies are shortbread on steroids. Nuts, cinnamon and milk chocolate make these cuties a winner. This cookie dough can also be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. (The recipe also includes several variations if hazelnut and chocolate are not your thing!)
Nothing screams Christmas quite like chocolate and mint. These melt-in-your-mouth fudgy cookies are packed with mint morsels. Make the cookie dough weeks in advance and freeze until you’re ready to bake!
It’s not necessary to have a full bar at your cocktail party- I like to have beer, wine and a big-batch signature cocktail. This martini recipe can be easily multiplied depending on the number of guests you have. Garnish each glass with rosemary and allow guests to pour their own drinks. Try using stemless martini glasses for a sophisticated look (and much less of a chance of any broken glasses at the party!)
Both my family and my husband’s family live close by so I often cook our Christmas dinner. While I cherish having those I love gathered in my home, I also want to enjoy the special day! Here is what I’ll be cooking this year.
Season your meat the day before the holiday it will be ready to roast. This delicious recipe takes a few hours to cook, so be sure to time it accordingly. Top off your tender, juicy roast with a quick homemade gravy.
As far as I’m concerned the only way to enjoy brussels sprouts is roasted and drizzled with balsamic. (The cranberries and pecans are an added bonus!) Clean and slice your sprouts the day before your dinner.
Hasselback potatoes are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and will be a beautiful accompaniment to your holiday dinner. Though they can’t be prepared ahead of time, they’ll be ready to hit the oven within a few minutes.
I think spiced gingerbread is most enjoyable while it’s cold outside so finish off your meal with this light and fluffy Gingerbread Cake. Pull out that Bundt pan and make this lovely ending to your holiday meal. It can be baked a day ahead or frozen for up to 2 months!
Get Party Ready!
If you’re going to throw a great party, make sure you’ve got all the equipment you need. These are my own personal favorites:
- Serving platters and tiered servers– Bed, Bath & Beyond has a great selection of quality, affordable serve ware. I personally like white because it can work for any season or holiday.
- Baking dishes– Cook and serve in the same dish.
- Serving utensils– Don’t be looking for forks and spoons at the last minute. Keep a variety of serving pieces on hand!
- Drink dispenser or pitcher– If you entertain often, keep at least 2 on hand. One for water and one for another beverage.
- Parchment paper– You need this! Parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze whether you’re baking cookies, roasting vegetable, or heating up appetizers- trust me, it will change your life!
I hope these recipes and tips allow you to graciously open your heart and home to those you love. Stay calm, plan ahead and you’ll have the best holiday yet!
-By Rebecca Haar, GiveIt blog contributor and proficient entertainer