I have a confession to make… While I LOVE great food, and I can cook or bake just fine if I have to, I actually don’t like to cook or bake. I don’t enjoy being tied to the kitchen, probably because cooking is often one of those activities that I can’t multi-task. Just not my favorite.
That being said, when I have folks over, especially for a holiday meal, I still want to feed them fantastic food. Which is why, over the years, I have garnered a list of the easiest–yet still mighty tasty–holiday meal dishes. (For you food snobs out there…don’t knock these until you try them.) I can cook Christmas dinner with little to no time, stress, or dishes to wash afterward. And yet, I still get asked for my recipes.
Are you ready for my super secret holiday meal list? You can pick and choose from the following:
Raspberry Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip
Sounds so complicated. But what you do is buy a block of cream cheese, a box of Tricuits (or other crackers), and a bottle of raspberry chipotle marindae from the aisle with all the marinades and sauces.
On a tray, put the cream cheese block in the center. Smother with the sauce. Place the crackers around it or nearby. Done.
Pre-cut Cubes of Cheese
All grocery stores have these in the deli area. I’m a fan of smoked gouda, cobly jack, or sharp cheddar. The trick with these is to also get a selection of crackers, some plain and some fancier.
Jason’s Deli Fruit Tray
Or, if you buy a fruit tray from a grocery store (or, gasp, take the time to make your own, which defeats the purpose of this list), make sure to make the sauce.
Mix brown sugar into sour cream until it is the desired sweetness. Thank me later!
Grocery Store Veggie Tray
I would say “enough said”, but honestly, I can’t stand the ranch dressing that comes with the store bought trays. Plus there’s never enough. So make sure to buy a bottle of your favorite ranch dressing with this.
Lil’ Smokies in BBQ Sauce
In a small crock pot, mix the Lil’ Smokies with a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. It seams hokey, but people eat these up.
Queso (Spicyish Cheese Dip for you northerners)
This is so much easier than anyone not from a state with lots of Mexican or TexMex foods makes it.
In a crockpot, mix a block of velveeta cheese (sometimes more than a block) and a can of Rotel (I prefer mild so it works for everyone).
Serve with tortilla chips. I like the scoops.
I’ll admit, I don’t have a ton of main courses for you. Lol.
Honey Baked Ham
As easy as reading the directions to pop it in the oven. OR you can serve it cold as well. I like it both ways. Also makes for fantastic leftovers, or chop up the left overs and add them to the cheesy hashbrown dish listed below for a whole new meal days later.
Country Crock Mashed Potatoes
Buy in the deli part of the grocery store usually. I prefer the homestyle. Heats in 5-10 minutes. One thing feeds 5-7 people. I serve in a nice dish and get asked for my mashed potato recipe all the time.
Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Bake
Mix 1 back of hashbrown style potatoes (from the frozen section) with 8oz sour cream, a can of cream of chicken soup, and a bag of shredded mild cheddar cheese. Stir in a full stick of chopped up butter. Put it in a baking dish (9×13) and bake at 350 degrees until it’s bubbling and a little brown on top (usually about an hour). BTW…you can cook these hotter and faster if you need to. It’s hard to mess them up.
Green Bean Casserole (with a trick)
Get the French’s Crispy Fried Onions and follow the recipe on the back. To make it go faster, buy a few bags (2 usually does it) of the “steamers” green beans that you just steam in the microwave. Also cuts down on baking time because they’re already hot.
I love the canned stuff. And nothing is easier. Open can, plop on tray, cut into slices. Voilà.
Honey Baked Ham Sweet Potatoes
One of the best sweet potato recipes out there. Buy the dish, bake per instructions (it does take a while, so time it well). Done.
King’s Hawaiian Rolls
I love them for every dinner. Lol. And don’t bother toasting them in the oven. They’re great served as is.
Restaurants Are Your Friends
I actually have a TON of dessert recipes that I love, but this list is about ease. So when I want dessert done easy, I turn to restaurants. Not just any. I scout and scour and sample the desserts at all local restaurants, ask about if I can order my favorite ones for parties, until I cultivate a list of go to desserts guaranteed to please.
Here in Austin, it’s Dahlia’s pies–especially their buttermilk pie and chocolate chess pie. OMG. So tasty.
So Are Your Family & Friends
You know how for holiday meals, the people you are feeding usually ask how they can help? Well…have them bring the desserts. Doesn’t get easier than that. 😉
Oh… you want some ideas you can make yourself? Okay. Here are two super easy crowd favs.
Better Than Sex Cake
Super easy cake that happens to be one of my all time favs (and not just because of the name). I wrote the recipe out on Paranormal Romantics this month. Here you go:
Cherry Dump Cake
In a 9×13 bake dish dump a large can of crushed pineapple in and spread evenly. Then dump in a large can of cherry pie filling and spread evenly. Cover with a box of yellow cake mix (dry / unprepared). Top one half with chopped nuts (I like walnuts for this). Drizzle the whole thing with a stick of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes (until bubbly and lightly browned on the top). Done.
I hope I’ve given you some stress free holiday meal ideas. I’m always looking for ways to serve great food for the least amount of effort possible, so if you have any ideas to add, please share in the comments!!!
I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.