This isn't my typical recipe post. The purpose of this post is a simple holiday recipe guide to give you a couple of ideas for easy but delicious dishes to make or bring to your holiday gatherings.
I've updated this post from my 2021 and 2022 versions to put the recipes into categories - There are a few recipes that are cross-posted to categories. As you'll see,
Everything below is hyperlinked to the recipe for your convenience :)
Snacks and Appetizers
Gooey brie and crescent roll dough. Need I say more? So easy to prep but looks really impressive. It even travels well if you have to travel to your party.
Only a few ingredients that come together quickly on the stove. Keep in a small crockpot to stay warm or pop it in the microwave as needed. Serve with veggies for your gluten free friends and family!
Make ahead for something for your guests to snack on all weekend. It's addicting, so you might want to double the recipe. Adjust the spice level for your personal preference. This is the perfect snack to leave out for munchies that you don't need to tend to.
Adorable and poppable for an appetizer, but also perfect for a simple breakfast spread along side fruit, yogurt, and muffins. Make in advance and pop them in the oven to warm them the day you need them. Add whatever fillings your heart desires. Bonus: they freeze great so make bunch!
Another easy app you can make ahead of time. Anyone doesn't like pimento cheese, I don't think we'd be friends. Set this out with classic Ritz crackers and veggies to keep it gluten free!
Comforting, poppable, make-aheadable. Make these a few days in advance and they're ready for the big day. These crowd pleasers are great at room temperature, so no need to steal oven space.
Yummy vegetarian squares with a familiar creamy, salty kick from ranch dressing mix. These tasty snacks are great travelers, so if you're headed to someone else's house, these are a great pick. And they're packed with fresh, crunchy veggies so you can feel kind of good about it.
These little bursts of deliciousness are a great snack to bring to a party. They are made ahead of time and best served room temperature to cold so you're not using up any oven or stove space and people can get straight to snacking. They're also vegetarian!
Light, gluten free, vegetarian and no cooking required. You're welcome.
These technically say "breakfast sausage" on the recipe, but you can swap for Italian sausage. Or leave them with breakfast sausage for a brunchy vibe. Two ingredients is all you need and they taste great hot or room temp.
Not just for the summer! This dip is light, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan so it pleases all crowds. Plus, make it the day before as it gets better when it sits in the fridge overnight.
Ok, this might be too heavy for an appetizer the day of the holiday, but whenever I'm going to have a house full of overnight guests (especially for multiple days), I ALWAYS have 1-2 pizza breads on hand. It's the perfect snack when you want something substantial but not a whole meal and GREAT for late-night munchies.
A simple app that has dynamic flavors. Maybe a little out of the ordinary for some, but the sweet, salty, and tangy will have everyone coming back for more.
Another sort of "out of the ordinary" dip to bring. It's bright and tangy but subtly addicting. So easy to pull together and great dish if you're bringing to someone else's house and another one that gets better with some time in the fridge.
Sides and Salads
Who doesn't love a big scoop (or 3) or mac and cheese? Plus, this is all stove-top so you don't have to use up your oven space on a day that requires so much oven use.
Mashed Potato Bake (aka Make-Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes)
The answer to your potato predicament. Make them the day before then bake them the day-of. They will be so delicious and creamy, your guests won't even know you didn't make them that day.
It can't all be carbs, plus I love a good roasted veggie. These are super simple and the honey gives them an extra touch to make them feel holiday special.
A fun take on a classic to add to your spread. Every holiday table should have a salad and this one is perfect because you mixed it all ahead of time and the longer it sits, the better it gets so you have one dish down before the chaos starts.
Crunchy, cheesy, potatoey. Comes together in a snap and you can do it all ahead of time. Just pop in the oven when you're about an hour from eating. They also taste great room temp. Just sayin'.
A twist on the classic side. Add a little flavor (but don't worry, not spice) to your green beans this year.
Another side dish that might be outside of the more traditional American holiday food, but I think your guests will love it. It needs time to cool, so it's made a bit in advance (up to 1 day ahead because it tastes GREAT cold, but normally served at room temp) so you're not using precious stove space or have an extra body in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving is a food-forward day for sure, but you still need breakfast. Make this delicious quiche in advance then pop it in the oven in the morning to reheat. A no-fuss breakfast when you have lots on your plate (pun intended?) Just because the name says Christmas, doesn't mean you can't make it whenever.
Perfect for sipping while cooking (sip slow!) or when you're finally unwinding after a busy day of cooking. Mix up a big batch of the ingredients in a pitcher and shake with ice for individual servings to save yourself some time and mess when preparing for many guests.