Christmas time is filled with so many good and fun things, but sometimes the things that are meant to be fun end up being stressful if you feel busy or rushed. Example: holiday cooking. In theory, cooking steaming stews and baking delicious sweets seems festive and peaceful, but in reality it can feel crazy to cook meals for big groups of people or churn out sweets for Christmas parties each night of the week. With that in mind, I thought I’d gather a few tried and true recipes in order to minimize any planning or shopping I might have to do during the month of December. Here are some of my favorites ::
For when you need to feed a crowd but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen nor deplete your 401k
This meal comes courtesy of my sister-in-law Rachel and it’s so amazing. It is delightfully easy (prep is seriously under 10 minutes) and so yummy that you’ll catch yourself waking up at midnight and thinking about these hot, tangy, satisfying sandwiches. The recipe is pretty straight-forward, but I usually simplify the meal even more by just throwing a jar of Giardinera with all the juice on the roast and calling it a day. It’s a totally crowd-pleaser and will also feed a crowd.
A knock-off of the favorite Olive Garden soup, I keep this recipe on heavy rotation. It’s tasty, cheap, easy to make and makes a lot. Another reason I like it is that it’s a one-pot meal. I just serve some crusty bread on the side and everyone’s happy!
For when you want to serve something special but still don’t really know how to correctly chop an onion
The making of this meal can be fairly arduous, but the result is stunning. Laden with fresh herbs and red wine, the chicken melts in your mouth. The buttery, aromatic mashed potatoes could be a meal on their own, but when paired with the red wine sauce, you’ll forget about everyone else in the room.
This has been my go-to “company” recipe for years. Chicken potpie is one of those meals that you rarely think about, but almost everyone likes. When you’re dipping your spoon through the flaky crust and seeing the warm chicken and gravy spill out the top, you’ll wonder why you don’t make it more often. This recipe is particularly easy and also significantly more healthy than most renditions. Tastes amazing with a crisp, Iceberg salad.
For when you need to bring a treat to the party but you know you don’t have the self-control to live with the leftovers
This recipe is very Pinterest-y, but also has become a family favorite. It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand at all times and they can be thrown together in minutes. Just make sure to eat them straight out of the oven! (Tastes best with a steaming cup of black coffee.)
This, for me, is the taste of Christmas. Spiced cake tilled with tart cranberries bathed in a creamy butter sauce. You can also bake it in a bundt cake pan to make it look especially pretty. This may be one of my favorite flavors of all time.
For when you get home from shopping and suddenly realize you need a fast weeknight meal
We cannot stop eating this meal at our house. It’s insanely simple, but packed with flavor. You can throw together this meal in minutes and your family will still feel spoiled. (Warning: there are several ingredients in this recipe that you may not have in your pantry, but once you stock up, they’ll last for forever.)
My friend Melanie told me about this recipe and it’s become one of my most trusted weeknight meals. You can keep almost all the ingredients for the making of this recipe in the pantry at all times. Cooked in under 20 minutes, it’s fast, easy and healthy. Also, who doesn’t want soup on a cold December night? Clean up is so easy, too, because everything cooks in one pot.
For when you need to serve breakfast, but stayed up way too late eating cheese and crackers and laughing with family
This mix makes the fluffiest pancakes ever and has the taste of homemade buttermilk pancakes. My mom uses this all the time and you’d never know all she did was “just add water.” Stir in some chocolate chips or serve it with raspberry syrup to make it feel even more special.
Libby’s Pumpking Bread mix is to die for. It’s usually $5 at more grocery stores, makes two large loaves, and is the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever put in my mouth. Spiced, but not too spicy, light and fluffy yet still hearty, I actually prefer this to homemade pumpkin bread. Make the loaves ahead of time, then just wake up in time to put them on a pretty cutting board and serve along with yogurt parfaits. Easy peasy!
What about you? What are your favorite holiday recipes? Do you like to cook? Bake? More of the eating type? :) I’d love to hear what foods you love to serve at Christmas.
(Photo of the Coq au Vin via Half Baked Harvest)