What to Bring to Dinner? Simple Suggestions For a Stress-Free Holiday!
The Holidays are right around the corner, and we’re here to help you keep your spirits high and stress low with some suggestions on easy dishes to bring to your next get-together.
We’ve all been there: our energy feels low, or we’re short on time, and we’re heading to a gathering with family or friends. It’s times like these we look to recipes that are more assembly than cooking. They’ll take only 5-10 minutes of prep time, and taste amazing!
We’ll be honest: we hit the month of November and all of a sudden want to throw cranberries in and on just about everything. Not only do they bring a wonderful texture and tartness a dish, the deep red pops of color look so pretty on a holiday table. This easy dish got even easier when we found a number of local grocery stores now offer pre-peeled and cubed squash - we’re going for it!
1 package peeled/cubed butternut squash (approx. 20 oz)
1 package fresh cranberries
1 handful raw pecans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp Fire Cider
½ cup maple syrup
1. Throw ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 400° for 25 minutes or until squash is tender - done!
The tartness of this 3-ingredient relish cuts the richness of traditional holiday dishes. Also: more cranberries! If you’re expecting a big gathering, or to ensure there’s enough for leftover turkey sandwiches, go ahead and double quantities:
1 package (12 oz) fresh cranberries
1 whole orange, cut into pieces
½ cup sugar or maple syrup
1. Place ingredients together in food processor and pulse until chopped. That’s it!
If you’re really short on time, a cheese plate will save you! Believe us when we say it has saved us on many, many occasions. You can swing by your local market, pick up a few things, and then duck into your host’s kitchen to casually assemble the plate when you arrive! So grab a funky plate or cutting board (we love finding unusual, one-off dishware at second-hand stores and tag sales), and keep this simple checklist handy:
3 cheeses (1 cheddar, 1 blue cheese, and 1 soft cow or goat cheese)
2 types of crackers/crispbreads
1 handful dried fruit (we aim for apricots, dried cherries, or cranberries)
1 handful of fresh fruit (grapes are always good, but figs, cherries, or blackberries are great when in season!)
If you’re in the mood to go bigger with your cheese plate you can also add a handful of nuts or sliced prosciutto/salami, but it’s not necessary - the cheese is the star of this show! Check out this fun blog post which offers additional suggestions and a great video on cheese-plating! Also, if you’re lucky enough to have a local cheesemonger in your neighborhood, they’ll be happy to guide your selections, or call ahead to have them assemble a pretty presentation that fits within your budget!
Layered Bean Dip
This is a great bring when you’re heading to a casual hangout or brunch with friends around the holidays - people love it, and you’re basically just opening 3 cans and a jar. All you need is a can opener, a spatula, and a glass baking dish!
In baking dish spread layers, in order:
1 package cream cheese
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans or kidney beans (drain liquid)
1 can whole kernel corn (drain liquid)
1 jar salsa
1 package shredded cheese (cheddar or a Mexican blend works great!)
1. Throw in a 350° degree oven for 25 min. or until cheese is totally melted, and enjoy with tortilla chips!
Remember that it is 100% ok to have your local market take care of the cooking for you. The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy the company of others, so if the thought of spending even 5 minutes near your stove stresses you out, don’t worry! Check the website of your local market, or ask at the prepared foods counter. You’ll find that many places now offer main dishes, sides, and pies galore, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Be honest with yourself about your capacity, and practice important holiday self-care by only taking on what feels manageable. However it happens, you’ve got this!
Do you have a favorite holiday meal hack? Any tricks to saving time and minimizing stress when planning a holiday get-together? Let us know in the comments below, before 11/17/18, and be sure to leave your email address, too. We’ll be choosing our favorite tip and sending a growler of Fire Cider Original to the winner, and highlighting our favorite hack afterward! Good luck!