There is nothing so enjoyable as the traditional holiday pot luck. Everyone brings something, everyone has a great time and no one has to cook or clean nineteen dishes. It’s a Christmas miracle. Except -do you find yourself the day before scratching your head as to what to bring? Scrambing around on Pinterest searching for the perfect holiday dish to contribute to the buffet table? I do. And I run this here little food blog for crying out loud. I still haven’t decided what to take to OUR holiday pot luck TOMORROW!!!! But I know it’s one of the items below. They are ALL utterly delicious and inexpensive to make. A couple don’t even involve any actual cooking. Win, win, win. So without further ado, allow me to simplify your life with our top five easy holiday appetizers.
My old faithful, Ina Garten’s Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cashews. Always and forever a part of any festivity all year long and also the random Tuesday. This version is actually from Natural Comfort Kitchen. When I make them, I add a little extra cayenne.
- 1¼ lbs. cashews (raw, roasted, or even salted will work)
- 1½ T butter
- 2 T fresh finely chopped rosemary
- 2 t dark brown sugar (see notes)
- ½ t cayenne pepper
- 2 t Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375 and spread cashews in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. While the oven preheats and the cashews roast, you’ll have plenty of time to gather and prep the remaining ingredients.
- Bake cashews in preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, shaking the tray once halfway through. Raw cashews take slightly longer and should be light golden before taking out of the oven.
- Melt butter in a small dish in the microwave and allow to cool slightly while continuing. In a large mixing bowl, combine rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne, and salt.
- Right after taking the cashews out of the oven, add melted butter to the spice and sugar mixture and stir to combine, until the sugar is slightly dissolved. Carefully add hot cashews, and fold with a large spoon or spatula to coat cashews. Cool cashews in a single layer on a piece of foil or parchment. Serve shortly after, or transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature for a few days.
This little gem is from my new friend Bita over at the blog Oven Hug. Inevitably, someone will send a box of those heavenly pears from the Northwest. And while they are scrumptious on their own, these Grilled Pears with honey takes it up a notch or three.
- 3 medium sized Bartlett pears, firm but not rock hard
- spray olive oil
- raw honey in honeycomb
- ¼ onion, sliced and grilled
- 1 c. walnut halves
- Manchego cheese
- whole wheat bagels
- whole wheat flat bread
- whole grain crackers
- Slice pear about ¼ inch thick
- Spray indoor grill pan with olive oil
- Grill pear for about 3 minutes per side (check for grill marks)
- Gently flip with rubber tongs (careful not to rip pear)
- Slice cheese
- Grill sliced onions in canola spray or olive oil spray
- Toast whole wheat bagels or flat bread
- Stack up and serve on a pretty platter
Muhammara Spicy Red Pepper Dip
I am personally salivating over this Muhammara Spicy Red Pepper Dip from Cooking Chat. And I also heart that he gives us a wine pairing recommendation. My kinda guy.
MUHAMMARA SPICY RED PEPPER DIP
Muhammara Spicy Red Pepper Dip is a flavorful and healthy dip with garlic, red pepper flakes and walnuts. It also features pomegranate molasses which helps the dip pair with with Pinot Noir.
- 7 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- pita chips to serve with the dip
- In a food processor blend together the peppers, bread crumbs, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt to taste until the mixture is smooth.
- With the motor running, add the olive oil gradually and process until you have achieved a nice, smooth consistency with all the ingredients incorporated.
- Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with the pita chips.
Spicy Onion Dip
And super simple, tried and true Spicy Onion Dip also from Cooking Chat. Cause let’s be honest- it’s not fancy, but that bowl will always go home empty.
SPICY GREEN ONION DIP
Spicy Green Onion Dip is simple to whip up for your next gathering, and is sure to please those that like a little spice!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
- 16 ozs sour cream
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup green onions (also known as scallion), finely chopped
- tbsp cilantro, chopped
- ½ tsp cumin
- ⅓ tsp cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- Combine all the ingredients from sour cream through cumin in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the cayenne, making sure that it is thoroughly combined and spread throughout the dip. If you want to moderate the spice level, you could start by adding 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and tasting the spice levels, then add a bit more if you want to kick up the spice.
- Serve the dip with potato chips for dipping, and make sure people have a drink ready when they start eating it!
And for bonus points– I think one of the nicest hostess gifts one can bring is something for breakfast the next day. These chocolate chip scones are breakfast that doubles as dessert, but it gets to still be breakfast because we make them with almond flour. Gluten free and a decent amount of protein- sweet breakie minus the sugar/carb crash. Winning! These are also my go-to Christmas morning breakfast.
Happy Holiday-ing, all!