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.
Baked Brie with Cranberry Chipotle Chutney
Easy, impressive holiday appetizer.
- 1 8 oz Round of Brie
- 1 Cup Cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/3 Cup Sugar (can add more if prefer sweeter)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 2 Tablespoons Adobo Sauce from can chipotle peppers
- 1 canned chipotle pepper- seeded and minced
- Pinch kosher salt
- Squeeze Lemon Juice
- For the Sauce
- Combine all ingredients except the Brie in medium sauce pot and set over medium heat
- Cook until sugar dissolves and cranberries pop- about 10 minutes, stirring frequently
- Adjust sugar and salt to taste
- Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in airtight jar in refrigerator. Bring to room temp before serving.
- When ready to serve-
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place Brie Round on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.
- Top Brie with Chutney and serve with crackers.
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.
Cranberry Goat Cheese Balls
Creamy goat cheese paired with tart, sweet cranberries make a super easy, make ahead appetizer that will delight your cocktail party or dinner guests.
Yields: 20 pieces
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Dried Cranberries
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Place goat cheese in freezer for 10 minute while you chop your cranberries
- Using a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese, roll the goat cheese gently between your palms to form a ball. Once all the goat cheese is formed into balls, roll them in the chopped cranberries and then roll again gently between your palms.
- Serve immediately OR If you are making ahead- Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Keep in fridge for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before serving
- Serve alone or with crackers.
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 30 minutes
- Total time: 40 minutes
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.
Chocolate Chip Scones
You won’t miss the extra carbs or sugar in this gluten free recipe for chocolate chip scones. These are your new weekend breakfast treats.
- 3 Cups Almond Flour
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 2 and 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
- 2 Teaspoons good quality Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Stick (1/4 Cup) Butter (frozen- 30 minutes in freezer)
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chunks (or chocolate Chips)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F
- Place butter in freezer for 30 minutes-remove from freezer right before using
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, vanilla and cream
- Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and combine with spoon or your hands.
- Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and combine
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips
- Turn out the dough onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- Form an 8 inch disc
- Using a large chefs knife, cut the dough into eight triangles, just like a pizza
- Carefully work the knife under each scone and separate them slightly.
- Bake 12-14 minutes until tops are barely golden brown
Happy Holiday-ing, all!