Quick, Easy Holiday Recipes

Ah, it’s Christmas time again. Seems like just yesterday you were sitting on the beach with a good book. Now the kids are home for the holidays, guests and in-laws are heading in and you have no time for a huge Norman Rockwell-type feast. Here are some easy recipes to help you navigate the hectic holiday season.

Chewy chocolate peppermint bars

Who doesn’t love rich chocolate brownies? But let’s face it: Some brownies can be dry, others can be tasteless or overly raw-cookie-dough-ish. They can take forever to assemble and bake. Not this easy, lighter version. Put the candy cane in a zip-top bag and give it to your kid to crush with a rolling pin.

1 box devil’s food cake

8-ounce container of Cool Whip

1 egg

1 crushed candy cane

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

Combine all ingredients and spread onto a parchment-lined, edged cookie sheet that’s been dusted with 1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar. Once you’ve smoothed the top of the batter, sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Unmold onto a cooling rack then slice into squares.

“Not” Hot Chocolate

If traditional hot chocolate is too sweet for you, try adding a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to a cup of scalded milk as it’s heating on the stove. For an extra holiday touch, sprinkle a tiny pinch of gingerbread spice on top.

“It’s A Meal” Salad

If you’ve got some protein, have we got a tasty meal-in-a-salad for you!

1 cup minced candied pecans or walnuts

6 cups mixed greens

1 small green apple, thinly sliced

1 small red apple, thinly sliced

½ cup crumbled blue cheese (you could also use Feta or goat cheese)

1 cup diced roasted turkey, ham, chicken or beef (you could also use shrimp, salmon, scallops or vegetarian options)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with a light vinaigrette dressing or serve it on the side.

Baked Brie

This ooey, gooey wheel of cheesy love goes way beyond Cheez Whiz on a cracker. Wrap a wheel of brie cheese loosely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Top the melted cheese with warmed jam – apricot-pineapple, fig or seedless blackberry are ideal. Serve with crispy breadsticks, melba toast or sliced green apples.

Roasted veg even the kids will love

Forget the days of limp, flavorless boiled asparagus. These winter root vegetables mix with sweet carrots and earthy Brussels sprouts for a flavorful side dish or a light meal with some crusty bread.

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 small acorn squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

¾ pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

¾ pound beets, peeled and quartered

½ pound pearl onions

6 cloves garlic, peeled

½ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half or quarters, if they’re large

Toss all ingredients with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a single layer on a greased baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until tender.

Gone are the days of fussy holiday feasts. But don’t let your guests know you did anything but toil in a hot kitchen for three days. These tasty fixins’ will impress the daylights out of them and no one has to know any different. Merry Christmas!