In the last few years, I have gone gaga for bringing homemade stuff to parties. Isn’t it just such a nice feeling to hand a host something that you made with your hot little hands?
I always hit into a little problem with holiday parties, though. The most wonderful time of the year is also the most whacked-out time of the year, and who has time to make stuff when you haven’t even started your damn shopping yet?
I stand by my post from last year about taking care of yourself during the holiday season. Today I’m going to get a little more practical and talk to you about recipes that strike a balance between your desire keep up with those culinary overachievers on Pinterest and your desire to just say screw this stupid party and go to bed.
These are not particularly healthy, so this post is more geared toward the ‘busy’ part of this blog. And we’re all letting go of stupid food guilt this holiday season anyway, right? Here we go!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- Buy one container of pitted dates and one package of bacon.
- Cut each slice of bacon in half horizontally.
- Roll each date up in a little bacon suit (sorry) and stick a toothpick through each one.
- If you really want to take these over the top and you have an extra five minutes, slice up cloves of garlic and put a sliver in each date before you wrap it.
- Bake for 20 minutes-ish at 350 degrees, or until the bacon looks cooked. These can easily be prepared ahead of time and stored in a container to be thrown in your host’s oven later.
Sweet, salty, fatty. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
White Bean Dip
Jonny and I have become dip masters since we got our food processor. You can become one too! All you need to know how to do is throw a bunch of shit in a food processor and hit the ‘on’ button.
Dips are one of the easiest things in the world to make and for some reason people (including me, who is well aware of the hoax that making a dip from scratch is somehow admirably laborious) are deeply touched, much moreso than if you just picked up a container of Sabra Hummus** on your way to the party and called it a day.
Of our giant dip repertoire, Giada De Laurentiis’ White Bean Dip is the easiest and most delicious. I barely even chop the parsley, I just let the food processor do all the work while I twiddle my thumbs and try to apply false eyelashes (why do they make me look like a drag queen with some sort of eye-related disease?). You will LOVE IT.
While you’re at the store buying Cannelini beans, grab an extra can to make Escarole and Beans from Heaven for dinner one night this week – also crazy easy and delicious!
Rosemary Roasted Cashews
This Rosemary Roasted Cashews recipe is from my patron saint, Ina Garten. In addition to being a very tasty treat, they come together so fast! Just warm your nuts (har har), melt a few things in a pot, mix ‘em all up and there you go! Making your own flavored nuts is another thing that sounds impressive even though in actuality, it is not a big deal. I’m not trying to get you to build your friendships on a foundation of lies, you can’t help what people are impressed by!
These are spicy, but I think they’d be just as fantastic without the cayenne if you’ve got any spussies on your hands.
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Skewers
- Buy some skewers, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a pack of mozzarella balls, and a bunch of basil (I know it’s a zillion dollars this time of year! I’m sorry!).
- Skew (?) each skewer with a couple of tomatoes, a couple of balls, and a couple of basil sprigs.
- You’re DONE! This is in Christmas colors, to boot!
- For bonus points, bring a little container of balsamic reduction (also so easy – direction are in this recipe) to put out for drizzling.
Flourless Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies
These are my go-to cookie recipe. I fucking hate to bake, but in certain situations nothing says love like a homemade baked good. For example, when our neighbors had us over and gave us a wedding gift, we could not leave a bunch of Tomato Mozzarella Basil skewers outside their door to say thank you. We left the cookies instead, and now they think we are sweet, instead of thinking of us as weird jerks who stunk up the hallways.
Anyway, here’s the recipe! It’s from Joy the Baker, it requires five ingredients, you can make the dough in under ten minutes and then it bakes for twelve more. Plus it’s gluten free without having to hunt down any weird flours or anything.
If you want something EVEN easier and cut out one ingredient, Joy also has this recipe sans jelly. I have had both and they are fantastic.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU, DEAR FRIENDS!
**If you do get the Sabra, go for the pine nut flavor!