Home Christmas “Simple Christmas” Series: Easy Holiday Dishes

“Simple Christmas” Series: Easy Holiday Dishes

by Kelly Crawford

Holidays gatherings, potluck dinners, food gifts and crowded calendars plead for us to find simple solutions to the year’s most popular feasting season. I have scoured and searched for some ways we plan to simplify in this area this year. Share your secrets too!!!

Food Gifts and Holiday Dishes

Look for recipes you can make ahead and freeze or do not require a lot of time. Here are a few ideas I’ve tried or plan to try this year:

We have already made Oreo Cookie Bark several times and found it to be one of the simplest and most delicious snacks around! Melt white chocolate over low heat, crumble Oreo cookies into it (or use bite-sized if you’re in a real hurry), pour out on a cookie sheet, let cool, and break into pieces.

Fudge! Isn’t this a cute idea for a child’s gift? Or a hostess gift? Or guest favors? I’ll slip one into a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon.

Sugared Nuts

1 lb whole walnuts or pecans (or nuts of choice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk (I used low fat milk)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan combine the sugar, milk, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk over medium high heat until all of the ingredients combine completely, then stop stirring and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture gently until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Add walnuts working as quickly as possible to coat them all. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Break apart any big chunks and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Sticks

Easy Apple/Cranberry Cider

  • 1 quart apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

An inexpensive way to share your treats!

***Bonus: Simple Breakfast***

These can be made the day before and refrigerated, and popped in oven or microwave the next morning! My family loved these. Scramble eggs, (I mixed a little milk in) drop in your favorite breakfast foods (sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper, onions, cheese, etc.), bake and pop out for perfect, hand-sized breakfast muffins.

What are your favorite, quick/easy holiday treats?

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Christie P in Pensacola November 29, 2011 - 9:18 pm

I have a Caramel Apple Pie recipe that you can freeze. Make the filling, freeze it in gallon ziplock bags. Then thaw overnight in the fridge, put a refrigerated pie crust in a pan, filling on top, caramel bits, crumble top and bake. Family favorite! I make at least two servings at Thanksgiving time for the season (one for T-giving, one for Christmas) but I think next year I need to make enough for 3 or 4 pies. I love having it in the freezer for when I need it.

I also bake 4 Chocolate Pumpkin Loaves and freeze them. Just thaw in the fridge overnight and they’re ready to go.

In the Nursery of the Nation November 29, 2011 - 10:00 pm

Beautiful photos! The styrofoam plate is adorable and I will definitely be trying out the breakfast muffins.

One treat that is super-simple that we make each year is “butterscotch fudge”. Just mely one bag of butterscotch chips, add 1/2 cup peanut butter and refrigerate and cut into pieces. Simple and so yummy!

6 arrows November 29, 2011 - 10:35 pm

Colorful post! The Oreo cookie treat looks like it would go fast at our house! And the apple/cranberry cider is similar to a recipe we love from the “Whole Foods for the Whole Family” cookbook.

Our family likes a date ball recipe I got from a friend years ago. Combine equal parts raisins, chopped dates, almonds, and cashews (finely chop the nuts.) Stir in a little water to desired consistency, form into balls, then roll in coconut. These get eaten fast! Get the whole family together to make them so the preparation time doesn’t take ten times as long as the eating time! (Of course, some of the reason they disappear in a hurry is because certain people snitch during the prep time…who, me? No way!) *hiding guilty smile here*

Thanks for all the great ideas, Kelly!

Heather November 29, 2011 - 10:59 pm

Having a husband unemployed for a year, 12 children, and a house in foreclosure with no place to go…it is very difficult to look beyond today. I am so thankful for your gift idea’s and treats! It gave me a little fire in my spirit to move on and make sure that I give what I can and it does not have to be “expensive” to be beautiful! This is just what I needed to be encouraged today! Not knowing where we will live with 14 people, in 7 weeks, is hard this time of year! I know you know what if feels like to be uprooted! You have come to my mind many times! Thank you for giving me and my girls something to look forward to doing! A blessing it is!

Blessings to you!

Word Warrior November 30, 2011 - 10:18 am

Oh Heather, our family will pray specifically for your family, your husband’s employment and that the Lord would provide the perfect place for your family. We have been in the place of “no idea what we’re going to do” many times. It is NOT easy. But He has *always* provided and I believe He will do the same for you. Trust Him with a faith that is impossible to the world because He can move mountains.

Cathy December 5, 2011 - 11:36 pm


I will pray, as well.


Diane November 30, 2011 - 7:01 am

Hello there Miss Kelly! I love the picture of the brownies… that would be a perfect gift for all the sweet kiddos from church:)

I actually posted about a fantastic and super duper easy cranberry sauce recipe on my blog today. I never thought about giving it as a gift, but you have inspired me:)

Have a wonderful day dear♥

Melissa Scott~RealMom8 November 30, 2011 - 9:53 am

More specifics on the bronwnies, please. They are so cute! Are the brownies baked in the cookie cutters? Thank you!

Word Warrior November 30, 2011 - 10:20 am

Melissa–oops! The caption on my Pinterest board said “brownies”, but when I looked it up it’s actually fudge!! But I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work to use brownies and bake them right on the cookie sheet. That was my plan anyway…I’ll let you know how they turn out if I get around to it soon 😉

Melissa Scott~RealMom8 November 30, 2011 - 9:57 am

Dear Heather, I am praying for your family, that The Lord will provide and show you opportunities and blessings! God will bless your heart for Him and your joyful attitude!

Bethany Hudson November 30, 2011 - 4:00 pm

I love your sugared nut recipe! All the ones I’ve ever used have egg whites, and they’re so messy. I can’t wait to try it.

Mrs. S November 30, 2011 - 4:49 pm

My 7yo boy and I came up with easy dairy-free nog yesterday:
diluted coconut milk, vanilla, tiny bit of maple syrup, cinnimon and nutmeg-YUM!
I just love that he loves to “invent recipes”!

I also like to give no-knead artisan-looking bread as a gift. It is easy but looks fancy :). Other food gifts I do are maple pecans and fermented saurkraut.

Thanks for the pinterest invite Kelly! That is quite the trove of ideas for an upcycling, homeschooling, frugalista mama!I am so excited to make some things on there from stuff I already have around the house.

Karen November 30, 2011 - 11:47 pm

Thank you so much for these great “simple gifts” ideas. My family has had very difficult times this year and we are all extremely short on money for gifts. I love making and receiving homemade gifts and I am so inspired by your post. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Karen

Kristen December 1, 2011 - 12:49 am

Those little fudge ornament thingies are adorable! I love them. I’m going to try them! I’ve made the “egg muffins” before. They’re a great breakfast and so flexible. You can put anything in them and they’re good.

jen in AL December 1, 2011 - 8:31 am

Great ideas! I need more instructions on the breakfast muffins:) how much ingredients = how many? what temp in the oven for how long? did you use muffin cups or grease the pan? Thank you so much! ((hugs)) and lOve, jen

Word Warrior December 1, 2011 - 9:19 am

Sure-Jen…I didn’t measure ingredients. We just broke a bunch of eggs, scrambled them with a little milk and filled cups about 3/4 full and repeated until we used all the eggs. Then, I put a handful of stuff-sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms in each cup. I baked for 350 until they were just firm (not sure, but around 20 minutes??) We greased the pan and they popped out beautifully, but muffin cups would make less mess. Exactness in the kitchen is not my forte 😉 Sorry.

KTHunter December 1, 2011 - 4:22 pm

Oh, heavens, all of that food has me drooling now. I must try those eggy muffins. Thank you!

Kim M December 2, 2011 - 11:56 pm

YUM! Great ideas. I MUST try that oreo bark.

A Collection of Favorite Christmas Ideas & Stories | December 17, 2012 - 5:30 pm

[…] Simple Christmas Series: Easy Holiday Dishes […]


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