Preparing for the holidays is always a fun time, but sometimes it can feel like an overwhelming task. Between checking off your shopping list and deciding what to make for dinner each night, you might find yourself forgetting about all of those other little details that need to be taken care of. Starting the holiday planning process early can help ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free holiday season. With this in mind, we've pulled together 6 fantastic recipes that are sure to become new favorites with your loved ones and friends. From appetizers to desserts, there's something on this list for everyone! Whether you're hosting a holiday party or bringing a dish to a holiday party, we've got all the recipes to make this season memorable.
History of the Holiday Meal
In Western Europe, where Christianity is dominant religious tradition around Christmastime, it’s common for people to attend church services or celebrate with their families in some way during this time period. In Eastern European countries such as Russia and Poland, which historically were Orthodox Christian nations but whose populations now identify more strongly with Catholicism than Protestantism (and therefore tend not to prioritize Advent), the focus has traditionally been on food.
The history of Christmas recipes dates back to the 12th Century. The traditional fare includes plum pudding, mincemeat pie and Yule logs. However, there are many other popular dishes that have been a staple on holiday tables for centuries as well. The first documented recipe for a Christmas pudding was from England in 1740.
In Germany, the tradition is to make Stollen bread filled with dried fruit and covered in powdered sugar. This type of treat has been around since at least 1490!
The French have their own special holiday dish called Buche de Noel which is shaped like a Yule log and made up of layers cake, cream filling, chocolate ganache & more confectionery toppings! Their desserts date back as far as 1604.
Australia’s version of mince pies are Savory Pies that usually beef or lamb.
The history of holiday recipes is expansive and diverse. The first recorded traditional American Holiday dinner included wild turkeys, venison, lobster, blackberries and cranberry sauce. As time went on the turkey was substituted with a chicken or goose along with other spices to add flavor like gingerbread cookies. There are now thousands of different foods that can be used in place for a holiday meal but these changes have greatly impacted our culture today as well. Connecting food from various cultures has increased global understanding throughout the world which has helped decrease international conflict between countries around the globe.
Top Trends for 2021 Holiday Meals + Recipes
Many people are becoming more health conscious, leading them to switch their focus from indulgent foods such as chocolate-covered everything to items that support a healthy lifestyle. One example is replacing butter with vegetable oil, which will be a growing trend in holiday baking and cooking this year. Snacks that are not only vegan but also gluten-free will continue to rise in popularity, with items like kale chips, seedy crackers or cookies, or green smoothies featured prominently at holiday parties. Finally, cultural diversity resulting from increased immigration into developed countries will bring new ingredients to the table and lead to the use of traditional holiday ingredients in new ways.
6 Holiday Party Recipes
Below are 6 fantastic holiday recipes that are sure to please everyone this holiday season!
1. Holiday Hot Spinach Dip
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (6.5 ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained and mashed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Mix together spinach, bell pepper, garlic, artichokes, sour cream, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mixture will be thick; add cream to thin to dip consistency. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with crackers.
2. Mom's Zucchini Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 ¼ cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.
3. Outrageously Good Holiday Salad
4 red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 (8 ounce) package baby salad greens
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
3 avocados - peeled, pitted and sliced
8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup poppy seed salad dressing
Drain off excess juice from grapefruit sections; gently mix the grapefruit sections with the salad greens, green onions, avocados, and Swiss cheese. Toss with dressing just before serving.
4. Cranberry-Pomegranate Mimosa
2 tablespoons white sugar, or as needed
3 frozen cranberries
1 fluid ounce cranberry-pomegranate juice (such as Ocean Spray®)
1 fluid ounce orange juice
2 fluid ounces champagne
Fill a small plate with 1/4 inch of water. Pour sugar onto a second small plate, making a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Gently dip the rim of a champagne glass into the water. Raise the glass to allow excess water to drip off, then dip the rim into the sugar. Twist the glass to ensure the entire rim is coated. Discard remaining sugar.
Place cranberries in the bottom of the champagne glass. Add cranberry-pomegranate juice, orange juice, and champagne.
5. Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Lemon
1 ½ pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
⅓ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook beans 3 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Add olive oil, lemon zest, hazelnuts, salt and pepper. Beans may be made 1 day ahead, chilled and covered. Reheat beans, preferably in a microwave.
6. Sausage Balls
1 pound ground pork sausage
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine sausage, biscuit baking mix and cheese. Form into walnut size balls and place on baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and sausage is cooked through.
We hope you enjoyed these recipes. Share some of your favorite recipes with us! It’s time to start planning for the Holiday season and we would love to hear how you plan on celebrating this year. Whether it’s gathering around a table of friends, cooking up something special in the kitchen, hosting a holiday party or attending a holiday party, tell us about what makes your holidays so great. What are some of your favorite dishes? Do you have any traditions that make the holidays extra-special?