Last-Minute Holiday Recipes
Apple & Cheddar Side Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
This salad is easy and festive--the perfect healthy addition to your holiday table. The no-sugar-added dressing blends well with the sweet notes of apple and sharp Cheddar cheese, and crunchy pecans round out the dish.
Charred Green Beans with Mustard Vinaigrette & Hazelnuts
Our go-to trick for this crunchy, mustardy vegan side dish: Use a grill basket--it lets you cook all the things that would ordinarily fall through the grill grates, no skewering required. Pick one up from the hardware store or order one online for less than $15.
Slow-Cooker Dinner Rolls
These dinner rolls are baked in the slow cooker, then browned under the broiler for a couple minutes for a crisp crust. The results? Billowy, crusty, decadent rolls to serve with any meal.
Winter Meat & Cheese Board
A cheeseboard is an ideal stationary hors d'oeuvre for holiday entertaining. Select a variety of cheeses, making sure to include an aged variety, a creamy cheese, a blue cheese and perhaps a smoked cheese. Round out the platter with cold cuts, bread, an abundance of seasonal fruits, dried fruit, crudité, nuts and olives. We even included some dark chocolate to cap it off!
No-Sugar-Added Sweet Potato Casserole
Instead of loading up this comfort food side with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows, we have turned to sweet spices, vanilla and inherently sweet dried fruit to enhance the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A topping of pecans and pepitas replaces traditional marshmallow topping to keep it healthy and add texture and color for a beautiful casserole.
Roasted Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.
Red Wine Chocolate Lava Cakes
These perfectly portioned molten cupcakes combine two of your favorite things--red wine and chocolate. When cut open, this easy yet decadent dessert oozes with a gooey chocolate center that pairs perfectly with the wine-and-chocolate ganache drizzled on top.
3-Ingredient Cranberry-Brie Bites
Baked Brie is a perennially popular appetizer. Here, we complement the Brie with tart cranberry sauce and bake it in pretty individual tartlets using premade pie crust for an ultra-easy crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
In this easy vegetable side dish recipe, sweet potatoes are tossed with maple syrup, butter and lemon juice and are roasted until tender and golden brown. The delicious glaze that forms on these maple-roasted sweet potatoes transform this ultra-simple dish into something sublime.
Queen of Sheba Cake
This Queen of Sheba cake, a French classic, gets a minor update with less sugar and butter and a whisper of flaky sea salt on top--all of which lets the flavor of a special chocolate shine. Whipping a greater portion of the sugar into the egg whites makes them less easy to overbeat and creates a pleasing crust on top that contrasts with the moist and creamy interior.
Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This quick mashed potato recipe has just 5 ingredients and is dinner-ready in 20 minutes. Using sweet potatoes for this classic side dish adds color to your plate along with a little sweetness and a boost of Vitamin A. With classic and simple flavors, it can easily be paired with any of your favorite dishes.
The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This is our go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It's simple (just five ingredients!), is lightly sweet without being too sugary and has just the right amount of zesty flavor from orange peel. Plus, it's so easy--it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes!
Cranberry-Apricot Delicata Squash
Slice delicata as thinly as you can, toss it in the steamer and you have an almost instant side dish. We like it tossed with dried cranberries, apricots and sliced almonds, but try it with any dried fruit and nuts you have on hand.
Bold Winter Greens Salad
For this cousin of the Caesar salad use a combination of winter greens, such as radicchio and escarole; the anchovies and lemon juice temper their bitterness. Vary the amount of garlic and anchovy according to your preference.
Polenta Wedges with Tomato Tapenade
Crispy pieces of polenta topped with a tangy sun-dried tomato tapenade makes a pretty and tasty appetizer.
Brown Butter & Dill Brussels Sprouts
When you brown butter, as in this recipe, the flavor intensifies so adding just a little to Brussels sprouts still makes a big impact.
Frances Van Vynckt, 78, combined dates, toasted rice cereal and coconut into an easy no-bake treat that won EatingWell's 2008 cookie contest.
Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing
Cornbread stuffing, a Southern favorite, is a nice change from more traditional white-bread stuffing. Our delectable recipe uses Italian turkey sausage, rather than pork, and omits all the butter and cream to cut the fat by two-thirds. The stuffing is lower in sodium as well and so easy to make that it's sure to become a favorite side year-round.
Warm Red Cabbage Salad
In this quick German-inspired side dish, red cabbage is cooked until just tender and combined with sweet apples, caraway and a tangy vinaigrette. Serve with roasted pork loin or turkey kielbasa.
Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, had never entered a cooking contest before she took our challenge. This quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie is made on your waffle iron. No need to haul out the big mixer, you can mix the batter with a small hand mixer or even by hand. Kids love these!
Red & White Salad
Bitter, sweet and peppery flavors marry well in this confetti-like salad of wintery fruit and vegetables.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Pound cake got its name from the original formulation: a pound each of sugar, flour, butter and eggs. Just the thought of it is enough to raise your cholesterol. Our version calls for half whole-wheat flour, less sugar, a modest amount of butter and loses quite a few egg yolks. To keep it rich we moisten the cake with reduced-fat cream cheese and buttermilk. It is every bit as delicious as the original, with only a third of the calories and fat.
Mini Brie & Apple Quiches
We love the way Brie and apples taste together in these mini quiches. Mini phyllo cups make it swift and simple to create an elegant appetizer.
Crunchy Pear & Celery Salad
Crisp pears are tossed with Cheddar cheese and pecans in this delicious salad. For an Italian twist, try a good Parmesan with some toasted pine nuts or to go British use crumbled Stilton and toasted walnuts.
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
This creamy cauliflower mash makes a perfect low-carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. Here we take simple mashed cauliflower and mix in garlic, buttermilk and a touch of butter to create a flavorful side dish that has about one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. If you like, vary it by adding shredded low-fat cheese or chopped fresh herbs.
Curried Waldorf Salad
The famous Waldorf salad, full of apples, celery, raisins and walnuts, gets a healthful makeover with a touch of golden curry. It has nearly twice the fiber of typical versions.
Everyone Loves This Fruitcake
Ah, the maligned fruitcake. Many store-bought varieties, stuffed with unrecognizable candied bits, deserve their bad reputation--but not these wonderful cakes, made with a generous serving of dried fruit and candied orange peel in a light batter. There's only one trick: buy the best-quality, moist dried and candied fruit you can afford.
Fennel & Orange Salad with Toasted Pistachios
For this elegant salad, sweet-tasting fennel bulbs are thinly sliced and tossed with salty toasted pistachios, sweet oranges and tangy lime juice. Jícama or radishes add another layer of texture and earthy flavor.
Green Beans with Poppy Seed Dressing
These warm, fresh-tasting beans offer an exciting alternative to old standby mushroom-soup-based green-bean casseroles. Toasting the poppy seeds brings out their nutty flavor.
Mashed Garlicky Potatoes with Portobello Gravy
The creamy texture of these mashed potatoes is achieved without using cream or milk. The secret is to use the cooking liquid to moisten the puree, adding just a small amount of butter or olive oil to provide a luxurious finish. A rich-tasting mushroom gravy adds old-fashioned comfort.
Smoked Salmon Bites
Wasabi mayonnaise really sets off the smoked salmon in these rice-cracker treats. If desired, you can set out the spread, salmon, ginger and rice crackers separately and let your guests build their own (but have plenty of extra salmon on hand if you do).
Warm Green Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts
This colorful salad makes a fine prelude to a hearty dinner. Walnut oil's distinctive flavor delivers a rich hit to the dressing.
Winter Salad with Toasted Walnuts
This simple first-course salad works best with a balanced mix of lettuces that includes a mild variety, such as Boston, as well as a more intense and sturdy green, such as escarole. You can add thinly sliced pear, apple or persimmon or replace the fennel with fruit.
French Silk Pie
Bittersweet chocolate and Dutch-process cocoa meld with a shot of fresh brewed coffee to give an ultra-rich flavor to this creamy French silk pie. A frothy meringue is the secret to lightening the brown sugar-sweetened filling.
Pear & Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts
This pear and arugula salad recipe is topped with homemade candied walnuts, which are incredibly easy to make in the oven. For a touch of heat, add a pinch of ground chipotle or cayenne to the walnuts before baking.
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Sage
Chestnuts and Brussels sprouts are a classic pair--the toasty, rich nuts balance the sprouts. This dish cuts down on the holiday oven gridlock because it can be done on the stovetop.
A creamy, honey-scented mascarpone filling makes this fresh fig recipe luxurious, yet still lets the fruit be the star. Serve these pretty stuffed figs to top off a special meal.
Red Wine Braised Mushroom Sauce
Simple sautéed mushrooms are made sumptuous with the addition of red wine and rich mushroom or beef broth in this easy mushroom sauce recipe. Serve with steak or stir in a little sour cream and serve over egg noodles for a meat-free mushroom Stroganoff.
Serve this vegetarian pâté recipe as an appetizer with crackers and pickled onions or try it as a sandwich spread. Nutritional yeast, rich in vitamin B12, adds a cheesy flavor without any dairy. Look for the yellow yeast powder or flakes in natural-foods stores.