Holiday entertaining is fun, but on top of decorating, special events and shopping, it can add unwanted (and unnecessary) stress. Keep it SIMPLE! Look for recipes that have familiar ingredients, limited prep work and are easy for the guests to enjoy!
#1 BEEF. It’s what’s for dinner.
Besides the fact that I never met a stuffed pepper that I don’t like, I love this recipe for several reasons. It does not require the ground beef to be browned first which saves time and dishes. The mini peppers make it a fun appetizer and if there are any leftover, they make a great snack. And lastly, the couscous adds texture and nutrition to this traditional comfort food.
Beef and Couscous Stuffed Peppers
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 15 baby sweet bell peppers (about 2-1/2 to 3 inches long, about 1-1/4 pounds)
- 2/3 cup regular or spicy 100% vegetable juice
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- 1/4 cup uncooked whole wheat or regular couscous
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Parmesan, Monterey Jack, white Cheddar or Italian-blend cheese
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes, but not stem. Place peppers, cut-sides up, on two shallow-rimmed baking sheets. Five medium bell peppers, cut lengthwise into sixths may be substituted for mini peppers. Combine ground Beef, vegetable juice, spinach, couscous, garlic, oregano, salt and black pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Spoon beef mixture evenly into peppers. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 400°F oven 25 to 30 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pepper registers 160°F and peppers begin to brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
#2 Hillshire Farm Beef Kielbasa
FOUR ingredients! That alone should make you smile. Well that and the fact that this is one of those recipes that you can not stop eating! Puff pastry is just SO yummy! Your guests will LOVE this simple, creamy appetizer. If you would prefer to make it into a bite size appetizer, cut your pasty sheets into smaller sections.
Kielbasa Pastry Spirals Recipe
- 1 package Hillshire Farm Kielbasa
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
- 1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
#3 Mama Lucia Meatballs
This is a spin on the ever-popular “grape jelly meatballs” and it did not disappoint. With a little kick of our favorite spices, these meatballs will always be a hit.
Gluten-Free Cranberry Chili Meatballs
- 1 package (13 oz.) Rosina Gluten-Free Italian Style Meatballs
- 1 can (14 oz.) jellied cranberry sauce
- 1 bottle chili sauce
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the meatballs and cook for 20-25 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Transfer meatballs to a serving dish serve as an appetizer with toothpicks.
#4 Farm Promise Ground Pork
Full disclaimer here: stuffing is the #1 food that I look forward to during the holidays. with that being said, I am a traditionalist and do not like my favorite dishes to be recreated. I tried to approach this with an open mind! Although I would never give up my “basic” bread stuffing, this side is full of color, flavor and texture and deserves a spot on the holiday dinner table! I love that it highlights all of the flavors of the season: apples, cranberries and squash. This is a must try!
GLUTEN FREE PORK & BUTTERNUT SQUASH STUFFING WITH APPLES & CRANBERRIES
- 1 pkg. (1 lb.) Farm Promise Ground Pork
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 ½ Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 large Honey Crisp apple, chopped
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 13”x 9”x 2” baking dish. Place butternut squash on baking sheet. Toss with 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is tender and browned. Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, in remaining Tbsp. olive oil, cook sausage, stirring frequently to break up pork, until no longer pink. With slotted spoon, remove sausage to bowl. Top drippings in skillet add celery, onion, and garlic, and cook until tender. Add apple and continue to cook until softened. Stir in butternut squash, pork and cranberries; cool slightly. Stir in egg. Spoon sausage mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.
#5 Sugardale Bacon
I will admit that I am new to the “brie world”. I could never quite get passed the rind (mentally not physically!). BUT, I started off slow making brie bites (pieces of brie in puff pastry), and it soon moved to the top of my list for foods to serve and impress my fancy friends! Well, if you want to impress anyone, this is it! It may look intimidating but it was actually super easy to weave the bacon strips together. So this recipe is delicious and it is easy, but it can be messy, so keep that in mind when selecting what event you will serve this at!
Bacon Wrapped Brie
- 1 lb. Sugardale Bacon
- 8 oz. round brie cheese
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 400°F. Weave the bacon slices together to create a 6 slice by 6 slice square. Place the pecans and jam in the center of the bacon and place the brie on top. Starting at one corner, begin to wrap the bacon over the brie meeting at the center. Carefully flip the bacon wrapped brie over onto a parchment lined baking sheet being sure the edges of the bacon are tucked underneath. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked. Cut open and serve immediately with bread, crackers or apples.
And that’s a wrap!