There is so much to celebrate during the holiday season - reuniting with loved ones, exchanging gifts, enjoying tasty meals together and continuing the traditions you love. And of course, you’re not alone. There are lots of traditions commonly celebrated across the country; things like gift exchanges, turkey dinners and baking Christmas cookies to name a few.
But, sometimes it’s nice to try something new, right? That’s where these traditions with a twist come in handy. Make more merry this season with new ways to meal prep, as well as simple recipe remixes that’ll make your holiday menu feel fresh, festive and exciting.
How to Save Time with Holiday Meal Prep
We get it - when it comes to preparing a holiday meal for your whole extended family, time is always of the essence. But, we have three meal prep ideas that can help you save time and hopefully keep your holiday stress-free.
- Host a hoilday potluck
- Use your slow-cooker
- Keep your leftovers
Now, let's take a closer look at each one and give you all of the details.
Host a Holiday Potluck
Instead of cooking the whole meal yourself, consider making it a potluck dinner! Not only will this change of plans help you stay within budget this holiday season, but your guests will also love getting to share their favorite recipes with the crowd.
To spread the word and get your guests onboard, try using free online invitation sites, such as Evite.com. That way, everyone can share what they’re planning to bring so you don’t end up with multiple macaroni and cheese dishes or too many desserts. Although can you really have too much dessert? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Once you know what your guests are bringing, you can then see if there are any missing staples that you can make yourself, like the cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. And voila - a perfect holiday potluck!
Use Your Slow-Cooker
You may have already started planning which pots and pans you’ll be using to cook your holiday meal, but have you grabbed your crockpot? That’s right! A slow-cooker can be a real timesaver. And when you’re cooking multiple things in your oven and on the stovetop, space can get limited.
There are lots of slow cooker recipes you can try to free up some much-needed cooking space, but here are two of our favorites.
Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast
If you’re serving a smaller crowd, a whole turkey might not be necessary. This slow-cooked turkey breast is perfect for a group of up to six. With a combination of onion, red wine, orange and a variety of herbs and spices, this is a recipe for deliciousness that will certainly spread some holiday cheer at the dinner table. All you have to do is assemble the ingredients, rub your turkey with the spices and cook in the crockpot for six to eight hours on low. Super simple and tasty!
Get the full recipe here.
Apple Cranberry Slow-Cooker Tea
How about a festive drink for your holiday meal? Believe it or not, you can brew up a tasty apple cranberry tea in your slow cooker! Sweet and tangy, this is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter day.
To make this recipe, all you will need is water, black tea, apple juice, cranberry juice cocktail, frozen cranberries, an apple and cinnamon sticks. Get the directions on our recipe page.
Keep Your Leftovers
For many of us, keeping your leftovers simply means storing them in the refrigerator, munch on them a couple of times and then toss what’s left at the end of the week. Let’s switch up that tradition and repurpose those leftovers. Here are some ideas.
- Try making soup with your leftover turkey. Simply shred or chop up what's left, grab some turkey broth or stock from the grocery store and add your favorite veggies. Need a little inspiration? We love this Turkey and Butternut Squash Recipe.
- Have leftover cranberry sauce? Save it and make a Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with crackers or bread for your next gathering. And if your gathering isn't for a week or two (or even longer), freeze your cranberry sauce until you're ready to use it.
- Make too much mashed potatoes? Mix them with eggs, chives, shredded cheese, bacon, and some spices to make Loaded Mashed Potato Puffs. Yum!
Holiday Recipe Remixes
When it comes to twists on holiday traditions, this article would not be complete without some recipe remixes to change up your go-to menu. From appetizers and side dishes to desserts, we have nine tasty recipes that’ll make your holiday even merrier on a dime.
1. Maple Bacon Brie
A classic brie appetizer usually consists of hot, gooey brie cheese, topped with a fruit relish or preserves and served with bread or crackers. Definitely a tasty appetizer choice, but why not mix it up a little this year and make a maple bacon brie? Brie cheese wrapped in pastry with walnuts, bacon and maple syrup - sounds pretty amazing, right? Snag the full holiday recipe to give it try!
2. Charcuterie Board
Meat and cheese boards are another popular appetizer for holiday parties (and many other occasions throughout the year too). There’s no denying it - cured meats and cheeses are a delicious duo, but how about making a charcuterie board this year instead? The possibilities are practically endless with how you can craft your board, but meat and cheese is definitely a good start. Add some olives, fresh-cut vegetables (like carrots and bell peppers) and cherry tomatoes for a colorful, delicious, and budget-friendly charcuterie board.
Want some more charcuterie board ideas? Check out our blog!
3. Cheesy Scalloped Potato Bundt
This recipe remix is pretty simple - scalloped potatoes baked in a bundt pan. And it’s no coincidence that this festive side dish resembles a wreath, especially once you sprinkle the chopped parsley on top for a touch of green. Get the cheesy scalloped potato bundt recipe and add it to your holiday menu!
4. Scalloped Corn Casserole
When it comes to serving a corn side dish, there are lots of classic ways to prepare it. Corn on the cob, creamed and steamed are the most common, but this year, we’re remixing holiday traditions, remember? Scalloped corn casserole is a tasty twist. Made with corn, egg, shredded cheddar cheese, coconut milk, butter, crackers, salt and pepper, this recipe is easy to make and only requires eight ingredients.
5. Broccoli, Cauliflower & Brussels Au Gratin
Many of us grew up eating green bean casserole during the holidays, but for this recipe remix, we’re saving the green beans for another day and using broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts instead. Mix those veggies with some cheese, coconut milk, breadcrumbs and a few other items from your grocery store, and you have a new casserole to share with your family. Give broccoli, cauliflower & Brussels au gratin a try!
6. Apple Cranberry Rosemary Stuffing
Do you have your go-to stuffing recipe saved on your Pinterest board or stowed away in your recipe book? We’re sure it’s amazing, but this holiday, let’s try something new! Our apple cranberry rosemary stuffing is a pretty traditional holiday recipe at heart, but with tangy apples and dried cranberries for a slight twist. These fruity additions add a touch of sweetness to this savory side dish. Get this sweet and savory recipe here!
7. Butterscotch Pie
Pumpkin and pecan pie are usually the star desserts during the holidays. However, if you’re looking for something different, butterscotch may be the perfect choice. Topped with meringue, this pie is super creamy with a nice buttery crust. Check out the recipe for more details!
8. Reindeer Chocolate Cupcakes
For all of the chocolate- and fun-lovers in your family, these cupcakes will definitely make more merry at your holiday celebration. And they won’t put smiles on their faces just because of their looks, they also taste amazing! Made with chocolate cake and icing, and topped with mini candy bars, sprinkles and pretzels, they’re also an inexpensive dessert that is certain to spread lots of holiday cheer.
Want to make them? Here are the details.
9. Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
For our last recipe remix, get your instant pot ready! Pumpkin pie and cheesecake are both delicious treats, but combine them and you have a new holiday tradition worth celebrating. We’re talking about pumpkin cheesecake! And this recipe is made in your instant pot, which means from start to finish, this dessert should only take 40 minutes to make.
As you get ready to celebrate the holidays with the ones you love most, use these twists on holiday traditions to make tasty treats and new memories. For more holiday menu inspiration, check out our recipes page. Happy holidays everyone!