7 Foolproof Holiday Party Recipes

While glitter and tinsel is nice, the holidays are truly about spending time with those near and dear to your heart. Some of my most favorite holiday memories have happened around the dinner table (or let's be honest, on the couch eating leftovers and binge watching holiday movies with family). 

Here are recipes that are foolproof, easy and won't steal you away from spending time with your guests for too long.

 Photo by Gabriel Cabrera 

Photo by Gabriel Cabrera 

Butternut Squash and Leek Quiche
Serves 6-8

A great alternative to a traditional side dish, this quiche can even be served as a starter before the meal with drinks.

1 thawed store-bought or homemade pie crust
6 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp sea salt plus more for roasting
Pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ small butternut squash
2 leeks, white part only
Green onion to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare the squash by peeling it and slicing into long thin strips, around ¼ inch thick. Do the same with the leeks. Toss both the leeks and squash with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and roast on a parchment lined tray for 20 minutes or until they begin to caramelize.

Meanwhile, line the pie shell with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or baking weights. You can bake the pie shell at the same time as the roasted veggies until the edges are slightly golden, about 20 minutes.

While the veggies and pie shell are cooking, mix together the eggs, cream and salt. Set aside.

Once the veggies are roasted and the pie shell is par baked, remove them from the oven. Remove the parchment and the weights. Lay the squash and leeks in the pie shell and top with the egg mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is just set. Garnish with stands of green onions and serve room temperature.

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Harvest Turkey Breast
Serves 6

A modern take on the traditional turkey dinner, this roasted breast means nobody is going to be fighting over the white meat.

1 large turkey breast with skin on
Sea salt and pepper
1 Tbsp oil oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 acorn squash, chopped and seeded
1 onion, chopped
2 cups brussels sprouts, chopped
1 bunch red or concord grapes
1 cup chicken stock
4 cloves garlic
A few sprigs of rosemary

Begin by preheating the oven to 375 F. Next, heat a skillet to medium, add the oil and the turkey breast skin side down to sear it until crispy.

Place the chopped veggies (except grapes) in a roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Add the stock, butter, and arrange the turkey breast on top. Tent the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and roast, basting with the sauce every 20 minutes. Cook until the inside of the turkey breast reaches 165F. The time will vary depending on size.

For the grapes, drizzle them with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the same oven as the turkey breast for 20 minutes or until they begin to wrinkle.

Serve the roasted veggies, grapes and turkey breast on a platter alongside the cooking juices.

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Smørrebrød Spread
Serves 6-8

Based on trendy Scandinavian open faced sandwiches, your guests are certain to find a flavor combination they love.

  • 2 sourdough baguette or bâtard, sliced and toasted

Lox and lemon cream cheese

  • 8 oz container cream cheese
    2 lemons
    ½ lb lox
    Handful chives

    Mix the cream cheese with the zest of one lemon. Spread the cream cheese on warm pieces of toast and top with some lox, finely sliced chives, and a few zests of lemon.

Jamón Ibérico with Dijon Labneh

  • 8 oz container labneh
    3½ oz Jamón Ibérico or prosciutto
    1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
    Sea Salt
    Pepper
    Handful of fresh Dill

    Combine the labneh with a pinch of sea salt, pepper, and the dijon mustard. Spread this mixture over warm baguette slices. Top each slice with some jamón Ibérico or prosciutto and a few sprigs of dill.

Roast beef and Horseradish Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz container of cream cheese
    2 Tbsp. freshly grated horseradish (can used jarred if not available)
    2 tsp. grainy mustard
    ½ lb shaved roast beef
    ¼ cup gherkins, sliced

    Combine cream cheese with grated horseradish and mustard. Spread evenly on warm baguette slices. Top each toast with some shaved roast beef and a few slices of gherkins.

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Onion Frittata
Serves 4-6

Frittatas are the perfect way to feed a crowd – simple and straightforward, they don’t involve a lot of standing over the stove, and allow you plenty of time to mingle with guests and sip mimosas.

10 large eggs
⅓ cup grated firm cheese like Parmesan or Asiago (plus more shavings for garnish)
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
4-5 shallots or small onions thinly sliced (around 1 cup total)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. prepared pesto
½ tomato thinly sliced for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400F. Next, whisk the eggs in a large bowl until they are fully combined then mix in the cheese, salt, and pepper. Set this mixture aside.

Heat a heavy frying pan to medium. Add the Tbsp. of olive oil along with the shallots. Saute the shallots until they are soft and tender, about 6-8 minutes. Once they are cooked and golden, remove a few slices for garnish.

Turn the heat on the frying pan down to low and add the egg mixture. Dollop the pesto by the ½ tsp. over the surface of the eggs.

Cook the eggs on the stove-top without stirring just until they begin to set, 2-4 minutes. Once set sprinkle with the remaining sauteed onions and a few thin slices of tomato.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until just set. Garnish with a few shavings of the remaining cheese before serving.

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Waffle Platter
Serves 5-6

A perfect, quick, but awesome bunch spread that will surely wow your guests, and all you’ll need to do is put together some incredible toppings.

  • 10-12 mini Belgian waffles from your favourite waffle place or the frozen gourmet section of the grocery store
    ½ cup toasted flaked almonds
    ½ cup chopped pistachios
    Handful chopped freeze dried fruits like cranberries, strawberries, or raspberries
    1 cup chopped dark chocolate
    5 Tbsp. heavy cream
    1 Tbsp. kirsch, orange liqueur, or even coffee liqueur

     

    Begin by making your chocolate sauce. Create a bain marie by placing a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add your chocolate, cream, and liqueur to the bowl and let it melt.

    Meanwhile heat your waffles in the oven according to the directions.

    Once the chocolate has begun to melt, stir it to combine. If it seems a little thick add a touch more cream. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl on the pot to stay warm

    Once the waffles are warmed arrange them on a platter and drizzle liberally with the chocolate sauce. Sprinkle with a handful of each nut and some freeze dried fruit.

    Sever along side the remaining nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate sauce.

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Beer Roasted Chicken with Chipotle Chimichurri
Makes 1 chicken (2.5 ish lb ish chicken)

  • 1 small whole chicken (2.5 to 3lbs)
    ½ lb red pearl onions (you can sub for regular red onions or regular pearl onions)
    1 whole head of garlic
    1 bunch of fresh thyme
    2 lemons
    1 head of broccolini

For the rub

  • 1 can of beer (I used an apricot lager, which is slightly sweet and fruity, it was delicious)
    ¼ cup bbq sauce
    1 teaspoon chipotle powder
    2 teaspoons chile seco paste (if you can’t find this, sub for sambal oelek)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
    2 teaspoons dry oregano

For the chimichurri

  • 1 cup fresh parsley loosely packed
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro loosely packed
    1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to season

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F

2. Cut the pearl onions in half and place them in a large roasting pan. Cut the whole head of garlic in half, place one half in the tray and save the other half. Add the bunch of fresh thyme and the broccoli. Drizzle everything with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Set aside.

3. Grab the chicken, give it a quick rinse in the sink, pat it dry, and place it on top of the seasoned onions. Cut the lemons in quarters and stuff them inside the chicken, stuff the other half of garlic and, if you want, add extra thyme. Tie up the chicken legs using kitchen twine so that they don’t go all floppy on you. Tuck under the wings so they don’t burn.

4. In a small bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients except for the beer. Open the beer and add about ¼ cup to the rub mix and save the rest (don’t drink it!). Pour the rub over the chicken and use a brush to glaze it all over the bird. Season with extra salt and pepper. Pour the rest of the beer can around the chicken (on the veggies).

5. Place a loose piece of aluminum foil on top of the chicken and roast in the oven for approx 30 min. After this time, remove the foil and cook for an additional 12-15 min, until the skin starts to get crispy and golden brown. To test the chicken for doneness, cut the leg off and the juices should run clear with no blood (or use a thermometer if you’re picky). Take the chicken out of the oven, cover again with aluminum, and let it rest for 10 min.

6. While the chicken rests, place all of the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it looks like a pesto. Taste for seasoning.

Cut the chicken while it’s warm and serve with some of the roasted veggies. Scoop the juice in the pan all over the cut chicken and top with a generous amount of the chimichurri.

Cider 75
Serves 1

In this clever take on a French 75 (a classic cocktail made with gin and Champagne), hard cider lends a kiss of apple to a fizzy mix of honey, lemon juice and dry sparkling wine. This light, refreshing elixir is the perfect accompaniment to aged cheeses, charcuterie and other holiday appetizers.

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    ½ teaspoon honey
    ¼ cup dry hard apple cider
    ¼ cup dry sparkling wine
    1 strip lemon zest

Combine lemon juice and honey in a champagne flute or white wine glass. Using a long, thin bar spoon or a chopstick, stir until honey has mostly dissolved. Add hard apple cider and stir once or twice, and then top off with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon zest and serve.

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