Preparing holiday side dishes can be time consuming, and there are so many other things to do! Save precious minutes by using store-bought refrigerated options like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked apples, even macaroni and cheese that can be dressed up, heated in the microwave, and ready to serve in minutes. We offer here a few new takes on some holiday favorites, but with some imagination, you can tweak your own meal traditions. Guests will never know they’re not completely homemade!
Perfect Holiday Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a staple on many holiday menus, but all that peeling and mashing can take hours. Save time by using refrigerated, ready-to-eat mashed potatoes:
Add your family’s special ingredients, like cheese, bacon, chives, or sage butter.
Microwave the mashed potatoes just before dinner or throw them in a crockpot on low and pitch the packaging so no one knows you didn’t make them ahead of time.
Buy a couple extra and store them in the fridge in case you have unexpected guests.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pkg refrigerated Macaroni and Cheese
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/4 cups shredded gouda cheese, divided
1 pkg thick-sliced hardwood smoked bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 400 F. Spray four ramekins with cooking spray.
Heat macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Once cooked, stir in spinach, 1 cup cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper.
Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes to cool. Add eggs. Spoon evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake 20 minutes, or until centers are set.
Sweet Potato Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 lg. egg
1 cup refrigerated mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup butter, unsalted
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp maple extract
chopped honey roasted pecans (optional)
mini marshmallows (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F.
In large bowl, using hand mixer or paddle attachment, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture until well mixed. Using small cookie scoop, drop rounds onto greased baking sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.
In separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and maple extract until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost each cooled cookie with maple butter cream frosting.
Sprinkle with pecans and mini marshmallows, if desired. Carefully toast marshmallows with culinary torch, if desired, while avoiding melting frosting.
Mini Hash Brown Casseroles
1 lb. ground sausage
4 lg. eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 pkg (20 oz) frozen shredded hash browns
3 TBS butter, melted
1 cup ham, cubed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.
Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
In bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, black pepper and cheese; mix thoroughly. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Makes 40 poppers
2 pkgs thick sliced hardwood smoked bacon, slices cut in half
1 pkg refrigerated white cheddar mashed potatoes
1 pkg garlic herb cheese spread
20 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded with membranes removed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Heat oven to 400 F. Set bacon out to thaw to room temperature so it is pliable.
In mixing bowl, use rubber spatula to combine mashed potatoes and garlic herb cheese. Stir until incorporated. Spread 1 teaspoon mashed potato mixture in each jalapeno half; level each with butter knife or spatula.
Wrap each jalapeno with bacon; use three half slices for large jalapenos or two halves for smaller sizes. Be sure bacon is wrapped sealing in mashed potato mixture tightly.
In small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Generously sprinkle over bacon and pat gently to make it stick.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper so sugar does not burn to pan. Bake until bacon reaches desired crispiness, around 25-35 minutes.
Let peppers cool slightly before serving, about 5 minutes.
Find more ideas to make your holiday sides simply delicious at bobevansgrocery.com.
Source: Family Features