65 stress-free recipes for the holidays

 

The most wonderful time of the year is also one of the busiest. Why spend more time than you have to in the kitchen? These super easy holiday recipes for apps, mains, sides and desserts use 10 ingredients or less, and only take 20 minutes or less.

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65 perfect holiday recipes
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65 perfect holiday recipes

Double-Duty Heavenly Citrus Ham

This recipe is special because it’s based on the ham my grandma and mom used to make for holidays. Leftovers can be frozen up to 3 months, and thawed before using. You’ll want to remember this recipe for Easter! —Penny Hawkins, Mebane, North Carolina

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Roasted Italian Green Beans & Tomatoes

When you roast green beans and tomatoes, their flavors really shine through. The vibrant colors light up our family table. —Brittany Allyn, Mesa, Arizona

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Brandied Blue Cheese Spread

Pour on the holiday spirit with a splash of brandy and three kinds of cheese. Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a crunchy topping for the smooth spread. —T.B. England, San Antonio, Texas

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Sesame Herb Pull-Apart Bread

The beauty of this bread is that all of the prep work is done a day ahead. The savory herbs make it irresistible. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma

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Bourbon Slush

At our holiday parties, Bourbon Slush is definitely a favorite. Have fun experimenting with different teas when you make it. We like black tea, green tea and orange spice. —Darcene Sigler, Louisville, Ohio

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Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Cheese

My husband and I both love the classic combination of beef and horseradish. He asks me to make this for dinner often, and I’m always happy to. Try serving with baked potatoes as a side.—Mary Lou Cook, Welches, Oregon

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Cranberry Corn Bread Casserole

What could be better on a cold day than a warm casserole and creamy sweet cornbread put together? Since it starts with a mix, this side takes no time to make. Just bake, scoop and eat. Yum!—Valery Anderson, Sterling Heights, Michigan

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Broccoli with Garlic, Bacon & Parmesan

This simple yet sophisticated side dish uses just a few basic ingredients. The way the bold garlic flavor blends with the smoky bacon makes ordinary broccoli irresistible. —Erin Chilcoat, Smithtown, New York

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Garlic-Herb Mini Quiches

Looking for a wonderful way to impress guests? You’ve got it—and you need only five ingredients to make these tasty apps! —Josephine Piro, Easton, Pennsylvania

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Chipotle Ham ‘n’ Cheese Dip

During the busy holiday season, you just can’t beat convenient slow cooker recipes like this that let you visit with guests instead of working away in the kitchen. —Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, Missouri

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Beef Brisket Marinara

Marinara sauce and tender meat are real comfort food. Serve this brisket with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts

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Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

Cinnamon and raisins bring heartwarming flavor to this mildly sweet bread. It’s ideal for an on-the-go breakfast or a quick snack before dinner. —Flo Burtnett, Gage, Oklahoma

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Dill & Chive Peas

Growing my own vegetables and herbs helps keep things fresh in the kitchen. This side is a breeze to prepare. —Tanna Richard, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Poinsettia

This pinkish concoction adds a festive twist to your party—whether it’s for Christmas, New Years or even Valentine’s Day. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Cheesy Slow-Cooked Corn

My family really likes this creamy, cheesy side dish—and it’s so easy to make. Even those who usually don’t eat much corn will ask for a second helping. —Mary Ann Truitt, Wichita, Kansas

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Celery-Onion Popovers

I found this handwritten recipe in a cookbook I received from my mom. With onion and celery, these pleasing popovers taste a little like stuffing. —Barbara Carlucci, Orange Park, Florida

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Roasted Vegetable Dip

While my children were always very good eaters, I came up with this recipe to get them to eat more veggies and “like” it. The dip doesn’t last long in our house! —Sarah Vasques, Milford, New Hampshire

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Heavenly Drinking Chocolate

The name says it all—sipping this beverage is like drinking a heavenly blend of dark and milk chocolate. Top off each mug with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

This convenient casserole calls for canned sweet potatoes, so preparation time is minimal. The nutty brown sugar topping adds a bit of crunch. —Anita Briner, Etters, Pennsylvania

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Brie Puff Pastry

My husband was in the Air Force so we’ve entertained guests in many parts of the world. I acquired this recipe while in California. It’s one of my favorite special appetizers. —Sandra Twait, Tampa, Florida

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Moist & Tender Turkey Breast

This easy turkey recipe is sure to be popular in your home. Everyone will love the taste, and you’ll love how quickly it comes together. —Heidi Vawdrey, Riverton, Utah

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Orange Pomegranate Salad with Honey

I discovered this fragrant salad in a cooking class. If you can, try to find orange flower water (also called orange blossom water), which perks up the orange segments. But orange juice adds a nice zip, too! —Carol Richardson Marty, Lynwood, Washington

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Pineapple Cherry Loaves

Pineapple adds a fun twist to this holiday quick bread, plus it wakes each delicious bite nice and moist. My family prefers this to traditional fruitcake. —Dolores Peltier, Warren, Michigan

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Cream of Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash makes a luscious soup for chilly days when you need warmth from the inside out. We add potatoes and a touch of chicken soup mix. —Tiffany Smith, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Turkey-Cranberry Bagels

Take care of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey in a way your family loves. It's good with all sorts of cranberry sauces and chutneys, so have fun playing around. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Quick & Easy au Gratin Potatoes

On holidays, a friend serves these creamy, cheesy potatoes when we gather together to celebrate with lifelong friends and grown children. —Carol Blue, Barnesville, Pennsylvania

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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

These buttery cookies are so simple to prepare, with only a few ingredients. —Pattie Prescott, Manchester, New Hampshire

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Creamy Broccoli with Cashews

The sour-cream sauce in this broccoli casserole makes it a little different from the usual, and the cashews lend a nice crunch. It's great with a variety of entrees. —Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas

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Viennese Coffee

This isn't your regular cup of Joe! Dress it up with chocolate, whipped cream and more, making it a drink to savor! —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Applesauce Sweet Potatoes

During the holidays, using your slow cooker not only frees up oven space, but time, too! Sweet potatoes are a must on our family menu, and this no-fuss version will have everyone thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. —Pamela Allen, Marysville, Ohio

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Sparkling Celebration Punch

Every celebration deserves a gorgeous punch like this one – fruity, bubbly and icy cold. We garnish the punch bowl with slices of oranges, lemons or limes. —Sharon Tipton, Winter Garden, Florida

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A Christmas Story Meat Loaf

I've watched the film “A Christmas Story” so many times since I was a kid. Now I have a family of my own, so I re-created the mom’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes. —Christina Addison, Blanchester, Ohio

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Jalapeno-Pecan Cheese Spread

I like to shape this pepper jelly spread like a Christmas tree around the holidays, but this is a recipe I make year-round. —Charolette Westfall, Houston, Texas

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Jeweled Endive Salad

Every Christmas, friends have a huge potluck party. I wanted to bring something unique, so I topped off endive and watercress with jewel-toned pomegranate seeds. —Alysha Braun, St. Catharines, Ontario

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Rustic Cranberry Tarts

I like to serve colorful desserts for gatherings with family and friends. These beautiful tarts are filled with cranberry and citrus flavor, and they’re easy to make and serve. —Holly Bauer, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Chive & Onion Hash Brown Potatoes

A friend once told me about a potato dish her mother used to make. She remembered that Swiss cheese and butter were standouts. Here's my re-creation. She actually liked it better than her mom’s version. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota

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Three-Cheese Creamed Spinach

Cream cheese, Parmesan and mozzarella make this dish wonderfully cheesy. Sprinkle it with french-fried onions for a crisp boost of flavor. —Kathy Vazquez, Amarillo, Texas

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My Kids' Favorite Cookies

When I made these cookies for my boys while they were growing up, it was a real challenge to keep them away from the kitchen to let these cookies cool. I still make these mouthwatering morsels for my "boys" today. —Ardys Smith, Palo Alto, California

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Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Toss

No matter how you toss 'em up, shrimp and thyme play nicely with any spring-fresh vegetable. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Dijon & Rosemary

After moving to Alabama, I learned my friends and co-workers love sweet potatoes. I roast the potatoes with Dijon, fresh rosemary and a touch of honey. —Tamara Huron, New Market, Alabama

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Nantucket Cranberry Tart

While everyone is enjoying a bountiful meal, this eye-catching tart can be baking to perfection in the oven. The pretty holiday dessert calls for very few ingredients, and it's a snap to assemble. —Jackie Zack, Riverside, Connecticut

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German Beer Cheese Spread

We’re of German heritage, so we love bold flavors. Cheddar and beer make a tangy dip to serve with pretzels, crackers, pumpernickel and brats. Choose a beer you like, as it will come through in your finished recipe. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Treats

This quick and tasty dessert is perfect for a road trip. The treats won't stick to your hands, so you'll crave more than one. Keep them on hand in the refrigerator for an easy snack. —Sonia Rohda, Waverly, Nebraska

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Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Don’t be afraid to bring out the Brussels sprouts. Mellowed by roasting and tossed with mustard sauce, they may just delight even the most skeptical folks. —Becky Walch, Orland, California

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Hurry-Up Biscuits

When I was young, my mom would make these biscuits with fresh cream she got from a local farmer. I don't go to those lengths, but the family recipe is still a real treat. —Beverly Sprague, Baltimore, Maryland

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Mama's Million-Dollar Fudge

No other fudge I've tasted comes close to the smooth, chocolate taste of this recipe, which my mother-in-law introduced me to one Christmas (I've never been able to make it as good as she does, though). Since it makes such a large batch, I always save some for last-minute gifts. —Gloria Heidner, Elk River, Minnesota

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Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels

These quick appetizers are irresistible. The flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto balance beautifully. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York

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Marmalade Candied Carrots

My favorite way to make baby carrots is to steam them, then drizzle with an orangey glaze that makes them candy-sweet. —Heather Clemmons, Supply, North Carolina

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Melting Snowman

After an afternoon of sledding, kids will love to warm up with hot chocolate and these special snowman toppers. The snowmen will disappear as they sip and so will the chill on their fingers and toes! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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More The Merrier Orange, Fig & Walnut Bars

Orange, fig and walnuts make a bar that’s uniquely different and delicious. Think you can eat just one? —Judy Dalton, Danville, Virginia

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Salt-Encrusted Prime Rib

Restaurants have nothing on this recipe. For a true meat lover, it's very easy and the results are beyond belief. —Roger Bowlds, Bakersfield, California

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Rosemary-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yum! You’ll never want plain mashed potatoes again after mixing in garlic, sour cream and rosemary. They don't even need gravy. —Marlena Reed, West Jordan, Utah

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Pull-Apart Caramel Coffee Cake

The first time I made this delightful breakfast treat for a brunch party, it was a huge hit. Now I get requests every time family or friends do anything around the breakfast hour! I always keep the four simple ingredients on hand. —Jaime Keeling, Keizer, Oregon

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Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Frequently requested at family get-togethers, this rich and hearty soup is ready in a flash. Cooking for a vegetarian? Swap in vegetable stock for the beef broth. —Danielle Noble, Ft. Thomas, Kentucky

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Ranch Green Beans

Years ago, I discovered this handwritten recipe on a note card and decided to give it a try. It's deliciously different from the usual green bean casserole and quickly became a favorite. —Carol Conn, Aurora, Colorado

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Simple Salmon Dip

This is my go-to dip recipe for summer barbecues. The secret is the green chilies—they add just enough heat. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado

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Spicy Almonds

We like to adventure out into the Selquirk mountain range surrounding our family cabin. These nuts never tasted better than when we enjoyed them together at the peak of an amazing hike. Almonds are extremely nutritious, and, when dressed up with a wonderful blend of spices, they go from ordinary to awesome! —Gina Myers, Spokane, Washington

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Taste-of-Fall Salad

My parents stayed with me at a friend's beautiful ranch for the holidays and I made them this great salad. It turned into every night's first course. —Kristin Kossak, Bozeman, Montana

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White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

This is my favorite confection to make at Christmas. Not only is it easy, it's delicious as well. I like to fill small bags with the crunchy candy to place in gift baskets.—Nancy Shelton, Boaz, Kentucky

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White Christmas Sangria

This punch has a pleasant fruity flavor. It's not too sweet so everyone will enjoy it! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Banana Nog

During my family's annual cookie exchange, we ran out of our beloved eggnog...much to everyone's horror! So into the kitchen I went to create this cool, creamy treat. —Jennae LeFebvre, Aurora, Illinois

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Mom's Vegetable Dip

This is one dip my mother brought along to potluck dinners and made when guests came over. Every time I make it I am reminded of her and her love of cooking. —Jill Olofson, Woodbury, Minnesota

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Cheery Cherry Cookies

With a tall glass of ice-cold milk, a couple of cherry cookies really hit the spot for dessert or as a snack. The coconut and bits of cherries provide a fun look and texture. —Judy Clark, Elkhart, Indiana

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Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup

Sweet apples and spicy curry combine in this rich soup, which is perfect for fall. A small serving is all you need to satisfy. —Jane Shapton, Irvine, California

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Chocolate Amaretti

With a hint of almond, these chewy treats are similar to those sold in Italian bakeries. My husband and children are always excited when I include these in my holiday baking lineup. —Kathy Long, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

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