There’s so much going on during the holidays that you want everything quick and easy (which, coincidentally was my nickname back when I was single)!

It’s the time of year when we’re hosting and/or invited to holiday parties and potlucks. These recipes are all easy to pull together and make a great impression. 

Vibrant Guacamole

The problem with guacamole is that it turns brown so quickly. By adding some frozen peas to the recipe, it manages to stay bright green for 24 hours.


1 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed 

2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped 

Juice from two limes

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered 

1 red onion, minced 

2 jalapeños, seeded and minced 

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro 

2 cloves minced fresh garlic 

1 teaspoon sea salt 


Place peas in the bowl of a food processor or mini chopper and pulse until the peas are smooth. 

Add avocado and pulse a few seconds until avocado is incorporated. 

Transfer pea/avocado mixture into a medium bowl and add lime juice, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and salt. 

Stir everything together with a fork. 

Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Cheeseboard Snowman

No cooking required, just assemble this cute appetizer. 


3 round, soft cheeses (camembert, brie, and goat are all good) 



Toast rounds or crackers 

Dried fruit

Pear or apple slices 



Line three cheese rounds up to resemble a snowman. 

Decorate using dried fruit bits for eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons. Drape a piece of prosciutto to look like a scarf. 

Garnish plate with remaining ingredients. 

Note: Soak the apple or pear slices in water and the juice of a lemon for a few minutes. Pat dry before arranging on a cheeseboard. This will keep the fruit from turning brown.

Stuffed Mushrooms

A great dish to bring when there will be vegetarians in the house. To make vegan, substitute vegan cream cheese. 


2 lbs. (2 pkg.) white or cremini whole mushrooms 

¼ cup olive oil

1 shallot 

2 cloves of garlic 

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley 

½ cup chopped pecans 

1 cup panko breadcrumbs 

1 lb. goat or cream cheese (room temp) 


Clean mushrooms by wiping them down with a damp paper towel. 

Remove stems, set aside, and brush mushroom caps inside and out with olive oil. 

Place mushroom caps on a rack in a sheet pan. 

Chop mushroom stems, shallot, garlic, and parsley, place in a mixing bowl. 

Add pecans and half the breadcrumbs. 

Add cheese and mix until all are combined. 

Spoon cheese mixture into mushroom cap, until it just reaches the top of the cap. 

Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs over the stuffed caps. 

These steps can all be done up to 24 hours in advance. 

Preheat an oven to 350°. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and breadcrumbs have browned slightly.

Pig In A Blanket Wreath

A cute variation on a favorite appetizer. 


3 tubes crescent biscuits 

1 lb. cocktail franks or smokies 

honey mustard 

1 egg, beaten 

coarse sea salt or poppy seeds (optional) 


Open the crescent roll tubes and separate rolls into triangles. 

Lightly brush with honey mustard.

Place a hot dog or smokie link at the base of the triangle of dough and roll it up. 

Place each biscuit next to the other in a wreath shape, making two concentric rings. 

Brush the entire wreath with beaten egg. 

Sprinkle with sea salt or poppy seeds, if desired. 

Bake according to crescent roll directions, 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sprigs in a Blanket

A fancier version of pigs in a blanket, but just as easy to make. 


24 asparagus spears (thin)

24 slices prosciutto 

1 pkg. puff pastry 

1 beaten egg 

Parmesan cheese 


Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Rinse asparagus spears and cut off woody base (bottom third or so). 

Cut defrosted puff pastry into ½ inch wide strips. 

Cut the prosciutto strips in half lengthwise. 

Wrap the prosciutto around the asparagus in a spiral fashion. 

Repeat with puff pastry dough. 

Place wrapped asparagus on a rack in a sheet pan. 

Brush with beaten egg. 

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. 

Allow cooling slightly before transferring to a serving plate.

Easy Asian Meatballs

Only two ingredients and one baking dish make this a snap to prepare. It’s always a big hit at any party. 


1 package frozen meatballs 

1 bottle Thai Asian sweet chili sauce


Place frozen meatballs in an oven-proof baking dish. 

Pour about half a bottle of the chili sauce over the meatballs.

Use a spoon to mix and distribute sauce easily.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. 

Before serving add additional sauce if necessary.

Rick Karlin is SFGN's food editor. Visit to read his previous reviews. Have a culinary tip to share? Email Rick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..