Easy Holiday Recipes for Entertaining (That Really Are Easy!)


Planning the perfect dinner party for the holidays is easier said than done.

Juggling baby care, cooking, cleaning and decorating, you'll be wishing there were some shortcuts that could make this whole process easier.

Don't panic. 

There are plenty of shortcuts if you're looking to lighten your workload a little for your upcoming holiday get-together. But the bottom line is you need easy recipes that are actually good and actually easy. 

The holidays can feel so stressful. With all the unrealistic expectations set on parents during this time of year, it's easy to fall into the trap of excessively complicated holiday cooking. 

We found some recipes that you can work into your holiday menu that will free up some valuable time to spend with your family and friends and keep you from feeling chained to the kitchen all day long. 


Spinach Dip


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (1.8 ounce) package dry leek soup mix
  • 1 (4 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (feel free to skip these if you aren't a fan)
  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf round sourdough bread


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dry leek soup mix, optional water chestnuts and chopped spinach. Chill in the refrigerator 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. Remove top and interior of sourdough bread. Fill with mayonnaise mixture. Tear removed bread chunks into pieces for dipping. Voila! Guaranteed crowd pleaser and it's great for making ahead.

Grape Jelly Cocktail Meatballs


  • 1 (32 ounce) jar grape jelly
  • 2 (12 ounce) bottles tomato-based chili sauce (such as Heinz)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 (5 pound) bags frozen cocktail-size meatballs


  1. Combine grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until warm, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Place meatballs in a slow cooker and top with grape jelly mixture.
  3. Cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours.

Brown Sugar Baked Brie


    • 1 (5 inch) brie round
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons of softened butter
    • 1/4 cup walnuts or 1/4 cup pecans or 1/4 cup sliced almonds (cook's choice)
    • sliced French bread


  1. Preheat oven to 325.

  2. Put brie in baking dish.
  3. Brush on approximately 3 T. of softened butter.
  4. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the brie.
  5. Add a few (about 1/4 cup) of walnuts or chopped pecans, really just whatever you have on hand.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Serve with sliced french bread, crackers, and/or sliced tart apples.



Cranberry Pear Upside Down Cake



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 medium pear, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed, if frozen


  • 1 1/2 cups Martha White® Self-Rising Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped


  • 1 cup heavy cream whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar, optional


  1. HEAT oven to 375ºF. For topping: Melt butter in 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugars. Cook and stir just until well blended and sugar mixture covers bottom of skillet. Remove from heat. Arrange pear slices in a circular pattern with smaller end of slice toward the center. Distribute cranberries over pears, filling in center and spaces between pear slices.
  2. For cake: WHISK together flour, soda and sugar in medium bowl. Stir in melted butter, buttermilk, egg and almond extract until smooth. Stir in almonds. Pour over pears and cranberries in skillet. Spread evenly to edges.
  3. BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool 2 to 3 minutes. Place serving plate over skillet. Carefully invert cake onto plate. Best served warm. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Chewy Sugar Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups margarine
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup white sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


Christine Robinson

Doulas of Asheville is western North Carolina's premier doula agency, providing birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and placenta specialists to Asheville families. We are proud to support any and all birthing choices, parenting styles. Our postpartum doulas are available to support families with new babies around the clock, from a few daytime shifts, to overnight newborn care, to 24-hour live-in support.