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Easy Recipes for Holiday Dishes That Look Complicated but Are Really Simple

Updated on November 21, 2011

The holidays are coming and that usually means visiting friends and family, potluck dinners with people from places like church or work, and perhaps even children's school events. Even if you're not a horrible cook, like me, things like shopping for gifts and travelling puts horrible constraints on time it takes to prepare extra food. Here are some recipes that are very easy to prepare, but will dazzle guests with their complex appearances and tastes.

Breakfast Pizzas

Breakfast casseroles are a great addition to any brunch menu, especially where adults are present. But individual breakfast pizzas are great for guests of all ages! The following needs to be done the night before:

  • Toast up several packages of English muffins, store in gallon-sized storage bags
  • Fry up a few pounds of bacon, crumble, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight
  • Slice up several packages of pre-cooked sausage links so that they resemble mini-pepperonis and also store hem in an air-tight container in the fridge
  • Either have a jar of sausage gravy on-hand or cook some up and store in the fridge overnight
  • Dice up some fresh tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and any other veggies you and your guests would enjoy on your breakfast pizzas and store those in the fridge overnight, as well

The next morning, all you'll have to do is pull out the containers, scramble up some eggs, and heat up the gravy. Place English muffins toasted-side up on a pizza pan. Spoon gravy onto each. Add scrambled egg and each person's choice of meats and veggies. Top with choice of cheese (My family likes Colby-jack!) and toast under the broiler until the cheese gets nice and melted. Keep a careful eye on these as too much time under the broiler will burn the whole meal to a crisp in no time flat!

Easy Cheesy Potato Corn Chowder

This recipe is sure to please any size group. Just double the ingredients to fill large-sized slow cookers. Tweaking the type of cheese or what spices you add to lend your own unique flair is highly encouraged! Here's what I use:

  • One 32oz package of frozen hash browns
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • One can of corn (approx. 15oz) drained
  • One 8oz container of sour cream
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • One 12oz package of shredded cheddar cheese
  • OPTIONAL - Some kind of meat, like miniature meatballs, crumbled bacon, diced chicken, leftover steak, etc.

Ready for some super easy directions? Dump the hash browns, meat, and spices in the slow cooker. Add chicken broth. (It should cover the hash browns by about half an inch or so, but if it doesn't add some water to make sure it does.) Cook covered on high until hash browns are tender. Add sour cream, corn, and cheese. Turn on low and cook until cheese is melted. And there you go! If you want, you can garnish with parsley or crumbled bacon, or a little more shredded cheese. This one's so easy I haven't yet been able to mess it up.

Italian Meatball Kebabs with Pasta Alfredo

Most people hear the term "kebab" and think summertime cookouts. But these can be served any time of year! Pick your favorite meat and salad ingredients that can be stabbed onto a wooden skewer. My husband likes meatballs, onions, green peppers, grape tomatoes, and mushrooms. Use frozen meatballs to save time. Once the skewers are prepared, warm them on the grill until the meat is heated through. Served with a side of your favorite pasta covered in Alfredo sauce.

Your guests can eat the kebabs separately from the pasta, or they might choose to mix everything together. Either way is delicious! This recipe is one my family created and tried for the first time a few weeks ago and it was a hit with every single person. It was a great excuse to use our grill despite the chilly weather, and a fun twist on a meal that we previously reserved for summer months.

Berry Cheesecake Cups

Early in the summer of 2011 it was found out that I'm allergic to chocolate. Fruit became my new best friend. Before the revelation of my allergy, we fixed this recipe with crushed Oreos and topped them with Hershey's hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles. Changing it up was easier than I anticipated! Here's what you need:

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Melted butter
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese cheesecake filling
  • Your choice of berry flavored ice cream topping

Fill a cupcake pan with liners. Crush vanilla wafers and mix with melted butter to form a crust in the bottom of each liner, about half an inch thick. Then, spoon in cheesecake filling. (If you can't find the tub of Philadelphia brand, try mixing up your own concoction of one box of cheesecake-flavored pudding, 8oz cheesecake, 1 1/2 tbsp milk, and 4 cups of Cool Whip.) Top with a teaspoon full of your favorite berry flavored ice cream topping. Stick in the freezer so the cups firm up, and then transfer them, liner and all, to a plate in the fridge.

These are awesome because you can make plenty of them up ahead of time. A mint leaf and single berry make a lovely garnish, especially around the holidays. And if anyone wants to know where you got the recipe, please send them along to Hubpages and point them at this article!


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  • rjsadowski profile image

    rjsadowski 6 years ago

    All of your recipes look easy to make yet tasty. Thanks for sharing them with us.