The holiday season has arrived and one of the best parts of the holidays is the food! If you are having small holiday gatherings, wow your friends and family with amazing dishes. Cooking great food doesn’t have to be difficult or require a lot of money. So, we have put together a list of recipes that will not only taste amazing but won’t break your bank or take a lot of time. 

Buttery Shortbread Cookies

This recipe from “Chew Out Loud” is simple but very rewarding. With only 3 ingredients, these cookies will have Santa Claus re-visiting your house for more!

What you will need:

  • 2 cups salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats; set aside.
  2. In the bowl, add butter and brown sugar. Mix ingredients on medium-high speed, until fluffy. Add only 3 1/2 cups of the flour and mix on medium-low speed until combined.
  3. On a large board, sprinkle 1/2 cup flour to keep the dough from sticking to the board. Knead dough by hand for 5 minutes, adding only as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to make a soft dough, while continuing to knead by hand. The dough should end up soft and pliable, similar to play-dough, not sticky. 
  4. Divide dough into thirds, wrap tightly and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough about ½ inch thick and use cookie cutters for your desired cookie shape.
  6. Place each cookie 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and add your sprinkles if desired.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. 
  8. Cool completely on the wire rack before serving. 

Grinch Punch

Unlike the grinch, this recipe from “DIY Thrill” will definitely be liked during Christmas dinner. What makes it even better? It only requires 3 ingredients!

What you will need:

  • 1 gallon Green Berry Rush Hawaiian Punch chilled (3.78L)
  • 12 ounces Dole Pineapple Juice chilled
  • 2 liters Sprite chilled


  1. Keep all ingredients chilled in the refrigerator.
  2. When ready to serve, combine Green Berry Rush Hawaiian Punch, Sprite, and Pineapple Juice in a large punch bowl and stir well. 
  3. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

Chocolate Truffles

This recipe from “Taste of Home” is for my chocolate lovers. It only requires 4 ingredients and will surely be gone in a blink of an eye at any small holiday party. 

What you will need:

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional coatings: Chocolate sprinkles, Dutch-processed cocoa, espresso powder, and cacao nibs


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and milk.
  2. Stir melted chocolate and milk until smooth. Then stir in vanilla. 
  3. Refrigerate the mixture, covered for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.
  4. Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in coatings as desired.

Puppy Chow

This popular dish has many names but many know it as puppy chow. This recipe from “Joy Food Sunshine” is perfect to sit out for your guests to munch on.  

What you will need:

  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6-7 cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt peanut butter and chocolate together.
  2. Add half of Chex cereal to a large bowl. Pour 1 cup of chocolate/peanut butter mixture over cereal.
  3. Add the rest of the cereal to the bowl and pour the remaining chocolate mixture on top.
  4. Stir until the cereal is evenly coated. 
  5. Let the mixture cool slightly, add powdered sugar. Mix until combined.

Christmas Bark

Spending time with family is one of the most important parts of the holiday season and with this quick recipe from “Family Food and Travel” you can get the whole family involved.

What you will need:

  • ½ bag of Wilton candy melts white
  • ½ bag of Wilton candy melts green
  • ⅓ bag of Wilton candy melts red
  • Holiday M&M’s
  • Sprinkles


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bag of candy melts in a microwave-safe dish and heat until melted.
  3. Pour melted chocolate onto a cookie sheet and spread out with a spatula until evenly distributed.
  4. Swirl the colored chocolate with a knife and sprinkle M&M’s and sprinkles on top.
  5. Place in the fridge to set and once hardened, break into bite-sized pieces.

Cranberry Brie Bites

If you are looking for the perfect holiday appetizer, look no further. This recipe from “Delish” requires minimal effort for mouthwatering goodness!

What you need:

  • 1 tube crescent dough
  • Cooking spray, for pan
  • Flour, for surface
  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 1/2 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary, cut into 1″ pieces.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F, and grease a mini muffin pan. On a floured surface, roll out crescent dough and pinch the seams together.
  2. Cut the dough into 24 squares and place the squares in the muffin tin.
  3. Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the dough.
  4. Top the pieces with cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, and one sprig of rosemary.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. 

Pigs in a Blanket Wreath

If you are in a time crunch but still want to wow your family with a festive appetizer, check out this recipe from “Delish”

What you will need:

  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 24 mini hot dogs
  • 1/4 c. Dijon mustard
  • Egg wash
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • rosemary sprigs, for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Slice crescent rolls lengthwise into thirds. Brush Dijon mustard on the crescent rolls and place a mini hot dog on the thickest part and roll up.
  3. Arrange the pigs in a blanket in a circle on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crescent rolls are golden brown.
  4. Let cool for 20 minutes before laying the rosemary sprigs on the inside of the wreath. Finally, place your choice of dipping sauce in the center. 

Old Fashioned Eggnog

Never go back to store-bought eggnog with this delicious 9-ingredient recipe from “The Stay at Home Chef”.

What you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half and half for a light version
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. In a large saucepan, add milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ½ tsp vanilla. Cook on the lowest heat setting on the stove for 5 minutes. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar for 1 minute.
  3. Turn the heat under the milk to medium-high and remove the cinnamon sticks.
  4. Slowly whisk in about ¼ of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Then pour all of the egg/sugar mixture back into the saucepan and whisk it all together. Put over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. The mixture should thicken slightly.
  5. Pour the hot eggnog into a large bowl and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Add the cinnamon sticks back in.
  6. After 1 hour, stir in the heavy cream, 2 tsp of vanilla, and nutmeg. Store in the fridge for four hours before serving.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

This 10-ingredient recipe from “Tastes Better from Scratch” is perfect for small holiday gatherings. Not only will this recipe not be time-consuming, but you will probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen.

What you will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12-15 pretzel sticks
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crushed nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)


  1. In a medium bowl, add butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and ground pepper. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese.
  2. Divide the mixture into 12-15 tablespoon-sized balls. 
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and roll the cheese balls in your choice of toppings. 
  4. Place a pretzel stick in the center of each and serve. 

Hope you enjoy these easy, fast, and cheap holiday recipes. They are sure to be a hit at any of your holiday gatherings.

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