12 Easy Recipes That Will Impress Your Family This Holiday Season

This holiday season, there is pressure to cook for my family. Now that I have moved out and own my own oven, I feel like I have to contribute a dish to family gatherings instead of just claiming my mom’s salad is, “also from me.” If you are in the same situation, then the following recipes are for you. These easy-but-delicious apps, sides, and desserts will totally impress your second-cousin-once-removed during the holidays (or anyone at anytime for that matter!).


My Uncle John’s Chex Mix
Aka Original Chex Mix from Chex. Apparently the Chex Mix my uncle is famous for is just the one on the box but with a few of his secret touches. You can definitely use the one in the link but here is my uncle’s version.

3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup pretzels (but I always add more because I love pretzels)
1 cup peanuts
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 ½ tablespoons seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)
1 ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Tabasco (Optional, but I recommend adding at least 1 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix the Chex, pretzels, and nuts in a large bowl. In a small bowl, melt the butter. Add the Worcestershire and tabasco. In another small bowl, mix the spices together. Pour the butter mixture over the Chex mixture. Use a spoon (or your hands) to make sure the butter covers the Chex mix. Add the spice mixture. Again, use a spoon (or your hands) to make sure the Chex mix is covered in the spices. Spread out the mix over a pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
I brought these to my best friend’s house for dinner, and I think I ate all of them. When I made this dish, it was really frustrating. The prosciutto wasn’t staying on the asparagus while cooking. To fix this, I recommend sticking a toothpick at the bottom and top of the asparagus to secure the prosciutto. Other than that struggle, this dish is super quick and delicious.

Crab and Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls
I made these with my boyfriend a few years ago. Totally addictive and still good the next day! To cut some of the cost, feel free to use imitation crab. That is what we did and it still tasted amazing.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup
I haven’t made many soups before, but this is my all-time favorite. I love mushrooms so I added a bunch for more flavor. Feel free to add other vegetables that you like. I loved the mushrooms, but tomatoes would also be a great addition.

Side Dishes

Garlic Roasted Chickpeas
I make these for myself every other week and bring some as a side for lunches. Although it is good as just a side, you can also throw them in a spinach salad.

Garlic Parmesan Mushrooms
Can you tell I like garlic? I brought these to a friend’s bonfire, and everyone loved them. The key is not using any of that powdered parmesan. I know the recipe calls for a tablespoon of it but it just isn’t as good as the real stuff.

Arugula Pasta Salad with Marinated Feta and Pine Nuts
I made this for my family’s annual lefse party this year. It was a hit, and now I add marinated feta to other salads and pastas. I think the best part about cooking is being able to make your own modifications. Even though I doubled the recipe, I only used about 10 ounces of arugula. If you’re not already, get comfortable with making modifications to your meals to fit what you like.


Salted Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
My coworkers got to enjoy this one, and it is a great twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie!

Fruity Pebbles with White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yes, I’m a bit of a child. These cookies are great for the summer but also a crowd-pleaser if you have kids joining your holiday meals. The pudding mix is the secret ingredient and makes the cookies stay soft forever.

Pretzel Hugs
Probably the easiest dessert you can make. Seriously, a kid could make these. This is another recipe that you can make changes to based on your preferences. I LOVE Hershey’s Hugs, but I tried these with Caramel Kisses and they were just as good (though a little messier). Make these if you are short on time or want a dessert that is the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Cookies and Cream Cookies
These cookies take Oreos to the next level. Notice that this recipe also calls for pudding mix, and you know what that means… :)

Lemon Crinkle Cookies 
Sometimes you want something a little lighter for dessert. Lemon is a great choice when you want to feel healthy while eating a cookie… But beware. Because they aren’t overly sweet, it is super easy to down 5 of these in one sitting.


From my recipe book/Pinterest board to yours, I wish you the best in impressing your family with minimal effort this holiday season!

Photo from: Chris Ford

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