Get togethers and parties are one of the best things about the holiday season, or at least they should be. Sometimes the process of coming up with the right combination of recipes to serve or the best menu theme can be quite overwhelming with everything else going on. Don’t worry, I did the thinking so you don’t have to! I’ve curated menu options for six different styles of gathering so you can choose whatever best suits your needs. Happy cooking, baking, and merry making!
Holiday Entertaining Menu Inspiration
Anything but Basic Brunching
Brunch at home as opposed to a restaurant is one of the most underrated forms of entertaining, in my opinion. With a few killer dishes and an excellent signature cocktail (or great bottles of bubbles), you’re guaranteed a good time.
- Anything but Basic Brunching
Make everything yourself or make it a pitch-in affair. These sweet and savory crowd pleasers are here to make your brunch anything but basic.
- Morning Buns/Link to recipe
- Blood Orange Mojitos/Link to recipe
- Everything Biscuits with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese/Link to recipe
- Goat Cheese Spread with Garlic and Fresh Herbs/Link to recipe
- Bacon and Egg Salad with Crispy Peas and Scallions/Link to recipe
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bites/Link to recipe
Soup for You!
Soup and bread can make for a perfectly cozy meal with friends and loved ones. Make it a group effort with everyone bringing a soup or a bread to share all around. Keep dessert simple with devil’s food sheet cake, and consider adding crushed candy canes sprinkled on top of the frosting for some holiday flair.
- Soup for You!
Consider a good variety of soups (something veggie, maybe something creamy, and something with meat or poultry). There are so many great options to choose from – browse the soup category for even more inspiration!
- Vegetable Soup with Basil Pistou/Link to recipe
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup/Link to recipe
- Rosemary Olive Oil Rolls/Link to recipe
- Whole Grain Ciabatta/Link to recipe
- The Best Simple Tomato Soup/Link to recipe
- Devil's Food Cake with Shaved Chocolate Frosting/Link to recipe
If you know me at all, you know that I am ALWAYS going to prefer a Mexican-themed meal over any other cuisine. There are so many recipes to choose from but I think this is a great combo for a winter get together.
- Mexican Fiesta
Seriously, when in doubt, tacos and margaritas are always the right answer. If you feel like improvising, I have a feeling a cranberry version of the margarita pie could be pretty amazing. Churro layer cake, churro chocolate tart, and coconut passion fruit raspberry layer cake are also excellent dessert options for this meal.
- Modernized Mexican Seven Layer Dip/Link to recipe
- Pink Grapefruit Margaritas/Link to recipe
- Mexican Street Corn Salad/Link to recipe
- Brussels Sprouts Chorizo Tacos/Link to recipe
- Guajillo Fish Tacos/Link to recipe
- Strawberry Margarita Pie/Link to recipe
Comfort Food Feast
This meal combines so many of my absolute favorite dishes into one incredible experience. Richness balanced out by tart and acidic dishes is just the way I love it!
- Comfort Food Feast
Homemade mac and cheese is one of my all time favorite main dishes, but I rarely make it. Though many consider it a side, I like it to be the center of attention with lots of bitter veg to round things out. Deviled eggs obviously, because deviled eggs.
- Fresh Herb and Garlic Buttermilk Dip/Link to recipe
- Mac and Cheese with Garlicky Breadcrumbs /Link to recipe
- Classic Deviled Eggs/Link to recipe
- Kale Salad with Cider Vinaigrette and Cornbread Croutons/Link to recipe
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries, Apples, and Gouda/Link to recipe
- Milk Bar Crack Pie/Link to recipe
Fancy Pants Gathering
This menu is more what I would share for a traditional sort of fancy holiday meal. Heavy on the apps so everyone can enjoy extended mingling with cocktails and charcuterie before finally sitting down to a slow cooked stunner of a meal. If you are looking for meatless mains that I would serve in place of this, I think skillet eggplant parmesan or chickpea fritters with roasted winter veggies and garam masala yogurt sauce would be perfect choices.
- Fancy Pants Gathering
Just as with my comfort food feast, I love to include rich dishes balanced out by tart and acidic ones. This particular menu includes so many season favorites of mine. If you want something richer for dessert, the peppermint mocha layer cake is a great alternative.
- Gin, Grapefruit and Rosemary Cocktail/Link to recipe
- Garlic Rosemary White Bean Dip/Link to recipe
- Cheese and Charcuterie/Link to recipe
- Citrus Salad with Honey Chèvre and Hazelnut Vinaigrette/Link to recipe
- Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Chard and Orecchiette/Link to recipe
- Lemon Cranberry Swirl Pie/Link to recipe
Cocktails, Cocoa and Cookies
I’ve never been involved in a cookie exchange, but I think it would be fun to do something similar with a group of close friends. Sip on festive cocktails while packaging up favorite holiday treats to be distributed to everyone on your list in need of a sweet treat. Have each guest tackle one recipe (scaled up if necessary), and once you are all together you can enjoy laid back friend time while packaging up the goodies.
- Cocktails, Cocoa and Cookies
I had way too many treats I just couldn’t bear leaving out of this round up, so this one includes an extra long list of suggestions!
- Cranberry Rosé Sparkler/Link to recipe
- Freestyle Dark Chocolate Candies/Link to recipe
- Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix/Link to recipe
- Holiday Flavored Marshmallows/Link to recipe
- Cappuccino Fudge/Link to recipe
- Vanilla Sables/Link to recipe
- Gingerbread Cookies/Link to recipe
- Creamy Eggnog Cookie Bars/Link to recipe
- Snowflake Cookies with Royal Icing/Link to recipe
- Sparkling Dark Chocolate Cookies/Link to recipe
- Nutella Cherry Hazelnut Fudge/Link to recipe