The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means – time for lots of potlucks! Whether it’s for work, church, Friendsgiving, or dinner with your family, chances are you’ll be asked to bring a dish to someone’s get-together in the next 2 months! Here are 4 must-haves (with recipes!) that will simplify your cooking without breaking the bank!
1) Baking Sheet & Rolling Pin
Don’t have time to whip together a multi-step dish before the big get-together? Just grab a baking sheet, rolling pin, and some cookie cutters and voila – sugar cookies! Sure, it may not be as fancy as other dishes you could make, but EVERYONE loves sugar cookies and if you grab a rolling pin you can make sure they’re the perfect thickness every time! If you’re looking for an easy recipe, look no further:
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/12 cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
2) Cast Iron Pan
I really love my cast iron pan. I could sing its praises for days! This is one of those things that everyone should have in their kitchen regardless of the time of year, but especially with the holiday season approaching this is one of the easiest multi-use pans. If you’re making something complicated, cast iron pans are great for searing meat, sauteing vegetables, or simmering sauces. But if you’re looking for something easier, using only the pan you can make egg frittatas, a cookie skillet, pizza, lasagna, and more! It really can do almost everything! Here’s my favorite frittata to make:
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 small red potatoes, diced
- 1 cup Canadian bacon
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup prepared salsa
- 1 bunch chives, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until foamy.
- Melt butter in a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add the onion and potatoes and cook thoroughly. Pour the eggs over the mixture.
- Pull the edges away from the sides of the pan with a spatula so the eggs flow to the bottom of the pan. When the frittata is half set, add the ham.
- Transfer the pan to the heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes until puffed and golden. Top with sour cream, salsa, and chives before serving.
3) Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are somewhat polarizing. Sure, you can cook rice on the stove in a regular pot, but honestly – this saves SO much time & stress when preparing rice that I buy them as presents for other people all the time. You really don’t know how much you’ll love it until you try it. And you can make more than rice in this baby! From banana bread, to mac & cheese, to cakes and more – you can find a ton of recipes online for whatever you’re craving. Additionally, this is a really great find if you will be attending any parties where there will be people who have to stick to a gluten-free diet. I recently found this rice-based Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing recipe on DetoxInsta that I’m SO EXCITED to bring to the work Thanksgiving potluck this year – it’s vegan AND gluten-free so I’m sure it will be a hit!
- 1 cup brown & wild rice blend
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion , chopped
- 3 celery stalks , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms , sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine the rice and vegetable broth in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 35-40 minutes, cooking until the broth is completely absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sage, thyme, and salt, and sauté another 8 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
- Combine the cooked rice and mushroom mixture, and stir in the apple, cranberries, and pecans, if using. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and serve warm.
4) MultiPro 3-in-1 Kitchen Prep Kit
Okay – I KNOW I said that all of the above stuff is super helpful and necessary (and it is!), but if you decide to invest in one item to help ease holiday cooking stress, make it this. This little device combines a hand blender, whisk mixer, and food processor – all in one! And honestly, you could use this device for EVERY SINGLE ONE of the above recipes! Beating the eggs, creaming the butter, dicing onion, chopping celery – the list goes on and on. Seriously, this little guy does it all.