Quick Holiday Foods Ideas From MJ’s Kitchen

The holidays are a very busy time of the year for SO many reasons. Therefore, it’s nice to have some quick ideas to help save time in the kitchen. Below are a few of the things I do to make life a little bit more relaxing and fun without sacrificing the comfort of good food.

Quick and easy food ideas for the busy holiday | mjskitchen.com


Quick breads are nice to have around for a fast breakfast or for when you just want something quick and light.  No refrigeration is needed, so all you have to do is cut a slice and eat. Even if you like your bread warm, just heat a slice on a cast iron skillet for a couple of minutes and it will taste like it just came out of the oven.

My favorite quick bread is this tried and true Cranberry Bread.  It’s nice having a loaf around for both breakfast and afternoon tea.

Cook's Tour of Shreveport Cranberry Bread | mjskitchen.com


Everyone needs to feel a little spoiled during the holidays and breakfast crepes help to do that.  One batch of crepe batter makes about 15 crepes.  That’s at least three breakfasts for the two of us.  On a morning when I have a little extra time, I’ll cook up the crepes and make an elegant breakfast or brunch like these Apple Pecan Crepes with Cheddar Cheese. The rest of the crepes get put in a plastic bag with a paper towel and refrigerated.  For a quick breakfast, I’ll whip some maple syrup with a little Greek yogurt, warm a few crepes in a skillet, and slice a banana or chop up a persimmon.  A couple of warm crepes are folded onto a plate, topped with the fruit, and drizzled with the maple yogurt.  A delightful breakfast in less than 15 minutes.

Crepes stuffed with cheddar cheese and topped with apples and maple syrup


You could also just bypass the crepes and throw together this Persimmon Cranberry Parfait. This breakfast takes about 10 minutes to throw together.

A simple persimmon parfait made with granola and yogurt. Nothing fancy, just good.



Snacks are always important to have around.  They stave off hunger when supper is running late and feed those who can never get enough to eat no matter how much you feed him them.  Two very healthy snacks that are quick and easy to prepare and that last 3 to 4 days (but probably won’t) are these Sweet and Spicy Pepitas and Apple, Raisin and Walnut Snacks.


Sweet and spicy pepitas (pumpkin seeds)| mjskitchen.com

Apple, Raisin and Walnut Snack

An easy snack made with apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon



One can never go wrong with soup.  I like to cook up a big pot of soup and keep it refrigerated for lunches.  Just scoop some soup into a bowl and heat in the microwave. Lunch is ready!

Once cooked, most soups can be refrigerated and kept for 4 to 5 days.  However, when I’m making a soup for this purpose, I avoid soups that have rice, noodles, or posole.  These ingredients absorb a lot of the liquid and break down after a day or two.

Here are two soups that keep quite well in the refrigerator for a few days and that just get better with time.

Green Chile Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Green chile chicken soup with mushrooms and corn mjskitchen.com


Andouille and Black Bean Soup

A delicious fall soup with roasted chile, sausuage, beans and veggies



It’s the holidays, but you’re still having to work.  You come home and make a batch of cookies for the office party and now it’s suppertime.  The kitchen is already dirty from the cookies and all you want to do is throw something together and put up your feet.  At times like this, the perfect dish is this Capellini with Lemon, Garlic and Egg.  It’s a family favorite and is SO easy to make!


Capelinni pasta with preserved lemons and an egg

If you don’t feel like pasta, throw together a salad with a little protein and vegetables that you have available. This Spicy Bean Salad is a hearty vegetarian salad that Bobby and I eat year round.

Salad plate with beans, tomatoes, feta, and avocado| mjskitchen.com


And once your refrigerator starts getting full of leftovers, don’t forget about this Chicken Pot Pie.

Serving of chicken pot pie


Side Dishes

I have to admit that side dishes are usually an afterthought.  For the holidays, it’s always about the entree and the desserts.  So my side dishes need to be easy, yet very tasty, and complementary with the rest of the meal.  Bourbon carrots fit that criteria to a “T”.  Once the carrots have cooked in the bourbon, I add whatever seasoning will go nice with the rest of the meal.  There isn’t an easier or tastier side dish than this.

Carrots cooked in bourbon, sweetened with honey and topped with dill


Speaking of cooking with bourbon…How about sweet potatoes, brown butter and bourbon?  Honestly, this could be the entree.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter


For those of you who like serving a fruit as a side, let me suggest these Spiked Poached Pears.  A combination of sweet and savory, and a light side for a heavier entree. They could also be served with a touch of whipping cream or ice cream for a relatively light dessert.

Pears poached in apple cider, Cointreau and spice


At Day’s End

Now for a sweet little ending to a busy day….Cuddle up with your loved one in front of the fire, and sip on these Fiery Chocolate Shots.  What an elegant way to end a very busy day.

Chocolate shots with ginger, chile, and Baileys Irish Cream mjskitchen.com


What are some of the things that you do to save time in the kitchen during the holidays?



33 Responses to “Quick Holiday Foods Ideas From MJ’s Kitchen”

  1. Barb | Creative Culinary January 23, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    Two things. Yes to bourbon. And those crepes? Yes to them too! 🙂

    • mj January 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      Amen Barb! thanks!

  2. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    I couldn’t leave a comment on this post during the holidays…. but all these food ideas sound so good right now. I can definitely indulge myself with your delicious food. 😉 Dieting? Nah… my new year resolution is to exercise (so I can eat). =P

    You asked me about my remodeling – taking time to figure out the floor plan for the first floor and finally met a structural engineer last week. Hope to get started soon!

    • mj January 13, 2015 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks Nami! Yep, a New Years resolution of dieting went out the window years ago. Wow, looks like you’re making progress on the remodel. Sounds like a huge project! Good luck and am looking forward to tracking it’s progress once you get started.

  3. Soni January 5, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    Love the round up of these delicious recipes!!Love the cranberry bread and your lovely soups!I was away to the UK for our holiday and had a great time 🙂 Hope you had a good one too!Happy new year MJ!!

  4. Terra January 4, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    I pretty much love everything in this round-up! People are in such a hurry, having quick recipe ideas is perfect! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I am excited to get back to blog love, I’m so behind on blogs. Have a very Happy New Year! Hugs, Terra

  5. Sissi December 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    I was so exhausted and busy with presents and food shopping, I have somehow missed this beautiful and inspiring post. They bring so many wonderful food memories… Thank you so much, MJ!

  6. Vicki Bensinger December 28, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    I love all these recipes especially the fruit ones. I’ve always been a fan of cranberry bread and especially love the sound of the persimmon parfait and spiked pears. Such a great lineup for anytime. Happy Holidays!

    • mj December 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks vicki! I love the fruit ones as well. 🙂

  7. Bam's Kitchen December 24, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    MJ you are making me so hungry with this delicious round up. Lots of delicious dishes that I know my boys will love. Sharing!!! Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday!

    • mj December 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks so much Bam! I love helping you to feed those growing boys of yours. 🙂

  8. Shannon | JustAsDelish December 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    I love this post! Awesome simple recipes for the busiest time of the year, and it should be time to relax with family instead of labouring over the stove.
    Happy Holidays MJ!

    • mj December 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks so much Shannon! Happy holidays to you too!

  9. Easyfoodsmith December 22, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Delicious! Love each and every single dish you suggested here from the baked to the beverage.

    • mj December 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

      thanks so much Taruna!

  10. Dedy@Dentist Chef December 20, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    i guess i can use this recipes throughout the year….

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Absolutely!!! Thanks for stopping by Dedy!

  11. ChgoJohn December 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    What a great post, MJ, so chockfull of great ideas and dishes. Your photos each look so appealing, though, as you might have guessed, the pasta w/ egg dish really caught my eye. Have never served a fried egg atop pasta but, now that I’ve seen it done, it won’t be long before I give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Really – you’ve never had an egg on top of pasta? I guess that’s not an Italian thing. I do hope you like it when you try it. Bobby and I love a runny egg on pasta. YUM! 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

  12. Amy (Savory Moments) December 19, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Those pears look so elegant and tasty! The hot chocolate looks delicious! I love all these holiday food ideas.

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks so much Amy. You picked out two really good ones!

  13. Diana December 19, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Beautiful meals and ideas! So classy as alwasy, MJ! Thank you for a lovely 2014 of awesome inspiration!

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      And a big thank you to you Diana for your continued support!! Hope you and yours have an absolutely wonderful holiday season!

  14. Carol at Wild Goose Tea December 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    Whoa Baby, I pinned several of these excellent suggests. But I gotta tell ya I want gaga over the crepes. Man oh Man I would eat those for every meal.

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Carol! Oh…the crepes are my favorite!

  15. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef December 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    I always end up making banana bread and you’ve kicked me up the backside into making something different this year. Family get here tomorrow and they’ll want breakfast before New Year’s Eve. 🙂

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! It’s usually a toss up between the cranberry and a banana bread, but I usually end up going to the cranberry bread because it’s healthier and I do love it! 🙂

  16. John@Kitchen Riffs December 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    You’re right — I always need quick ideas at this time of the year. And you’ve provided a bunch! I really need to try your Fiery Chocolate Shots. 😉 I hope you and Bobby have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Years!

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks so much John! You’ll love those Fiery Chocolate shots! 🙂 Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season as well!

  17. Shashi @ runninsrilankan December 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    YUM – what a wonderful roundup – love the idea of a quick bread with a home full of guests! And that Andouille and Black Bean Soup sounds insanely delicious!

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Shashi! The quick breads are my favorite to have around. Make breakfast and tea time so much easier. 🙂 And yes, the soup is delicious!

  18. Raymund December 18, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Thnaks for this great ideas, nice to have specially when you want to do something quick, something to add to what you already have prepared for Christmas dinner

    • mj December 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      You are most welcome Raymund! Hope you have a wonderful holiday and thanks for your continue support!

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