‘Tis the season for hosting holiday dinners, so you’ll need food on the ready for both spontaneous and not-so-spontaneous get-togethers.
You don’t need to plan complex dishes if you’re stocked up on must-have kitchen essentials that’ll minimize headaches at this fun but stressful time of year. Keep these foods handy in case you need to throw together a spread of apps or a light meal of hungry holiday guests.
Canned White Beans
Crudite and dip is a simple and easy appetizer to make for your guests. Veggies are quick to cut and using a variety of them adds different colours and visual appeal.
For the dip, have a few cans of low-sodium white beans on hand. Blend a can with a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and paprika, and boom, you have the easiest and tastiest white bean dip.
Besides dips, you can also use the white beans to dress a green salad, and if you stock up on several bean types, you can throw together a three-bean chili in less than 30 minutes.
Nonfat, plain Greek yogurt is excellent to have on hand as it can be used in a multitude of ways. It’s a fine base for creamy smoothies if you have some leftover or frozen fruit. You can even serve them in shooter glasses, and for a fun, adults-only twist, add a splash of rum or vodka.
For creative chefs, Greek yogurt can be the key to a fun toppings bar for your guest. Serve the yogurt with sweet toppings like chocolate chips, fresh fruit, or granola, as well as savory ones including bacon, smoked salmon, avocados, and chopped tomatoes. It’s an excellent way to use up those leftovers hogging the real estate in your fridge or pantry.
Quinoa is an essential item to balance out your meals. Quick to cook (15 minutes), it can easily transition to hot and cold dishes.
Try making a simple side by cooking your quinoa in low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock, and toss in your favourite frozen veggies. For a cold side dish, you can put together a cold quinoa salad with fruits like strawberries and mango, or vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers.
Quinoa also makes for a great layer of depth to soups and chilis, or used in place of rice for a quick stir-fry.
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