Festive Eats For The Holidays

I don’t normally cook for myself. Let me rephrase that. I cook, but nothing special that I would serve to anyone else. A chicken breast with some marinade. Maybe a salad?

Caught somewhere between apathy and lazinesses, we never seem to treat ourselves to fun dishes when we’re alone. At the holidays even more so. Scrumptious bites take on a magical flare when you think of serving them to a crowd while twinkle lights glisten in the background. Make them for ourselves? Never!

With parties scaled back to an invite list of zero this year, don’t miss out of some of the season’s most delicious bites. These appetizer recipes are fun to make by yourself, with your partner, or even over Zoom with the girls. Fun for wine and tapas, or a few made as a meal on their own, dig into these three dishes for a festive eve.


Stuffed Mushrooms



1 tablespoon vegetable oil



1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2) Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.

3) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.

4) After cooling, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Using a spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.

5) Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.


Stacked Gratin Potatoes



Oil spray

2 lb potatoes

2 tbsp / 30 g butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup heavy

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper

1 cup grated melting cheese (cheddar, gruyere, swiss, mozzarella)

Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional



1) Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a standard 12 hole muffin tin with oil.
2) Peel potatoes. Stand upright then cut into cylinder shapes, then slice potatoes into thin slices around 2mm/ 1/10″ thick.
3) Place butter, garlic, cream, salt, pepper and dried thyme in a microwave proof cup or bowl, then melt in 30 second bursts.
Stir, then set aside.
4) Place potato slices into the muffin tin so they go halfway up the muffin tin holes. Try to match by size to make them into neat stacks.
5) Drizzle each potato stack with 1/2 tsp of cream mixture.
6) Sprinkle HALF the cheese over the potato stacks.
7) Top with remaining potato slices. Drizzle with remaining cream mixture and remaining thyme.
8) Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
9) Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake without foil for 10 minutes or until golden and the potato is soft.
10) Let stand for 5 minutes before removing. Use a tablespoon or butter knife to help scope them out.

Garlic Shrimp



4 tablespoons butter

1 lb large shrimp I use 16-20 count size, peeled, deveined and tails removed (if desired)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

2-3 teaspoons minced garlic

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon chopped parsley



1) Place the butter in a large pan and melt over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
2) Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and opaque.
3) Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
4) Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, then serve.



Stuffed Mushrooms – Angie Gorkoff
Gratin Potatoes – Recipe Tin Eats
Garlic Shrimp – Dinner at the Zoo
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