Holiday Round-Up: Hearty & Healthy Classics for Every Gathering

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or you’re all about ringing in the New Year, there’s no denying this – the holidays are an abundance of fabulous food and time spent with loved ones. Put those two together and you have a memorable gathering with no shortage of good times.

We’re sure that everyone has their own holiday traditions, whether it’s watching ‘A Christmas Story’ or having an intense snowball fight. Whatever it is, if you’re like us, our celebrations are made of home cooked meeals. Special occasions are a great excuse to go eat out at a favorite restaurant, but we’re all about staying in and making something delicious for the holidays.

But what should we make?

We asked our Kitchen Heroes what their traditional holiday meals were, and they inspired us to round-up some of these favorite foods for any kind of gathering you’ll be attending this holiday season. (Thanks, Heroes. You guys are such an awesome and helpful bunch!)

So if you’re planning on hosting a cozy get-together, driving to your massive family’s potluck dinner, or enjoying a casual party with finger foods, here are some tasty classics that you can make and bring to the event.

Whatever kind of holiday party you’re celebrating…remember to save us a plate!

Cozy Get-Together


There’s nothing wrong with keeping a celebration small and intimate, perhaps with your closest family members or BFFs. (Maybe even a poker night tradition?) Here are some classic and hearty meals that are quick and easy to make, and that everyone will love.

Holiday meals for a cozy get-together via @CookSmarts
  • Kale Caesar Salad – You can still eat awesome food and stay healthy, and this salad proves it. Tossed with a tangy lemon yogurt dressing and sprinkled with parmesan, this side dish is filled with flavor and is a great way to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
  • Shortcut Twice Baked Potatoes – We’ve got an easy way to make these, so that you can focus on enjoying the holidays without any fuss. Plus, no one can say no to a fluffy baked potato that gets a flavor kick from a few dollops of yogurt.
  • Greek-Inspired Meat Sauce – For a Mediterranean twist on the classic Italian sauce, this dish spices up any holiday dinner with allspice, cinnamon, thyme, and oregano. Bonus: you get your veggies in with the added eggplant!
  • Pork Tenderloin with Cran-Balsamic Sauce – Juicy and tender pork tenderloin gets a flavor boost from a sweet and tangy cranberry-balsamic sauce that tastes as festive as it looks.

Family Feast


We come from huge families, so we know how it is like to try to feed such a big group of people at one time. Potlucks are usually the answer, and the trick to keeping it stress-free is to make something that you can easily double and bake / cook all at one time.

Holiday meals for a family feast via @CookSmarts

Casual Celebration


Finger foods are best for gatherings that have a ton of kids running around. Let them get in on the food fun with these simple and tasty dishes. Oh, and these aren’t only for kids. We promise you that these recipes are adult-friendly, too!

Holiday meals for a casual celebration via @CookSmarts
  • Panko-Breaded Chicken Nuggets – What kid (and adult) doesn’t like crispy and tender chicken nuggets? While these are in the oven, you can whip together your favorite dipping sauce, or try one of these flavorful sauce recipes. (And of course, there’s nothing wrong with using your favorite store-bought condiments.)
  • Parmesan Garlic Bread – Crunchy, garlicky, and cheesy. It’s okay to indulge in some carbs, especially if you’re actively participating in the holiday festivities!
  • Kid-Friendly Turkey Meatballs – Secret ingredients to help everyone eat healthier? Why not?! No one will know, but there’s kidney beans and kale in these meatballs. That’s why they’re so tasty!
  • Green Pepper and Mushroom Pizza – Because you can never go wrong with pizza. This one is an all-ages kind that will receive thumbs up all around.

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