Holiday Party Time… What Dish Should You Bring?

The holidays are in full swing, and with that comes a lot of fun holiday parties and social gatherings to attend. You’re excited for great food and company, and you’ve even picked out a tacky holiday sweater to celebrate the occasion, but what dish should you bring to the party? The lovely team at Aloha had this same question in mind! Aloha aims to make health “simple, fun, and accessible,” and to inspire healthy social eating habits (it’s safe to say their extensive healthy recipe page helps accomplish these goals). So to answer this question, we’ve come up with four dish options you can bring to your next potluck or holiday party: an appetizer, a side, a main dish and a dessert (because we can all splurge once in a while). Enjoy! 

Appetizer: Crockpot Cranberry Glazed Meatballsmeatballs-150x150

The crockpot is a perfect way to create these appetizers without having to fuss with messy pots and pans. Don’t have a crock pot? Make them on the stove top in a large dutch oven. You can cut the recipe in half if you have a smaller crowd. Use ground turkey or chicken for a leaner version.

2 (12 ounce) bottles chile sauce
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
18 ounces cranberry jelly or cranberry chutney
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 large onion, grated
salt to taste

  • Whisk together the chili sauce, vinegar and jelly.
  • Pour into slow cooker and simmer over low heat until warm.
  • Combine ground beef, egg, onion and salt. Mix well and form into 1 inch balls.
  • Add to sauce and simmer on low heat for 2-4 hours.
  • Keep warm in the crockpot.

Side: Smashed Potatoes pota 2

Smashed potatoes are true comfort food, and make the perfect side dish.  This recipe is sure to please anyone who loves good mashed potatoes!

2 pounds red-skinned potatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T olive oil
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
ground nutmeg
ground pepper

  • Scrub the potatoes to make sure the skin is clean.
  • Put the potatoes, garlic and thyme in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt to the water.
  • Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and discard the thyme.
  • Place the potatoes in a large serving bowl and “smash” them with a fork or potato masher.
  • While you are smashing, add chicken broth, olive oil, nutmeg, pepper and 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Add 4 scallions, chopped finely
Add 1/2 cup pesto
Add 1/2 cup crumbled bacon
Add 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

soup 2 Main: Easy Veggie Soup with White Beans and Bacon

Nothing is better than warm soup during a cool winter evening. This recipe will knock everyone’s socks off…and it couldn’t be easier to make! Double the recipe if you’re planning to feed a larger group.

1 12 oz. bag frozen spinach
1 12 oz. bag frozen broccoli
1 12 oz. bag peppers and onions
1 12 oz. bag succotash
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can white cannelini beans, drained
2 strips bacon, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Place frozen vegetables in a dutch oven or heavy duty stock pot.
  • Pour in canned tomatoes and cover the vegetables with water.  Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, turn heat down to a simmer.
  • Add thyme and a few teaspoons of salt.  Stir and cover the pot.
  • Allow to simmer for up to 4 hours on low heat.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before leaving for the party, add the bacon to a small frying pan. Stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Once the bacon is softened and browning add the drained beans to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat so the beans get flavored by the bacon. Add the bacony-beans to the pot. Enjoy!

PeppermintPattieBrownies-300x300 2 Dessert: Peppermint Patty Brownies

To make these brownies, use your favorite brownie mix and any ingredients the mix calls for. Once your mix is prepared, add the following to your batter:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

  • Once your batter is prepared according to the mix instructions, pour half into a greased pan.
    • *We used an 8×8 pan instead of a 9×13 pan.
  • Layer 16 mini-patties in a single layer (4×4) on the batter.
  • Using a rubber spatula, spread the remaining batter over the patties.
  • Bake according to brownie recipe.
    • *If recipe originally called for 9×13 pan, you will probably need to add 5-15 more min. of baking since the batter is deeper than the original recipe.
  • Check to see that the batter is fully cooked by inserting a toothpick. It should come out clean.
    • *Make sure you aren’t just seeing melted candy on the toothpick, so try inserting it between patties.


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