A Few Really Great Food Ideas for the Holidays

Over the past few weeks, I’ve hit fifth gear a few times in the Simple Bites kitchen. This is one of my favourite times of year to play with my food.

In my flurry of cooking and baking, I’ve come up with a few really great food ideas for the holidays that I just had to share. Nothing here is planned, more of series of inspired moments that turned out to be quite fun.

Read on for a cheery crêpe Christmas tree, a brilliant use for leftovers, an elevated winter pie and an introduction to the #Jarcuterie trend.

Jarcuterie

Presenting…my version of ‘Jarcuterie’ – it’s all the fun of a grazing board, but presented in a single (portable!) serving.

Friends, the pandemic has changed us all, right down to the communal charcuterie board. My hope is to keep snacking safe this holiday season with individual ‘Jarcuterie’ in cute little jars.

I’ve used my Roasted Beet and Walnut Dip at the bottom of the jar for a little base. Everything else – cheese, cured meats, cut vegetables and fruits – are served on skewers.

‘Jarcuterie’ would be a cute snack in advance of a holiday meal – or the main attraction for a New Year’s Eve appetizer evening. In the photos I’ve used all local ingredients, but try it with grapes, melon, berries, olives….and all the cheese and charcuterie you can get your hands on.

Big thanks to the amazing Suzanne of @noblegraze, original creator of the #jarcuterie trend.

Christmas Crêpe Tree

We celebrated the start of holidays and our 3-week school break with a delicious ‘Crêpe Christmas Tree’. Spinach crepes are still a big brunch favourite around here.

The crêpe triangles always reminded me of tree branches, so I layered them together for a Christmas tree. The crepes fold best while they are still hot, and can always be reheated afterward.

For building the tree, the trick is to start at the base. As you layer the crepe triangles and work towards the top, the ruffled edges take on the appearance of evergreen tree branches.

The garnish is pomegranate, oranges, whipped cream, powdered sugar and a pear star. You can get creative with whatever fruit you have on hand.

Mincemeat-Bottomed Fruit Pie

I made a brilliant culinary discovery this week in the Christmas baking department. It turns out that adding a layer of mincemeat to the bottom of your winter fruit pie is a very, very good idea.

The dessert above came together because I had some wrinkly pears and apples to use up. Because I’m a believer of make ahead food prep, I had a pie crust and a jar of streusel in the freezer.

While assembling the pie, I scooped some mincemeat into the pie shell – and then heaped on my filling of pears, apples and cranberries. A pecan streusel topping finished it off…and the result was one of THE BEST pies I have ever created.

It’s extremely festive, so very well balanced…and was even better on the second day. I’ll try to remember exactly what I did and present a proper recipe but for now:

Quiche for Leftovers

Do yourself a favour and prep (or buy!) a pie or tart crust to stash in the freezer. Then on Boxing Day or any post-holiday, bring it out and bake a quiche.

A simple quiche is the perfect vessel to hold your leftovers. Think ham, turkey, ends of cheese, wilted herbs, roasted vegetables.

Make a quiche! Waste less food. Feed your family.

What are you all cooking up over the next few weeks?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness–the jarcuterie is SO cute! I’m totally doing this with my book club next time we can meet in person 😉

  2. thank you for all of this NYE inspiration, looking for some last minute appetizers to try to make it someone like a normal one!

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