“What can you bring?”
These four words echo throughout December—with potlucks and parties popping up as frequently as holiday decor and flash sales—and it’s time to be bold in your response.
“Something a little different.”
Innovation is in the air, and with a little advice from our chefs, you’ll be the proud producer of “Wow! Who brought this?” without spending loads of time in the kitchen.
Our Favorite Creative Holiday Party Dishes
Macaroni & Cheese
Elevate this comfort staple to irresistible heights with a few easy tweaks. Start with a béchamel sauce, some caramelized onions, adding a bay leaf and other spices before melting in a combination of your favorite cheeses. This will make your mac and cheese super creamy and lend it an unexpected and wonderful depth. While you’re at it, feel free to experiment with other additions—think buttery lobster, spinach, a touch of truffle oil, or panko bread crumbs for a crunchy topping.
Simply made, simply delicious. This elegant addition can be made in half an hour using a bit of dough, your favorite brie, and some raspberry preserves. The result is a dish with a homemade feel that didn’t take you hours in the kitchen.
A Clever Salad
Often forgotten about during this indulgent season, a salad can do wonders for a potluck spread, introducing a bit of lightness and offering a healthier option. Plus, there’s no limit to how creative you can get—try a kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, toasted pepitas, and meyer lemon, or mix arugula with parmesan, fried garlic, red onions, persimmons and a balsamic vinaigrette. The possibilities are deliciously endless.
Homemade Green Bean Casserole
This classic often comes from cans—green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French’s crispy onions—and is an easy crowd-pleaser. If you have a bit more time, though, try crafting each of these components from scratch. It won’t take all afternoon, and the result is a much richer and even more delicious dish.
A bulletproof way to impress (without setting foot in the kitchen)—you can often buy pre-prepared platters if you’re not sure what to include. If you want to get creative, snag your favorite meats and cheeses from our Parties & Picnics section and assemble a delicious spread yourself. Or, up the ante by giving your host one of our Munchery Holiday Gift Bags—a fully stocked basket packed with premium products so they can create their own (and save some delights for their pantry).
Munchery Chef’s Specialty
One of our R&D chefs in SF thinks the secret to a good potluck dish lies in knowing your audience (though not the way you might think!):
“I like to change people’s minds about an ingredient they think that they don’t like. Roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in an Italian salsa verde (with lots of anchovy) has been a crowd-pleaser and converts the Brussels sprouts/anchovy haters.”
Our Favorite Creative Holiday Party Desserts
Devil’s Food Cake
Break free of sugar cookies and pie with this decadent dessert befitting of the holiday season. If you are going to use a cake mix, freshen it up by making your own chocolate ganache. We’d recommend using at least 70% cocoa chocolate from a quality producer like Ghirardelli—your friends won’t be able to get enough of the richness this homemade twist adds.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
These sweet treats are incredibly snackable super easy to make. Take a bag of pretzels, toss them in a mixture of oil, sugar, and cinnamon, and bake them for 30 minutes on a sheet, stirring twice. Their cute shape will fit right in with the other desserts, and their bite-sized portions will give folks an opportunity to enjoy sweets in moderation.
Munchery Chef’s Specialty
Our SF R&D chef doesn’t stray too far away from tradition when it comes to holiday desserts:
“One year I made a pumpkin cheesecake. I don’t remember people’s reactions. I think we were on the brink of a food-coma by that point anyway.”