It’s the holiday season! Now that we are empty nesters and we have much less quality time with our kids, I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen when entertaining.

I’m all about making things easier and simpler in life so you can spend more time enjoying instead of working.

In this segment on Good Morning Washington, I share the staples you must have on hand this holiday season for quick snacks and appetizers and a super fun way to use Cocktail Graffiti to make your party super unique with these edible drink toppers.

Keep in your freezer
Baguette slices
Pre-cooked Phyllo Shells
Pesto sauce

Have on hand in your refrigerator
Good quality canned crab meat (I like Cuisine Reserve or Phillips)
Blue cheese crumbles
Stick butter
Good mayonnaise like Dukes
Sun-dried tomatoes
Kalamata Olives

Below I share some of my favorite easy recipes to put on baguette slices – white cheddar and honey truffle, blue cheese spread (we call these Scooby Snacks) and BLT Bites. Put a little olive oil and sea salt on it and bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes and you have crostini. Crostini is one of those things you can put anything on. Two of my favorites are a Mediterranean one with hummus, fets, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives.. HINT – the feta, hummus, and olives mixed together in equal parts makes an amazing topping for chicken or fish. Mash an avocado, add a little red pepper and mix in some crab meat and this is heaven on crostini!

In the Phyllo cups put homemade or store-bought chicken or crab salad. Top it with something fun like jarred red pepper, slice a grape for the chicken salad or toss on a walnut. If you find a crab or seafood salad, shake a little Old Bay on it. These are always a huge hit! Put a small cube of brie in one and a dab of anything sweet (jelly, jam), bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 until melted and top with a walnut. Last but not least is dessert. I found Peppermint Patty instant pudding. Make that and right before serving top with Ready Whip or shave a little Andes mints on it!

These all take minutes to prepare which gives you more time with your loved ones.

Watch the segment here and see the recipes below:


Christina’s Chicken Salad

Chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken (approx 2 cups) – shred
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup good mayonnaise like Dukes
Salt to taste
Mix everything together. Refrigerate for a few hours. Enjoy!!!

Blue Cheese Toast

Sliced baguette – can bake or toast sightly to firm it up
Mix together equal parts of softened unsalted butter and blue cheese crumbles
Spread on baguette slices
Sprinkle with a little sugar
Broil for a few minutes until cheese and butter melt

Cheddar Truffle Honey Bites

Sliced baguette – can bake or toast sightly to firm it up
Extra sharp cheddar cheese sliced
Place cheese on baguette and drizzle with truffle honey

Hummus Mediterranean Crostini

1/2 Cup diced Kalamata Olives
1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes (drained)
1/4 cup Feta Cheese crumbles
Spread hummus on crostini
Top with mixture

Avocado Crab Dip

Smash 1 avocado
Season with 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fold in 1/4-1/3 lump crab meat
Spread on crostini

BLT Bites

Toast baguette slices
Cook Bacon
Slice plum tomato
Tear pieces of iceberg lettuce to fit a baguette slice
Top baguette with good mayo like Dukes or avocado
Layer lettuce, tomato, and bacon on top (use a toothpick if needed)

Phyllo Cup Dessert

Instant pudding or mousse (look for something fun like York Peppermint Patty pudding)
Make according to box and chill
Spoon into cups or use a cookie pipping nozzle (use a plastic baggie for ease)
Top with Reddi Whip or shaved chocolate or a berry depending on your flavor

Remember you can put anything in the Phyllo cups or on the baguette. Think of your favorite foods and modify them to go on/in these.

Sugar Cookie Drink

1 part each vanilla vodka, amaretto, Baileys (or Bourbon Cream), and then half of the total of vanilla creamer (I used Delight).
So if you have 3 cups of alcohol, use 1.5 cups of creamer.
Mix and chill. Rim the glasses with vanilla icing and holiday sprinkles and serve over ice or use Cocktail Graffiti to personalize.