I love the holiday season. My favorite part is being with family and friends so I don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen cooking. I prefer having easy foods to prepare ahead of time or have on hand so I just have to pull things out when I’m ready to entertain.

In this segment on Good Day D.C. I share some of my favorite hacks with you to use this holiday season.

Hacks to keep food fresher longer

Wrap celery and asparagus in foil to keep it fresh longer

Put herbs in a cup of water and cover them with the bag from the grocery store. Change water regularly. This also works to keep asparagus fresh longer too.

Freeze extra herbs by chopping and putting in ice cube trays with a little water

Easy ways to make drinks/food more festive

Crushed peppermint-rimmed glasses (Crush peppermint, use a wet papertowel to rim a glass and make it damp, dip in peppermint)

Brie with a jelly cutout star on top (use a star cookie cutter and press a little deeper than the rind. Don’t go all the way through! Pull up, use a knife to smooth it out. Add jelly. Serve)

Freeze cool whip and cut out shapes for hot chocolate (Use a cookie tray – small or large. Line with foil. Spread out Cool Whip. Put in the freezer for an hour or more. Cut out shapes. Add to hot chocolate.)

Cranberry/orange juice ice cubes for champagne (In an ice cube tray add a cranberry, top with cranberry juice and topping of orange juice. Freeze. Serve with champagne.)

Things to always have on hand for last-minute entertaining

Phyllo cups – great for leftover turkey salad, can make easy brie bites with them.

Puff Pastry

Sliced baguette in the freezer

Keep these on hand for easy apps – Pesto, sundried tomatoes, olives, marinara sauce, frozen herbs from above

These are also some things I recommend to keep on hand to whip up easy apps:

Good quality canned crab meat (I like Cuisine Reserve or Phillips)
Blue cheese crumbles
Stick butter
Good mayonnaise (Dukes)
Sun-dried tomatoes
Kalamata Olives
Various nuts

Below I share some of my favorite easy recipes to put on baguette slices. You can keep them defrosted and fresh or make crostini with them by brushing with a little olive oil and adding a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes.

Here are some recipes that are quick:


Leftover Turkey Salad in Phyllo Cups

2 cups chopped turkey
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (Dukes)
Salt to taste
Mix everything together. Refrigerate for a few hours. Enjoy!!!
*Feel free to throw a cranberry or two in there as well.

Brie in Phyllo Cups

Cut leftover brie into cubes. Place a cube in a cup, add a dollop of jam or jelly, or even a cranberry, top with a walnut if you have one.
Bake until cheese is melted – 350 for 5-7 minutes

Blue Cheese Toast

Sliced baguette – if you want, bake or toast slightly
Mix 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 – if you want, bake or toast slightly
Extra sharp cheddar cheese sliced
Place cheese on baguette and drizzle with truffle honey

*any cheese on sliced baguette is delicious. Try horseradish cheddar too!

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

Gouda/Boursin in Puff Pastry




Fold out a defrosted and roll slightly. Top with Boursin cheese and layer with Gouda. Fold up to seal inside. Back at 375 for 15-20 minutes until ooey, gooey.

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

Roll out the puff pastry so it’s big enough to wrap up whatever size brie wheel you have. I freeze the brie for about 10-15 minutes and then use a sharp knife to scrape off the rind a bit. Put jam/jelly on the bottom of the puff pastry (I prefer raspberry jam but anything works. Add chopped walnuts and top with brie. Fold up. Put in a baking dish. Brush with egg white. Bakd 350 for 20 minutes.

Phyllo Cup Dessert

Instant pudding or mousse or even cheat with already prepared
Make according to box direction and chill
Spoon into cups or use a cookie pipping nozzle (use a plastic baggie for ease)
Top with Reddi Whip and then some shaved chocolate or crumbled toffee