Friends toasting at a Christmas dinner around the table.

ALDI Chef’s Corner: Last Minute Holiday Meals

December 21, 2016 – For those who love to entertain, you know parties aren’t just something you throw together.  Cheesy Garlic Bread Poppers on a serving plate with dipping sauce. They take thought, preparation and time. However, there are moments (especially around the holidays) that you may experience the unexpected visitor…or six. What’s a planner to do!? You can’t serve takeout pizza and fried chicken!

Have no fear, Chef Linsey from the ALDI Test Kitchen is here to help give you some great tips for entertaining on the fly. Cooking at home doesn’t have to be time consuming and it can certainly save you a lot of money. This last-minute holiday meal ideas are sure to have your guests feeling as full as your pockets.

When in doubt, go the pre-made route. Make it your own with the addition of unique ingredients. Take any variety of the Little Salad Bar Guacamole and mix
with fresh or canned fruit. Try it with Happy Harvest Crushed Pineapple and fresh pomegranate seeds! This can easily be done with the Little Salad Bar Original Hummus as well. Mix with Priano Genovese or Rosso Pesto Sauce and serve on a plate drizzled with Carlini Extra VirginOlive Oil, a dusting of Stonemill Paprika and chopped Specially Selected Kalamata Olives.A glass full of Irish peppermint milkshake with a candy cane garnish.

The easiest way to entertain last-minute is utilizing what youhave on hand. Cheese? Check! Dough? Check! These Cheesy Garlic Bread Poppers contain 6 ingredients and take just 15 minutes to prepare. Even if you don’t have cheese sticks or biscuit dough you can easily replace them with any melty cheese or dough you may have on hand, such as pizza or crescent roll dough.

If you know a day in advance that company’s coming, a slow cooker is the way to go. It’s an effortless way to cook anything, infuse lots of flavor and keep food warm. Win, win, win!

Add one package of chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) to a slower cooker with one package of Casa Mamita taco seasoning and one can of Happy Harvest DicedTomatoes. Set cooker to high for 4 hours. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker to warm. Who doesn’t love a taco bar? Serve the chicken alongside tortilla chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, tortillas and your fancy pineapple pomegranate guacamole. Another stress-free dish to serve is soup or chili. Try our recipe for Spiced Chocolate Chili!

Don’t forget the beverages! A signature drink is a perfect way to make your guests feel welco
me. This Irish Peppermint Milkshake is super easy and just the right touch for the adults. Check out our non-alcoholic version for the kids. For something more refreshing, try the  A Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake slice ready to be served.Sparkling Raspberry Mint Mocktail.

And last, but not least–dessert! Sure, you can pick up a delicious boxed cake and it will be pretty
tasty. ALDI even sells some incredible pre-made crème cakes. However, if you’re looking for a simplified do-it-yourself cake, look no further than this decadent Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake. Another great option is simple Baked Apples.

So if you hear that unexpected knock at the door, don’t despair! Implement these simple ideas and your guests will never know just how last minute it was.

What are some of your last-minute time-savers for the holidays? Share them in the comments below!



Chef Linsey.

Chef Linsey realized her passion as a young “chef” while recreating her Grandma’s Italian classics. She received her culinary degree from the College of DuPage, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy. Her professional experience includes catering, various restaurants, and in the kitchens of multiple gourmet grocers. Chef Linsey continues to specialize in Italian comfort foods as well as utilizing simple ingredients to showcase their natural quality. Exploring new restaurants with her husband, travel and spending time with her furry babies are some of her most enjoyable past times.

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