Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

How to make bacon in the oven

Making bacon in the oven is the easiest way to prepare it for your family!

My family isn’t big on eating meat. My husband and son, especially, don’t eat much meat. But one thing our whole family can agree on is crispy bacon. Cooking bacon on the stovetop and getting splashed with hot grease has always stressed me out. So, I make bacon in the oven. It finishes at the same time and keeps me from stressing about hot grease. It also lets me easily work on other food items while the bacon cooks. It’s a win all around!

When I make bacon in the oven, I get it nice and crispy — nearly burnt — because that’s how we like it. However, you can cook it to your own preferences of doneness. (Though I will fully admit that I don’t understand the chewy bacon people. Yuck!)

Once you make bacon in the oven, you won’t make it another way! Cook it up for BLTs, BLT pizza, bacon ranch cheese bread or a breakfast food side. So good!

Get started

Preheat your oven to 400-degrees (F). While the oven is preheating, get out two baking sheets with sides for one pound of bacon. You need those sides to keep the grease from rolling off into your oven. Line it with aluminum foil and spritz it very lightly with non-stick cooking spray. (You can also use non-stick aluminum foil if you have that.)

A baking sheet with sides that has been lined with aluminum foil and spritzed very lightly with non-stick cooking spray

Separate the bacon into slices and place them on the two baking sheets. They can be near each other but not touching.

Bacon placed onto the prepared baking sheets and ready to go into the oven

Place the baking sheets into your preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the bacon is part way cooked. In order for it to cook more evenly, I switch the racks for the baking sheets at this point.

The bacon in the oven, halfway cooked and ready to switch racks

Cook for 8 to 12 more minutes until the bacon is your desired level of crispness.

Cooked bacon hot from the oven

Remove the bacon from the baking sheet right away and place onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain the grease. I layer the bacon and paper towels to absorb the grease even more.

Cooked bacon on a paper towel-lined plate

The final tip is to leave the baking sheets sitting out until the grease solidifies. Then you can pull off the sheets of aluminum foil and just throw the grease out without having to worry about how to dispose of it. Usually a small amount of grease gets underneath the foil from me moving the pans around, so I still wash the pans, but the foil makes clean up a heck of a lot easier!

The baking sheets with solidified grease ready to be thrown away
How to make bacon in the oven Pinterest image 1

Bacon in the oven

Making bacon in the oven is super easy and works well for feeding a family. It gets done all at once and frees you up to cook other things!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 1 pound bacon


  • Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
  • Line two baking sheets that have sides on them with aluminum foil. Spritz the foil very lightly with non-stick cooking spray. (You can also use non-stick aluminum foil if you prefer.)
  • Lay the bacon out on the baking sheets without overlapping the slices.
  • Baked in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then switch the racks the pans are on. Bake 8 to 12 minutes more until the bacon is the desired crispness.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan to drain immediately on a paper plate lined with paper towels.
Keyword bacon, bacon in the oven, breakfast food, cooking for a crowd, easy recipe, family cooking

Find more delicious family recipes like this one in the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook. Download your FREE copy today!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook
The Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace is a cookbook for modern families filled with easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipes you’ll love! #Cookbook #FavoriteRecipes #Freebie #DigitalDownload #WhatsForDinner #WeeknightDinner

The best baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

You’ll never have a better baked mac and cheese than this one inspired by a restaurant in St. Louis!

Nearly two years ago, we took a family vacation to St. Louis. We had a great time exploring the city and making lots of family memories. We also tried some incredible food. The hamburger from Hi-Pointe Drive-In was fabulous. Cookies from Insomnia Cookies hit a sweet spot. Floats from Fitz’s Root Beer were in their own category of sweet treats.

But, hands down, the most memorable for me was Salt + Smoke BBQ. My daughter and I went there solo while the boys ate elsewhere. The barbeque was good. Stupidly good. However, the baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping stole my heart.

I literally said to my daughter as we were eating, “If I wasn’t already married to your dad, I’d marry this mac and cheese.” That may sound dramatic, but the mac and cheese really was that good. (I’m not even a big mac and cheese fan.)

Since we live a few hours away from St. Louis, I knew my odds of having that baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping again were slim. If we go back someday, I’ll definitely hit it up. But until then, I’ve found and tweaked a recipe that tastes incredibly similar.

This baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping has become a regular for Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I’ve served it to up beside sloppy joes. Most recently, I made it as a main dish and enjoyed every single bite of it. So much so that I seriously debated having its leftovers for breakfast the next day. You have got to try this simple recipe that only uses six ingredients (besides a bit of salt and pepper)!

Baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping ingredients: triple cheddar shredded cheese, heavy whipping cream, flour, pasta shells, butter and Ritz crackers

Stovetop prep for the baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

Salt the water in a large pot and let it come to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven to 300-degrees (F). The Salt + Smoke mac and cheese uses pasta shells, so that’s what I have used. You could use any pasta shape you prefer.

About four minutes before the pasta is finished getting, melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.

Butter for the baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping melting in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat

When the pasta is finished cooking, strain it and return it to the pot, removed from the heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Here’s how it will look start to finish:

The flour and butter starting to be mixed for the baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping
Add the flour to the melted butter.
Part way through mixing the flour and butter for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz crackers recipe
Stir the flour and butter constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
The flour and butter mixture completely mixed together after cooking for 2 minutes over medium/high heat
How the butter and flour mixture looks when it is finished cooking.

Once the flour and butter are well combined and cooked together, begin adding in the heavy cream about 1/4 cup at a time. Let it mix in each time completely before adding more. It will go from a texture of runny oatmeal to mashed potatoes to pudding to sauce.

Starting to stir in the heavy cream for the baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping
Adding the first 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the flour and butter mixture looks a bit like runny oatmeal.
Continuing to gradually stir the heavy cream in for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping
As you keep adding, the cream, it starts to be more of a mashed potato consistency.

Once the cream is completely stirred in and the mixture is more sauce-like, continue cooking it over medium/high heat, stirring frequently. When it just starts to move around a bit, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil. It will look like this:

The cooked sauce removed from the heat for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

Next, stir in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese. Salt + Smoke uses white cheddar, I think, but I use triple cheddar blend because it’s easier for me to find. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Stirring the cheese into the sauce for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping
Pour the shredded cheese into the sauce.
Stir well until the cheese melts completely.

Getting it ready to bake

Once the cheese sauce is totally together, pour the sauce over the cooked and strained pasta.

The cooked pasta with the cheese sauce poured over the top of it for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

Stir together the sauce and pasta so it is well mixed and all the pasta is covered.

The pasta stirred together and coated with the cheese sauce for this baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

Transferred the coated pasta into a 9×13-inch baking dish, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Use a spoon to spread it evenly throughout the dish.

The prepared mac and cheese being spread into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish

Crush the Ritz crackers for the topping and spread over the top of the prepared mac and cheese. I use about 8 to 10 Ritz crackers for this. I have store brand ingredients for everything except the crackers, because the buttery flavor of Ritz really does work best for this recipe. (Please note that I am in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Ritz crackers.)

The baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping ready to go into the oven

Bake it in the preheated 300-degree oven for about 12 minutes until heated through. I often serve this with additional crackers on the side for added crunch if people want. Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers.

I promise this will become your favorite baked mac and cheese recipe! Look at this cheesy, yummy goodness!

A finished dish of the baked mac and cheese with Ritz topping
The cracker crust gives just a hint of crunch and extra buttery-ness!
A forkful of the finished baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping
Doesn’t that just make your mouth water?!
Baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping Pinterest image 4

Baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping

This baked mac and cheese with Ritz cracker topping recipe is the best ever. With only 6 ingredients, it will quickly become a favorite!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 32 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people


  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8-10 Ritz crackers crushed
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Bring a lot pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 300-degrrees (F).
  • About four minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the butter and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to its pot off the heat; set aside.
  • Slowly add the heavy cream to the butter and flour mixture. Stir in about 1/4 cup at a time, waiting until it's completely mixed in to add more.
  • Once the cream is all added, continue cooking over medium/high heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid starts to move. Do NOT let it come to a boil.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese until completely melted and smooth. Add a dash of salt and pepper. (If you use unsalted butter, you may need to add more salt.)
  • Pour the cheddar cheese sauce over the cooked and drained pasta. Mix well so the sauce covers all the pasta.
  • Spritz a 9×13-inch baking dish lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the pasta into the baking dish and spread it out evenly.
  • Crush the Ritz crackers by hand and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pasta.
  • Bake for 12 minutes until heated through. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Keyword baked mac and cheese, carry-in, carry-in recipe, Christmas, family dinner, family friendly, family recipe, kid friendly, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, potluck, salt + smoke mac and cheese, Thanksgiving, weeknight dinner

Find more delicious family recipes like this one in the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook. Download your FREE copy today!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook
The Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace is a cookbook for modern families filled with easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipes you’ll love! #Cookbook #FavoriteRecipes #Freebie #DigitalDownload #WhatsForDinner #WeeknightDinner

The best microwave baked potato recipe

Using the microwave and the oven for baked potatoes speeds up cooking time without compromising texture!

The best microwave baked potato recipe Pinterest image 2

I haven’t met a potato I didn’t like from cheesy party potatoes to mashed potatoes to potato soup to to french fries to potato chili, I love them all. When it comes to baked potatoes, I like them soft and tender. But baking them for hours isn’t really my jam. I don’t have time for that! Instead I take a trick from my mom using this microwave baked potato recipe. Because you start the potatoes in the microwave and finish them in the oven, they cook faster and you still get that nice oven-baked texture.

These microwave baked potatoes are incredibly easy. They’re perfect for weeknight or weekend dinners!

Microwave the baked potato

Turn your oven on to 450-degrees (F) to start preheating.

Before you put your baked potatoes in the microwave, you need to poke holes in the potatoes or else they will explode. I usually stab mine all over in random places with a fork. I don’t know that I need to make as many holes as I do, but I figure better safe than sorry. After all, I don’t want to clean up an exploded potato mess!

Raw potatoes on a plate being pierced with a fork

Put the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate, and then place them in the microwave. I cook them in the microwave at 100% power for about three minutes per potato. You can probably get away with two minutes per potato if they are smaller potatoes, but I usually do this with large ones and serve them as our main dish.

So, I cooked these three potatoes in the microwave for 12 minutes.

Prepare for the oven

A couple of minutes before the potatoes are finished in the microwave, I get set up to transfer them to the oven with a baking sheet, sheets of aluminum foil, vegetable oil with a tablespoon and coarse sea salt.

Set up to move the baked potatoes from the microwave to the oven with a baking sheet, aluminum foil sheets, vegetable oil with a tablespoon and coarse sea salt

When the microwave stops, take the potatoes out. The potatoes will be hot, so use oven mitts to pick them up one at a time to transfer them to the foil sheets.

Using an oven mitt to pick up a hot potato from the microwave

Once the potato is on a foil sheet, drizzle one tablespoon of vegetable oil over it.

A baked potato being drizzled with vegetable oil

Next, sprinkle the potato with the coarse sea salt, if desired.

A baked potato that has been drizzled with oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt

Wrap the foil around the potatoes and place them onto a baking sheet. Cook them in the oven at 450-degrees (F) for 20 minutes.

Three potatoes wrapped in foil on a baking sheet and ready to go into the hot oven

Enjoy the potato

When the potatoes are finished cooking, take them out of the oven. Carefully open the foil to let them start to cool.

A hot potato fresh from the oven

Cut the potato open carefully and use a fork to mash the inside a bit, if you like it that way. (I sure do!)

A fully cooked baked potato with a soft center

Add your favorite toppings and you’re good to go! We usually have baked potatoes as our main dish, so I loaded this one up with butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. On the night I took these photos, we had a total carb fest. I also served up this delicious homemade french bread! Another great pairing for these baked potatoes is my mom’s meatloaf with ketchup glaze.

A finished baked potato loaded with butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon bits

Microwave baked potato

This is the best microwave baked potato recipe because it starts in the microwave to cook faster but ends in the oven for a better texture.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 52 mins
Total Time 1 hr 2 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 3 people


  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt optional
  • baked potato toppings as desired like butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, etc.


  • Preheat the oven to 450-degrees (F).
  • Scrub your potatoes until they're clean. Pierce each potato in numerous places with a fork to make holes.
  • Put the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and cook in the microwave for 3 minutes per large potato. (For three large potatoes, cook for 12 minutes.)
  • Just before the potatoes finish in the microwave, get out sheets of aluminum foil to hold the potatoes along with a baking sheet, the vegetable oil and the salt, if desired.
  • Carefully transfer one potato at a time to a sheet of aluminum foil. (I use oven mitts for this because the potatoes are hot!)
  • Drizzle the potatoes with 1 tablespoon each of the vegetable oil. Sprinkle with the salt, if desired.
  • Wrap the potatoes in the foil, place them on a baking sheet and cook in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully peel back the foil from the baked potatoes, cut them and serve them with your favorite baked potato toppings.
Keyword baked potato, family dinner, family friendly, microwave cooking, potato, weeknight dinner

Skillet queso recipe

Restaurant-style skillet queso made easy!

Skillet queso recipe

I can’t resist a good queso. The mix of tortilla chips dipped into creamy cheese is just divine! I’ve tried making a few queso recipes through the years and this skillet queso recipe is one of my all-time favorites. It tastes almost exactly like the skillet queso we order at a chain restaurant named for a pepper.

Basically, you put all the ingredients into a skillet or pot, let them melt and combine together and then serve it with chips. I’ve made this as a side. (In fact, I made it for Thanksgiving last year as a side for my particular eaters.) Or you can also use the skillet queso as a topping for nachos rather than a dip. My son prefers them nacho style. I like it both ways — nacho style or dip. No matter how you eat it, it’s yummy!

Getting started

The most work you’ll do for this skillet queso recipe is prepping the cheese by cutting it into cubes. Not too shabby at all. It uses cheese loaf that is known for melting. The name-brand is Velveeta, but I use the store brand without an issue.

(If you’re not a fan of this processed cheese, don’t let that stop you from this recipe. This is the only thing I cook using it and does not have a strong flavor of the cheese, I promise! )

You need 16 ounces of the cheese. The last time I made this skillet queso, I was only able to get a 32-ounce block. So, I cut it in half by looking at it, wrapped one half in foil and placed it in a zip-top bag in my freezer. (You’ll notice I used the brand-name label just for easy identification!)

Put the cheese loaf on a cutting board and slice it into cubes for better melting. I first slice it in about 1-inch increments.

Then using two or three squares at a time, I cut those into nines.

And now you’re finished with the hardest part of this entire recipe. I told you it was easy!

Putting it together

Pull out a deep skillet or medium-sized pot and put it the cubed cheese into it. Place it on the stove over medium heat.

Add 1 cup of milk. I make this using 1% milk because that’s what my family drinks, and it works just fine.

Add in all the seasonings: 2 teaspoons paprika, 4 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon lime juice. (You can use fresh-squeezed lime juice, but I usually just buy a bottle of lime juice and keep in my fridge.)

Finally, add in one 15-ounce can of chili with NO beans.

Give it a good stir and let it hang out over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Stir it every few minutes to keep the cheese from sticking to the bottom.

Serve the queso with your favorite tortilla chips. You can use it as a dip or as a nacho topping, whichever you prefer!

You can also make this skillet queso in a slow cooker if you prefer. Put everything into your slow cooker on low and let it set for about an hour until melted. Alternatively, you can make it on the stove and keep it warm until serving from your slow cooker. It’s incredibly versatile and scrumptious!

Skillet queso

This skillet queso recipe tastes like something you'd get at a restaurant, but comes together in 15 minutes. Super easy and delicious!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican


  • 16 oz. processed cheese loaf (like Velveeta)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 15-oz. can chili with no beans
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


  • Cut the cheese into approximately 1-inch cubes.
  • Place the cheese into a deep skillet or medium-sized pot over medium heat.
  • Add the milk.
  • Add the paprika, chili powder, lime juice and ground cumin,
  • Add the can of chili, and stir well.
  • Continue cooking over medium heat, occasionally stirring, for about 15 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and smooth.
Keyword cheese dip, nachos, queso, tortilla chips

Party potatoes recipe

An easy cheesy hash brown casserole recipe your family will love!

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I love potatoes. I can’t think of a way to prepare a potato that I wouldn’t eat from fried to boiled to mashed to baked! But this party potatoes recipe is hands-down my most favorite potato recipe of all time. While this recipe is almost the same as the one my mom has made for years, it has a couple of slight differences to make it even creamier and oh-so-delicious!

Another bonus of this party potatoes recipe is it uses frozen hashbrowns, just like my slow cooker potato soup. You get to enjoy the potato-y goodness without having to scrub, peel or cut potatoes. And that makes this recipe even easier to come together. You basically mix together the ingredients and then bake them. Easy-peasy!

I will eat these potatoes fresh from the oven and reheat them for leftovers. I’d guess that you could freeze and reheat them later, but they never make it that long around my house.

When it comes to a cheesy hashbrown casserole like these party potatoes are, I think there’s never a wrong time to make them. I’ve made them for Thanksgiving and for cookouts. In my opinion, they go with just about anything and everything! (I told you I love them!)

Let’s get this party potatoes recipe started!

Like any oven recipe, start with preheating your oven to 350-degrees (F). Next, find the biggest bowl you have. I use a giant glass bowl I got at IKEA a few years ago, but any extra-large bowl will work. Pour in the whole 30-ounce bag of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes.

Plop two cans of either cream of potato or cream of chicken soup on top of the hash browns. I have made it with both types of soup and love it both ways. It really is up to you on that one. Maybe go with whatever you have on hand, is easiest to find or is cheapest. Either kind of soup works well in this party potatoes recipe.

Next, add in 2 cups of sour cream. I just plop it right on top of the hash browns and soup. (One of my favorite kitchen tools to make mealtime prep easier is this kind of measuring cup with a push-up bottom. It makes measuring out ingredients like sour cream so much easier!)

While other party potatoes recipes put the shredded cheese on top, this one mixes some right in with the hash browns for cheesy-ness all throughout. Add in 1-3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

And then, finally, add in 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Shredded Parmesan cheese might work, but the grated works best for giving it more cheesiness flavor but without getting stringy. Combine all of the ingredients together in the bowl.

Get ready to bake!

Once the hash browns, soup, sour cream and cheeses are well combined, pour the mixture into a 3-quart baking dish that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Pat the mixture with a spoon so that it is even throughout the pan.

Sprinkle the hash brown potato mixture with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese — or whatever amount looks good to you. Honestly, I don’t measure out this part. I just keep sprinkling cheddar cheese until it’s well-coated, but I am totally a cheese lover!

Bake the party potatoes in your preheated 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you want, turn your broiler on low for 2 minutes to get the top slightly browned and bubbly. And then enjoy the delectable cheesy goodness!

Party Potatoes Recipe

With just a couple of easy steps, this cheesy party potatoes recipe is great for a side dish any time and ideal for carry-in dinners!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 1 30-oz. package frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 10-3/4 oz. cans condensed cream of potato or cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat your oven to 350-degrees (F) and spray a 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set it aside.
  • In a very large bowl, combine the hash brown potatoes, soup, sour cream, 1-3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese and grated Parmesan. Mix well.
  • Pat the hash brown mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese (or however much your family would like!).
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly. If desired, turn your broiler on low for 2 minutes to get the top even more browned.
  • Let it stand a few minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Keyword carry-in, cheesy potatoes, Christmas, cookout, hashbrown casserole, pitch-in, potato casserole, Thanksgiving

30 Recipes you need this holiday season

Whether you’re looking for appetizers, sides, easy dinners or desserts, we’ve got the holiday recipes you need!

Just like everything else in 2020, the upcoming holiday season promises to be a different one. Whether you’re suddenly taking on preparing all the holiday meals or joining with a few others to celebrate, chances are you’re going to be cooking over these next couple of months.

So, I’ve pulled together 30 recipes for appetizers, sides, easy dinners for busy nights and desserts to help make your holiday season easier.

You’ll find some delicious food and recipes that may have you drooling on your keyboard or phone! You’re going to want to Pin this post so you can come back to it time and again.

I knew I couldn’t come up with everything on my own, so I turned to some of my blogger friends to help me share mouth-watering recipes you and your family are going to love!

Appetizer recipes

These recipes can legitimately be appetizers, but they can also be left out as snacks for people to nosh on while they wait for dinner to start or in between meals. And, honestly, they can often make easy weeknight dinners when you are busy during the holiday season!

Anything with pizza in the name is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This veggie pizza recipe from Cassie at Get Your Holiday On has a buttery crust and is stuffed full of fresh veggies and a special sauce.

Similar to the veggie pizza, this delicious BLT pizza recipe would be great as an appetizer, snack or even dinner. You can customize it based on what your family likes. It tastes good served warm, room temperature or cold.

Pizza flavors are always a hit with my family, and I’d guess that’s true for most families. These pepperoni pinwheels are easy to come together and make a great appetizer, snack or dinner. Using canned pizza crust makes them even easier!

If you’re combining bacon, ranch and cheese, you know you’ve got a hit on your hands. This bacon ranch cheese bread starts with frozen bread dough to make it easier. It’s a terrific for snacking!

You can’t get an easier appetizer or snack that tortilla chips and salsa. To kick it up a notch, try making your own salsa using this pantry salsa recipe. It’s super easy and will impress people to know you made salsa from scratch in the middle of cold weather!

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe #pantrysalsa

Side dish recipes

If you’re looking for an alternative to canned, jiggly cranberry sauce, Heather from The Supermom Life has you covered with this recipe for fresh cranberry orange relish. Served cold, this simple recipe features fresh cranberries and oranges. Check out the adorable way she garnished it as well!

Stuffing is essential to holiday meals. It can be tricky, though, for those who are gluten free, have allergies or are vegan. Rebecca from Strength and Sunshine, which specializes in delicious gluten-free and allergy friendly recipes, has a Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffing recipe that will have all your dinner guests asking for seconds!

If a recipe includes bacon and even onion, then I’m pretty much on board! Heather from The Super Mom Life has a recipe for collard greens that will make you want to try them if you never have. She serves them up regularly at holiday dinners for her family.

Another delicious stuffing or dressing recipe comes from Heather of the Super Mom Life. This dill stuffing recipe can be used to stuff a turkey or be made as a separate dish.

Potato gratin goes by a variety of names from scalloped potatoes to party potatoes. I don’t really care what they’re called. Anything with potatoes and cheese has my tastebuds excited! Emma from Emma Eats & Explores has a slight twist on this dish by using sweet potatoes instead! Easier to digest, fewer carbs and more vitamins, sweet potatoes offer a healthy and delicious alternative. This cheesy sweet potato gratin recipe is creamy, crispy and cheesy. It’s sure to be a hit!

Getting kids to eat veggies can be a challenge. But Cassie from Foster to Adopt has a way to make veggies fun. These baked broccoli chips are great as a side dish or for snacking at the holidays. They are low carb and a yummy, easy way to eat veggies. It’s a win all around!

Easy dinner recipes

One-pot dinners are always a great for easy dinners during busy times — like the holiday season. Even better are ones that don’t need a lot of ingredients! Mindy from Mindy Jones Blog has an easy 3-ingredient chili recipe to keep you warm and full on cold, busy nights.

I could (and do!) eat breakfast food any time of day: breakfast, lunch or dinner. So this next recipe could be an easy dinner or a nice warm breakfast to get your day started off. It’s perfect if you find yourself with extra guests for breakfast as well. This hearty and sweet apple sausage hash casserole from Jenny at Wholesome Family Living can be made ahead and is freezer friendly.

If you’re looking for twist on tacos for an easy dinner, check out this taco cornbread bake. It has all the flavors of tacos in a warm bake that is easy to serve up to your family on a busy night. You can easily double the recipe and feed a crowd.

One pot dinners are super easy. Having fewer dishes to clean is always a good thing! And this one pan autumn chicken dinner from Tabatha at A Joy Fueled Journey is perfect for busy weeknights in the midst of the holiday season. The chicken and veggies cook all together for a yummy and filling dinner.

If you’re craving comfort food for an easy dinner but want to make sure it’s healthy and satisfying to both your vegan and meat-eating crowd, this Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf from Rebecca at Strength and Sunshine will hit the spot. It mimics classic meatloaf but is gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free.

Recipes for the slow cooker that you can put together and then forget about are great for busy seasons. This slow cooker potato soup is one such recipe. By using frozen hash browns, it literally takes about five minutes to put together and results in a warm, hearty dinner. You can double the recipe and fed a huge crowd with it.

Dessert recipes

Is monkey bread a breakfast or a dessert? I don’t know and don’t even care. I just know it’s delicious! Kate from My Joy in Chaos has this ultimate homemade monkey bread recipe you and your family will love. This make-ahead monkey bread is a full platter of fluffy dough bursting with cinnamon sugar and coated in a homemade caramel sauce.

Chocolate and mint are delicious. And the holidays are a great time for making cookies. Combine all of that together and get a mouth-watering peppermint chocolate chip cookie that Lorie from lemons + zest has perfected. It’s a soft, chewy cookie packed with candy canes and chocolate chips that Santa will love — and so will your family!

Speaking of cookies (which are totally my thing during the holiday season), these peanut butter cookies are easy and delicious. They are soft on the inside with just the right amount of crisp to the outside.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share this toffee cookie recipe. The perfect mix of chewy and crunchy, these cookies are the most requested item I make. Just beware that they are kinda addicting!

For a classic fall flavor, these apple pie bars from Jenny at Wholesome Family Living are a nice alternative to a traditional apple pie. They are sugar-, dairy- and gluten-free apple pie bars that can also be made vegan. They’re ideal for folks who don’t like a lot of crust because they have a more filling-to-crust ratio!

One of the best kind of recipes for the busy holiday season is one that is quick, easy and doesn’t require many ingredients. That describes this whipped pudding pie recipe perfectly! With only four ingredients, you can pick any flavor of instant pudding mix to use. Butterscotch, chocolate or mint chocolate work incredibly well for cooler weather. And, you don’t even have to use your oven for this one. So easy and so delicious!

With only 4-ingredients and no baking required, this whipped pudding pie is super easy and can be made with so many different flavor combinations! #Recipe #EasyRecipe #Pie #PuddingPie #WhippedPuddingPie #Dessert

Mmmmmmm. Chocolate! I love chocolate, you guys! And this recipe for chocolate chestnut pots from Emma at Emma Eats and Explores is a deliciously rich and decadent treat. It would be a scrumptious ending to any meal.

Whether you love everything pumpkin spice flavored or not, pumpkin pie is surely a staple throughout the holiday season. Katie from The Curated Mom has a recipe for mini pumpkin pies. Seriously anything in mini form is so fun to eat — and it feels like it’s less calories by doing so!

Speaking of pumpkin, my favorite way to enjoy pumpkin and its flavors is through pumpkin bread. It makes me happy. While I’m listing it under desserts, because it surely can be a dessert, our family has it for breakfast, snacks and dessert!

Another great pumpkin option that goes beyond pie is pumpkin pie truffles. This recipe from Jenny at Wholesome Family Living combines yummy pumpkin with decadent chocolate for a flavor explosion your family and friends will love.

Sometimes the best recipes are less recipe and more hack. If you can start with a box mix that’s easy and then kick it up a notch, why not?! This one hack can make a brownie mix so fudgy good that everyone will ask you for the recipe. It’s up to you if you tell them how easy it is!

Another “hack” sort of recipe uses a boxed cake mix. If you’re making a cake or cupcakes, check out these four easy tweaks to make a cake mix taste better than a bakery cake.

And then, of course, you’re going to need to top your cake or cupcakes. This quick and easy buttercream will make you swoon. Even my non-icing liking family members (who I completely don’t understand) love this icing!

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