No expert techniques, no where-on-earth-am-I-going-to-find-that ingredients. These dishes are simple, straightforward and perfect for any party that comes your way this season.
The Fluffy, Cheesy Feat You Can Totally Pull Off
This no-fail soufflé from An Old-Fashioned Christmas, by Ellen Stimson, gives you that light, puffy, salty cheese flavor but is actually not hard to make, despite what you may have heard about collapsing, sinking, deflating and cracking. It includes a few untraditional ingredients, such as crustless white bread, but it rises perfectly every single time. Plus, you can prepare the soufflés ahead of time and refrigerate them then just bring them to room temperature before baking.
Homemade cranberry sauce isn't just for turkey dinners. The sweet and tangy side is also a terrific complement to pork or chicken dishes. It's supereasy to make, too, as this recipe from Robb Forman Dew's A Southern Thanksgiving shows. Boil cranberries in water for a few minutes, stir in sugar and salt, chill and serve.
The Brilliant Mash-Up of 2 Foods (Almost) Everybody Loves
Lara Robby/Studio D.
Pizza and popcorn may not be standard cocktail-party fare; but combined, they're an irresistible snack to enjoy with a glass of wine or a soda, perfect for anything from a book-club holiday gathering to a New Year's Eve party. You simply pop the kernels and sprinkle them with grated Parmesan, dried oregano, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, red-pepper flakes and garlic powder.
A crust of crushed walnuts and gingersnap cookies is an unusual way to jazz up classic pumpkin pie, without adding extra work. There's no dough to refrigerate and roll out; instead, you just stir cookie crumbs, walnuts, salt and butter together, press the mixture into a pan and bake for 10 minutes. And rather than top the dessert with whipped cream, you drizzle the pie with a tart, bright-pink cranberry glaze.
This inventive bark uses crackers as the base and chocolate as the glue that helps all kinds of sweet, savory and salty bits stick together. You just microwave the chocolate until it melts, dip a cracker in and lay it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with toppings—anything goes, from dried pineapple and coconut flakes to broken mini-pretzels and honey-roasted peanuts—then refrigerate until set.
If you've been charged with bringing a main dish but want to keep costs down, try pork shoulder. The juicy, savory roast is inexpensive and pairs wonderfully with late-autumn flavors. This hearty German stew combines the meat with two types of apples (Granny Smith and Red Delicious), green and red cabbage, and egg noodles.
<strong>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/German-Winter-Stew">German Winter Stew</a></strong>