Baked Brie: Great Holiday Appetizer

Baked Brie is one of those yummy appetizers that cheese lovers rave about, and for good reason. A wheel of buttery brie oozing out of its rind under a nutty cranberry topping is a mouthwatering sight to behold.

Easy party appetizers are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season! From bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers to buffalo cauliflower I can’t get enough. And this recipe takes literally a minute to prep before popping in the oven, so I can enjoy it anytime!

Baked brie topped with cranberry sauce and pecans, with cheese oozing out and crackers on the side.

What is Baked Brie?

Baked brie is made from an uncut wheel of brie with the rind intact. When baked, the edible rind keeps its pleasant texture, while the interior melts into a spreadable, delicious gooey cheese. Brie’s savory funkiness really blooms with heat.

The rind is actually a bloom of the cheese culture that gives brie its characteristic flavor. It develops on the outside of the wheel as the cheese ripens.

During the holiday, consider keeping a couple of wheels in your fridge. They will make for an awesome spur-of-the-moment snack to offer pop-in guests and prove to them that yes, they are truly welcome!

Left image - all bake brie ingredients on a cutting board. Right image - brie topped with cranberry sauce.

How to Make Baked Brie

It’s hard to imagine that such a delicious party snack could be so simple. Cleanup is a breeze too.

  1. Top brie wheel with nuts, cranberry sauce, and syrup.
  2. Bake per recipe below until heated through.

Tips

  • For even baking, bring the brie to room temperature beforehand.
  • Allow the brie to cool slightly before breaking into it. If it’s too hot, the cheese will be too melty and gush everywhere.
  • If your brie starts to harden, place it in a small casserole dish (with sides as the cheese will leak/melt) and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Topping Options

There are so many variations on toppings for baked brie. Really, the sky is the limit. The best ones are sticky-sweet and nutty. Here are a few popular options for toppings:

What to Serve with Baked Brie

It can be slathered on crostini or crackers for rich and crunchy flavor bites. And talk about easy!

A cut fresh fruit platter or kabobs are always appropriate to serve with baked brie. Grapes, pineapple chunks and melon are some of my favorite cheese companions.

A bit of sparkling wine, some holiday music, and you and your baked brie will make the season merry and bright indeed!

Great Holiday Appetizers

Baked Brie

Great party appetizer that is both fancy feeling and delicious!

  • 1 wheel brie (8-12 oz)
  • 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (or preserves)
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spread cranberry sauce over brie, combine pecans and maple syrup and spread on top.

  3. Place on a parchment lined pan and bake 14-17 minutes or until cheese is starting to melt. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes.

Leftover cranberry sauce is perfect in this recipe. Homemade is best of course and can easily be frozen and saved to use in this recipe.

Top photo - Baked brie topped with cranberry sauce and pecans, with cheese oozing out and crackers on the side. Bottom photo - brie wheel topped with cranberry sauce.
Top photo - Brie topped with cranberry sauce and pecans. Bottom photo - brie wheel topped with cranberry sauce prior to baking.
Baked brie wheel topped with cranberry sauce and pecans.

Non Alcoholic Eggnog

Non alcoholic eggnog is incredibly easy to make, and such a delight when holiday season starts. If you have milk, cream, sugar and eggs, you can have eggnog ready in 20 minutes!

If you are looking for more holiday beverages, try out slow cooker apple cider, homemade pumpkin spice latte floats, butterbeer latte and pumpkin pie white hot chocolate.

Homemade non alcoholic eggnog served in glasses

Eggnog

Seriously ditch the store-bought cartons this holiday season and make your own eggnog at home.

Because its is so so easy. And there’s nothing having warm eggnog while you cozy up on the couch.

Eggnog is a beverage that’s done the holiday rounds for years now.

And it is originally made with some liquor, but we are sharing a non alcoholic eggnog recipe with you today.

And it tastes absolutely amazing!

Creamy, thick, and decadent from a dash of vanilla and nutmeg.

This is pure joy in a glass!

What is Eggnog made of?

You’ll need six ingredients that are probably available in your pantry:

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Nutmeg

In this recipe, we are cooking the eggs to avoid any chances of bacteria, and also because we don’t have any added alcohol to act as a preservative in the recipe.

How to make Non Alcohol Eggnog

Egg yolks and sugar are whisked together first till creamy and a pale yellow. In the meanwhile, milk and cream are heated to a gentle simmer. Slowly we add the milk mixture to the egg mixture, one fourth cup at a time to cook the eggs. And then we bring the pan back on the heat to thicken the eggnog to the desired consistency. We like it thick and creamy, but you can thin it out with more cream too. In the end, just whisk in the vanilla extract and grated nutmeg and you have yourself a hug in a cup!

Homemade non alcoholic eggnog in a saucepan

Some eggnog recipes also ask you to fold in egg whites at the end, but since we are cooking our eggs here, that’s not necessary. You can use the egg whites to make omelettes or meringues.

Is Eggnog safe to drink?

This is a concern that a lot of people have since traditionally eggnog is made with raw eggs. But in this recipe, we are cooking the eggs which makes this eggnog safe to drink.

I’m really excited about the holiday season, and the pitchers of this non alcoholic eggnog that we are going to make for our family and friends. Eggnog, some christmas cake, and just lots of laughter is how December is going to go down!

Closeup of homemade eggnog in a glass

More Recipes with Eggnog

  • Eggnog Cookies
  • Glazed Eggnog Pound Cake
  • Eggnog Waffles
  • Eggnog Fudge

    Non Alcoholic Eggnog

    If you have milk, cream, sugar and eggs, you can make this incredibly easy eggnog recipe where the eggs are cooked. This non alcoholic eggnog is a cozy holiday drink that's perfect to share with the family.

    • 6 Eggs
    • 1 cup Sugar
    • 2 cups whole Milk
    • 1 1/4 cup heavy Cream
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
    1. Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a bowl. The whites can be placed in another bowl, covered and refrigerated for use later in another recipe.

    2. Add sugar to the yolks and use a hand blender or whisk to whisk them together till pale and creamy.

    3. Heat milk and cream in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Now slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Make sure to add the milk mixture in a thin, steady stream so that you don't scramble the eggs. Keep whisking continuously till all the milk is whisked in.

    4. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook on medium heat till the eggnog thickens to your desired consistency. Keep stirring as it heats to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

    5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies

Buttery Spritz Cookies are just the ticket when you need to turn out a lot of tasty Christmas cookies in a hurry. Flavored with almond extract and portioned out with a cookie press, it’s easy to churn out dozens of yummy cookies that keep well throughout the holidays and make a pretty presentation at parties.

Serve them with homemade eggnog or your favorite gourmet coffees or teas to make the season delicious and bright.

Spritz cookies in a Christmas tin.

What are Spritz Cookies?

Spritz cookies are small butter cookies pressed into intricate shapes to create a classic Christmas cookie recipe.  They taste a lot like shortbread but are less crumbly, thanks to the addition of egg in the dough.

This recipe uses powdered sugar instead of granulated for a softer, melt-in-your-mouth cookie. I also recommend almond extract however, you can substitute vanilla or other flavorings according to your taste.

How to Make Spritz Cookies

This easy recipe uses basic staple ingredients. The dough is stiff enough that there’s no need to chill before baking.

  1. Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together. Add the rest of the ingredients (per recipe below).
  2. Load into a cookie press and squeeze into cookies.
  3. Bake until fragrant and very slightly browned at the edges

Two images showing spritz cookie ingredients being combined in a glass bowl.

Cookie Press

Look for a cookie press with shapes with holiday themes, such as snowflakes, Christmas trees, or pinecones.

For a decorative touch, add red or green food coloring to the dough as you cream the butter and sugar together. Christmas sprinkles and other cake decorations add a festive touch as well.

No Cookie Press?

No problem! Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters or a glass to cut out round shapes. Or, shape into one-inch balls and press them with anything that has a design, the bottom of a glass can leave a pretty design.

TO Store

FREEZER Pack them in freezer bags or containers. Spritz cookies are one of the best recipes for making ahead to get a jump on holiday baking.

They’ll keep for months, and take only minutes to thaw. Be sure to make a lot and you’ll never be without a treat to offer guests or bring to parties.

COUNTER You can also store tightly covered spritz cookies in the pantry for up to a week, or in the fridge for two weeks or longer.

Spritz Cookies

Flavored with almond extract and portioned out with a cookie press, it’s easy to churn out dozens of yummy cookies that keep well throughout the holidays!

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. With a mixer on medium speed, cream butter, powdered sugar, and salt until fluffy. Mix in egg, vanilla, and almond extract.

  3. Add flour a little bit at a time beating after each addition.
  4. Place dough into a cookie press. Squeeze cookies about 1 1/2″ apart and add sprinkles if desired.
  5. Bake 7-9 minutes.

The Best Holiday Cookies

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts are beautifully wrapped Brussel sprouts in strips of bacon then brushed with a maple, brown sugar glaze and baked until golden brown. This is one MUST make appetizer this holiday season!

Who doesn’t love bacon?! If you love bacon as much as I do wrapped around try this Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Bacon Wrapped Chestnuts or Sweet and Savory Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

This bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts recipe is one AMAZING appetizer.

Impress your friends and family with this appetizer this holiday season.

It is simple to make and all the ingredients right in your pantry.

Simply prepare the Brussel sprouts and wrap this tightly in a strip of bacon.

Add a maple syrup and brown sugar glaze over top and bake until golden brown.

These bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts are just as AWESOME as they look.

Taste and looks are everything with this appetizer.

What you need to make bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts

These ingredients in the bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts are simple and delicious.

You will love how easily this comes together and everyone will be raving about them.

Bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts recipe are delicious and come together quickly.

Simply prepare the Brussel sprouts and add salt and pepper to taste.

Wrap your bacon around the Brussel sprouts tightly and place on the baking sheet.

Watch your bacon wrapped Brussel sprouts come to life and tasty AMAZING at your next holiday party.

  • Brussels Sprouts: chop off ends and wrap in bacon.
  • Salt and pepper: to taste
  • Bacon: uncooked and wrapped around the Brussel sprouts.
  • Maple syrup: a warm glaze.
  • Brown sugar: a little more sugar to enjoy on the Brussel sprouts.

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts process of making them

How to make bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts

  • Prepare the baking sheet: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside. Trim the stem ends off the Brussels sprouts and put into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap bacon around Brussel sprouts: Cut the bacon in half and wrap each Brussels sprout with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Lay them onto the baking sheet.
  • Making the glaze: In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar. Brush on top of the Brussels sprouts.
  • Bake bacon wrapped Brussel sprouts: Bake for 30 minutes tossing them half way through until the bacon is crisp and Brussels sprouts are tender. Remove immediately from the baking sheet and place them on a serving dish.

Tips for making bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts

  • How to pick Brussel sprouts: when purchasing Brussel spouts, look for tightly packed ones. Look for bright green and avoid any yellow leaves. The smaller Brussels sprouts are known to have a sweeter flavoring and cook thoroughly better.
  • How do you prep Brussels sprouts: first cut off the rough edges of the Brussels sprouts and remove any rough edges or damaged leaves. Wash your Brussels sprouts throughly.
  • Do you cut the Brussels sprouts in half: for this recipe there is no need to cut the Brussels sprouts in a half. It is best to bake them whole.
  • Add a toothpick: I find it easier wrapping the bacon over the Brussels sprouts then using a toothpick to hold it together while baking.

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

More amazing appetizers

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts being dipped

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

Awesome Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts are beautifully wrapped Brussel sprouts in strips of bacon then brushed with a maple, brown sugar glaze and baked until golden brown. This is one MUST make appetizer this holiday season!

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside. Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and put into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the bacon in half and wrap each brussels sprout with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Lay them onto the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar. Brush on top of the Brussels sprouts.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes tossing them half way through until the bacon is crisp and Brussels sprouts are tender. Remove immediately from the baking sheet and place them on a serving dish.

 

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are one of the best ever treats. This recipe is perfect for making soft rolls with sticky-sweet cinnamon filling on the inside, and dripping with cream cheese icing on the outside!

Cinnamon Buns like these and also be flavored with Pumpkin, Orange, or Apple Cinnamon with extra flavors baked in.

Homemade cinnamon rolls on a plate

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

It might seem intimidating to make homemade bread of any kind, but it is way easier than a lot of people think. It does take some time although it’s not difficult to make!

  1. Proof your yeast by simply combining warm water, yeast, and sugar. *Tip:  Double check the expiry on your yeast packet, especially if you don’t use it often! Expired yeast can make your rolls fall flat.

Sugar and spice mixture for cinnamon rolls in a glass bowl.

  1. Warm the milk and butter and make the dough using flour and the other listed ingredients, including the yeast mixture above.
  2. Knead the dough once mixed. You’ll know it’s kneaded enough when the dough takes on a smooth and elastic texture.

Cinnamon roll dough in a glass bowl before and after rising.

  1. Let the dough rise for an hour or so until it’s doubled in size.
  2. Roll it out flat, top with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll it up and cut!

Three images showing the steps to fill, roll, and cut the cinnamon rolls.

TIP: Once rolled into a long log, you will want to cut your cinnamon rolls. Rather than a knife, I find using a piece of dental floss cuts the rolls evenly without squishing the soft dough. (Be sure it’s not flavored floss).

How to Make Cinnamon Roll Icing

Onto the frosting instructions! Cream cheese icing takes these cinnamon buns to a whole new level!

  1. Place cream cheese, butter, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, and a little salt in a large bowl.
  2. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

To Make Ahead of Time

These cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Once rolled, place the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap.

Remove the rolls from the fridge and cover with a towel. With the oven turned off, place rolls in the oven and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven next to the rolls. Allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Storing Leftovers

Cinnamon buns can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If you plan to store them, keep the frosting in the refrigerator and add to each roll as you enjoy them.

  • In the Freezer: Cinnamon Rolls freeze well, just make sure they are tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container. You can individually freeze them for quick treats if you prefer. The cream cheese Icing can also be frozen, either on the buns or in a separate container.

These Cinnamon Rolls are such a treat, they are sure to make your holidays (or even ordinary days) special!

Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe makes soft rolls with sticky-sweet cinnamon filling on the inside, and dripping with cream cheese icing on the outside!

  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)

Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Combine water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes or until foamy.
  3. Combine milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat to 120-130°F.

  4. Place 2 cups flour in a stand mixer. Add eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture. Mix until combined.
  5. Using a dough hook, add flour, 1/2 cup at a time to form a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic (approx. 8 mins).

  6. Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot and cover with a towel for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Roll dough into a 15" x 12" rectangle, spread butter on the dough and top with brown sugar and cinnamon.

  8. Roll dough starting on the long side. Slice into 15 pieces. Place in prepared pan.
  9. Cover rolls with a towel and allow them to rise 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  10. Brush dough with milk and bake 20-25 minutes.
  11. While the rolls are baking, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt with a mixer until fluffy.

  12. Allow rolls to cool for about 10-15 minutes and spread frosting on warms rolls.

To Make Ahead

Once prepared, place rolls in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

With the oven turned off, place rolls in the oven and place a bowl or pan of very hot water in the oven next to the rolls. Allow to rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bread Machine

The dough can be prepared in a bread machine. Combine dough ingredients in the order specified by your bread machine. Set on dough cycle. Let dough rest for 10 minutes once completed and continue with recipe as above.

 

 

Recipe slightly adapted from this cinnamon roll post

Baked cinnamon rolls topped with frosting.
Baked cinnamon rolls in a baking pan, topped with icing.
Top photo - one cinnamon roll served on a white plate. Bottom photo - shows how to cut the unbaked cinnamon rolls using floss.

Classic Homemade Caramel Corn (EASY)

Caramel Corn and Christmas time go together like two peas in a pod. Although, this delicious treat is wonderful any time of year; salty, sweet, and crunchy… and nutty, too, if you like it that way!

Homemade caramel corn reminds me of being a kid. There would always be a batch of party mix, lots of special cookies, and definitely eggnog… sans alcohol for the kids, of course, and lots and lots of caramel corn!

A bowl of caramel corn with a wooden scoop in it.

How to Make Caramel Corn

You are going to love how easy and fun this is to make.

  1. Melt butter, sugars, and salt per recipe below in a saucepan and boil 5 minutes (don’t stir).
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and baking soda. Coat popcorn with this mixture, and add chopped nuts if using.
  3. Bake according to recipe instructions below.

That’s all there is to it for perfect homemade caramel corn!

Note: The caramel  mixture boils to create a candy coating and is VERY hot. Be aware, especially with kids around.

Left image - popcorn with pecans being mixed in. Right image - homemade caramel sauce being poured on top.

For Perfect Caramel Corn

  • Medium Heat Use medium heat to heat the caramel. It make take a bit longer but ensures your caramel doesn’t separate.
  • Baking Soda Don’t skip the baking soda, it reacts with sugar mixture making little bubbles. This gives the perfect texture to the caramel coating.
  • Use a Large Container Place the popcorn in a very large container to stir, you’ll need lots of space. I use a large pan but even a disposable roasting pan will work.
  • Bake Once the caramel corn is coated, baking it gives the perfect consistency and takes it from sticky and chewy to crisp.

A sheet pan filled with caramel popcorn.

How to Keep Caramel Corn Crisp

There’s nothing worse than tough, chewy popcorn that doesn’t crunch. To keep caramel corn crisp:

  • Bake as directed in the recipe.
  • Seal it in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
  • Make sure that the popcorn is completely cool before sealing it. Otherwise, condensation will form inside the container making your snack soggy.
  • If you suffer the misfortune of chewy, popcorn, spread it out on a baking sheet (or two) and bake it again for about 10 minutes at 325°F.

 How Long Does It Last?

Caramel Corn doesn’t really spoil, but it can get stale if not stored properly. If you plan on keeping it longer than a week, store it in airtight plastic bag or food storage containers.

What a perfect treat for a winter’s night by a crackling fireside!

Classic Christmas Treats

Caramel Corn

This classic Christmas treat can be made with a variety of mix-ins for a fun and festive treat!

  • 6 qt popped popcorn ( (approx. 3/4 cup kernels))
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans or peanuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer 5 minutes without stirring.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.
  4. Pour over popped corn (and optional mix-ins) and mix well to combine.

  5. Spread mixture over two 9×13 pans and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Recipe Adapted Streu, Debbie. “Baked Caramel Corn”. Recipe. Cooking with Class. Beaumont, AB, 2011. 67. Print.

A sheet pan filled with caramel popcorn.
A bowl of caramel corn with a wooden scoop in it.
Top photo - A bowl of caramel corn with a wooden scoop in it. Bottom photo - homemade caramel sauce being poured on top.

Skinnytaste Meal Plan (December 9-December 15)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and updated WW Smart Points.

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and updated WW Smart Points.

Meal Plan

So winter and cold weather have hit!! Check out some Slow Cooker recipes so you can have a warm meal waiting on you when you get home, or you can look at my Pressure Cooker recipes if that works better for you.

WW has changed their plan to now include a Blue, Purple and Green Plan. All the recipes on my blog are updated for the Blue plan. I’ve been updating all my recipes (over 2000) and have completed 2019 with the other two colors, and I am working my way down so please be patient.

Why Should Everyone Meal Plan?

Meal planning is a great way to organize your meals for the week ahead. You also save time and money in the supermarket! And of course, planning ahead helps you stick to your goals!

About The Meal Plan

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing! If you wish to get on the email list, you can subscribe here so you never miss a meal plan!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated WW Blue SP for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (12/9)
B: ½ cup quick oats (4B 4G 0P) with 1 teaspoon honey (1B 1G 1P), ½ an apple (diced) (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon 1%
milk (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (2B 2G 2P), pinch salt
L: Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill (1B 4G 1P) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3B 3G 3P) and an apple (0B 0G 0P)
D: Spaghetti with Butternut Leek Parmesan Sauce (8B 8G 8P) and a green salad* (2B 3G 2P)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 21B 25G 17P, Calories 1,056**

TUESDAY (12/10)
B: 2 scrambled eggs (0B 4G 0P) with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (2B 2G 2P) and 1 ounce avocado (1B 1G 1P)
L: Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill (1B 4G 1P) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3B 3G 3P) and an apple (0B 0G 0P)
D: Skillet Taco Cauliflower Rice (5B 5G 5P) with Quick and Delicioso Cuban Style Black Beans (1B 3G 1P)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 13B 22G 13P, Calories 1,023**

WEDNESDAY (12/11)
B: ½ cup quick oats (4B 4G 0P) with 1 teaspoon honey (1B 1G 1P), ½ an apple (diced) (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon 1%
milk (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (2B 2G 2P), pinch salt
L: Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill (1B 4G 1P) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3B 3G 3P) and an apple (0B 0G 0P)
D: Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast (5B 5G 5P) with Skinny Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Chives (5B 5G 1P) and
Easy Garlic Broccolini (1B 1G 1P)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 22B 25G 14P, Calories 1,092**

THURSDAY (12/12)
B: 2 scrambled eggs (0B 4G 0P) with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (2B 2G 2P) and 1 ounce avocado (1B 1G 1P)
L: Chickpea Avocado Salad (3B 8G 3P)
D: LEFTOVER Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast (5B 5G 5P) with Roasted Winter Squash Medley (3B 3G 3P)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 14B 23G 14P, Calories 839**

FRIDAY (12/13)
B: ½ cup quick oats (4B 4G 0P) with 1 teaspoon honey (1B 1G 1P), ½ an apple (diced) (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon 1%
milk (0B 0G 0P), 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (2B 2G 2P), pinch salt
L: Chickpea Avocado Salad (3B 8G 3P)
D: Air Fryer Salmon with Maple Soy Glaze (2B 7G 2P) with Asian Edamame Fried Rice (4B 5G 1P)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 16B 27G 9P, Calories 1,011**

SATURDAY (12/14)
B: Easy Healthy Turkey Chorizo (3B 3G 3P) with 2 scrambled eggs (0B 4G 0P) and 1 ounce avocado (1B 1G 1P)
L: Minestrone Soup (2B 4G 2P) with 2 ounces multigrain baguette (3B 3G 3P)
D: DINNER OUT!

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 9B 15G 9P, Calories 625**

SUNDAY (12/15)
B: Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes (6B 6G 6P) with 1 tablespoon maple syrup (3B 3G 3P)

L: LEFTOVER Minestrone Soup (2B 4G 2P) with 2 ounces multigrain baguette (3B 3G 3P)
D: Chicken Thighs with Shallots in Red Wine (8B 8G 8P) with Mashed Cauliflower (2B 2G 2P) and Roasted
Asparagus (0B 0G 0P)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 24B 26G 24P, Calories 994**

*Green salad includes 6 cups romaine, 1/2 cup each: diced red bell pepper, tomato, cucumber and carrots, chickpeas
and light vinaigrette.
**This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate
your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits,
snacks, dessert, wine, etc.

(more…)

The post Skinnytaste Meal Plan (December 9-December 15) appeared first on Skinnytaste.

The Best Breakfast Casserole

The Best Breakfast Casserole is a thick and creamy egg base with shredded potatoes, chunks of ham and flavorful cheese blends that bakes up in no time. Make ahead or enjoy the morning of during the holidays!

Breakfast for the holidays is a favorite for us! If you love breakfast casseroles as much as I do try this Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole, Overnight Breakfast Casserole or Overnight Cinnamon Apple French Toast Casserole.

breakfast casserole in a dish baked

Breakfast Casserole

A delicious and hearty breakfast casserole that is the BEST that you will make!

When I tell you that this is the BEST breakfast casserole it is no joke.

I have made a few breakfast casseroles in my day and this one became an instant favorite!

I especially love this casserole because it is so hearty and full of wonderful breakfast goodness.

It is a classic breakfast casserole with amazing flavor.

It has hash browns packed right inside which is my favorite part.

Simple ingredients for a simple egg base that is exploding with flavor.

Your family will love this easy breakfast casserole this holiday season.

It is perfect for baking ahead of time or making it the morning of.

This breakfast casserole is sure to please your entire family this holiday season!

What you need to make a breakfast casserole

This breakfast is perfect any time of the year but great for Christmas!

Simple and easy recipe that bakes up perfectly and can feed a crowd.

All the right ingredients that are simple and comes together quickly.

It is packed and loaded with all the favors you will love.

You take everything out the night before and throw it in the oven in the morning.

It can feed a lot of people which is awesome.

I have our traditional Sticky buns on the menu for Christmas along with this amazing casserole.

When I made it last week for my hubby, we couldn’t seem to get enough of it!

Luckily it makes a big casserole and is enough to feed a small army!

Try it out for yourself!  You will agree that it is amazing!

  • Shredded potatoes: frozen and they do not need to be thawed.
  • Salt and pepper: to taste
  • Eggs: whisked together
  • Half and half: adds creamy texture and thickness.
  • Season salt: more flavoring
  • Cheddar cheese: grated
  • Pepper jack cheese: grated
  • Ham: chopped to your liking. I prefer thicker pieces but go as little as you would like.

process photos of steps being taken to make breakfast casserole

How to make a breakfast casserole

This breakfast casserole is the BEST for so many reasons.

One of which, is how simple this breakfast casserole recipe comes together quickly and is in the oven in minutes.

There is not a lot of planning and prepping for this breakfast casserole recipe.

It makes it simple and easy to throw together and place in the oven to bake.

Make this ahead of time and when ready to bake simply take out of the refrigerator and bake.

This tried and true breakfast casserole is so simple and everyone loves the blended flavoring.

Try the BEST breakfast casserole with your family this holiday season!

  • Prepare pan and add ingredients: Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Add the frozen and shredded potatoes to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk eggs: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Then add half and half, season salt, cheddar cheese, pepper jack, and chopped ham.
  • Pour into pan and refrigerate: Pour over the top of the frozen potatoes. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Bake your breakfast casserole: Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

What to serve with a breakfast casserole

Make this a complete meal by adding a little extra on the side.

This breakfast casserole recipe has all the greatness inside it and can be a great breakfast all by itself.

If you are looking for a more complete meal, add sides that will make this breakfast casserole recipe more complete.

With these extra sides, this breakfast casserole will be one amazing meal all together.

Here are some ideas of what can go along with this breakfast casserole recipe during the holiday season.

breakfast casserole baked in a pan

Variations of breakfast casserole

There are so many fun things to add into the breakfast casserole to make it even more better and flavorful.

Switch ingredients around or add in new ones that you prefer for your family.

This breakfast casserole recipe continues to get better and better. That is why it is the BEST!

There are so many options with this breakfast casserole recipe that it makes it so fun to make often.

Make this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole by substituting the frozen hash browns for a layer of frozen tater tots.

Adding and substituting ingredients makes this breakfast casserole better every time you make it.

Try some of these fun variations in this breakfast casserole and find what you enjoy best!

  • Vegetables: bell peppers, spinach or kale, tomato (fresh or canned), broccoli, mushrooms or onions are great add ins.
  • Meat: bacon, variations of sausage, shredded chicken, ground beef or left over turkey.
  • Cream: not a fan of half and half, you can use whipping cream for a thicker, richer breakfast casserole or simply use milk that you have on hand.
  • Cheese: Swiss cheese, Colby jack or mozzarella work well and melt perfectly in this breakfast casserole.
  • Spicy: red pepper flakes, green chilies or green onions are fun way to add a little heat to your breakfast casserole recipe.
  • Potatoes: rather than shredded potatoes, diced or flavorful frozen potatoes will work great in this breakfast casserole.

Tips for making the breakfast casserole

Here are some tips for making this breakfast casserole even better and easier on you.

This recipe is fun to make different variations, make ahead or even the morning of.

There are so many great things that make this breakfast casserole the BEST!

These tips will help you better understand how to bake this breakfast casserole for you to enjoy with your family.

  • Covering the breakfast casserole: Make sure to cover your breakfast casserole when baking. With 10 to 15 minutes remaining, cook uncovered if you prefer for that crisp crust on top.
  • Keep your potatoes frozen: No, there is no need to thaw the potatoes. They will cook frozen.
  • How to know when the best breakfast casserole is done: once the outside edges become golden brown and the egg mixture in the middle is firm ( check by rocking the pan). Use a toothpick or knife to check if it is completely cooked through. You can also use a thermometer to check to see if the breakfast casserole has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Drain grease: if you are using any other meat in the breakfast casserole, be sure to drain the meat prior to adding it in the breakfast casserole dish.
  • Gluten free: make this gluten free by keeping with this breakfast casserole recipe. Check your labels on other ingredients to make sure.

A slice of breakfast casserole.

Storing the best breakfast casserole

Make this ahead of time the night before or morning of, this breakfast casserole recipe is sure to please!

It makes it perfect for storing for the busy Christmas morning breakfast or weekend breakfast that you want to sleep in and wake up to it baking.

This is just another reason why this breakfast casserole recipe is the BEST or the BEST!

So many options and plans for this breakfast casserole to make your holiday mornings even easier and better.

  • Making the best breakfast casserole ahead: Simply follow the instructions until you are ready to bake. Cover with aluminum foil or lid and place in your refrigerator. When you are ready to bake, simply take it out of the refrigerator and bake it according to the instructions. This will sit in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Can you freeze breakfast casserole? Yes, this is perfect for freezing. Make and bake your breakfast casserole. Once it has completely cooled down, place in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Lay flat in your freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to warm up, place on baking sheet frozen and bake until warmed through about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Warming up breakfast casserole: To reheat breakfast casserole add it to the microwave or covered in the oven. Checking it occasionally until it has been warmed through.

More delicious breakfast recipes

A slice of breakfast casserole on a plate.

 

The Best Breakfast Casserole

The Best Breakfast Casserole is a thick and creamy egg base with shredded potatoes, chunks of ham and flavorful cheese blends that bakes up in no time. Make ahead or enjoy the morning of during the holidays!

  • 24 ounces frozen shredded potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon season salt
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese (grated)
  • 2 cup chopped ham (Or your preferred meat, sausage would also be great)
  1. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Add the frozen and shredded potatoes to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Then add half and half, season salt, cheddar cheese, pepper jack, and chopped ham.
  3. Pour over the top of the frozen potatoes. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Updated on December 7, 2019

Original Post on December 22, 2014

Breakfast casserole baked in a casserole dish.

Save

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup is an easy and delicious way to enjoy a classic comfort food staple (with no soaking required)! Tender ham chunks are mixed with our favorite bean mixture, celery, carrots, and onions to create the perfect cozy soup!

This easy ham and bean soup recipe is a favorite way to use up leftover baked ham, and all you need to add is some cornbread!

A bowl of ham and bean soup in front of an instant pot

I am so excited to partner with Hurst Beans and to share exactly how easy it is to cook beans in an Instant Pot! There is no need to pre-soak them so instead of waiting hours to soak, this meal is on the table in about 90 minutes!

Hurst’s HamBeens® 15 BEAN SOUP® is the main ingredient in our favorite Ham and Bean Soup recipe (and to be honest we can’t get enough 15 Bean Chili either).  This bowl of comfort is a favorite way to use up our holiday ham and start off our New Year!

You can find these beans in the dry bean section of almost any grocery store (or you can order them online). Along with the beans, a seasoning packet is included in each package of 15 Bean Soup making it simple and perfectly seasoned every time!

15 Bean Soup mix on a cutting board with vegetables

How To Make Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

To make this Instant Pot ham and bean soup recipe:

  1. Rinse the beans.
  2. Add olive oil and onion to the Instant Pot and sauté about 5 minutes.

Beans being rinsed and onions being sautéed for ham and bean soup

  1. Add all remaining ingredients (per recipe below), including the seasoning packet from the HamBeens beans, and stir to combine.
  2. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and cook on HIGH pressure for 60 minutes.
  3. Quick-release, then remove the ham bone. Add tomatoes and tomato juice and the meat from the ham bone.

Tips For Making Ham And Bean Soup

  • Ham If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, a ham hock from the grocery store or your local butcher will work perfectly. Look for one with a bit of meat on it, so you can add it to the soup once it’s cooked.
  • Stock or Broth Chicken stock or turkey stock adds great flavor. If you prefer more liquid in your soup, add a couple of extra cups of broth to the Instant Pot.
  • Cooking Beans When cooking with beans, always add acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or lemon juice after the beans are cooked through. The acid binds to the beans shell and makes it harder for water to permeate them to cook them.

Serving ham and bean soup out of an Instant Pot

What To Serve With Ham And Bean Soup

If you want to add some toppings, we love adding a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, cheddar cheese, or crispy bacon!

This Instant Pot Ham and bean soup is a stick-to-your-ribs kinda meal. We enjoy a nice fresh tossed salad next to it, and of course, cornbread is a MUST to sop up the leftover soup in the bowl.

Can You Freeze Bean Soup

Beans hold up well to freezing making this the perfect freezer meal for the cold winter months. Once cooled, transfer the soup into individual freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 6 months.

To defrost, just add the soup to a saucepan over medium-low heat until heated through.

More Easy Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Ham & Bean Soup

Instant Pot ham and bean soup is a quick and delicious way to enjoy a classic, comfort food staple without waiting for the slow cooker.

  • 1 package Hambeens® 15 BEAN SOUP®
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 cup celery ((approx 2 stalks), diced)
  • 3 carrots (diced)
  • 1 ham bone (ham hock or 2 cups leftover ham)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  1. Rinse beans and drain. Sort any unwanted debris and set seasoning packet aside.
  2. Turn instant pot on to saute. Add olive oil and onion and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including the seasoning packet from the beans, and stir.

  4. Place the lid on, and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes. Quick release pressure.

  5. Open the lid and remove ham bone or ham hock. Add tomatoes with juice, turn onto saute and allow to simmer while picking the ham off of the bone.
  6. Return the meat to the Instant Pot and stir and serve.

 

Serving ham and bean soup out of an Instant Pot
Left photo shows a serving of ham and bean soup being ladled out of an Instant Pot. Top right photo shows the ingredients in the Instant Pot, while the bottom right photo shows the ham and bean soup served in a white bowl.
A close up photo of ham and bean soup being ladled out of an Instant Pot.

Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are moist and made light by swapping out most of the butter for applesauce which works great!

These Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are moist and made light by swapping out most of the butter for applesauce which works great!
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy and moist, these oatmeal cookies are fabulous and loaded with chocolate chips in every bite! Perfect for your holiday baking, Santa will thank you for them! You may also like these breakfast oatmeal cookies which are more of a snack than a dessert.

(more…)

The post Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies appeared first on Skinnytaste.